|Sports fielded||18 (men's: 9; women's: 9)|
The NWC was formed in 1926, making it one of the oldest athletics conferences in the western United States. For 60 years, the Northwest Conference sponsored sports exclusively for men, but in 1984 it joined with the Women's Conference of Independent Colleges to become the Northwest Conference of Independent Colleges, shortening the name to its current moniker in 1996 when it joined the NCAA.
The charter members included Willamette University, Pacific University, Whitman College, the College of Puget Sound (now the University of Puget Sound), Linfield College and the College of Idaho. In 1931, Albany College joined, left in 1938, and re-joined in 1949 using its present name of Lewis & Clark College. Pacific Lutheran University was added in 1965, and Whitworth University in 1970. In 1978, the College of Idaho dropped out of the conference. Whitworth also left in 1984, but then returned in 1988. In 1996, George Fox University joined when the conference moved to the NCAA and Puget Sound re-joined in that same year since 1948. From 2006 to 2010, Menlo College was also a part of the conference as an associate member in football.
The College of Idaho dropped out in 1978 and is now a member of the NAIA's Cascade Collegiate Conference. Whitworth left the NWC in 1984 but returned in 1988. George Fox University and Seattle University joined the conference in 1997. Seattle dropped out again in 1999 to become members of NCAA Division II. Menlo College joined the conference in 2005 as a football-only member.
Member schools 
Current members 
The league currently has 9 full members:
|George Fox University||Newberg, Oregon||Bruins||1885||Private/Quaker||3,519||1996|
|Lewis & Clark College||Portland, Oregon||Pioneers||1867||Private/Non-sectarian||3,433||1931,
|Linfield College||McMinnville, Oregon||Wildcats||1849||Private/Baptist||2,664||1926|
|Pacific University||Forest Grove, Oregon||Boxers||1849||Private/United Church of Christ||3,302||1926|
|Pacific Lutheran University||Tacoma, Washington||Lutes||1890||Private/Lutheran||3,461||1965|
|University of Puget Sound||Tacoma, Washington||Loggers||1888||Private/Non-sectarian||2,600||1926,
|Whitman College||Walla Walla, Washington||Missionaries||1859||Private/Non-sectarian||1,475||1926|
|Whitworth University||Spokane, Washington||Pirates||1890||Private/Presbyterian||2,886||1970,
|Willamette University||Salem, Oregon||Bearcats||1842||Private/Methodist||2,815||1926|
- - Lewis & Clark left the NWC after the 1937-38 season, and later re-joined back in the 1949-50 season.
- - Puget Sound left the NWC after the 1947-48 season, and later re-joined back in the 1996-97 season.
- - Whitworth left the NWC after the 1983-84 season, and later re-joined back in the 1988-89 season.
Former members 
|College of Idaho||Caldwell, Idaho||Yotes||1891||Private/Non-sectarian||1926||1978||Cascade
|Menlo College†||Atherton, California||Oaks||1927||Private/Non-sectarian||2006||2010||CalPac
|Seattle University||Seattle, Washington||Redhawks||1891||Private/Jesuit||1997||1999||WAC
(NCAA Division I)
† - Menlo was part of the conference as an associate member in football.
Membership timeline 
Sports sponsored 
All Sports Trophy 
Each year the NWC awards one of its member institutions the NWC All Sports Trophy. In each sport the Conference Champion is awarded 18 points, second place is awarded 16 points, and so on. The school with the most points at the conclusion of the academic year wins the trophy. Football, women's volleyball, men's and women's cross country, men's and women's soccer, men's and women's swimming, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's tennis, men's and women's golf, men's baseball, women's softball, and men's and women's track and field are the 18 sports in which points are awarded.
Most recently, Whitworth won the NWC All Sports Trophy for 2011-12, their sixth overall and fifth in a row. Pacific Lutheran has won the award 15 times, more than any other school. Linfield has won the trophy three times while Puget Sound has won it twice.
