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NCAA Football Quick Facts

• Before 1905, football's rugged nature, characterized by mass formations and gang tackling, resulted in numerous injuries and deaths among college athletes. Kickoffs were particularly dangerous. Receiving teams were allowed to form a flying wedge where the players would meet and lock arms thus destroying the opposition. The kickoff team would have so-called "wedge busters" and would sacrifice their bodies to break the flying wedge. Players actually died due to this technique.

• President Teddy Roosevelt wanted the corruption and injuries in college sport to end, so he advocated the establishment of a governing body that would establish universal rules. This eliminated "Ringers" and stopped the "flying wedge".

• In early December 1905, Chancellor Henry M. MacCracken of New York University convened a meeting of 13 institutions to initiate changes in football playing rules. At a subsequent meeting on December 28 in New York City, 62 colleges founded the Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States (IAAUS). The IAAUS took its present name of NCAA in 1910, and for several years, it was a discussion group and rules-making body.

• After World War II, the complexity and scope of problems associated with the growth in NCAA membership and championships demonstrated the increasing need for full-time professional leadership. In 1951, Walter Byers, who previously had served as part-time executive assistant, was named executive director. A national headquarters was subsequently established in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1952.

• In 1973, the NCAA's membership was divided into three legislative and competitive divisions. Five years later, Division I members voted to create subdivisions I-A and I-AA in the sport of football.

• Today the NCAA is a voluntary association of 1,200 colleges and universities and it sponsors 24 championships. Division I is comprised of 318 member institutions and last year 13,680 athletes competed in Division I athletics.

• According to NCAA statistics over 37 million fans attended Division I football games last year.


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