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National Collegiate Athletic Association
Primary logo
NCAA logo
League information
Sport Basketball
Competition level College
Founded March 31, 1906
Country Flag of the United States United States
Headquarters 700 Washington Street
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).
Indianapolis Indianapolis, Indiana]
United States
Inaugural season 1906-07 season
No. of teams 1,268 schools
Conferences 32
Sub Divisions NCAA Division I
NCAA Division II
NCAA Division III
Key People
President Mark Emmert
Playoffs/Championship format
Playoffs NCCA Tournament
NCAA Championship

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 organizes the athletic programs of many colleges and universities in the United States and potentially beginning in 2008, Canadian universities. Its headquarters are located in Indianapolis, Indianapolis, and it is currently under the leadership of president Myles Brand. The NCAA is the largest collegiate athletic organization in the world, and 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.

In August 1973, the current three-division setup of Division I, Division I, and Division I was adopted by the NCAA membership in a special convention. Under NCAA rules, Division I and Division II schools can offer scholarships to athletes for playing a sport. Division III schools may not offer any athletic scholarships. Generally, larger schools compete in Division I and smaller schools in II and III. Division I football was further divided into I-A and I-AA in 1978. Subsequently the term "Division I-AAA" was added to delineate Division I schools which do not field a football program at all. In 2006, Divisions I-A and I-AA were respectively renamed the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) and Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).


Its predecessor, the Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States (IAAUS), was established on March 31, 1906 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, Roosevelt became aware of the growing number of serious injuries and deaths occurring in collegiate football. He 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. The IAAUS was created as one of the outcomes of those meetings. The IAAUS became the National Collegiate Athletic Association in 1910.

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.

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, facility on the west edge of downtown Indianapolis. Adjacent to the headquarters is the NCAA Hall of Champions.

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

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 for the 1984 season, they would have generated US$73.6 million for the Association and its members. 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.


The NCAA's legislative structure is broken down into cabinets and committees, consisting of various representatives of its member schools. These may 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 advisors. 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. The current NCAA president is Myles Brand, former president of Indianapolis.

Sports sanctioned by the NCAA include the following:

Men and women[]

  • Basketball
  • Cross country
  • Golf
  • Gymnastics (i.e., artistic gymnastics)
  • Ice hockey
  • Indoor track
  • Lacrosse
  • Outdoor track
  • Soccer
  • Swimming & diving
  • Tennis
  • Volleyball (i.e., indoor volleyball)
  • Water polo

Men only[]

  • Baseball
  • Football
  • Wrestling

Women only[]

  • Beach volleyball
  • Bowling
  • Field hockey
  • Rowing
  • Softball


  • Fencing
  • Rifle
    • Rifle is the only NCAA sport in which men and women compete against one another as equals. It is also the only NCAA sport in which member schools can field more than one competitive team; schools may field any combination of men's, women's, and coed teams, though only one team of each type is allowed. Scholarship limits in rifle are per school, not per team.
  • Skiing

Additionally, the NCAA operates an "Emerging Sports for Women" program in which certain women's sports are partially sponsored by the NCAA while in the process of gaining full NCAA recognition. These sports do not have NCAA championships, but have national championships run by outside bodies. NCAA member schools may use emerging sports to count toward their required sports sponsorship totals. The following sports are part of the Emerging Sports program:

  • Acrobatics & tumbling (a gymnastics discipline separate from artistic gymnastics) – joining the Emerging Sports program in 2020–21
  • Equestrianism
  • Rugby (specifically rugby union)
  • Triathlon
  • Wrestling – joining the Emerging Sports program in 2020–21

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 U Sports.

Presidents of NCAA (called executive director until 1998)[]

  • Walter Byers 1951-1988
  • Dick Schultz 1988-1993
  • Cedric Dempsey 1993-2002
  • Myles Brand 2003-2009
  • Jim Isch 2009–2010 (interim)
  • Mark Emmert 2010–present

Division History[]

1956-1972NCAA University Division (Major College), NCAA College Division (Small College)
1973-presentNCAA Division I, Division II, Division III
1978-2006NCAA Division I-A, NCAA Division I-AA (football only)
2006-presentFootball Bowl Subdivision, Football Championship Subdivision (football only)


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

  • Track Dash
    • Men's
      • Division I
      • Division I (Sun Edition)
      • Division II
  • Matball (Men's)
  • NCAA Kickball Championship (Women's)
  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Bowling (women's only)
  • Boxing (Discontinued)
  • Men's Cross Country
  • Women's Cross Country
  • Fencing
  • Field Hockey
  • Football
    • 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.

The NCAA currently awards 90 national championships yearly; 46 women's, 41 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 facelift. 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.

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 notable the AP Poll of writers and the Coaches Poll.

From 1998 to 2013, the Bowl Championship Series—an association of the conferences who compete in Division I FBS and four Bowl games—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.

