In 1998 the NCAA faced a number of issues, among them: Pressures on its student-athletes to excel were making a normal, balanced collegiate experience increasingly difficult to attain; broadened exposure through expanded cable coverage was offset by the new entertainment and recreation alternatives available to an affluent public. Talk of a “super division” of Division I football schools continued to undermine NCAA relevance and research revealed the NCAA was seen primarily to be about the Final Four, rule-making, enforcement and heavy-handedness.
The NCAA was advised to better emphasize the “student” in student-athlete to offset widespread sentiment that the NCAA was little more than a highway to professional sports. The NCAA must develop a branding strategy and refreshed visual identity that showcases the student athlete and powerfully projects the desired attributes of organization-wide stability, strength, integrity, responsiveness and innovation. In the process, the NCAA must identify opportunities to obtain operational efficiencies in implementing a uniform brand expression throughout the organization
The organization accepted the recommendation to formalize “NCAA” as its communicative name and has built a communications strategy around a refreshed graphic identity.