American intercollegiate sports date back to the 1850s, when the rivalry between Harvard and Yale was established with their first rowing competitions. In the early 1900s, President Theodore Roosevelt held formal conferences among the leadership of several top colleges and universities to come up with a set of formal rules and regulations for playing sports like football. The Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States was established in 1906, and it changed its name to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in 1910. During its first several years, the NCAA evolved from simply a governing body establishing rules to a committee that officially held athletic competitions and championships.
The NCAA grew in scope during the latter half of the 20th century. By the 1970s, there were so many member schools that they had to be sorted into divisions based on size. In 1982, the NCAA officially embraced women's athletics and began offering championships for both genders. Today, the nonprofit organization regulates athletics at more than 1,200 schools across the U.S. and Canada. It generates up to $1 billion in revenue each year, and that money is redistributed to the member schools. Some of the most popular NCAA sports include football, basketball, baseball, tennis, volleyball, cross country, swimming, and track and field.
Since the NCAA regulates the athletics at so many different colleges and universities, the organization also functions as a brand by licensing the team logos out to various manufacturers of apparel and accessories. It's easy to find a huge assortment of merchandise related to your favorite school. Children can start to embrace the fandom early with the selection of clothes for babies, toddlers, and kids. Choose among sleepers, onesies, creepers, bodysuits, and rompers for babies, as well as accessories like bibs, booties, and hats. Options for kids include jerseys featuring school colors, mascots, and player names/numbers. You can also find graphic tees with various slogans, as well as sweatshirts, hoodies, tanks, dresses, cheerleader sets, activewear, and more.
Many of the same basic apparel options are available in adult sizes as well, including jerseys and tops. Other women's products might include pajamas, loungewear, underwear, socks, and more. Jackets and fleeces are also popular among fans--especially those who attend outdoor games. In terms of accessories, you can find hats in sizes for men, women, and children. Other wearable products include scarves, gloves, watches, hair accessories, and more. Home décor and office supplies are also available for practically every major team.
Whether you are a hardcore sports fan or just casually invested, it's only natural to want to show off your support for your favorite team. College sports, especially, have their own unique fans because the games are often more accessible. The NCAA represents almost every major school in the nation when it comes to athletics, and the vast majority of school gear features its mascots and logos. Even if you don't care about sports at all, you may decide to don NCAA apparel or accessories to simply show your love for your alma mater (or pass it on to your children). We give the NCAA 4.5 stars out of 5.