Focus NCAA. Division I Conferences

Thursday, September 3, 2020

As it is easy to imagine, being the United States such a vast territory, the different teams of the Universities are divided not only into divisions, but also into regional groups. In fact, in addition to having the breakdowns by leagues and divisions (NCAA DI, DII, DIII, NJCAA DI, DII and NAIA DI, DII) the athletic departments of the Universities are also grouped in conferences for the regular season, from which the best qualify for the National Tournament.

We will begin this series of insights from Division 1 of the most known league, the NCAA, National Collegiate Athletic Association. The NCAA DI is divided into numerous conferences, some are sports specific (fooball in particular, which in America runs a bit like a sport itself), others - the majority - have most of the sports sponsored by American Universities. Below we list the most important and well-known conferences of the NCAA DI.

The Big 12 is made up of 10 Univeristies located in Central America and was formed in 1994 when four Texas Universities joined the eight of the Big Eight to form the Big 12 which is still among the most competitive in the country. Some of the most recognized Universities participating in this conference are Baylor University, University of Kansas, University of Texas and Iowa State University.

Another conference considered among the strongest is the Big Ten (B1G) which is also the oldest Division 1 and is divided into Western and Eastern Division. Founded in 1895, it is now made up of 14 Midwestern Universities that are distinguished to be research centers with major financial grants and a strong academic reputation such as Penn State, Michigan University, Ohio State University and University of Nebraska.

Moving further to the West coast we find the Mountain West Conference (MWC),  founded in 1999 and made up of 11 Universities including California State University, San Diego State University, Colorado State University, University of Nevada and University of Hawai’i as an affiliate member.

Also on the West coast we have the Pac 12, founded in 1959 and made up of 12 Universities including Arizona State University, University of Washington, Stanford University and Oregon State University. This very strong conference is known as the "Conference of Champions" because the colleges member have won the most national titles compared to the other conferences.

Another very competitive conference is the SEC (Southeastern Conference) made up of 14 Universities in Central and Southern America including the Universty of Florida, University of Missouri, University of Alabama and Louisiana State University. Divided into the Western and Eastern Division, the SEC made history as the first Division 1 that hosted the football final

Founded in 1976 and made up of 12 Universities, the SunBelt Conference (SBC) includes Universities in the Southern United States such as Georgia State University, Texas State University and Coastal Carolina University. The name SunBelt is given by the fact that the colleges member are all in areas characterized by a warm climate, and also by the exponential economic and population growth that characterized the sixties in America.

Remaining on the East coast we find the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) which has the largest number of Universities, 15, and boasts very competitive football programs. Divided between Atlantic and Coastal Division, some of the ACC Universities are Florida State University, North Carolina State University, Duke University and Georgia Institute of Technology.

The C-USA, Conference USA, is another crowded conference with 14 college members located primarily in the Southern part of America. Founded in 1995, C-USA is made up of Universities such as the University of Alabama, Florida Atlantic University, Middle Tennessee State University, and Old Dominion University.

Moving further north-west we find the Mid-American Conference (MAC) known as the “Conference of the Quarterbacks” thanks to the many players (from there) who had a great impact in the NFL. Divided between Eastern and Western Division, this conference includes Universities such as Ohio University, Universityat Buffalo, Central Michigan University and University of Toledo.

Finally, the "youngest" conference is the American Athletic Conference (The American), founded in 2013 and made up of 11 Universities across the country. In fact, we can find the University of Central Florida, University of Houston, Temple University and also University of Tulsa. This brand new conference is the updated version of the old Big East (1979-2013), one of the most renowned conferences especially for basketball with teams such as Villanova, Syracuse, Louisville and Georgetown that have won seven NCAA Championships, but also for football that won two titles with the University of Miami.


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