College basketball is the USA basketball competitive governance structure established by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Basketball in the NCAA is divided into three divisions: Division I, Division II and Division III.
In past decades, the NBA held to tradition and drafted players who had graduated from college. This was a mutually beneficial relationship for the NBA and colleges—the colleges held onto players who would otherwise go professional and the NBA did not have to fund a minor league.
The pervasiveness of college basketball throughout the nation, the large population of graduates from "major conference" universities, and the NCAA's marketing of "March Madness" have kept the college game alive and well.
College basketball remains more popular than the NBA in some regions of the United States, such as in North Carolina and the upper Midwest where traditionally strong programs at Louisville, Kentucky and Indiana are found.
A basketball scholarship can cover many, sometimes all, of the costs associated with earning a university degree. In return, the student-athlete will represent the university in their respective sport and maintain a good level of academic performance.
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