The Missouri Tigers athletics programs include the extramural and intramural sports teams of the University of Missouri, located in Columbia, Missouri, United States. The name comes from a band of armed guards called the Missouri Tigers who, in 1864, protected Columbia from Confederate guerrillas during the Civil War.
Columbia // is the fifth-largest city in Missouri, and the largest city in Mid-Missouri. With a population of 113,225 as of the 2012 estimate according to the United States Census, it is the principal municipality of the Columbia Metropolitan Area, a region of 175,831 residents. The city serves as the county seat of Boone County and as the location of the University of Missouri. The college town has a reputation as politically liberal and is known by the nicknames "The Athens of Missouri," and "CoMO." Over half of Columbians possess a bachelor's degree and over a quarter hold graduate degrees, making it the thirteenth most highly educated municipality in the United States. The city is currently in the midst of a construction boom, with numerous high-rise apartments, hotels, and condos going up downtown. As downtown grows upward, the city continues to expand outward, with new subdivision construction in the north, south and west sides of town.
The area that became Columbia was once inhabited by successive mound-building cultures of Native Americans. In 1818, a group of settlers incorporated under the Smithton Land Company purchased over 2,000 acres (8.1 km2) and established the village of Smithton near present-day downtown Columbia. In 1821, the settlers moved and renamed the settlement Columbia—a poetic name for the United States. The founding of the University of Missouri in 1839 established the city as a center of education and research. Two other institutions of higher education, Stephens College in 1833 and Columbia College in 1851, were also established within the city.
The University of Missouri (Mizzou, MU, University of Missouri–Columbia or simply Missouri) is a public research university located in the state of Missouri. In 1839 the university was founded in Columbia, Missouri, as the first public institution of higher education west of the Mississippi River. The largest university in Missouri, MU enrolls 34,616 students in 20 academic colleges in the 2013–14 year. The university is the flagship of the University of Missouri System which maintains campuses in Rolla, Kansas City and St. Louis. MU is one of the nation's top-tier R1 institutions, and one of 34 public universities to be members of the Association of American Universities and the only one in Missouri. There are more than 270,000 MU alumni living worldwide, with almost one half continuing to reside in Missouri. The University of Missouri was ranked 97th in the 2014 U.S. News & World Report among the national universities, steady from the previous year.
The campus of the University of Missouri is 1,262 acres (511 ha) just south of Downtown Columbia and is maintained as a botanical garden. The historical campus is centered on Francis Quadrangle, a historic district that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and a number of buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1908, the world's first school of journalism was founded by Walter Williams as the Missouri School of Journalism.
Sports are an important part of the culture of the United States. Three of the nation's five most popular team sports were developed in North America: American football, basketball and ice hockey, whereas soccer and baseball were developed in England. The four Major leagues in the United States are the National Basketball Association (NBA), National Football League (NFL), Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Hockey League (NHL); all enjoy massive media exposure and are considered the preeminent competitions in their respective sports in the world. Three of those leagues have teams that represent Canadian cities, and all four are among the most lucrative sports leagues in the world. The top professional soccer league in the United States, Major League Soccer, has not yet reached the popularity levels of the top four sports leagues, although average attendance has been increasing and in fact has matched or surpassed those of the NBA and the NHL.
Professional teams in all major sports operate as franchises within a league. All major sports leagues use the same type of schedule with a playoff tournament after the regular season ends. In addition to the major league-level organizations, several sports also have professional minor leagues, active in smaller cities across the country.
College football is American football played by teams of student athletes fielded by American universities, colleges, and military academies, or Canadian football played by teams of student athletes fielded by Canadian universities. It was through college football play that American football rules first gained popularity in the United States.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is a nonprofit association of 1,281 institutions, conferences, organizations and individuals that organizes the athletic programs of many colleges and universities in the United States and Canada. It is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana.
In August 1973, the current three-division setup of Division I, Division II, and Division III was adopted by the NCAA membership in a special convention. Under NCAA rules, Division I and Division II schools can offer scholarships to athletes for playing a sport. Division III schools may not offer any athletic scholarships. Generally, larger schools compete in Division I and smaller schools in II and III. Division I football was further divided into I-A and I-AA in 1978. Subsequently the term "Division I-AAA" was briefly added to delineate Division I schools which do not field a football program at all, but that term is no longer officially used by the NCAA. In 2006, Divisions I-A and I-AA were respectively renamed the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) and Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).
NBC Sports Network (formerly OLN and Versus) airs college football games from various college football conferences.