National Collegiate Athletic Association

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National Collegiate Athletic Association
Motto Learning. Balance. Community. Spirit. Fair play. Character.
Formation February 3, 1906 (Intercollegiate Athletic Association)
1910 (NCAA)

Headquarters Indianapolis, Indiana
Membership 1,281 (schools, conferences or other associations)

President Myles Brand
Budget $5.64 Billion (2007-08 Budget)[1]
Website (administrative) (sports)

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA, often pronounced "N-C-Double-A") is a voluntary association of about 1,200 institutions, conferences, organizations and individuals that organize the athletic programs of many colleges and universities in the United States and potentially Canadian universities beginning in 2008.[2]

Its headquarters are located in Indianapolis, Indiana, and is the largest collegiate athletic organization in the world. Because of the great popularity of college sports among spectators in the United States, it is far more prominent than most national college sports bodies in other countries.

The NCAA has grown from a small governing body to a large business enterprise. From TV rights to just its men's basketball tournament, it averages better than half a billion dollars a year in revenue, which does not include payouts from the 28 football bowls, which exceed $184 million and go to the conferences.[3]

Because of its dominating influence over all college athletics it has garnered its share of criticism for exploiting student-athletes for financial gain and for the apparent hypocrisy of allowing coaches to be paid millions of dollars while punishing the students for accepting any kind of financial gifts from alumni and fans.

NCAA mission

The National Collegiate Athletic Association's purpose "is to govern competition in a fair, safe, equitable and sportsmanlike manner, and to integrate intercollegiate athletics into higher education so that the educational experience of the student-athlete is paramount."

It's core values are expressed as a belief in and commitment to:

  • The collegiate model of athletics in which students participate as an avocation, balancing their academic, social and athletics experiences.
  • The highest levels of integrity and sportsmanship.
  • The pursuit of excellence in both academics and athletics.
  • The supporting role that intercollegiate athletics plays in the higher education mission and in enhancing the sense of community and strengthening the identity of member institutions.
  • An inclusive culture that fosters equitable participation for student-athletes and career opportunities for coaches and administrators from diverse backgrounds.
  • Respect for institutional autonomy and philosophical differences.
  • Presidential leadership of intercollegiate athletics at the campus, conference and national levels.[4]


IAAUS: Intercollegiate Athletics Association of the United States

Current NCAA headquarters office in Indianapolis, Indiana.

During an era when sports, particularly football, were becoming more physical and less controlled, the NCAA's predecessor, the Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States (IAAUS), emerged and was established on December 28, 1905, and made legal on March 31, 1906.

The purpose of the IAAUS was to set rules for amateur sports in the United States. When then-president Theodore Roosevelt's own son, Ted, broke his collar bone playing football at Harvard University, Roosevelt became aware of the growing number of serious injuries and deaths occurring in collegiate football. The 1905 college football season alone produced 18 deaths and 149 serious injuries.[5]

In response, several colleges and universities banned the violent game of football while the loosely formed football rules committee made few changes to the game. As a result, Roosevelt brought the presidents of the three major Ivy League universities, Harvard, Yale, and Princeton to several meetings at the White House in October, 1905, to discuss steps to make college athletics safer.[6]

NCAA established

When the death toll of student-athletes continued to rise the NCAA was formed by the IAAUS in 1910 as a rule making body to promote the safety of the athlete. Eventually the NCAA expanded and in 1921, held the first NCAA championships (Track and Field Championships). More rules committees were formed for numerous sports and the diverse organization of today ensued.


The NCAA was headquartered in the Kansas City metropolitan area from 1951 until 1999 when it moved from its last Kansas City area location at Overland Park, Kansas to a four-story, 140,000-square-foot (13,000 m²) facility on the west edge of downtown Indianapolis, Indiana. Adjacent to the headquarters is the 35,000-square-foot (3,300 m²) NCAA Hall of Champions.[7]

During its days in Kansas City, Municipal Auditorium hosted nine Final Four basketball tournaments—the most of any venue.


