The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is a member run association. The member are those Division I, II and III schools/universities/college/institutions. The NCAA national office staff is based in Indianapolis, Indiana and are in place to enforce what the member driven committees have decided. Each division has their own mindset, mission and core values.
The other separator between each is their scholarship structure and initial eligibility academic requirements. There are slight differentiations between DI and DII with every incoming student-athlete needing to sign up and proceed through the NCAA Eligibility Center (NCAA EC) to receive initial eligibility. This allows for aid/scholarships and student visas to be issued by the institution for international student-athletes.
The NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana. The mission statement for the NCAA is “to govern competition in a fair, safe, equitable and sportsmanlike manner, and to integrate intercollegiate athletics into higher education so that the educational experience of the student-athlete is paramount.” The NCAA is divided up into Division I, II and III. There are over 1,000 NCAA institutions with approximately the following breakdown by division – DI-350+ DII-300+ DIII-430+.
The NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) is headquartered in Kansas City, Kansas. “The vision of National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Champions of Character program is to change the culture of sport. Its mission is to provide training to instill the values that build character so students, coaches and parents know, do and value the right thing on and off the field.” NAIA is driven by the core values – integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship & servant leadership. There are 249 insitutional members in the NAIA and they sponsor 27 national championships.
The Power 5 conferences are:
ACC – Atlantic Coast Conference (15 schools)
Big 12 – Big 12 Conference (10 schools)
Big 10 – Big 10 Conference (14 schools)
Pac-12 – Pacific-12 Conference (12 schools)
SEC – Southeastern Conference (14 schools)
History – In 2010 there was a major realignment among conferences in Division I and this realigned the landscape of DI athletics. The 5 above conferences were informally but commonly accepted as The Power 5. The Power 5 have autonomy within the NCAA structure “to permit the use of resources to advance the legitimate educational or athletics-related needs of student-athletes and for legislative changes that will otherwise enhance student-athlete well-being”.