college athletics in the United States
College athletics in the United States or college sports in the United States refers primarily to sports and athletic competition organized and funded by institutions of tertiary education (universities, or colleges in American English).
In the Un ...
, institutions typically join together in
A conference is a meeting of people who "confer" about a topic. Conference types include:
* Academic conference, in science and academic, a formal event where researchers present results, workshops, and other activities.
* Athletic confer ...
for regular play under different governing bodies.
There are several national and regional associations governing the
Varsity is an alteration and shortening of the term ''university''. The meaning differs depending on the region, but is usually related to sporting activity.
Varsity in the United Kingdom
In the United Kingdom, varsity team or varsity club refer ...
Seinäjoki College in Seinäjoki, South Ostrobothnia">Seinäjoki.html" style="text-decoration: none;"class="mw-redirect" title="Seinäjoki College in Seinäjoki">Seinäjoki College in Seinäjoki, South Ostrobothnia, Finland, in May ...
A university ( la, universitas, 'a whole') is an institution of higher (or tertiary) education and research which awards academic degrees in various academic disciplines. Universities typically offer both undergraduate and postgraduate programs. ...
. Varsity teams are typically funded by an institution's athletic department, and under some governing bodies players are eligible for athletic
A scholarship is an award of financial aid for a student to further their education at a private elementary or secondary school, or a private or public post-secondary college, university, or other academic institution. Scholarships are awarded b ...
National Collegiate Athletic Association
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is a nonprofit organization that regulates student athletes from up to 1,268 North American institutions and conferences. It also organizes the athletic programs of colleges and universities ...
America East Conference
The America East Conference is a collegiate athletic conference affiliated with the NCAA Division I whose members are located in the Northeastern United States. The conference has ten core members including nine public research universities, three ...
American Athletic Conference
The American Athletic Conference (The American or AAC) is an American collegiate athletic conference, featuring 11 member universities and six associate member universities that compete in the National Collegiate Athletic Association's (NCAA) Div ...
Atlantic Coast Conference
The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) is a collegiate athletic conference located in the eastern United States. Headquartered in Greensboro, North Carolina, the ACC's fifteen member universities compete in the National Collegiate Athletic Associati ...
Atlantic Sun Conference
The ASUN Conference, formerly the Atlantic Sun Conference, is a collegiate athletic conference operating mostly in the Southeastern United States. The league participates at the NCAA Division I level, and will begin sponsoring football in 2022. ...
Big 12 Conference
The Big 12 Conference is a collegiate athletic conference headquartered in Irving, Texas. The conference consists of ten full-member universities. It is a member of Division I of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) for all sports. ...
Big East Conference
The Big East Conference (stylized as BIG EAST) is a collegiate athletic conference that competes in NCAA Division I in ten men's sports and twelve women's sports. Headquartered in New York City, the eleven full-member schools are primarily locat ...
** Not to be confused with the original Big East
. For more details, see
2010–13 Big East Conference realignment
1 (one, also called unit, and unity) is a number and a numerical digit used to represent that number in numerals. It represents a single entity, the unit of counting or measurement. For example, a line segment of ''unit length'' is a line segmen ...
Big Sky Conference
The Big Sky Conference (BSC) is a collegiate athletic conference affiliated with the NCAA's Division I with football competing in the Football Championship Subdivision. Member institutions are located in the western United States in the nine state ...
Big South Conference
The Big South Conference is a collegiate athletic conference affiliated with the NCAA's Division I. Originally a non-football conference, the Big South began sponsoring football in 2002 as part of the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). The ...
Big Ten Conference
The Big Ten Conference (stylized B1G, formerly the Western Conference and the Big Nine Conference) is the oldest Division I collegiate athletic conference in the United States. It is based in Rosemont, Illinois. For over eight decades this conf ...
Big West Conference
The Big West Conference (BWC) is an American collegiate athletic conference whose member institutions participate in the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division I. The conference was originally formed on July 1, 1969 as the Pacific Coas ...
Coastal Collegiate Sports Association
The Coastal Collegiate Sports Association is an NCAA Division I college athletic conference.
Established in 2008, the Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association (CCSA) was originally developed by four regional Division I conferences — the Atlant ...
– sponsors only men's and women's swimming & diving, plus women's beach volleyball
Colonial Athletic Association
The Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) is a collegiate athletic conference affiliated with the NCAA's Division I whose full members are located in East Coast states from Massachusetts to South Carolina. Most of its members are public universities ...
Conference USA (C-USA or CUSA) is an intercollegiate athletic conference whose current member institutions are located within the Southern United States. The conference participates in the NCAA's Division I in all sports. C-USA's offices are loca ...
