The National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA), is the governing association of community college, state college and junior college athletics throughout the United States. Currently the NJCAA holds 24 separate regions across 24 states and is divided into 3 divisions.

Junior colleges can serve as incubators for college athletes, particularly in soccer, golf, basketball & football; in sports parlance, they are often referred to as "Jucos".  A talented player who would not meet the academic standards of a major college program may be able to play for two years in junior college, establishing an academic record in the process, and then transfer to a major college.  

Each institution belonging to the NJCAA chooses to compete on the Division I, II or III level in designated sports. Division I colleges may offer full athletic scholarships a maximum of tuition, fees, room and board, course related books, up to $250 in course required supplies, and transportation costs one time per academic year to and from the college by direct route. Division II colleges are limited to awarding tuition, fees, course related books, and up to $250 in course required supplies. Division III institutions may provide no athletically related financial assistance. However, NJCAA colleges that do not offer athletic aid may choose to participate at the Division I or II level if they so desire.

Many student-athletes who are unable to meet the academic and athletic eligibility criteria for the NCAA or NAIA, will often attend a Junior College to improve their academic status.  After competition of an Associates Degree in 2 years, the student-athlete is then able to transfer into the third year of a NCAA or NAIA university.