|Formation||March 31, 1906
|Region served||United States and Canada|
|Membership||1,281 schools, conferences, or other associations|
|Main organ||Executive Committee|
|Website||NCAA official website
NCAA administrative website
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is a non-profit association that regulates athletes of 1,281 institutions, conferences, organizations, and individuals that organizes the athletic programs of many colleges and universities in the United States and Canada. It is committed to providing opportunity for more than 450,000 college student-athletes who compete annually in college sports. It is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana.
In August 1973, the current three-division setup of Division I, Division II, and Division III 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 briefly added to delineate Division I schools which do not field a football program at all, but that term is no longer officially used by the NCAA. In 2006, Divisions I-A and I-AA were respectively renamed the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) and Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).
The history of collegiate sports in American life can be traced from Native Americans-who engaged in perhaps the first team sport on the continent, lacrosse-to the games and sports brought to North America by immigrants, especially Europeans, who settled in the New World. Inter-collegiate sports in the US began in 1852 when crews from Harvard and Yale met in a challenge race in the sport of rowing. As rowing remained the preeminent sport in the country into the late-1800s, many of the initial debates about collegiate athletic eligibility and purpose were settled through organizations like the Rowing Association of American Colleges and the Intercollegiate Rowing Association. As other sports emerged, notably football and basketball, many of these same concepts and standards were adopted. Football, in particular, began to emerge as a marquee sport, but the rules of the game itself were in constant flux and often had to be adapted for each contest.
The NCAA dates its formation to two White House conferences convened by President Theodore Roosevelt to "encourage reforms" to college football practices in the early 20th century, which had resulted in repeated injuries and deaths and "prompted many college and universities to discontinue the sport." Following those White House meetings, Chancellor Henry MacCracken of New York University organized a meeting of 13 colleges and universities to initiate changes in football playing rules; at a follow-on meeting on December 28, 1905 in New York, 62 higher-education institutions became charter members of the Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States (IAAUS). The IAAUS was officially established on March 31, 1906, and took its present name, the NCAA, in 1910.
For several years, the NCAA was a discussion group and rules-making body, but in 1921 the first NCAA national championship was conducted: the National Collegiate Track and Field Championships. Gradually, more rules committees were formed and more championships were created, including a basketball championship in 1939.
A series of crises brought the NCAA to a crossroads after World War II. The "Sanity Code" – adopted to establish guidelines for recruiting and financial aid – failed to curb abuses. Postseason football games were multiplying with little control, and member schools were increasingly concerned about how the new medium of television would affect football attendance.
The complexity of those problems and the growth in membership and championships demonstrated the need for full-time professional leadership. Walter Byers, previously a part-time executive assistant, was named executive director in 1951, and a national headquarters was established in Kansas City, Missouri in 1952.
Byers wasted no time placing his stamp on the Association. A program to control live television of football games was approved, the annual Convention delegated enforcement powers to the Association's Council, and legislation was adopted governing postseason bowl games.
As college athletics grew, the scope of the nation's athletics programs diverged, forcing the NCAA to create a structure that recognized varying levels of emphasis. In 1973, the Association's membership was divided into three legislative and competitive divisions – I, II, and III. Five years later in 1978, Division I members voted to create subdivisions I-A and I-AA (renamed the Football Bowl Subdivision and the Football Championship Subdivision in 2007) in football.
Until the 1980s, the association did not offer women's athletics. Instead an organization named the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) 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. A year later in 1983, the 75th Convention approved an expansion to plan women's athletic program services and pushed for a women's championship program.
In 1999, the NCAA was sued for discriminating against female athletes under Title IX for systematically giving men in graduate school more waivers than woman to participate in college sports. In National Collegiate Athletic Association v. Smith, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the NCAA was not subject to that law, without reviewing the merits of the discrimination claim.
The modern era of the NCAA began in July 1952 when its executive director, Kansas City, Missouri native Walter Byers, moved the organization's headquarters from the LaSalle Hotel in Chicago (where its offices were shared by the headquarters of the Big Ten Conference) to the Fairmount Building at 101 West 11th Street in Downtown Kansas City. The move was intended to separate the NCAA from direct influence of any individual conference and to keep it centrally located.
The Fairmount was a block from Municipal Auditorium which had hosted Final Four games in 1940, 1941, and 1942.
