Athletics associations and levels

What is the NAIA?

The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) is, like the NCAA, an American university sports association. 250 universities are covered by the NAIA.

Compared to the NCAA, there are fewer scholarships to be distributed and the sport level is lower. Nevertheless, there are certainly universities that have at least as good, or even better, teams than the NCAA Division 1, 2 & 3 universities. A NAIA university does not therefore provide less opportunities for athletes to develop optimally.

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What is the NJCAA?

The National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) is the organization that oversees college sports from Junior Colleges, Community Colleges and State Colleges.

The sports association consists of 24 regions and is divided into three divisions. The academic level and tuition costs are lower than at other universities, and different eligibility rules apply than at the NAIA and NCAA.

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In what division will I be?

Every university is under the NCAA, NAIA or the NJCAA. Each sports association oversees leagues with different divisions. We cannot guarantee in advance in which competition you will end up. That depends on your sport level, your results at school and whether the coaches would like to have you on the team. Slamstox can give a good indication of what is feasible and realistic for you.

Do you want to know what division suits you well? Reach out to us!

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What is a conference?

In addition to different divisions, the universities within those divisions are divided into conferences, or groups. These pools are based on region or the size of the university. They usually consist of 8, 10 or 12 universities.

The teams in the group all compete against each other during the competition season for the ultimate championship. The divisions always remains the same, so winning the championship doesn’t bring you to some kind of higher level. However, it offers opportunities to participate in the regional and even the national championships. That is the ultimate goal of every team!

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What does eligibility mean?

As a student-athlete, you usually have 4 years of eligibility. This means that you can receive an athletic scholarship and compete for a university team for 4 years. Before you receive eligibility, you have to sign up with the Eligibility center in your division. They will check multiple requirements and have to “qualify” you before you are able to compete for your university.

It is required to be eligible, only then you can sign a scholarship contract with a university and play in matches. The criteria differ per division and association. In some divisions, it is not allowed to have earned money with your sports before joining a college team. In other divisions, the academic requirements are very strict and specific.

It’s very important to know your eligibility status and to be sure you are eligible to compete and receive scholarships. This is one of the first steps in the process and Slamstox can help you with it.

Would you like to know more about your personal eligibility? Reach out to us!

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What is the NCAA?

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is a nonprofit organization that regulates student-athletes and intercollegiate sports competitions in the United States. The NCAA competitions is divided into three different divisions (NCAA Division I, II & III).

Division 1 is the highest division within the NCAA. Most universities get selected for a division based on multiple factors, including basketball and American Football. All the other teams for a university then join the same division. This does not mean that all Division 1 teams are better than all Division 2 teams. The NCAA determines a student’s eligibility to compete in a specific division. You can only compete for a university team once your eligibility is verified.

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