The NCAA's legislative structure is broken down into cabinets and committees, consisting of various representatives of its member schools. These can be broken down further into sub-committees. Legislation is then passed on to the Management Council, which oversees all the cabinets and committees, and also includes representatives from the schools, such as athletic directors and faculty advisers. Management Council legislation goes on to the Board of Directors, which consists of school presidents, for final approval.

The NCAA staff itself provides support, acting as guides, liaison, research and public and media relations.

Sports sanctioned by the NCAA include basketball, baseball (men), softball (women), football (men), cross country, field hockey (women), bowling (women), golf, fencing (coeducational), lacrosse, soccer, gymnastics, rowing (women only), volleyball, ice hockey, water polo, rifle (coeducational), tennis, skiing (coeducational), track & field, swimming & diving, and wrestling (men's).

The NCAA is not the only collegiate athletic organization in the United States. The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) is another collegiate athletic organization. The Canadian equivalent to NCAA is the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS).

Presidents of NCAA (called executive director until 1998)

  • Walter Byers 1951-1988
  • Dick Schultz 1988-1993
  • Cedric Dempsey 1993-2002
  • Myles Brand 2003-

Division history

Years Division
1906-1955 None
1956-1972 NCAA University Division (Major College), NCAA College Division (Small College)
1973-present NCAA Division I, Division II, Division III
1978-2006 NCAA Division I-A, NCAA Division I-AA (football only)
2006-present Football Bowl Subdivision, Football Championship Subdivision (football only)


The NCAA holds, or has held in the past, championship tournaments in the following sports:

  • Baseball
  • Basketball
    • Men's
      • Division I
      • Division II
      • Division III
    • Women's
      • Division I
      • Division II
      • Division III
  • Bowling (women's only)
  • Boxing (Discontinued)
  • Men's Cross Country
  • Women's Cross Country
  • Fencing
  • Field Hockey
  • Football[8]
    • Division I (FCS)
    • Division II
    • Division III
  • Men's Golf
    • Division I
    • Division II
    • Division III
  • Women's Golf
  • Men's Gymnastics
  • Women's Gymnastics
  • Men's Ice Hockey
  • Women's Ice Hockey
  • Men's Indoor Track and Field
  • Women's Indoor Track and Field
  • Men's Lacrosse
  • Women's Lacrosse
  • Men's Outdoor Track and Field
  • Women's Outdoor Track and Field
  • Rifle
  • Rowing (women's only)
  • Skiing
  • Softball
  • Men's Soccer
  • Women's Soccer
  • Men's Swimming and Diving
  • Women's Swimming and Diving
  • Men's Tennis
  • Women's Tennis
  • Men's Volleyball
  • Women's Volleyball
  • Men's Water Polo
  • Women's Water Polo
  • Wrestling

Presently, UCLA, Stanford, and Southern California have the most NCAA championships; UCLA holds the most, winning a combined 103 team championships in men's and women's sports.[9]

The NCAA currently awards 87 national championships yearly; 44 women's, 40 men's, and three coed championships where men and women compete together (Fencing, Rifle, and Skiing). For every NCAA sanctioned sport other than Division I FBS football, the NCAA awards wooden trophies with gold, silver, and bronze plating for the first, second, and third place teams respectively; similar to the Olympics. In the case of the NCAA basketball tournaments, both semifinalists who did not make the championship game receive bronze plated trophies for third place (prior to 1982 the teams played a "consolation" game to determine third place). Similar trophies are awarded to both semifinalists in the NCAA football tournaments (which are conducted in Division I FCS and both lower divisions), which have never had a third-place game. Winning teams maintain permanent possession of these trophies unless it is later found that they were won via serious rules violations.

