If you're the parent of a student athlete, you've probably heard the term NCAA bandied about. The NCAA or National Collegiate Athletic Association is the governing body that oversees 23 different sports and athletic championships at 1,200 colleges and universities in the United States. Basketball's Sweet 16, et al? That's an NCAA-run tournament. NCAA runs 88 championships in all.
NCAA also oversees the financial end of those tournaments and enforces rules governing eligibility, sportsmanship and play.
The point at which parents and NCAA usually intersect is during college recruitment. High school athletes who want to play college ball (or track or swimming or...) at a Division I, II or III school must register with the NCAA through its online eligibility center. If your child is interested in playing sports at the college level, his counselor and coach can help him navigate that path. The NCAA website is a great resource. There also are a few good books available.