National championships 
|2012||Softball||Pacific Lutheran||Salem, Virginia||NCAA Division III|
|2011||Softball||Linfield||Salem, Virginia||NCAA Division III|
|2009||Women's Basketball||George Fox||Holland, Michigan||NCAA Division III|
|2007||Softball||Linfield||Salem, Virginia||NCAA Division III|
|2004||Football||Linfield||Salem, Virginia||NCAA Division III|
|2004||Baseball||George Fox||Appleton, Wisconsin||NCAA Division III|
|1999||Football||Pacific Lutheran||Salem, Virginia||NCAA Division III|
|1999||Women's Swimming||Puget Sound||Federal Way, Washington||NAIA|
|1998||Women's Swimming||Puget Sound||Federal Way, Washington||NAIA|
|1997||Men's Soccer||Seattle||Birmingham, Alabama||NAIA|
|1997||Men's Swimming||Puget Sound||Federal Way, Washington||NAIA|
|1996||Men's Swimming||Puget Sound||San Antonio, Texas||NAIA|
|1996||Women's Swimming||Puget Sound||San Antonio, Texas||NAIA|
|1995||Men's Swimming||Puget Sound||San Antonio, Texas||NAIA|
|1995||Women's Cross Country||Puget Sound||Kenosha, Wisconsin||NAIA|
|1994||Women's Cross Country||Puget Sound||Kenosha, Wisconsin||NAIA|
|1993||Football||Pacific Lutheran||Portland, Oregon||NAIA Division II|
|1993||Women's Cross Country||Puget Sound||Kenosha, Wisconsin||NAIA|
|1993||Volleyball||Puget Sound||San Diego, California||NAIA|
|1993||Men's Basketball||Willamette||Nampa, Idaho||NAIA Division II|
|1992||Women's Cross Country||Puget Sound||Kenosha, Wisconsin||NAIA|
|1992||Softball||Pacific Lutheran||Pensacola, Florida||NAIA|
|1991||Women's Soccer||Pacific Lutheran||Boca Raton, Florida||NAIA|
|1990||Women's Swimming||Puget Sound||Canton, Ohio||NAIA|
|1989||Women's Soccer||Pacific Lutheran||Due West, South Carolina||NAIA|
|1989||Women's Swimming||Puget Sound||Brown Deer, Wisconsin||NAIA|
|1988||Women's Cross Country||Pacific Lutheran||Kenosha, Wisconsin||NAIA|
|1988||Women's Soccer||Pacific Lutheran||Abilene, Texas||NAIA|
|1988||Softball||Pacific Lutheran||Pensacola, Florida||NAIA|
|1987||Football||Pacific Lutheran||Tacoma, Washington||NAIA Division II|
|1986||Football||Linfield||McMinnville, Oregon||NAIA Division II|
|1984||Football||Linfield||McMinnville, Oregon||NAIA Division II|
|1982||Football||Linfield||McMinnville, Oregon||NAIA Division II|
|1980||Football||Pacific Lutheran||Tacoma, Washington||NAIA Division II|
|1966||Baseball||Linfield||St. Joseph, Missouri||NAIA|
|1960||Baseball||Whitworth†||Sioux City, Iowa||NAIA|
† - Whitworth was not a member of the NWC until 1970.
- "About George Fox". Retrieved 29 May 2012.
- "About Linfield: Facts and Figures". Retrieved 29 May 2012.
- "Pacific University Facts". Retrieved 29 May 2012.
- "About PLU: Quick Facts". Retrieved 29 May 2012.
- "Puget Sound Facts and Figures". Retrieved 29 May 2012.
- "Whitman College Fast Facts". Retrieved 29 May 2012.
- "About Whitworth University". Retrieved 29 May 2012.
- "About Willamette: Quick Facts". Retrieved 29 May 2012.
- "Whitworth Wins Fifth Straight All-Sports Trophy". NWC. Retrieved 21 May 2012.