Starting with the 2001 season, and later in 2008, the trophies were given an extensive face lift. Starting in the 2007 basketball season, teams that make the Final Four in the Division I tournament receive bronze plated "regional championship" trophies upon winning their Regional Championship. The teams that make the National Championship game receive an additional trophy that is gold plated for the winner and silver plated for the runner-up. Starting in the mid-1990s, the National Champions in men's and women's basketball receive a very elaborate trophy sponsored by Siemens with a black marble base and crystal "neck" with a removable crystal basketball following the presentation of the standard NCAA Championship trophy.


Division I conferences

NCAA 2006 championship banners hang inside the NCAA Hall of Champions in Indianapolis
  • America East Conference
  • Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC)*
  • Atlantic Sun Conference
  • Atlantic 10 Conference (A-10)
  • Big East Conference
  • Big Sky Conference
  • Big South Conference
  • Big Ten Conference (Big Ten)*
  • Big West Conference
  • Big 12 Conference (Big 12)*
  • Colonial Athletic Association (CAA)
  • Conference USA (C-USA)
  • Horizon League
  • NCAA Independents
  • Ivy League
  • Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC)
  • Mid-American Conference (MAC)
  • Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC)
  • Missouri Valley Conference (MVC or The Valley)
  • Mountain West Conference (MWC)
  • Northeast Conference (NEC)
  • Ohio Valley Conference (OVC)
  • Pacific-10 Conference (Pac-10)*
  • Patriot League
  • Southeastern Conference (SEC)*
  • Southern Conference (SoCon)
  • Southland Conference
  • Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC)
  • Sun Belt Conference (SBC)
  • The Summit League (The Summit) (Formerly the Mid-Continent Conference)
  • United Basketball Conference (UBC)
  • West Coast Conference (WCC)
  • Western Athletic Conference (WAC)

Conferences with automatic entry to the Bowl Championship Series are denoted with an asterisk (*).

Division I FCS football-only conferences

  • Great West Football Conference
  • Missouri Valley Football Conference
  • Pioneer Football League

Division I hockey-only conferences

  • Atlantic Hockey
  • Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA)
  • College Hockey America
  • ECAC Hockey
  • Hockey East
  • Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA)

Foreign intercollegiate/interuniversity equivalents

  • International University Sports Federation
  • Australian University Sport
  • British Universities & Colleges Sport
  • Canadian Interuniversity Sport
  • National Collegiate Athletic Association (Philippines) (NCAA) and University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) for Philippines (among other leagues)


The NCAA presents a number of different individual awards,[10] including:

  • NCAA Award of Valor, not given every year, selection is based on heroic action occurring in the academic year.
  • NCAA Gerald R. Ford Award, honors an individual who has provided significant leadership as an advocate for intercollegiate athletics.
  • NCAA Inspiration Award, not given every year, selection is based on inspirational action.
  • NCAA Sportsmanship Award, honoring student-athletes who have demonstrated one or more of the ideals of sportsmanship.
  • NCAA Woman of the Year Award, honors a senior student-athletes who has distinguished herself throughout her collegiate careers in academics, athletics, service and leadership.
  • The Flying Wedge Award, one of the NCAA’s highest honors exemplifying outstanding leadership and service to the NCAA.
  • Theodore Roosevelt Award (NCAA), the highest honor that the NCAA confers on an individual.
  • Today's Top VIII Award, honoring eight outstanding senior student-athletes.
  • Silver Anniversary Awards, honoring six distinguished former student-athletes.
  • Walter Byers Scholarship, honoring the top male and female scholar-athletes.


The NCAA has current media rights contracts with CBS Sports, CBS College Sports Network, ESPN, and ESPN Plus for coverage of its 88 championships. According to the official NCAA website,[11] ESPN and its associated networks have rights to 21 championships and CBS to 67. The following are the most prominent championships and rightsholders:

  • CBS: Men's basketball (NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament and NCAA Men's Division II Basketball Tournament), track and field, ice hockey (women's division I)
  • ESPN: Women's basketball (all divisions), baseball, softball, ice hockey (men's division I), football (all divisions including Div. I FCS), soccer (division I for both sexes)

Westwood One has exclusive radio rights to the men's and women's basketball Final Fours to the men's College World Series (baseball). DirecTV has an exclusive package expanding CBS' coverage of the men's basketball tournament.

