The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is a voluntary organization through which the nation’s colleges and universities govern their athletics programs. It is comprised of institutions, conferences, organizations and individuals committed to the best interests, education and athletics participation of student-athletes.

A lot of people are confused about what the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is. To help reduce that confusion, this Web site uses the following terms:

The "membership" or "members" -- The colleges, universities and conferences that make up the NCAA. The members appoint volunteer representatives that serve on committees which introduce and vote on rules called bylaws. The members also establish programs to govern promote and further the purposes and goals of intercollegiate athletics.

The "national office" -- Approximately 350 paid professionals that implement the rules and programs established by the membership. The national office staff is located primarily at the headquarters office in Indianapolis, Indiana.

The "Association" - The entire organization comprised of members and staff. Many believe the Association rules college athletics; however, it is actually a bottom-up organization in which the members rule the Association.

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