Main logo used by the NCAA in Division I, II, and III.
Division I (D-I) is the highest level of intercollegiate athletics sanctioned by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in the United States. D-I schools are generally the major collegiate athletic powers, with larger budgets, more elaborate facilities, and more athletic scholarships than Divisions II and III. This level was once called the University Division of the NCAA, in contrast to the College Division; this terminology was replaced with numeric divisions (I, II, III) in 1973. In football only, Division I was further subdivided in 1978 into Division I-A (the principal football schools) and Division I-AA; these were renamed "Football Bowl Subdivision" and "Football Championship Subdivision" in 2006. Division I contains 346 institutions. There was a moratorium on any additional movement up to Division I until 2012.
All Division I schools must field athletes in at least seven sports for men and seven for women or six for men and eight for women, with two team sports for each gender. There are several other NCAA sanctioned minimums and differences that distinguish Division I from Divisions II and III.
Scholarship limits by sport
The NCAA imposes limits on the total financial aid each Division I member may award in each sport that the school sponsors. It divides sports that it sponsors into two types for purposes of scholarship limitations:
- "Head-count" sports, in which the NCAA limits the total number of individuals that can receive athletic scholarships, but allows each player to receive up to a full scholarship.
- "Equivalency" sports, in which the NCAA limits the total financial aid that a school can offer in a given sport to the equivalent of a set number of full scholarships. Roster limitations may or may not apply, depending on the sport.
The term "counter" is also key to this concept. The NCAA defines a "counter" as "an individual who is receiving institutional financial aid that is countable against the aid limitations in a sport."
The number of scholarships that Division I members may award in each sport is listed below.
- Baseball – 11.7, with the following additional limitations:
- A limit of 27 total counters.
- A requirement that each counter receive athletic aid equal to at least 25% of a full scholarship. The 25% rule does not apply to baseball schools that offer only need-based aid (such as Ivy League members). A second exception to the 25% rule, added in 2012, is for players in their final year of athletic eligibility who have not previously received athletically related aid in baseball.
- FCS football – 63, with limits of 30 initial counters per year and 85 total counters
- Gymnastics – 6.3
- Rifle – 3.6
- Note that the NCAA classifies rifle as a men's sport, despite the fact that competitions are fully coeducational. Most rifle schools have a single coed/mixed team. Some schools have only one single-sex team for either men or women. Some other schools field multiple teams (either two single-sex teams, or a single-sex and a mixed team).
- Tennis – 4.5
- Volleyball – 4.5
- Wrestling – 9.9
- Cross-country/track & field
- Except as noted immediately below, 12.6 for men, 18 for women
- 5 equivalents for men's cross-country if the school does not sponsor men's track and field
- 6 equivalents for women's cross-country if the school does not sponsor women's track and field
- Fencing – 4.5 for men, 5 for women
- Golf – 4.5 for men, 6 for women
- Ice hockey – 18, with a limit of 30 total counters, combined for both sexes
- Lacrosse – 12.6 for men, 12 for women
- Skiing – 6.3 for men, 7 for women
- Soccer – 9.9 for men, 14 for women
- Swimming and diving – 9.9 for men, 14 for women
- Water polo – 4.5 for men, 8 for women
Rules for multi-sport athletes
The NCAA also has rules specifying the sport in which multi-sport athletes are to be counted, with the basic rules being:
- Anyone who participates in football is counted in that sport, even if he does not receive financial aid from the football program. An exception exists for players at non-scholarship FCS programs who receive aid in another sport.
- Participants in basketball are counted in that sport, unless they also play football.
- Participants in men's ice hockey are counted in that sport, unless they also play football or basketball.
- Participants in both men's swimming and diving and men's water polo are counted in swimming and diving, unless they count in football or basketball.
- Participants in women's volleyball are counted in that sport unless they also play basketball.
- All other multi-sport athletes are counted in whichever sport the school chooses.
Division I athletic programs generated $8.7 billion in revenue in the 2009–2010 academic year. Men's teams provided 55% of the total, women's teams 15%, and 30% was not categorized by sex or sport. Football and men's basketball are usually the only sports that are profitable for universities, with others usually losing money. The BYU Cougars, for example, in 2009 had revenue of $41 million and expenses of $35 million, resulting in a profit of $5.5 million or about 16% margin. Football (60% of revenue, 53% profit margin) and men's basketball (15% of revenue, 8% profit margin) were profitable; women's basketball (less than 3% of revenue) and all other sports were unprofitable.