Video games based on popular NCAA sports such as football and basketball are licensed by Electronic Arts.

Most NCAA events are also available online either through its own site (as in March Madness on Demand) or from

On March 1, 2008, the NCAA launched its revamped website with the address, changed from The site offers streamlined navigation and a quick reference to many popular links at the bottom of each page.


Football Bowl Subdivision

The NCAA does not hold a championship tournament for Division I FBS football, which has caused controversy. In the past, the "national championship" went to teams that placed first in any of a number of season-ending media polls, most notably the AP Poll of writers and the Coaches Poll. Currently, the Bowl Championship Series—an association of the conferences who compete in Division I FBS and four bowl games—has arranged to place the top two teams (based on a formula blending human polls, computer rankings, and, in some years, other factors) into a national title game. The winner of the BCS title game must be ranked first in the final Coaches' Poll and receives the ADT Trophy; since the NCAA awards no national championship for Division I FBS football, this trophy does not say NCAA as all other college sports national championship trophies do. The AP and other organizations are still free to name as national champions other teams than the one that won the BCS championship.

Women's Sports

Until the 1980s, the association did not offer women's athletics. Instead an organization named the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women governed women's collegiate sports in the United States. By 1982 however, all divisions of the NCAA offered national championship events for women's athletics and most members of the AIAW joined the NCAA.

This was mostly a result of Title IX, a United States law enacted on June 23, 1972 that states: "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance." Although the most prominent "public face" of Title IX is its impact on high school and collegiate athletics, the original statute made no reference to athletics.

Since the advent of Title IX, schools have been increasingly threatened with discrimination lawsuits. In 1992, the U.S. Supreme Court held in Franklin v Gwinnett County Public Schools that schools which failed to comply with Title IX could be sued for compensatory and punitive damages.

A 2008 study of intercollegiate athletics showed that women's collegiate sports has grown to 9,101 teams, or 8.65 per school. The five most frequently offered college sports for women are, in order: (1) Basketball, 98.8 percent of schools have a team, (2) Volleyball, 95.7 percent, (3)Soccer, 92.0 percent, (4) Cross Country, 90.8 percent, and (5) Softball, 89.2 percent.[12]

Football television controversy

By the 1980s, televised college football was a significant source of income for the NCAA. Had the television contracts the NCAA had with ABC, CBS, and ESPN remained in effect through the 1984 season, they would have generated around US$73.6 million for the Association and its members. However, in September 1981, the Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma and the University of Georgia Athletic Association filed suit against the NCAA in district court in Oklahoma.

The plaintiffs stated that the NCAA's football television plan constituted price fixing, output restraints, boycott, and monopolizing, all of which were illegal under the Sherman Act. The NCAA argued that its pro-competitive and non-commercial justifications for the plan—protection of live gate, maintenance of competitive balance among NCAA member institutions and creation of a more attractive "product" to compete with other forms of entertainment—-combined to make the plan reasonable. In September 1982, the district court found in favor of the plaintiffs, ruling that the plan violated antitrust laws. It enjoined the Association from enforcing the contract.

Rule violations

Member schools pledge to follow the rules promulgated by the NCAA. Creation of a mechanism to enforce the NCAA's legislation occurred in 1952, after careful consideration by the membership.

Allegations of rules violations are referred to the NCAA's investigative staff. A preliminary investigation is initiated to determine if an official inquiry is warranted and to categorize any resultant violations as secondary or major. If several violations are found, the NCAA may determine that the school as a whole has exhibited a "lack of institutional control." The institution involved is notified promptly and may appear in its own behalf before the NCAA Committee on Infractions.

