University sports in the USA is the natural preliminary step for all those athletes in the country who want to take the leap to be professionals. Sports like basketball or American football bring together the future stars of the NBA and the NFL.
The interest generated by university leagues, like fans, sponsors, televisions and sports brands, is a magnitude only comparable to the most famous sports events all over the world.
This generates an extraordinary source of income for universities, who invest in having the best sports facilities, the best coaches and the best imaginable facilities for their STUDENT-ATHLETES with the aim of attracting the greatest possible talent.
NATIONAL COLLEGIATE ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION
The most prestigious organization, which have the largest number of universities. It has 3 divisions:
NCAA Division I: It is the most competitive in the sports aspect, they have the highest number of sports scholarships and the largest budget for their sports programs.
NCAA Division II: Universities in this category are generally smaller and offer less athletic scholarships to athletes.
NCAA Division III: Universities in Division III do not offer athletic scholarships, only academic scholarships.
NATIONAL ATHLETIC INTERCOLLEGIATE ASSOCIATION
This organization has less universities than the NCAA; they are smaller and more academically specialized institutions. NAIA eligibility requirements are different from the NCAA.
NATIONAL JUNIOR COLLEGE ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION
An organization that is made up of universities with 2-year degrees and has more flexible academic requirements. STUDENT-ATHLETES that are not eligible by the NCAA or NAIA can start in this organization and then can change to NCAA or NAIA league.