National Collegiate Athletic Association
- "NCAA" redirects here. For the NCCAA, see National Christian College Athletic Association
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), often pronounced "N-C-A-A", "N-C-Double-A", or, more rarely, "N-C-Two-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. Its headquarters are located in Indianapolis, Indiana.
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. Its creation was urged by then-president Theodore Roosevelt in reaction to his concern over the growing amount of serious injuries and deaths occurring in collegiate football. The IAAUS later became the National Collegiate Athletic Association in 1910.
Up 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.
In 1973, the NCAA split its membership into three divisions: Division I, Division II and Division III. 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.
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.
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".
Numerous criticisms have been lodged against the NCAA. These include:
- NCAA rules require student-athletes to accept no compensation for their play other than a scholarship. At the same time, universities with major athletic programs reap millions of dollars annually from their athletic programs.
- Coaches at public universities are often the highest-paid state employees in the state, making millions of dollars.
- Student-athletes at universities with major athletic programs often have low graduation rates.