Athletics associations and levels

Here we will answer all your questions about the many athletics associations and levels in the United states.Is your question not listed? Search for more questions or contact us!

What are divisions in America?

University sports competition in America are divided into different divisions, belonging to different sports leagues.

Most universities fall under the NCAA, NAIA or the NJCAA. These are the best known and most active sports associations. Each sports federation oversees leagues with different divisions. It is not that one league is better at sports than another league. This varies by university and there is a lot of overlap between the unions and divisions in terms of sport and study level.

As an example, in the NCAA you have three different divisions, Division 1, Division 2 and Division 3, where Division 1 is the highest and Division 3 is the lowest.

The sports league and division you end up in depends on your athletic level, your results in school and whether the coaches would like to have you on the team. Slamstox can give a good indication of what is achievable and realistic for you.

Would you like to know which divisions suits you? Feel free to contact us!

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What is the NCAA?

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is the governing sports association in the United States that organizes all regional and national leagues and championships. In addition, this organization manages the three largest and most well-known university sports leagues (NCAA Division I, II & III).

Universities in NCAA Division I and NCAA Division II award athletic scholarships and academic scholarships to student-athletes who can strengthen their teams. In NCAA Division III, only academic scholarships are issued and not athletic scholarships.

It is not that the teams in Division I are necessarily better than the teams in Division II or Division III. There is a lot of overlap in the various divisions. This is because schools as a whole are assigned to a division, often based on school size, American football/basketball leagues and other financial reasons. Because of this, there can be large level differences between individual sports.

Before you can play sports and study in America, your playing eligibility or ‘eligibility’ needs to be determined by the NCAA in America. Only if you meet all the requirements can you compete in one of the divisions as a student-athlete. Slamstox will assist you in this process and can apply for this eligibility to play for you.

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What is the NAIA?

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

Compared to the NCAA, the schools that have joined the NAIA are often private universities and are generally somewhat smaller in terms of student body size. Nevertheless, there are certainly universities that have teams at least as good, or even better, than certain NCAA Division 1, 2 & 3 universities. Thus, an NAIA university also provides good opportunities for athletes to develop to their full potential.

Don’t know which sports association to apply to? Feel free to contact us and we will you!

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What is the NJCAA?

The National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) is the organization that oversees the college sports of Junior Colleges, Community Colleges and State Colleges. These are all 2-year programs that train you to obtain your Associate’s Degree.

After completing an NJCAA education, it is possible to transfer to a NCAA or NAIA university. It is then customary to take your study results and complete year 3 and year 4 of your bachelor’s degree at your new university.

The NJCAA consists of 24 regions and is divided into three divisions. The academic level and tuition costs are lower than at other universities, and different playing eligibility rules apply than at the NAIA and NCAA. In general, it is easier to be admitted to NJCAA schools because the admission requirements are somewhat less stringent.

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What is a conference?

In addition to being divided into different divisions, universities within those divisions are divided into conferences, similar to regional groups or pools. These conferences are based on region or university size. 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!

Curious about the conferences? Check them out here!

It is important that during the recruiting process to look closely at the conference in which the schools operate. This is where much of the sports level, and the opposition, is determined during the season. Slamstox can help you assess the level of the team and the conference you will be joining.

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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 necessary to be eligible to play; only then can you sign a contract with a university and play games. The requirements vary by sports league and division. For example, in some leagues you are not allowed to earn money from your sport or been part of a professional club, in others you may. Sports leagues also look at your academic background and the grades you earned in school.

It is important to know what your status is and make sure everything is in order. This is one of the first steps in the process and Slamstox helps you gather all the information.

Would you like to know more? Feel free to contact us, and will help you!

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