After Byers moved to Kansas City, the championships would be held in Municipal in 1953, 1954, 1955, 1957, 1961, and 1964.
The Fairmount office consisted of three rooms with no air conditioning. Byers' staff consisted of four people: an assistant, two secretaries, and a bookkeeper.
In 1964, it moved three blocks away to offices in the Midland Theatre.
In 1989, it moved 6 miles (9.7 km) farther south to 6201 College Boulevard in Overland Park, Kansas. The new building was on 11.35 acres (45,900 m2) and had 130,000 square feet (12,000 m2) of space.
The NCAA was dissatisfied with its Johnson County, Kansas suburban location noting that its location on the south edges of the Kansas City suburbs was more than 40 minutes from Kansas City International Airport. They also noted that the suburban location was not drawing visitors to its new visitors' centre.
In 1997, it asked for bids for a new headquarters.
Various cities competed for a new headquarters with the two finalists being Kansas City and Indianapolis.
Kansas City proposed to relocate the NCAA back downtown near the Crown Center complex and would locate the visitors' centre in Union Station. However Kansas City's main sports venue Kemper Arena was nearly 30 years old.
The 50,000-seat RCA Dome far eclipsed the 17,000-seat Kemper Arena.
In 1999, the NCAA moved its 300 member staff to its new headquarters in the White River State Park in 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.
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, 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 provides support, acting as guides, liaisons, researchers, and public and media relations.
Sports sanctioned by the NCAA include the following: 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 and field, swimming and diving, and wrestling (men).
|1956–1972||NCAA University Division (Major College), College Division (Small College)|
|1973–present||NCAA Division I, Division II, Division III|
|1978–2006||NCAA Division I-A, NCAA Division I-AA (Division I football only), Division II, Division III|
|2006–present||NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision, Division I Football Championship Subdivision (Division I football only), Division II, Division III|
The NCAA currently awards 89 national championships yearly – 44 women's, 42 men's, and coed championships for fencing, rifle, and skiing. The NCAA has awarded championships in the following sports:
In addition to the above sports, the NCAA currently recognizes four "emerging sports" for women. These sports are recognized by the NCAA, with scholarship limitations for each, but do not currently have officially sanctioned NCAA championships.
The popularity of each of these sports programs has changed over time. Between 1988–89 and 2010–11, NCAA schools had net additions of 510 men's teams and 2,703 women's teams.
In women's sports, the sports with the biggest net gains during the 1988–89 to 2010–11 period were soccer (+599 teams), golf, and indoor track and field, while no women's sports programs experienced double-digit net losses. In men's sports, the sports with the biggest net gains during the 1988/89 to 2010/11 period were indoor track and field, lacrosse, and cross-country (each with more than 100 net gains), but the men's sports with the biggest losses were wrestling (-104 teams), tennis, and rifle, and the men's team sport with the most net losses was water polo.
Other reports show that 355 college wrestling programs have been eliminated since 2000, and 212 men's gymnastics programs have been eliminated since 1969 with only 17 programs remaining as of 2013.
For every NCAA sanctioned sport other than Division I FBS football, the NCAA awards trophies with gold, silver, and bronze plating for the first, second, and third place teams respectively. 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 2001–02 season, and again in the 2007–08 season, the trophies were changed. Starting in the 2006 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 an elaborate trophy with a black marble base and crystal "neck" with a removable crystal basketball following the presentation of the standard NCAA Championship trophy.
As of June 2013, UCLA, Stanford, and Southern California (USC) have the most NCAA championships; UCLA holds the most, winning a combined 112 team championships in men's and women's sports, with USC and Stanford tied for second with 106.
The NCAA has never sanctioned an official championship in the highest level of football, now known as Division I FBS. Instead, several outside bodies award their own titles. The NCAA does not hold a championship tournament for Division I FBS football. 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.
Starting in 2014, the College Football Playoff – an association of the conferences and independent schools that compete in Division I FBS and five bowl games – has arranged to place the top four teams (based on a thirteen-member committee that seeds and selects the teams similarly to the Final Four) into two semifinal bowl games and the winners go on to compete in the College Football Championship Game. The winner of the championship game receives a trophy; since the NCAA awards no national championship for Division I FBS football, this trophy does not denote NCAA as other NCAA college sports national championship trophies do.