Subdivisions in Division I exist only in football. In all other sports, all Division I conferences are equivalent. The subdivisions were recently given names to reflect the differing levels of football play in them. Additionally, some sports, most notably ice hockey and men's volleyball, have completely different conference structures that operate outside of the normal NCAA sports conference structure.
The method by which the NCAA determines whether a school is Bowl or Championship subdivision is first by attendance numbers and then by scholarships.
For attendance reporting methods, the NCAA allows schools to report either total tickets sold or the number of persons in attendance at the games. They require a minimum average of 15,000 people in attendance every other year. These numbers get posted to the NCAA statistics website for football each year. With the new rules starting in the 2006 season, the number of Bowl Subdivision schools could drop in the future if those schools are not able to pull in enough fans into the games. Additionally, 8 schools in the Championship subdivision had enough attendance to be moved up in 2005 (although they would need to either compete as independents or join a conference in order to do so).
Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), formerly known as Division I-A, is the top level of college football, which is currently the only NCAA-sponsored sport without an organized tournament to determine its champion. Schools in Division I FBS compete in post-season bowl games, with the champions of six conferences receiving automatic bids to the Bowl Championship Series to determine a national champion. This is due to many factors, including that bowl games are sanctioned by the NCAA (primarily in terms of amateurism regulations and guaranteeing a minimum payout to conferences of the participating schools), but are not under its direct administration. Starting with the 2014 season, the BCS will undergo radical change, with a four-team playoff to determine a national champion almost certain to be adopted.
The remaining five conferences, often referred to as "Mid-majors", do not receive automatic bids but their conference champions are eligible for an automatic bid if it ranks in the BCS top 12 or in the top 16 and ahead of the champion from a conference with an automatic bid. Only one "mid-major" champion can qualify for an automatic bid in any year. The one exception is Notre Dame, which only has to rank in the top eight of the BCS standings to earn an automatic bid to a BCS bowl game.
FBS schools are limited to a total of 85 football players receiving financial assistance. For competitive reasons, a student receiving partial scholarship counts fully against the total of 85. Nearly all FBS schools that are not on NCAA probation give 85 full scholarships.
As of 2012, there are 120 full members of Division I FBS. The most recent addition to FBS was Western Kentucky University, which ended its two-year transition period from Division I FCS in 2008 and became a full FBS member in 2009. In July 2011, four schools began transitions to FBS, starting as FCS members. Under NCAA rules, these schools were ineligible for the FCS playoffs in 2011. In 2012, they will be provisional FBS members without bowl eligibility, with full FBS membership following in 2013.
- The University of South Alabama, previously an unclassified NCAA football program, played its first fully competitive season in 2011. The Jaguars, already full members of the Sun Belt Conference, will join that conference for football.
- Texas State University–San Marcos (Texas State), previously an established FCS program in the Southland Conference, will join the Western Athletic Conference in 2012, and then move to the Sun Belt in 2013. Despite playing a full Southland Conference schedule in 2011, the Bobcats were classified as an FCS independent for that season.
- The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), previously a non-football member of the Southland Conference, played its first football season in 2011. It will join the WAC alongside Texas State for 2012, and then move to Conference USA (C-USA) in 2013. The Roadrunners were also classified as an FCS independent for 2011.
- The University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass), a member of the non-football Atlantic 10 Conference and a football member of the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA), will join the Mid-American Conference in football only effective in 2012. The team will become eligible for the MAC championship upon attaining full FBS membership in 2013. In 2011, the Minutemen played a full CAA schedule and were technically classified as a CAA member.
Three other schools have announced future transitions to FBS:
- Georgia State University will begin its FBS transition in 2012. The Panthers, currently full members of the CAA, started a football program in 2010. Like UMass in 2011, the 2012 Panthers will play a full CAA schedule and will be technically classified as CAA members. In July 2013, Georgia State will return to the Sun Belt Conference, which it had left in 1981, and will play a full conference schedule. Full FBS membership will follow in 2014.
- The University of North Carolina at Charlotte (Charlotte) will begin its FBS transition in 2013, the same year it starts its football program and rejoins C-USA. It will play as an FCS independent in 2013 and an FBS independent without bowl eligibility in 2014 before joining the C-USA football league in 2015.
