What Is College JV Basketball? Is It an Option for You

What Is College JV Basketball? Is It an Option for You …

Considering College JV Basketball? There are many routes a basketball player can consider when it comes to playing college basketball at varying levels. A good option you might want to consider is to play for a JV (Junior Varsity) college team. If you’re not sure what this is, and why you should even entertain it as an option, let this article provide you with all the answers. Your questions will be answered and you will be totally knowledgeable in college JV. This will be beneficial to you if an opportunity like this comes along. I do want to point out that not all colleges (NCAA D1, D2, D3, NAIA, JUCO, NCCAA etc.) will have a JV program. While there are many colleges that have JV teams, you will have to check with each college.


Here you can access the most up-to-date college basketball openings from college coaches looking for players to fill roster spots

To help you get started we have included a small starter list at the end of this article. It has a few schools from each division and level who do offer a JV program to help you get going if you want to look at this option more seriously.

REMEMBER: Playing for a College JV program is not a glorified basketball program you would find at a recreation center. JV basketball is serious and is for serious players who want to play college basketball, especially at the D1 level.


Back in the day, freshmen players used to have to play a year of JV college basketball before they could start for the college varsity team. The Junior Varsity (JV) team originated from what was first called the freshman team. This was when scholarship college freshmen were not allowed to play their first year. This was a NCAA rule which was changed back in 1972 . The NCAA rule change made it so freshmen were now able and eligible to play varsity basketball immediately. However, the University of North Carolina kept its junior varsity team when most of the other schools across the States had decided to get rid of their freshman/JV teams. Lots of teams used to have JV teams a longtime ago but, in comparison to today, there really aren’t that many that have one anymore.

INTERESTING FACT: When Kareem Abdul-Jabar arrived at UCLA he played on the JV team, this was down to the fact that it was against NCAA rules to play on the varsity as a freshman at that time.


The Junior Varsity (JV) team is typically made up of players who are not yet the main players in a competition game. It is also good to know that as a JV player you can still be eligible for a scholarship. This is great as it will allow for more players to go to college and play college level basketball. A college basketball team has between 12 to 15 players. Having a JV team adds an additional 12 to 15 players which really helps more student athletes gain an opportunity to attend college.

The 2-year JV programs at the D1 level are designed to give non-scholarship students athletes the opportunity to continue their basketball careers and play at the collegiate level by playing for their JV. Tryouts for the JV team happen every year prior to the beginning of basketball season. Sometimes, scholarship offers may even be given out to JV players (this is motivating news!).

NOTE: Most student athletes who attend a JV program pay full tuition and housing.

Players who choose to play on a JV team for two years are later given a chance to try out for the varsity team either as a starter or as a walk-on. Typically, the JV team is coached by the Assistant Varsity Coaches. This is an opportunity for them to gain head coaching experience while taking care of their assistant coaching duties for the varsity team.

When you play for a JV team your game schedule will consist of community colleges, junior colleges and prep schools prior to varsity games during the season. For those who attend a D1 JV program, some additional perks you can get are front row seats to varsity games and the chance of earning your way onto the varsity team.

NOTE: Tryout attendance usually ranges from 40 to 60 for D1 JV teams, with most of them being military academies or Ivy League schools.


A JV team can really help a player who is less likely to play minutes at the varsity level.  For some players, just getting the opportunity to play college level basketball is enough. The accomplishment of making the college JV team allows them to achieve this goal. Players get to play basketball at the next level without having to handle as much pressure like they would have to, playing for the varsity team. When playing college JV, you are still playing games against college competition. There are also certain situations that may occur for example: if for some reason a varsity player gets injured or is unable to play for whatever reason, this can open up an unexpected opportunity for a JV player to move up to varsity. This is a unique opportunity to cover the spot and really show the coaches what you’re made of (you never know, opportunities like this may result in a permanent place on varsity sooner than expected).


There are only a small number of NCAA Division 1 schools who still have a JV program these days. At one time it was very common because of a NCAA rule that did not allow freshmen to play varsity. For the schools that still offer a JV team, the NCAA doesn’t keep track of the teams nationally. The University of North Carolina is the only school in the Atlantic Coast Conference with a JV team. Although there isn’t a NCAA Tournament or National Invitational Tournament for the JV teams – the JV teams get to play against area Division 2 and Division 3 teams as well as junior colleges, prep schools and community colleges. Nowadays, it is rare for a D1 college to have a JV program but, those who do have a JV team have stated that it has been a great pipeline for players.

Is JV College Basketball this for you?

Players who play for the JV basketball team are aware that they are not a superstar, and that it is unlikely that they are going to go play in the NBA. They are very team-oriented players and everyone is on the court to play their best game. Everyone who decides to play on the JV team is out there because they love to play basketball and that’s what makes JV special, whether the players make it to the varsity team or not. Does this sound like a good option for you?

NOTE: Another form of JV teams are the Post grad prep schools. Playing prep means players and do not lose NCAA eligibility.


NCAA D1 Schools:

NCAA D2 Schools:

NCAA D3 Schools:

NAIA Schools:

Junior Colleges:

NCCAA Schools:


Here you can access the most up-to-date college basketball openings from college coaches looking for players to fill roster spots