The NCAA presents a number of different individual awards, including:
In previous years, the NCAA has presented the following awards at its NCAA Honors event: Astronaut Salute, Business Leader Salute, Congressional Medal of Honor Salute, Governor Salute, Olympians Salute, Performing Arts Salute, Presidents Cabinet Salute, Prominent National Media Salute, Special Recognition Awards, U.S. House of Representatives Salute, and U.S. Senate Salute.
The NCAA has current media rights contracts with CBS Sports, CBS Sports Network, ESPN, ESPN Plus, and Turner Sports for coverage of its 88 championships. According to the official NCAA website, ESPN and its associated networks have rights to 21 championships, CBS to 67, and Turner Sports to one. The following are the most prominent championships and rightsholders:
WestwoodOne 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.
From 1998 to 2013, Electronic Arts had a license to develop college sports video games with the NCAA's branding, which included its NCAA Football and NCAA Basketball (formerly NCAA March Madness) series. The NCAA's licensing was not required to produce the games, as rights to use teams are not licensed through the NCAA, but through entities such as individual schools and the Collegiate Licensing Company. EA only acquired the license so that it could officially incorporate the Men's Division I Basketball Championship into its college basketball game series. The NCAA withdrew EA's license due to uncertainties surrounding a series of lawsuits, most notably O'Bannon v. NCAA, involving the use of player likenesses in college sports video games.
In the late 1940s there were only two colleges in the country with a national TV contract, a considerable source of revenue. In 1951, the NCAA voted to prohibit any live TV broadcast of college football games during the season. No sooner had the NCAA voted to ban television than public outcry forced it to retreat. Instead, the NCAA voted to restrict the number of televised games for each team to stop the slide in gate attendance. Harold Stassen, president of the University of Pennsylvania, defied the monopoly and signed a $200,000 contract with ABC. Eventually Penn was forced to back down when the NCAA, refusing Penn's request that the U.S. Attorney General rule on the legality of the NCAA's restrictive plan, threatened to expel the Quakers from the association.
By the 1980s, televised college football had become a much larger source of income for the NCAA. 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 appealed all the way to the United States Supreme Court, but lost in 1984 in the 7–2 ruling NCAA v. Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma. (If the television contracts the NCAA had with ABC, CBS, and ESPN had remained in effect for the 1984 season, they would have generated some $73.6 million for the Association and its members.)
To participate in college athletics in their freshman year the NCAA states that students must meet three requirements: graduate from high school, complete the minimum required academic courses, and have qualifying grade-point average (GPA) and SAT or ACT scores.
The 16 academic credits are four courses in English, two courses in math, two classes in social science, two in natural or physical science, and one additional course in English, math, natural or physical science, or another academic course such as a foreign language.
To meet the requirements for grade point average and SAT scores students the lowest possible GPA a student may be eligible with is a 1.700 with an SAT score of 1400. The lowest SAT score a student may be eligible with is 700 with a GPA of 2.500.
As of 2011, a high school student may sign a letter of intent to enter and play football for a college only after the first Wednesday in February. In August 2011, the NCAA announced plans to raise academic requirements for postseason competition, including its two most prominent competitions, football's now-defunct Bowl Championship Series (replaced in 2014 by the College Football Playoff) and the Men's Division I Basketball Championship; the new requirement, which are based on an "academic progress rate" (APR) that measures retention and graduation rates, and is calculated on a four-year, rolling basis. The changes raise the rate from 900 to 930, which represents a 50% graduation rate.
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.
In cases of particularly egregious misconduct, the NCAA has the power to ban a school from participating in a particular sport, a penalty known as the "Death Penalty". Since 1985, any school that commits major violations during the probationary period can be banned from the sport involved for up to two years. However, when the NCAA opts not to issue a death penalty for a repeat violation, it must explain why it did not do so. This penalty has only been imposed three times in its modern form, most notably when Southern Methodist University's football team had its 1987 season canceled due to massive rules violations dating back more than a decade. SMU opted not to field a team in 1988 as well due to the aftershocks from the sanctions, and the program has never recovered; it has only four winning seasons and four bowl appearance since then (mostly under June Jones, the team's head coach since 2008). The devastating effect the death penalty had on SMU has reportedly made the NCAA skittish about issuing another one. Since the SMU case, there are only three instances where the NCAA has seriously considered imposing it against a Division I school; it imposed it against Division II Morehouse College's men's soccer team in 2003 and Division III MacMurray College's men's tennis team in 2005.
