The UNIVERSITY ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION (UAA) is an Athletic Conference that hosts 20 sports, 10 men's and 10 women's, and competes in the NCAA’s Division III. The men compete in baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, swimming and diving, tennis, wrestling, and indoor and outdoor track and field. The women compete in all of the same sports, excluding wrestling and baseball but adding volleyball and softball. UAA member schools may also compete in sports like football, fencing, and squash, which are played outside of the UAA.
The UAA was founded in 1986 with 8 charter schools: Carnegie Mellon, CASE WESTERN RESERVE UNIVERSITY, Emory University, Johns Hopkins University, New York University, the University of Chicago, the University of Rochester, and Washington University in St Louis. In 1987, Brandeis University joined the league. Johns Hopkins left the UAA in 2000.
Despite being geographically distant, the universities in the UAA share common links. They are all located in urban areas, including large cities such as New York, Chicago, Atlanta, and Boston as well as mid-sized cities like Cleveland, St Louis, Pittsburgh, and Rochester. All of the UAA member schools are also private research institutions, making the UAA the only conference across all 3 NCAA divisions to have all of its members in the Association of American Universities. The AAU is a prestigious group of 71 schools across the US and Canada that are committed to a strong system of academic research and scholarship.
The UAA emphasizes academic and athletic excellence, specifically in that order. The league prioritizes academics over athletics, embracing the idea that student-athletes are students and then athletes. However, the UAA asserts that academic excellence and athletic excellence need not be mutually exclusive. All of its current members rank within the top 60 research universities within the US, and the league consistently has multiple member schools ranked within the top 25 nationally, with many advancing to NCAA-sponsored postseason competitions across all sports. The academic prowess of all of its member schools has earned the UAA the nicknames of the Nerdy 9 and, following the departure of Johns Hopkins University, the Egg-head 8.