Starting with the 2014 season, the BCS was replaced by the College Football Playoff. As with the BCS, the CFP is a consortium between the FBS conferences and several major bowl games. The four bowls that were part of the BCS association continue to be involved in the CFP, as well as two other bowls; collectively, these games are known as the New Year's Six (since all of them are played on or near New Year's Day). Four teams, selected by a 13-member committee similar to those used for NCAA tournaments in other sports, are chosen to play in the CFP semifinals. These games are two of the New Year's Six games; semifinal status rotates annually between the six bowls. The CFP selection committee also chooses the teams that play in the remaining New Year's Six games, subject to conference tie-ins. Additionally, the committee is obligated to select one champion from a Group of Five conference (American, Conference USA, MAC, Mountain West, Sun Belt) to play in a New Year's Six game (though not necessarily in a semifinal; so far, no Group of Five team has ever been chosen for a semifinal).

The winners of the semifinals advance to the College Football Playoff National Championship, whose host is determined by open bidding several years in advance.

Under both the BCS and CFP systems, the Coaches Poll has been contractually obligated to give its #1 ranking to the winner of the championship game. During the BCS era, the winner of the title game received the so-called "crystal football" trophy from the American Football Coaches Association (the trade association for college football coaches). The CFP title game winner receives a different trophy, the College Football Playoff National Championship Trophy. Since the NCAA awards no national championship for Division I FBS football, neither trophy bears "NCAA", unlike all other college sports national championship trophies. The AP and other organizations are still free to name as national champions other teams than the one that won the CFP championship.


Banners CIMG0256

NCAA 2006 championship banners hang inside the NCAA Hall of Champions in Indianapolis

Division I conferences[]

FBS football[]

"Power Five" conferences that are primary partners in the College Football Playoff are denoted with an asterisk (*).

FCS football[]


Division I hockey-only conferences[]

  • Atlantic Hockey (men only)
  • College Hockey America (women only)
  • ECAC Hockey
  • Hockey East
  • New England Women's Hockey Alliance (women only)
  • National Collegiate Hockey Conference (men only)
  • Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA)

Foreign intercollegiate/interuniversity equivalents[]

  • International University Sports Federation
  • Australian University Sport
  • British Universities & Colleges Sport
  • U Sports (Canada)
  • 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, including:

  • NCAA Award of Valor, not given every year, selection is based on heroic action occurring in the academic year.
  • Elite 90 Award, presented annually to the upperclass player with the highest grade-point average among official playing participants in each of the NCAA's 90 championship events
  • 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 10 Award, honoring 10 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, CBS, ESPN, and ESPN for coverage of its 88 championships. According to the official NCAA website, 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 (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 or about 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.

Rules 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 (NCAA).

Division I FBS institutions on probation[]

The following Division I FBS institutions are currently on probation by the NCAA in one or more sports:

Institution Sport(s) Expiry
Ball State University Football, Men's Tennis, Women's Softball 15 October 2009
Baylor University Football, Men's Basketball 22 June 2010
Brigham Young University Men's Volleyball 10 March 2011
California State University, Fresno Men's Basketball 25 April 2010
Florida International University Baseball, Football, Men's Basketball, Men's Cross Country, Men's Soccer, Men's Track (Indoor), Men's Track (Outdoor), Women's Golf, Women's Soccer, Women's Softball, Women's Swimming, Women's Tennis, Women's Volleyball 5 May 2012
Middle Tennessee State University Women's Volleyball 21 May 2010
Purdue University Women's Basketball 21 August 2009
Temple University Men's Tennis 9 May 2009
Texas Christian University Men's Tennis 26 February 2010
The Ohio State University Football, Men's Basketball, Women's Basketball 9 March 2009
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville Men's Track (Indoor), Men's Track (Outdoor) 24 October 2010
University of Colorado, Boulder Football 20 June 2009
University of Iowa Men's Swimming 1 November 2008
University of Kansas Football, Men's Basketball 11 October 2009
University of Louisiana at Lafayette Football, Men's Basketball 18 April 2009
University of New Mexico Football 19 August 2011
University of Oklahoma Football 23 May 2010
West Virginia University Men's Soccer 29 April 2009


Numerous criticisms have been lodged against the NCAA. These include:

  • Several people, notably including Sports Illustrated columnist Rick Reilly, have criticized the NCAA for its inflexibility
  • Student-athletes at universities with major athletic programs often have low graduation rates.

See also[]

  • NCAA Hall of Champions
  • List of NCAA Division I Institutions
  • List of Division I Athletic Directors
  • List of NCAA Division II Institutions
  • List of NCAA Division III Institutions
  • NAIA
  • List of NAIA Institutions
  • List of college athletic programs by U.S. State
  • AIAW Championships
  • College
  • College
  • NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship
  • List of college athletic conferences
  • Academic Progress Rate
  • NACDA Director's Cup
  • CCCAA – California community colleges do not participate in the NJCAA.
  • U Sports (Canada)


External links[]

Smallwikipedialogo.png This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at National Collegiate Athletic Association. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Basketball Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.