High school sports teams in the United States are usually separated into varsity and junior varsity squads. Varsity teams are designated for the older and more experienced players. Junior varsity, or JV, teams are for secondary athletes who have not yet gained enough experience to play at the varsity level.

Team Makeup

Varsity teams are predominantly made up of junior (11th grade) and senior (12th grade) students. Conversely, junior varsity teams usually include sophomore (10th grade) and freshman (ninth grade) students. In some instances, a talented sophomore or freshman may possess the skills and experience necessary to bypass the junior varsity level and immediately join the varsity squad.

Transition From Junior Varsity to Varsity

When athletes at the junior varsity level are having an excellent season, they can be called up to varsity by the varsity coach. This promotion is usually effective immediately.

Athletes Can Only Play on One Team

If players are promoted from junior varsity to varsity, they are not allowed to play in future junior varsity matches if they are still active on the varsity team. This rule allows the school's up and coming athletes to gain experience at the lower levels by opening up new spots on the junior varsity roster.