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NCAA and the Movement to Reform College Football: Topics in Chronicling America

In 1905, rise in college football injuries and deaths led to the creation of the NCAA. This guide provides access to materials related to the "NCAA and college football reform” in the Chronicling America digital collection of historic newspapers.


"Football Diagram No. 1-- the formation. This gives a general plan of the probable attacking and defending formations under the new rules." September 23, 1906. New-York Tribune (New York, NY), Image 52. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

The Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States (IAAUS), now known as the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), was formally established on March 31, 1906 to reform the rules and regulations of college sports. Early football games often resulted in injury and even death, prompting some colleges and universities to close their football programs. The reforms were encouraged by President Roosevelt in 1905, after his son was injured while playing football for Harvard. Read more about it!

The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.

The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.


October 9, 1905 President Theodore Roosevelt meets with college officials in an attempt to curb unsportsmanlike conduct in college football.
November 15 1906 Columbia University suspends its football program due to the high number of deaths and injuries.
December 28, 1905 Representatives of 62 Colleges and Universities meet to appoint a rules committee for Intercollegiate football.
January 12, 1906 Rules committee meets.
March 31, 1906 The Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States (IAAUS) is formally established.
1910 At the organization's fifth annual conference, IAAUS is renamed to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) due to its increased growth and influence. Rules in other intercollegiate sports such as baseball, track athletics, and basketball are also subject to discussion and reform.