The NCAA was founded in 1906 as the Intercollegiate Athletic Association and adopted its current name in 1910. The original 62-member school organization was founded to protect young people from the various exploitive and dangerous practices in athletics at that time.
In 1973, the NCAA divided member schools into three classifications for competition and legislative purposes — Divisions I, II and III — with a number of criteria distinguishing membership.
Division I member institutions must sponsor at least seven sports for men and women both — or six for men and eight for women — and two team sports for each. Division II members schools do not have as stringent attendance or scheduling requirements for football and basketball, and the scholarship aid allowed for each sport is less than that of Division I. Division III members do not award scholarship money to student-athletes based on their abilities in their respective sports.