We get this question a lot from adult men’s teams: what division should I play in? Should I play recreational or competitive? How much different is the Elite division?
We don’t want this to be a stressful decision! The main point of the tournament is to have fun with your friends. So we quickly broke down what we thought were the five biggest differences between the three divisions.
We’ll start here since it may be the most obvious. But let’s clarify a little.
Recreation is for those players that want to have a blast with their friends, get in some exercise and enjoy the weekend. In the recreation division, you are not as concerned with winning as you are about having fun. Yes, the champions still get t-shirts. But more than anything you want a great experience to talk about on Monday and hopefully be able to tell your stories with no more than some minor soreness from the weekend!
The competitive division is a little more intense than recreation. Your team has some talent and you really enjoy great competition. You probably play a few times a month. You may have even played at a high level at some point, but feel like the Elite division might be a bit much right now.
The Elite division is for the top teams that want to compete at the highest level. This is a much more physical game and the majority of the players have played at a high level, usually beyond high school. Especially in the 6’0 Over Elite divisions, most players are former college players and some are current or former professionals. We aren’t trying to scare you, but this division is for the best of the best that want the highest challenge.
Officiating the Games
All recreational and competitive games are “call your own”. Though there is a court monitor on each court that will explain the rules (and remove players and fans if things get out of hand) players will be calling their own fouls every game.
The Elite division has two paid officials for every game. These officials are all high school certified and some also do college games. In addition to having two officials to call fouls and enforce rules, Elite games are mostly played on center court, which is a little bigger than the regular courts and gives players more room to work.
Price to Register
Since the Elite division does have two paid officials for each game, there is a slightly higher price to play at this level. The Elite division is $22 more per team to register. However, Elite teams do get other perks in addition to having officials.
Perks and Prizes
Every division, regardless of competition level, will award championship shirts to the bracket champions. The design is always great and teams love them.
But the Elite divisions get champ shirts on Nike gear. Elite champs also win gift cards, certificates, gear and other great stuff. Additionally, Elite teams get other perks. In addition to games on the center court, Elite teams get a separate check in before the tournament to speed up the process. And every elite team will get parking passes at the tournament, giving them easy accessibility to the tournament.
Games and Bracket
Every team in the tournament, regardless of their division, is guaranteed three games.
For the recreational and competitive divisions, they will generally be playing in bracket style play. This usually means a double elimination bracket with a consolation for those that lose their first two games.
The Elite division can be a little different. Often teams are first placed in to pools and have 2-3 games of pool play. From pool play, seeding is determined and then they will enter a single elimination bracket.
Picking Your Division
Hopefully this will help you decide what division to play in. If you still aren’t sure, feel free to leave a comment on our Facebook page and ask others what they think. Entering our 10th year, there should be plenty of teams that can offer their opinions from their own experiences.