March 9, 2016

In the Know: What is the NCAA

As a student-athlete, or the parent of a student-athlete, you have probably heard the term NCAA, but what is the NCAA? The NCAA, or National Collegiate Athletic Association, is an athletic organization in the United States that oversees intercollegiate athletics. As an organization the NCAA functions as a general authority for intercollegiate athletics, determining and enforcing rules of play and eligibility criteria for student-athletes. The National Collegiate Athletic Association is a membership driven organization that is dedicated to the wellbeing and success of student-athletes while helping to provide them with the necessary skills to succeed as athletes, students and positive contributors to society.

The NCAA oversees nearly 1,200 colleges and universities in the United States spanning 24 different sports and literally hundreds of thousands of students. More than 460,000 student-athletes make up a staggering 19,000 teams participating annually in the NCAA’s 90 championships. As an organization the NCAA is focused primarily on student-athletes who excel at not only sports, but also academics and campus life. Educational institutions that are part of the NCAA are divided into Division I, Division II and Division III. Each division reflects the relative priority of sports and academics for that institution and represents a different level of competition.

Division I schools commonly have the largest student bodies, largest athletics budgets and largest number of scholarships. Division I is comprised of nearly 350 educational institutions, over 6,000 teams and more than 170,000 student-athletes. Division I schools are committed to maintaining a high level of academic achievement as well as providing the widest range of athletic participation opportunities.

Division II schools place a heavy emphasis on the balance between academic success, athletic contributions and community involvement. Nearly 300 educational institutions make up Division II providing thousands and athletes the opportunity to compete at a high level of scholarship athletics while also placing a strong emphasis on academics and campus experience.

Division III is the largest NCAA division with over 170,000 student-athletes at over 400 participating schools. Division III schools place their emphasis on academics first while also providing the opportunity to participate in a competitive athletic environment. With a student-first attitude Division III works to help student-athletes progress towards the ultimate goal of graduation.

All 24 NCAA sports can be further divided into 3 seasons; Fall, Winter and Spring. The NCAA offers 6 different sports for the fall season, 10 for the Winter season and 8 for the Spring.

Fall Sports:

  • Football
  • Soccer
  • Cross-Country
  • Field Hockey
  • Women’s Volleyball
  • Men’s Water Polo

Winter Sports:

  • Basketball
  • Ice Hockey
  • Wrestling
  • Swimming & Diving
  • Indoor Track and Field
  • Gymnastics
  • Bowling
  • Fencing
  • Mixed Rifle
  • Mixed Skiing

Spring Sports:

  • Lacrosse
  • Outdoor Track and Field
  • Baseball & Softball
  • Tennis
  • Golf
  • Rowing
  • Men’s Volleyball
  • Women’s Water Polo

For more information about the NCAA you can visit their website by clicking HERE. 

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