- Old Dominion University, another full member of the CAA, has announced its departure for C-USA, also effective in 2013. Unlike Georgia State, ODU will not begin its FBS transition until 2013; this means that the 2012 Monarchs will be full CAA members and eligible for the FCS playoffs. ODU will become a C-USA football member alongside Charlotte in 2015.
Another school, Georgia Southern University, has announced plans for an eventual upgrade to FBS. The school announced on September 28, 2012 that its students had approved increases in student fees to fund an expansion of its football stadium and an FBS upgrade. The fees must still be approved by the board of regents of the University System of Georgia. If approved by that body, the stadium fee will go into effect in 2013–14, and the FBS fee will take effect after GSU receives an invitation from an FBS conference.
Any conference with at least 12 football teams may split its teams into two divisions and conduct a championship game between the division winners. The prize is normally a specific bowl game bid for which the conference has a tie-in, or a guaranteed spot in the BCS (depending on the conference).
Some conferences have numbers in their names but this often has no relation to the number of member institutions in the conference. The Big Ten Conference did not formally adopt the "Big Ten" name until 1987, but unofficially used that name when it had 10 members from 1917 to 1946, and again from 1949 forward. However, it has continued to use the name even after it expanded to 11 members with the addition of Penn State in 1990 and 12 with the addition of Nebraska in 2011. The Big 12 Conference was established in 1996 with 12 members, but continues to use that name even after the 2011 departure of Colorado and Nebraska left the conference with 10 members. On the other hand, the Pacific-12 Conference has used names (official or unofficial) that have reflected the number of members since its current charter was established in 1959. The conference unofficially used "Big Five" (1959–62), "Big Six" (1962–64), and "Pacific-8" (1964–68) before officially adopting the "Pacific-8" name. The name duly changed to "Pacific-10" in 1978 with the addition of Arizona and Arizona State, and "Pacific-12" in 2011 when Colorado and Utah joined. Conferences also tend to ignore their regional names when adding new schools. For example, the Pac-8/10/12 retained its "Pacific" moniker even though its four newest members (Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, Utah) are located in the inland West, and the Big East kept its name even after adding schools (either in all sports or for football only) located in areas traditionally considered to be in the Midwest (Cincinnati, DePaul, Marquette, Notre Dame), Upper South (Louisville, Memphis), Southwest (Houston, SMU) and Far West (Boise State, San Diego State).
|Atlantic Coast Conference **||ACC||1953||12 (14 by July 2013)[FBS 1]||25||Greensboro, North Carolina|
|Big East Conference **||Big East||1979[FBS 2]||15 (18 by July 2013)[FBS 3][FBS 4]||23||Providence, Rhode Island|
|Big Ten Conference **||Big Ten||1896||12||25||Park Ridge, Illinois|
|Big 12 Conference **||Big 12||1996||10||21||Irving, Texas|
|Conference USA||C-USA||1995[FBS 5]||12 (14 by July 2013)[FBS 6][FBS 7][FBS 8]||21||Irving, Texas|
|Division I FBS Independents[FBS 9]||4 (6 in July 2013, 5 by July 2015)[FBS 10]|
|Mid-American Conference||MAC||1946||12[FBS 11]||23||Cleveland, Ohio|
|Mountain West Conference||MW (official)|
|1999||9 [FBS 12][FBS 8]||19||Colorado Springs, Colorado|
|Pacific-12 Conference **||Pac-12||1915[FBS 13]||12[FBS 14]||22||Walnut Creek, California|
|Southeastern Conference **||SEC||1932||14||20||Birmingham, Alabama|
|Sun Belt Conference||Sun Belt||1976||11 (12 by July 2013)[FBS 15][FBS 16]||19||New Orleans, Louisiana|
|Western Athletic Conference||WAC||1962||10 (6 in July 2013, 5 by July 2014)[FBS 17][FBS 18]||19||Greenwood Village, Colorado|
(** BCS Automatic Qualification (AQ) Conferences; this status will end in 2014 when the BCS establishes a four-team championship playoff)
- ^ Pitt and Syracuse will join from the Big East in 2013. Notre Dame has announced it will join the ACC at an as-yet-undetermined date; it will retain its football independence..
- ^ The conference was founded in 1979, but did not sponsor football until 1991.