* FBS Independents
(applies only to football)
* FCS Independents
(applies only to football)
The Horizon League is a 12-school collegiate athletic conference in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I, whose members are located in and near the Great Lakes region.
The Horizon League founded in 1979 as the Midwestern ...
(in sports other than football)
The Ivy League (also known as The Ancient Eight) is an American collegiate athletic conference comprising eight private research universities in the Northeastern United States. The term ''Ivy League'' is typically used beyond the sports contex ...
Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference
The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC, ) is a collegiate athletic conference affiliated with NCAA Division I, consisting of eleven schools located in three states of the northeastern United States: Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York.
The Mid-American Conference (MAC) is a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I collegiate athletic conference with a membership base in the Great Lakes region that stretches from Western New York to Illinois. Nine of the twelve ...
Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference
The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) is a collegiate athletic conference whose full members are historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in the Southeastern and the Mid-Atlantic United States. It participates in the National Colle ...
Missouri Valley Conference
The Missouri Valley Conference (also called MVC or simply "The Valley") is the third-oldest collegiate athletic conference in the United States. Currently, its members are located in the midwestern United States.
The MVC was establish ...
Mountain Pacific Sports Federation
The Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) is a college athletic conference with members located mostly in the western United States, although it now has members as far east as Pennsylvania. The conference participates at the NCAA Division I le ...
– does not sponsor football or basketball
Mountain West Conference
The Mountain West Conference (MW) is one of the collegiate athletic conferences affiliated with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) (formerly I-A). The MW officially began operations on Ja ...
The Northeast Conference (NEC) is a collegiate athletic conference whose schools are members of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Teams in the NEC compete in Division I for all sports; football competes in the Division I Footba ...
Ohio Valley Conference
The Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) is a collegiate athletic conference which operates in the Midwestern and Southeastern United States. It participates in Division I of the NCAA; the conference's football programs compete in the Football Champions ...
The Pac-12 Conference is a collegiate athletic conference that operates in the Western United States, participating in 24 sports at the NCAA Division I level. Its football teams compete in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS; formerly Division I-A ...
The Patriot League is a collegiate athletic conference comprising private institutions of higher education and two United States service academies based in the Northeastern United States. Outside the Ivy League, it is among the most selective grou ...
The Southeastern Conference (SEC) is an American college athletic conference whose member institutions are located primarily in the South Central and Southeastern United States. Its fourteen members include the flagship public universities of ...
The Southern Conference (SoCon) is a collegiate athletic conference affiliated with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I. Southern Conference football teams compete in the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly known ...
The Southland Conference, abbreviated as SLC, is a collegiate athletic conference which operates in the South Central United States (specifically Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas). It participates in the NCAA's Division I for all sports; for football ...
Southwestern Athletic Conference
The Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) is a collegiate athletic conference headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, which is made up of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in the Southern United States. It participates in the N ...
Sun Belt Conference
The Sun Belt Conference (SBC) is a collegiate athletic conference that has been affiliated with the NCAA's Division I since 1976. Originally a non-football conference, the Sun Belt began sponsoring football in 2001. Its football teams participate in ...
The Summit League
''The'' () is a grammatical article in English, denoting persons or things already mentioned, under discussion, implied or otherwise presumed familiar to listeners, readers or speakers. It is the definite article in English. ''The'' is the most ...
West Coast Conference
The West Coast Conference (WCC) is a collegiate athletic conference affiliated with NCAA Division I consisting of ten member schools across the states of California, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.
All of the current members are private, faith-base ...
Western Athletic Conference
The Western Athletic Conference (WAC) is an NCAA Division I conference. The WAC covers a broad expanse of the western United States with member institutions located in Arizona, California, New Mexico, Utah and Washington along with the Midwest stat ...
;Ice hockey conferences
The Atlantic Hockey Association (AHA) is an NCAA Men's Division I Ice Hockey conference which operates primarily in the northeastern United States. It participates in the NCAA's Division I as an ice hockey-only conference. Unlike several other coll ...
College Hockey America
College Hockey America (CHA) is a women's college ice hockey conference in the United States. It participates in the NCAA's Division I as a hockey-only conference. The conference is made up of six teams, with three in Pennsylvania; two in New York, ...
* ECAC Hockey
* Hockey East
* NCAA Division I independent schools (ice hockey), Independents
* New England Women's Hockey Alliance
* National Collegiate Hockey Conference (men)
* Western Collegiate Hockey Association
** The men's side of the WCHA is now likely to disband after the 2020–21 season. Of the 10 men's members in the 2019–20 season, 7 announced plans to depart in 2021.
