NCAA: how non-professional college sports are organized in the USA

The abbreviation NCAA stands for National Collegiate Athletic Association. In Russian, it means “National University Sports Association”. It was founded in 1906 and is headquartered in Indianapolis, USA. As of the end of 2020, this non-profit national collegiate athletic association has 1,281 member organizations that specialize in sports at American and Canadian universities and colleges.

Mission of the NCAA

In the early twentieth century, student sports in the United States were extremely traumatic. Football matches have sometimes ended in fatalities. On this occasion, several meetings were held in the White House, and in 1906 representatives of 62 educational institutions formed the Athletic Association of the United States, abbreviated as IAAUS. Four years later, this association was renamed the NCAA.

The association organized its first competition in 1921, it was an athletics competition. Until 1982, the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) was responsible for holding competitions among students, but then it broke up, and the NCAA took the girls under its wing.

National Collegiate Athletic Association – Stone Forest

Since 1973, the association has divided all educational institutions into three divisions. The first one is mainly for the largest schools, while smaller institutions compete in the second and third. Participants of the first and second divisions have the right to issue scholarships for students for sports achievements, in the third division this possibility is not provided.

The NCAA itself also sponsors young talent. But on one condition: they are forbidden to receive a parallel scholarship from an educational institution. For this, the association is criticized and called a “cartel”.

At the end of 2019, the NCAA earned over $867 million. This money comes from marketing contracts and broadcasting of sporting events on TV. The most profitable sports disciplines are football and men’s basketball.

What sports are represented in the NCAA

As of 2020, all sports disciplines represented in the association were divided by season:

  • Autumn: cross-country racing, field hockey, American football, soccer (European football), women’s volleyball, men’s water polo.
  • Winter: basketball, bowling, fencing, gymnastics, ice hockey, shooting, skiing, swimming and diving, wrestling, athletics (indoors).
  • Spring: baseball, beach volleyball, golf, lacrosse, rowing, softball, tennis, track and field (outdoor), men’s volleyball, and women’s water polo.
  • Throughout the history of the association, the list of sports included in it has changed several times and may also be updated in the future.

Celebrities who made it through the NCAA

Many people who later became famous took part in the competitions organized by the association. Some of them switched to professional sports, others realized themselves in show business and other activities.

Basketball player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who is the leader in the number of points scored in the regular season in the history of the NBA, started in NCAA games. There he played for the University of California Los Angeles.

Tennis player John Isner played the longest match at Wimbledon in 2010, lasting 11 hours and 5 minutes. He represented the University of Georgia in NCAA competition.

Golfer Tiger Woods attended Stanford for two years. But within the NCAA, he felt cramped, and he left his higher education for the sake of big sport.

Before Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson became one of America’s highest paid actors, he won WWE Championship eight times and earned many other awards in wrestling. However, while studying at the University of Miami, he was not engaged in a specialized sports discipline, but played on the football team.

Actor Denzel Washington competed in NCAA basketball while he was educated at Fordham University.

Rapper 2 Chainz used to play on the Division I basketball team, but he didn’t like the way college sports were organized. Subsequently, he released a track called the NCAA, in which he criticized the association for the fact that the organization requires too much from young athletes and pays them too little.

Ronald Reagan, before he was elected the fortieth president of the United States, managed to star in 82 films. Prior to his acting career, he was a talented athlete from Eureka College in Illinois and also competed for victory in NCAA competitions.

Brand Collaboration

NCAA sports equipment and gear is purchased from the following companies:

  • AAI – gymnastics;
  • Competitor – swimming;
  • Connor Sport Court – basketball and volleyball;
  • Fiskars – basketball, volleyball, lacrosse and ice hockey;
  • Gill Athletics – athletics;
  • Hillyard – basketball
  • Cap 7 – water polo;
  • Molten – indoor volleyball;
  • Penn Monto – field hockey
  • Rawlings – baseball and softball;
  • Resilite – struggle;
  • Smitty – clothes for official representatives;
  • Spalding Backboards – basketball;
  • Spec Seats, Inc. — Seats for some championships;
  • Sports Imports – volleyball (beach and indoor);
  • STX Lacrosse – lacrosse;
  • Swiss Timing/Omega – swimming;
  • Tanita – fight
  • Titleist – golf
  • Wilson – basketball, beach volleyball, football, soccer and tennis.

In addition, since 1984, the NCAA has accepted sponsorships from brands that are not necessarily affiliated with the sports industry. The essence of the cooperation program is the development of marketing and advertising activities around the championships held by the NCAA. Some brands set up their own scholarships and award ceremonies for athletes.

Starting from the 2002-2003 season, sponsor brands are divided into two categories: champions (they own the maximum advertising and marketing rights) and partners.

The list of partner brands in 2020 looked like this: Buffalo Wild Wings, Buick, Geico, Great Clips, Invesco, Lowe’s, Marriott Bonvoy, Nabisco, Nissan, Pizza Hut, Reese’s, Uber Eats, Unilever, Wendy’s. It includes companies from a wide variety of fields: from the automotive industry to fast food, from investments to the hotel business.

There were three champions, that is, main sponsors:

  • AT&T is an American telecommunications company;
  • Capital One is an American bank holding company;
  • Coca Cola.

The exclusive rights to license the NCAA stamps, as well as the use of tickets and slogans of the organization in commercial promotions until 2032, belong to Turner Sports and CBS Sports.

Plans for the near future

Starting in 2023, student athletes in California will no longer be able to sign with brands and get paid for using their name. Similar innovations will be adopted in many other states in the coming years. But NCAA officials in 2019 announced their opposition to the upcoming legislation change. They are convinced that young athletes have the right to generate income from their own name – which means that 2 Chainz criticized the organization in part in vain.