Findings of the Committee on Infractions and the resultant sanctions in major cases are reported to the institution. Sanctions will generally include having the institution placed on "probation" for a period of time, in addition to other penalties. The institution may appeal the findings or sanctions to an appeals committee. After considering written reports and oral presentations by representatives of the Committee on Infractions and the institution, the committee acts on the appeal. Action may include accepting the infractions committee's findings and penalty, altering either, or making its own findings and imposing an appropriate penalty.

Institutions violating the probationary period may be subject to being banned from participating in the sport in question for up to two years, a penalty known as the "Death Penalty."


An organization that spawned from the student-athletic safety reforms implemented by the IAAUS, the National Collegiate Athletic Association has been holding the National Championships in twenty three different sports since 1921. It now boasts over 360,000 student-athletes competing in twenty three sports and 88 National Championships.

Beyond school-issued scholarships, the NCAA is funneling $750 million over 11 years into funds designed to directly benefit athletes. Needy athletes can use the fund to cover clothing, emergency travel and educational and medical expenses. The NCAA spends more than $10 million annually on catastrophic-injury insurance.

It also offers the Special Assistance Fund, established in 1991 to help student-athletes in financial need to cover basic or emergency expenses.

There is also the Student-Athlete Opportunity Fund, established in 2003 and more loosely restricted. It's available to all athletes, regardless of financial need and whether they have exhausted eligibility or no longer compete for medical reasons. It can be used for such personal and educational expenses as travel home, computers and other school supplies, clothing, medical expenses for spouses and dependents, summer school, degree-completion programs and professional development.[13]


  1. NCAA, The NCAA revised budget for fiscal year ended August, 31, 1007. Retrieved November 17, 2008.
  2. Sports Illustrated, NCAA Basketball—Pilot program paves way for Canadian schools in DII. Retrieved October 20, 2008.
  3. Kelly Whiteside, College athletes want cut of action, Retrieved October 21, 2008.
  4. NCAA, NCAA Mission Statement. Retrieved October 20, 2008.
  5. NCAA, 100 Years of the NCAA.
  6. NCAA, The NCAA's First Century In The Arena. Retrieved October 20, 2008.
  7. NCAA, NCAA Headquarters in Indianapolis to Open July 26. Retrieved October 20, 2008.
  8. The NCAA does not sponsor a championship tournament for the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS)
  9. UCLA, UCLA Women's Tennis Claims First-Ever NCAA Championship. Retrieved October 20, 2008.
  10. NCAA, Awards. Retrieved October 20, 2008.
  11. NCAA, NCAA Broadcast Information . Retrieved October 20, 2008.
  12. Women in Intercollegiate Sport. Retrieved October 20, 2008.
  13. Kelly Whiteside, College athletes want cut of action, Retrieved October 21, 2008.

ISBN links support NWE through referral fees

  • Crowley, Joseph N., David Pickle, and Rich Clarkson. 2006. In the Arena: The NCAA's First Century. Indianapolis, IN: NCAA. ISBN 0977494608.
  • Falla, Jack. 1981. NCAA, The Voice of College Sports: A Diamond Anniversary History, 1906-1981. Mission, Kan: National Collegiate Athletic Association. ISBN 091350470X.
  • Hogshead-Makar, Nancy, and Andrew S. Zimbalist. 2007. Equal Play: Title IX and Social Change. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press. ISBN 9781592133796.
  • National Collegiate Athletic Association. 1990. NCAA Manual. Mission, Kan: NCAA. OCLC 19596534.
  • Sack, Allen L., and Ellen J. Staurowsky. 1998. College Athletes for Hire: The Evolution and Legacy of the NCAA's Amateur Myth. Westport, CT: Praeger. ISBN 0275961915.

External links

All links retrieved November 11, 2022.


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