- ^ Of the 15 current Big East schools, only seven play football in the conference. Two schools sponsor football teams in the lower Football Championship Subdivision, and one plays football as an independent school. The rest do not play college football. Temple University, which will become an all-sports member of the conference in 2013, is an associate member in football for the 2012 season. Another associate member, Loyola University Maryland, plays women's lacrosse in the Big East, but will leave in 2013 when the school joins the lacrosse-sponsoring Patriot League.
- ^ In 2013, the following changes will take place:
- Pitt and Syracuse will leave for the ACC.
- Temple, a football-only member in 2012, will become an all-sports member.
- Houston, Memphis, SMU, and UCF will also become all-sports members.
- Boise State and San Diego State will join for football only.
- Notre Dame, a full member that plays football as an FBS independent, will leave the Big East for the ACC at an as-yet-undetermined date.
- Navy will become a football-only member in 2015.
- ^ The conference was founded in 1995, with football competition starting in 1996.
- ^ In addition to the 12 full members, Conference USA features three schools—FIU, Kentucky, and South Carolina—which play men's soccer in the conference. Colorado College, a Division I school in men's ice hockey and a Division III school for all other sports, plays women's soccer in Conference USA; it filled the place left vacant by Tulane when it suspended women's soccer in 2005 due to the aftereffects of Hurricane Katrina. As of the 2012 season, Tulane has not reinstated the sport.
- ^ In 2013, Houston, Memphis, SMU, and UCF will leave for the Big East. At the same time, six schools will join—Charlotte from the A10; Old Dominion from the CAA; FIU and North Texas from the Sun Belt; and Texas State and UTSA from the WAC. Charlotte will not initially be a football member; it will start a football program in 2013, and will not be eligible for full FBS membership until 2015. Old Dominion, although it already has a football team, will not initially be a football member. It will begin its transition to FBS in 2013, at the same time as Charlotte, and will also become a full FBS member in 2015.
- ^ a b C-USA and the MW initially announced plans to merge for football only, creating a single league originally slated to have 22 teams. After further defections from both leagues, the conferences initially announced plans to merge, but backed away, opting instead for an alliance set for a 2013 launch in which they will retain separate identities.
- ^ Note that "Independents" is not a conference; it is simply a designation used for schools whose football programs do not play in any conference. All of these schools have conference memberships for other sports.
- ^ Idaho and New Mexico State, the only two football schools left in the Western Athletic Conference beyond the 2012 season, will play as FBS independents starting in 2013. Navy football will leave the independent ranks to join the Big East in July 2015.
- ^ In addition to the 12 full members, the Mid-American Conference features nine members which only participate in one sport each: Chicago State in men's tennis; Evansville and Southern Illinois in men's swimming and diving; Florida Atlantic, Hartwick, and West Virginia in men's soccer; Missouri and Northern Iowa in wrestling; and UMass in football. Missouri State fields MAC teams in women's field hockey and men's swimming and diving. Old Dominion will become a wrestling affiliate in 2013.
- ^ As of 2012, Hawaiʻi is a football-only associate member, with most of its remaining teams in the non-football Big West Conference. In 2013, the MW will lose two members and gain two. Boise State and San Diego State will leave the MW. Both will become football-only members of the Big East, and plan to rejoin the Big West for other sports. Boise State initially planned to rejoin the WAC, which it left in 2011, but due to a rash of departures during the 2010–12 realignment cycle, it opted instead to rejoin the Big West, which it had left in 2001. San Diego State will return to the Big West after a 35-year absence. San Jose State and Utah State will both leave the WAC to join the MW.
- ^ The charter of the Pac-12 dates only to the formation of the Athletic Association of Western Universities (AAWU) in 1959. However, the Pac-12 claims the history of the Pacific Coast Conference, which was founded in 1915 and began competition in 1916, as its own. Of the nine members of the PCC at the time of its demise in 1958, only Idaho never joined the Pac-12. The PCC's berth in the Rose Bowl passed to the AAWU.
- ^ The Pac-12 also includes several associate members which compete in one or two sports in the conference. San Diego State plays men's soccer. Boise State, Cal State Bakersfield, and Cal Poly compete in wrestling. Cal Poly also participates in men's swimming and diving, which the NCAA considers a single sport. UC Santa Barbara only competes in men's swimming and diving. Although San Diego State is moving in 2013 to a conference that sponsors men's soccer, it will remain a Pac-12 affiliate until 2015.
