Everyone knows about all the big D1 schools. It's an honor and massive accomplishment just to make it there, especially as an athlete.
But that doesn't mean the D1 schools outside of these conferences don't have impressive competition as well.
Mid-major D1's are the schools outside the power 5 D1 schools (SEC, ACC, PAC-12, Big 10, Big 12). These schools, although at a different competition level than some, doesn't mean some within the conference are not at the same level as these bigger schools.
Many teams across my college campus are exceeding athletes in these core 5 conferences. For a while, men's lacrosse was at the top of the NCAA, and currently, we still have Jack Saunderson who is top within the NCAA and in the U.S. Within our conference, JMU men's soccer team made it into the quarterfinal at the NCAA championship this past season.
When teams from mid-major conferences appear in the NCAA, they call it a "Cinderella story" because who would have thought that it could happen?
But it's becoming more and more common.
Many athletes are seeing the appeal to go to a smaller school in comparison to the core 5 D1's to be a "bigger fish in a littler-pond." Others who could excel and stand out in mid-major schools choose the bigger schools if offered, for the experience alone.
Mid-major schools are also progressing when it comes to aspects such as lifting and promoting healthier bodies. Towson's lifting program went under construction in January of last year and has since worked towards new levels of competition within the conference, in hopes of closing the gaps between mid-major programs and top D1's.
All of these exceptional athletes coming into these smaller conferences are creating next level teams and carrying them with them.
Nothing is more exciting than seeing teammates completely annihilate the competition. It starts a new kind of excitement in those teams to reach the same level of goals. Within my almost two-and-a-half years as a Towson University athlete, I've seen so many impressive athletes with huge goals and a harder work ethic, which has lead to many goals and records slowly getting taken down and replaced.
Keep an eye out for the mid-major schools when it comes to the end of the season tournaments. There are so many smaller programs, making huge strides towards the bigger schools. The Cinderella story is starting to become a yearly event, regardless if they win or not. Mid-majors are only going to continue making their marks in the NCAA.