7 Facts About Junior College Athletics

7 Facts About Junior College Athletics 7 Facts About Junior College Athletics

The NJCAA stands for the National Junior College Athletic Association. Also known as JUCO, this governing body covers two-year junior college athletics. Here are 7 important facts to know about junior college athletics:

1. Divisions

Like the NCAA, the NJCAA has three divisions. 

  • Division I schools can offer full athletic scholarships, but each team has limits on the number of scholarships and the amount they can give.
  • Division II schools can also offer athletic scholarships, but these schools are likely more limited in the amount of money they have to give to athletes.
  • Division III schools cannot offer athletes athletic scholarships. 

2. Sports

The NJCAA offers 16 sports for JUCO athletes. This includes 14 sports for men and 15 for women. Here are the available sports:

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  • Baseball (men)
  • Basketball (men and women)
  • Beach volleyball (women)
  • Bowling (men and women)
  • Cross country (men and women)
  • Football (men and women)
  • Golf (men and women)
  • Half marathon (men and women)
  • Lacrosse (men and women)
  • Soccer (men and women)
  • Softball (women)
  • Swimming and diving (men and women)
  • Tennis (men and women)
  • Track and field (men and women)
  • Volleyball (men and women)
  • Wrestling (men and women)

3. Regions

The NJCAA is made up of 23 regions across the United States. Within these regions, 43 conferences are included in the NJCAA. There are over 500 total member schools in 44 states in the NJCAA. 

4. Why JUCO?

Junior colleges can be a great option for athletes for many reasons:

  • Grades: If you don’t have the grades or test scores for a four-year college, going the JUCO route can help you get your grades up and open up some opportunities. 
  • Playing ability: If your playing ability isn’t at the level you want for NCAA or NAIA, going to a junior college is a great way to build your skills and play against great athletes.
  • Recruiting process: If the recruiting process didn’t go the way you wanted, you should definitely consider going to a junior college. You can develop your skills, get your stats up, and hit the transfer portal when you are ready. 
  • Money: Junior colleges have substantially lower tuition costs than four-year schools. If you don’t get a big athletic or academic scholarship, junior college can be a great option.

5. The path to four-year colleges

For many junior college athletes, playing at the JUCO level is a great way to develop their skills and grades before transferring to a four-year school to get a bachelor's degree. From a junior college, athletes can go to any division in NAIA or NCAA as long as they are eligible.

6. Championships

The NJCAA sponsors 53 national championships within the three divisions every year plus other football bowl games. 

7. Famous alumni

There have been many junior college athletes who have gone on to play professional sports. Here are some of the most famous junior college athletes:

  1. Tyreek Hill (NFL): Garden City Community College
  2. Cam Newton (NFL): Blinn College
  3. Bryce Harper (MLB): College of Southern Nevada
  4. Jimmy Butler (NBA): Tyler Junior College
  5. Sheryl Swoopes (WNBA): South Plains College
  6. Spud Webb (NBA): Midland College
  7. Jessica McDonald (NWSL): Phoenix College

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