Colleges fielding intercollegiate teams are organized into associations. Athletic Organizations represent College and University members, and provide eligibility rules and bylaws for competition. These organizations set the rules regarding recruiting, eligibility requirements and athletic scholarships for member colleges.
Overview of Athletic Associations
National Collegiate Athletic Association
The NCAA is the most influential. Its members include the largest colleges, over 1000 schools are part of the NCAA.
NCAA DIV I Schools are the most competitive athletically, these schools can offer full and partial athletic scholarships and have academic eligibility requirements.
NCAA DIV II Schools are less competitive than Division I and have different eligibility guidelines and financial aid offerings
Prospective Division I and II athletes need to take NCAA specified courses beginning in the ninth grade.
The NCAA Eligibility Centre, is the organization affiliated with the NCAA that evaluates student's academic records to determine if they are eligible to play in Division I and II schools.
National Association of Intercollegiate
The NAIA, represents over 300 schools in Canada and the US, and over 60,000 student athletes participate in various sports.
The NAIA Eligibility Centre evaluates prospective student-athletes for academic and athletic eligibility. This organization promotes the promise of integrity by leveling the playing field, guiding student-athlete success, and ensuring fair competition.
National Junior College Athletic Association
Represents two year colleges in the US. The NJCCA is an association that promotes and supervises a national program for junior college sports and activities consistent with the educational objectives of junior colleges.
Junior College sports can participate in Division I and II conferences, and can offer full ride scholarships. Junior Colleges not participating in the Divisions can offer grant-in-aid. Each athlete's scholarship package is determined on a per athlete basis.
Canadian College Athletic Association
The Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association enriches the academic experiences of student-athletes by providing leadership, programs and services that foster development through high-level competitive opportunities in intercollegiate sport.
CCAA student-athletes compete in seven sports at 10 CCAA national championships. These 100 member institutions include colleges, universities, technical institutes and cégeps located in eight provinces and regionally governed by five member conferences:
Canadian Inter-university Sport,
CIS is the national governing body of university sport in Canada, is composed of the majority of degree granting universities in the country. The CIS represents over 55 member institutions with over 11,000 student-athletes and 550 coaches vie for 21 National Championships in 12 different sports.