* Central Collegiate Hockey Association (men) – previously operated from 1971–2013; to be revived in 2021–22 by 7 departing WCHA members, plus one school moving from Division III to Division I
;Other single-sport conferences
This list also includes conferences in sports that the NCAA does not split into divisions.
* Central Collegiate Ski Association – includes one junior-college team alongside NCAA-sanctioned teams
* Collegiate Water Polo Association
* Eastern Intercollegiate Gymnastics League (men)
* Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association
* Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (men)
* Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association
* Eastern Women's Fencing Conference
* Golden Coast Conference (men's and women's water polo)
* Great America Rifle Conference
* Intercollegiate Fencing Conference of Southern California
* Metropolitan Swimming Conference
* Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Fencing Conference
* Mid-Atlantic Rifle Conference – includes a mix of NCAA-sanctioned teams and club teams
* Midwest Fencing Conference
* Midwest Independent Conference (women's gymnastics)
* Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (men)
* Mountain Rim Gymnastics Conference (women)
* National Intercollegiate Women's Fencing Association
* Northeast Fencing Conference
* Patriot Rifle Conference
* Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Ski Association
* Southland Bowling League
* Western Water Polo Association
NCAA Division II, Division II
* California Collegiate Athletic Association
* Conference Carolinas
* Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference
* Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association
* East Coast Conference
* Great American Conference
* Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference
* Great Lakes Valley Conference
* Great Midwest Athletic Conference
* Great Northwest Athletic Conference
* Gulf South Conference
* NCAA Division II independent schools, Independents
* Lone Star Conference
* Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association
* Mountain East Conference
* Northeast-10 Conference
* Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference
* Pacific West Conference
* Peach Belt Conference
* Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference
* Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference
* South Atlantic Conference
* Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference
* Sunshine State Conference
;Single sport conferences
* Appalachian Swimming Conference
* Bluegrass Mountain Conference (swimming)
* New South Intercollegiate Swim Conference
* Pacific Coast Swim Conference
NCAA Division III, Division III
* Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference
* American Rivers Conference
* American Southwest Conference
* Atlantic East Conference
* Capital Athletic Conference
* Centennial Conference
* City University of New York Athletic Conference
* College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin
* Colonial States Athletic Conference
* Commonwealth Coast Conference
* Empire 8
* Great Northeast Athletic Conference
* Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference
* NCAA Division III independent schools, Independents
* Landmark Conference
* Liberty League
* Little East Conference
* Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference
* Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association
* Middle Atlantic Conferences – an umbrella organization that operates three conferences.
** The following conferences sponsor the same set of 14 sports, including both men's and women's basketball, but not football:
*** MAC Commonwealth Conference, MAC Commonwealth
*** MAC Freedom Conference, MAC Freedom
** The third league, the Middle Atlantic ''Conference'' (note the singular), combines schools from the Commonwealth and Freedom conferences in a total of 13 sports, including football.
* Midwest Conference
* Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference
* New England Collegiate Conference
* New England Small College Athletic Conference
* New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference
* New Jersey Athletic Conference
* North Atlantic Conference
* North Coast Athletic Conference
* North Eastern Athletic Conference
* Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference
* Northwest Conference
* Ohio Athletic Conference
* Old Dominion Athletic Conference
* Presidents' Athletic Conference
* St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference
* Skyline Conference
* Southern Athletic Association
* Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference
* Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference
* State University of New York Athletic Conference
* University Athletic Association
* Upper Midwest Athletic Conference
* USA South Athletic Conference
* Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference
* Commonwealth Coast Football, operated by the Commonwealth Coast Conference but a separate legal entity
* Continental Volleyball Conference (men)
* Eastern Collegiate Football Conference
* Midwest Collegiate Volleyball League (men)
* Midwest Lacrosse Conference (men)
* Midwest Women's Lacrosse Conference
* Ohio River Lacrosse Conference
* United Volleyball Conference (men)
National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA)
* American Midwest Conference
* Appalachian Athletic Conference
* California Pacific Conference
* Cascade Collegiate Conference
* Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference
* Crossroads League
* Frontier Conference
* Golden State Athletic Conference
* Great Plains Athletic Conference
