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Frequently Asked Questions About the NCAA

What is the NCAA?

The National Collegiate Athletic Association is a member-led organization dedicated to the well-being and lifelong success of college athletes.

Colleges, universities, athletic conferences and other affiliated organizations are NCAA members.  The NCAA national office staff in Indianapolis supports the members.  Together, the members and the national office staff are known as the NCAA.

Is the NCAA focused only on sports?

No. The association’s belief in student-athletes as students first is a foundational principle. As such, college-bound and continuing student-athletes must meet academic standards to participate in NCAA sports. NCAA student-athletes as a group annually outperform counterparts in the general student body in graduation rates. The NCAA funds many programs that directly support the educational, financial, and health and safety needs of student-athletes.

How does the NCAA set rules?

The rules governing NCAA sports are developed through a member-led governance system. Using this collection of committees led by college and university presidents, athletics directors and college athletes, NCAA members introduce and vote on proposed legislation. The national office staff provides administrative help, continuity, research and legal expertise.

What does the NCAA do with the money it earns?

The money is distributed in more than a dozen ways — almost all of which directly support NCAA schools, conferences and nearly half a million student-athletes.

How many championships does the NCAA sponsor?

Each year, more than 52,500 participants compete in the NCAA’s 90 championships in 24 sports across three divisions.

Where can I learn about becoming an NCAA student-athlete?

Creating an account with the NCAA Eligibility Center is the first step to becoming an NCAA student-athlete.