The National Collegiate Athletics Association
The NCAA provides a voice at the federal level for American Colleges and Universities.
It has a membership of over 1,200 institutions, organisation and individuals, all with the common goal of improving and maintaining the high level of the nations intercollegiate sports. The NCAA feels that academic and athletics performance must be developed side by side at the Collegiate level to produce a well rounded student-athlete.
A Brief History
The NCAA has its roots in the rough beginnings of American Football. It was President Roosevelt himself who took the first steps towards the reformation of the sport and the start of the NCAA. At a meeting of 13 institutions in 1905, he encouraged a concerted effort to make changes in the football playing rules to avoid the complete abolition of the sport at Collegiate level. This led to the formation of the Intercollegiate Athletics Association Of The United States (IAAUS) a short time later. The IAAUS was renamed the NCAA the following year and in 1921, it went beyond it’s discussion groups to hold it’s first NCAA national championship: The national collegiate track and field championship.
In 1951, Walter Byers became the first salaried executive director in an effort to bring a professional voice to the association.
The start of the 80’s led to the inclusion of women’s athletics and services. Nineteen championship events were established for the women’s program.
The NCAA’s Role Today
Throughout it’s history, the NCAA has strived to control abuse of student athletes and improve intercollegiate programs. These efforts include establishing and maintaining standards for intercollegiate sports, developing educational leadership programs and promoting recreational participation in athletics. The Association also collects athletics records and statistics as well as formulating rules of play for intercollegiate athletics.
One of the most important roles of the NCAA is to represent it’s members at the state and federal level, in matters ranging from federal aid to physical education and the televising of championships.
As well as promoting their own championship events, the NCAA also helps in the planning and participation in international sports by being a member in various sporting bodies such as the U.S.Olympic Committee and the U.S. Collegiate Sports Council.
For the athletes themselves, the NCAA provides valuable support both throughout their college years, and beyond into their professional careers.
Last year the NCAA awarded more than $1million in scholarships. These are awarded to students who are involved in college athletics or related careers. There are three scholarships for postgraduate studies and two for undergraduates.
Over 150 postgraduate scholarships are awarded annually to athletes who have excelled both in their sport and in their academic studies.
The women’s enhancement program was established n the 1980’s and serves to enhance opportunities for women athletes at various levels. At the same time the NCAA Ethnic Minority Enhancement Program was formed to increase opportunities for minority candidates specialising in coaching and administrative positions in athletics.