The Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference began its first season of competition in the fall of 2006, then known as the Northern Athletics Conference. The conference consists of 14 private colleges and universities from the shared-border states of Illinois and Wisconsin, all of which are NCAA Division III members.
The members of the NACC include Alverno College, Aurora University, Benedictine University, Concordia University Chicago, Concordia University Wisconsin, Dominican University, Edgewood College, Illinois Institute of Technology, Lakeland University, Marian University, Milwaukee School of Engineering, Rockford University, St. Norbert College and Wisconsin Lutheran College.
Additionally, Mount Mary University maintains affiliate membership in women's cross country, Eureka College maintains affiliate membership in football, and Beloit College is an affiliate member in men's and women's lacrosse.
The NACC sponsors championships in 21 sports. Men's championships include baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, lacrosse, soccer, tennis, indoor track & field, outdoor track & field and volleyball. Women's championships are sponsored in basketball, cross country, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, tennis, indoor track & field, outdoor track & field and volleyball.
The league's charter members included Alverno, Aurora, Benedictine, Concordia Chicago, Concordia Wisconsin, Dominican, Edgewood, Lakeland, Maranatha Baptist Bible College (now Maranatha Baptist University), Marian, Rockford and Wisconsin Lutheran. The charter members shared traditional rivalries dating back to their predecessor conferences, the Lake Michigan Conference and the Northern Illinois-Iowa Conference.
Just four changes to the league's full membership have occurred, as MSOE joined the league in fall of 2007, and Maranatha withdrew from the league in the summer of 2013, at which time the league officially changed its name from the Northern Athletics Conference to its current Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference. Illinois Institute of Technology was accepted for membership beginning with the 2018-2019 academic year. Most recently, the NACC grew to 14 institutions strong when St. Norbert joins the league as a full-time member on July 1, 2021.