What is AAU Basketball?

A primer on playing youth hoops.

What is AAU Basketball?

Amateur Athletic Union basketball, better known as AAU basketball, is an amateur and youth sports organization.

AAU hoops is made up of independent groups across the United States that form teams and participate in tournaments under the aegis of the AAU as the governing body.

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The league is meant to give young athletes across the country the opportunity to participate in the game of basketball, improve their skills and showcase their talents in front of college and NBA scouts.

AAU Basketball History

The AAU was founded in 1888, in Chicago, by a man named William Buckingham Curtis, who wanted to standardize amateur and youth sports. For a time, the AAU was the official governing body of the United States' participation in the Olympics and international competitions, until the Amateur Sports Act of 1978 removed it from that position after the AAU received criticism of its ability to properly oversee the multitude of sports underneath its umbrella.

AAU Basketball - Girls

How many teams are there?

AAA Basketball Teams Map

Each state is broken down into various "districts" to which teams are assigned based on geography. AAU basketball currently has 56 districts across the country. Teams are defined by age group and gender. There are 12 age groups in all. The number of teams within each district varies. See the above map, which shows the number of teams in each district.

When is the AAU season?

The AAU season is typically between the months of March and June, and athletes are assigned to their teams by early February.

How do I sign up for AAU Basketball?

To find out which district you belong to and which team is best for you, visit the AAU basketball website. When prompted, enter the sport you wish to play, your zip code and the preferred mileage of the closest club. An array of options will pop up, beginning with the closest club and extending to the farthest within the mileage radius you selected, with all of the clubs' necessary contact information.

How Can I Start My Own AAU Basketball Club?

To form your own AAU Club, you must first become an AAU "non-athlete" member, which you can do by going here.  Once you've done that, you must decide which level of club you want to form. Level 1 is for you if your club plans on participating in AAU events, but will not host them. Level 2 is if you would like to do both and also have the right to use all AAU marks and logo. And finally, Level 3 is for you if you're planning to raise funds for your club from corporate donors through a 501(c)3.

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The costs for each level are as follows:

Level 1: $30

Level 2: $60

Level 3: $300

How much does it cost to play AAU basketball?

It costs $14 per year to become a member of the AAU, and membership runs from Sept. 1- August 31.

What are the age groups for AAU teams?

The chart below displays the age divisions and the length of quarters teams will play.

AAU Basketball age groups

How much traveling is involved?

Most AAU games take place as part of tournaments that are held on the weekends all across the country. How much you travel is largely based on your team and its schedule, so it will vary, but there will be a fair amount of traveling involved.