What is AAU?
That question seems simple but it can be misrepresented in an answer. Parents often get the message that their son is playing "in" the AAU when being told they are going to play AAU.
To define these better for you let's look at "the AAU."
Formed in 1888, "The Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) is one of the largest, non-profit, volunteer, sports organizations in the United States. A multi-sport organization, the AAU is dedicated exclusively to the promotion and development of amateur sports and physical fitness programs." (taken from http://aausports.org/FAQs)
The AAU is comprised of 56 districts. We are in the New England district, which is comprised of Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Because this is such a large area, we utilize State District Championships for each State.
"Your son should play AAU"
Many parents have heard this comment before, during, or after a travel or rec league contest. Already it's clear, this is something else. A higher level perhaps? Yes. The AAU creates opportunities for the youth to get better at basketball. The AAU gives opportunities to compete at National level. National meaning all other districts can and most do attend. Your son could play against someone from Cailifornia, Arkansas, or even Alaska. Pretty could for a youth to have fun, get better, prep for HS, prep for college, get reruited, and most of all learn life lessons.
I signed my son up for the AAU.... what does that mean?
Signing up for AAU and signing uo in the AAU can mean two different things. Your son only becomes a member of the AAU when they register with the National Office. Signing a permission slip for a tryout doesn't automatically register your son. So, if you haven't seen your son's AAU membership card, you should inquire. The reason is your son may or may not be under the protections of the AAU.
The AAU, through it's membership registration process, protects all athletes. It provides insurance in case of an injury sustained during competition. It provides CORI check for any coach wanting to be an AAU coach. It is always a good idea to make sure your coach (es) are registered members with the AAU.
My son is on an AAU team!
Congrats! Your son could be on the verge of getting all the benefits for being a member of the AAU. He can go play in AAU sanctioned tournaments. including ANY National Qualifying event. He might even be able to play in non-AAU Sanction events but only if he has the ADDED BENEFIT membership. If you're unsure inquire who processed his membership. If he doesn't have the ADDED BENEFIT then he is NOT covered in non-AAU events.