* Gulf Coast Athletic Conference
* Heart of America Athletic Conference
* NAIA independent schools, Association of Independent Institutions
* NAIA independent football schools, Football Independents
* Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference
* Mid-South Conference
* North Star Athletic Association
* Red River Athletic Conference
* River States Conference
* Sooner Athletic Conference
* Southern States Athletic Conference
* Sun Conference
* Wolverine–Hoosier Athletic Conference
United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA)
* Eastern Metro Athletic Conference
* Hudson Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Conference
* Penn State University Athletic Conference
* Yankee Small College Conference
National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA)
* Central Region
* East Region
* Mid-East Region
* Mid-West Region
* North Central Region
* South Region
* Southwest Region
* West Region
Association of Christian College Athletics (ACCA)
* Midwest Christian College Conference
National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA)
* Alabama Community College Conference
* Arizona Community College Athletic Conference
* Arrowhead Conference
* Bi-State Conference
* Carolinas Junior College Conference
* Colorado Community College Athletic Conference
* Eastern Pennsylvania Collegiate Conference
* Garden State Athletic Conference
* Georgia Junior College Athletic Association
* Great Rivers Athletic Conference
* Illinois Skyway Conference
* Iowa Community College Athletic Conference
* Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference
* Maryland Junior College Athletic Conference
* Massachusetts Community College Athletic Association
* Michigan Community College Athletic Association
* Mid-Florida Conference
* Mid Hudson Conference
* Mid-State Athletic Conference
* Mid-West Athletic Conference
* Missouri Community College Athletic Conference
* Midwest Football Conference (NJCAA)
* Minnesota College Athletic Conference
* Mississippi Association of Community & Junior Colleges
* MISS-LOU Junior College Conference
* Metro Athletic Conference
* Mon-Dak Conference
* Mountain Valley Conference (NJCAA)
* NJCAA Region 9
* Nebraska Community College Athletic Conference
* North Central Community College Conference
* North Texas Junior College Athletic Conference
* Northeast JC Football Conference
* Ohio Community College Athletic Conference
* Panhandle Conference
* Pennsylvania Collegiate Athletic Association
* Scenic West Athletic Conference
* Southern Conference (NJCAA), Southern Conference
* Southwest Junior College Conference
* Southwest Junior College Football Conference
* Suncoast Conference
* Tennessee Junior and Community College Athletic Association, Tennessee Community College Athletic Association
* Western Junior College Athletic Conference
* Western New York Athletic Conference
* Western Pennsylvania Collegiate Conference
* Western States Football League
* Wyoming Community College Athletic Conference
California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA)
* Bay Valley Conference
* Big Eight Conference (California)
* Central Valley Conference
* Coast Conference
* Golden Valley Conference
* Orange Empire Conference
* Pacific Coast Athletic Conference (CCCAA), Pacific Coast Athletic Conference
* South Coast Conference (CCCAA), South Coast Conference
* Western State Conference
Northwest Athletic Conference (junior college), Northwest Athletic Conference (NWAC)
* Northern Region
* Southern Region
* Eastern Region
* Western Region
* Northern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference
* Pacific Christian Athletic Conference
* Wisconsin Collegiate Conference
Other collegiate sports associations
*National Collegiate Boxing Association (NCBA)
* United States Intercollegiate Boxing Association (USIBA)
*ACCC: Atlantic Collegiate Cycling Conference
*RMCCC: Rocky Mountain Collegiate Cycling Conference
*ECCC: Eastern Collegiate Cycling Conference
*SCCCC: South Central Collegiate Cycling Conference
*MWCCC: Midwestern Collegiate Cycling Conference
*SECCC: Southeastern Collegiate Cycling Conference
*NCCCC: North Central Collegiate Cycling Conference
*SWCCC: Southwestern Collegiate Cycling Conference
*NWCCC: Northwestern Collegiate Cycling Conference
*WCCC: Western Collegiate Cycling Conference
*Baltimore-Washington Collegiate Fencing Conference (BWCFC)
*Northern California Intercollegiate Fencing League (NCIFL)
*Southern Atlantic Conference (SAC)
*Southwestern Intercollegiate Fencing Association (SWIFA)
*East Atlantic Gymnastics League (EAGL) (women)
*Eastern Intercollegiate Gymnastics League (EIGL) (men)
:''See: :College lacrosse leagues in the United States''
*Eastern Association of Rowing Colleges (EARC) (men)
*Eastern Association of Women's Rowing Colleges (EAWRC)
*Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) (men)
*Collegiate Sprint Football League (CSFL)
*Midwest Intercollegiate Volleyball Association
*Western Water Polo Association
*National Collegiate Wrestling Association
**Mid-Atlantic – Teams from Tennessee, the Carolinas, Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware
**North Central – Teams from Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin
**Northeast – Teams from New York, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont
**Northwest – Teams from Washington and British Columbia
**Southeast – Teams from Florida, Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi
**Southwest – Teams from Texas, Colorado, New Mexico, Louisiana, and Kansas
**West – Teams from California, Nevada, Utah and Arizona
College sports conferences in the United States, *
College sports in the United States lists, College athletics conferences