Additionally, in particularly egregious cases of rules violations, coaches, athletic directors, and athletic support staff can be barred from working for any NCAA member school without permission from the NCAA. This procedure is known as a "show-cause penalty" (not to be confused with an order to show cause in the legal sense). Theoretically, a school can hire someone with a "show cause" on their record during the time the show cause order is in effect only with permission from the NCAA Infractions Committee. The school assumes the risks and stigma of hiring such a person. It may then end up being sanctioned by the NCAA and the Infractions Committee for their choice, possibly losing athletic scholarships, revenue from schools who would not want to compete with that other school, and the ability for their games to be televised, along with restrictions on recruitment and practicing times. As a result, a show-cause order essentially has the effect of blackballing individuals from being hired for the duration of the order.
|Boise State University||Football, Men's Indoor & Outdoor Track, Men's Tennis, Women's Indoor & Outdoor Track, Women's Tennis||September 12, 2014|
|Eastern Michigan University||Women's Basketball||September 30, 2014|
|University of Southern California||Football, Men's Basketball, Women's Tennis||2014|
|University of South Carolina||Football||2014|
|University of Central Florida||Football||2014|
|Baylor University||Men's Basketball & Women's Basketball||April 10, 2015|
|Ohio State University||Football||2015|
|University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill||Football||2015|
|University of Oregon||Football||June 25, 2016|
|University of Southern Mississippi||Men's Tennis||January 29, 2017|
|Georgia Institute of Technology||Football, Men's Basketball||June 13, 2017|
|Pennsylvania State University||Football||2017|
|University of Miami||Football, Men's Basketball||2017|
The following Division I-FCS institutions are currently on probation by the NCAA in one or more sports:
|Texas Southern University||Baseball, Men's & Women's Basketball, Bowling, Men's & Women's Cross Country, Football, Men's & Women's Golf, Women's Soccer, Softball, Men's & Women's Track & Field, Women's Volleyball||October 8, 2017|
The following Division I non-football institutions are currently on probation by the NCAA in one or more sports:
|Saint Mary's College of California||Men's Basketball||February 28, 2017|
The following Division II institutions are currently on probation by the NCAA in one or more sports:
|Henderson State University||Women's Basketball||July 28, 2016|
|Chadron State College||Football||November 5, 2016|
|Clark Atlanta University||Men's Basketball, Women's Tennis||January 23, 2017|
|Cheyney University of Pennsylvania||Entire Program||August 20, 2019|
The following Division III institutions are currently on probation by the NCAA in one or more sports:
|California Institute of Technology||Men's Track and Field, Women's Track and Field, Men's Cross Country, Women's Cross Country, Women's Swimming, Baseball, Men's Fencing, Women's Fencing, Men's Soccer, Men's Water Polo, Men's Basketball, Men's Tennis, Women's Tennis||July 11, 2015|
|Illinois College||Football, Men's Golf, Men's & Women's Swimming||August 2015|
|State University of New York at Potsdam||Men's Ice Hockey, Women's Ice Hockey, Men's Lacrosse, Women's Lacrosse, Women's Soccer, Women's Volleyball||April 2016|
|Kean University||Women's Basketball, Men's & Women's Soccer, Women's Volleyball||April 18, 2016|
|Fontbonne University||Women's Basketball, Men's Lacrosse||Unknown|
|Baruch College||Women's Basketball||Unknown|
The NCAA runs the officiating software company ArbiterSports, based in Sandy, Utah, a joint venture between two subsidiaries of the NCAA, Arbiter LLC and eOfficials LLC. The NCAA has said their objective is for the venture to help improve the fairness, quality, and consistency of officiating across amateur athletics.
|The Hartford||Mutual funds and related financial services||2004|
|Enterprise Rent-A-Car||Car rental||2005|
|CapitalOne||Banking and credit cards||2008|
|Kraft (Planters)||Snack foods||2008|
|UPS||Package delivery and logistics||2009|
|Nissan (Infiniti)||Car & parts||2010|
||This article's Criticism or Controversy section may compromise the article's neutral point of view of the subject. (August 2011)|
Numerous criticisms have been lodged against the NCAA. These include:
The NCAA is the dominant, but not the only, collegiate athletic organization in the United States. Several other such collegiate athletic organizations exist.