NCAA ATHLETIC CONFERENCES
THE NATIONAL COLLEGIATE ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION IS DIVIDED INTO THREE DIVISIONS AND EACH DIVISION IS DIVIDED INTO A NUMBER OF CONFERENCES WHICH ARE EITHER GEOGRAPHICALLY BASED OR SINGLE SPORTS RELATED
The NCAA, or National Collegiate Athletic Association, has been the governing body of collegiate sports for at least the past 101 years. Originally formed under the tenure of President Teddy Roosevelt, its purpose was to “encourage reforms” to college football.
From its humble beginnings at the turn of the 20th century, when the NCAA governed collegiate football, to the present, the NCAA now oversees 24 different sports in 1281 schools nationwide.
Scholarships are offered for both Division I and II schools. (The NCAA is comprised of Division I, II, and III.) Division I consists of 42 conferences.
America East Conference: Founded in 1979, it hosts 11 members in 21 sports. The America East Conference prides itself on focusing not only on athletic accomplisments but the academic pursuits of its athletes.
America Sky Golf Conference: Founded in 2007, it hosts 8 members and will give its members a chance to compete on the highest level, with a shot at a conference championship.
American Lacrosse Conference: Founded in 2001, with nine charter members. The ALC is a women’s-only conference situated mainly along the eastern seaboard.
The A-10 Conference: Hosting 21 sports for 16 different colleges. Founded in 1975, it includes 16 members. It caters mostly to basketball, but includes 21 total sports.
The ACC, or Atlantic Coast Conference, hosts 25 sports. The ACC includes 12 members. The ACC was formed in 1953.
Atlantic Hockey Association: Formed in 2003, is a NCAA Division I-sanctioned men’s hockey conference. It has 12 members.
Atlantic Soccer Conference: Soccer is the only sport offered for collegiate competition within the conference. It currently only hosts men’s soccer, with 5 members in total. It was founded in 2000, and while the champion of its conference does not automatically receive a bid for the Men’s NCAA National Championship, they are elligible for one.
Atlantic Sun Conference: Founded in 1978 with 10 current members and 17 sports fielded, it is one of the few Division I conferences that does not include football among their sports. It holds its students in high regard and boasts a better-than fifty-percent rate of scholar-athletes with a 3.0 or better GPA.
The Big East Conference includes 17 members. It hosts 24 sports. Founded in 1979, The Big East boasts an impressive NCAA Football bowl game record, with all eight participating schools play in bowl games since 2005. It is one of the largest conferences in the United States.
Big Sky Conference: Founded in 1963, currently has 9 full members, fielding 14 sports. 2012 will see two football-only additions.
The Big South Conference was founded in 1983. It has 11 members in 16 sports.
Big South Conference. Football became a conference sport in 2002 bringing the number of Division I championship sports programs the Big South sponsors to eighteen.
The Big Ten is the United States’ oldest conference. Founded in 1896, it fields 25 sports, with 12 members. The Big Ten is a competitor in the Football Bowl Subdivision, the highest competition for Division I schools in the NCAA. The Big Ten is also a member of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, which maintains a strict policy of enforcing academic achievement for student athletes.
Big West Conference: Formed in 1969, a Division I non-football conference. It will consist of 10 schools in 2012. It fields 16 sports. It is primarily a Californian conference.
The Central Collegiate Hockey Association, or CCHA, is as the name implies, a hockey-only NCAA conference. It is men’s only, with 11 members. Formed in 1971, the CCHA is set to disband after the 2012-13 season, due to the inclusion of Hockey in both the Big Ten Conference and the National Collegiate Hockey Conference.
Established in 1946, the Mid-American Conference, or MAC, has 13 total members. It fields 23 sports, and competes in the highest level of Division I NCAA football, in the FBS. Consisting primarily of colleges located in the north, the MAC also ranks highest in graduation rates among all 11 FBS-worthy Division I schools.
The Mountain West Conference was founded in 1999, and is the youngest member of Division I FBS-competing schools. It has 9 full members, with 1 affiliate in 2012. It fields 18 sports.
Known as “The Conference Of Champions,” the Pacific-10 Conference (Pac-10) now consists of 12 members and will be renamed in 2012 to the Pac-12. The Pac-12 was founded in 1915, and includes 12 members across 22 sports. The Pac-12 has won more championships than any other conference in the NCAA.
The Patriot League is a Division I FBS-contender with 10 members. Founded in 1986, it fields 23 sports. The Patriot league adheres strongly to the values of the “student-athlete.”
The Southern Conference (SoCon) was founded in 1921, and is one of the strongest football conferences in the NCAA’s Division I FBS. It hosts 12 members across 19 sports.
The Western Athletic Conference, or WAC, was founded in 1962, and is slated to host 10 schools by the 2012-13 season. It fields 19 sports, and is a non-automatic qualifier for the NCAA Bowl Championship Series (BCS).