- ^ Ten Sun Belt Conference members currently sponsor FBS football teams. South Alabama is classified for 2012, its first season as a Sun Belt football member, as a transitional FBS school without bowl eligibility. South Alabama's FBS transition will be completed in 2013.
- ^ The Sun Belt will gain three schools and lose two in July 2013. Georgia State will join from the CAA. It will begin a transition to FBS football in 2012, start playing a full Sun Belt football schedule in 2013, and become a full FBS member in 2014. Texas State will join from the WAC; the 2013 season will be its first as a full FBS member. UT Arlington, a non-football school, will also join from the WAC. FIU and North Texas will leave for Conference USA.
- ^ As of July 2012, the WAC has seven football members, with three incoming members, Denver, Seattle, and UT Arlington, not sponsoring the sport.
- ^ The future of the WAC was in serious doubt due to a rash of departures set for July 2013. Texas State, UT Arlington, and UTSA, all of which joined the WAC in July 2012, will only spend one year in the conference, with Texas State and UT Arlington leaving for the Sun Belt and UTSA departing for C-USA. Louisiana Tech will also leave for C-USA, while San Jose State and Utah State will join the Mountain West. Boise State, which had initially planned to place its non-football sports in the WAC in 2013, opted instead for the Big West. With only two football schools left, the WAC announced it would drop the sport after the 2012 season. The conference will add two non-football schools, Cal State Bakersfield and Utah Valley, in 2013, but will lose Idaho to the Big Sky Conference a year later.
The Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), formerly known as Division I-AA, determines its national champion on the field in a 20-team, single-elimination tournament. With the expansion of the tournament field in 2010 from 16 teams to 20, the champions of 10 conferences receive automatic bids, with 10 "at-large" spots; and the top 12 teams receive first-round byes. A team must have at least seven wins to be eligible for an at-large spot.
The tournament traditionally begins on Thanksgiving weekend in late November, and during the era of the 16-team field ran for four weeks, ending with the championship game in mid-December. Since 2010, the tournament has run for four weeks (for seeds 13–20) to determine the two finalists, who play for the FCS national title in early January in Frisco, Texas, the scheduled host through the 2012 season. For thirteen seasons, the title game was played in Chattanooga, Tennessee, (1997–2009), preceded by five seasons in Huntington, West Virginia, where host Marshall advanced to the title game in four of the five years.
When I-AA was formed in 1978, the playoffs included just four teams for its first three seasons, doubling to eight teams for one season in 1981. From 1982 to 1985, I-AA had a 12-team tournament, with each of the top four seeds receiving a first-round bye and a home game in the quarterfinals. The I-AA playoffs went to 16 teams in 1986, and the FCS playoffs expanded to 20 teams starting in 2010. After 28 seasons, the "I-AA" was dropped by the NCAA in 2006, although it is still informally and commonly used.
The Football Championship Subdivision includes several conferences which do not participate in the eponymous post-season championship tournament. The Ivy League was lowered to I-AA (FCS) following the 1981 season, and plays a strict ten-game schedule. It has yet to participate in the post-season tournament, despite an automatic bid, citing academic concerns. The Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) has its own championship game in mid-December between the champions of its East and West divisions. Also, three of its member schools traditionally do not finish their regular seasons until Thanksgiving weekend. Grambling State and Southern play each other in the Bayou Classic, and Alabama State plays Tuskegee University (a Division II team) in the Turkey Day Classic. SWAC teams are eligible to accept at-large bids if their schedule is not in conflict. The last SWAC team to participate in the I-AA playoffs was Jackson State in 1997; the SWAC never achieved success in the tournament, going winless in 19 games in twenty years (1978–97).
From 2006 through 2009, the Pioneer Football League and Northeast Conference champions played in the Gridiron Classic, though all conference teams technically remained tournament eligible. If a league champion was invited to the national championship, the second-place team would play in the Gridiron Classic. That game was scrapped after the 2009 season when its four-year contract ran out; this coincided with the NCAA's announcement that the Northeast Conference would get an automatic bid to the tournament starting in 2010. The Big South Conference also received an automatic bid in the same season.
Schools in a transition period after joining the FCS from a lower division (or from the NAIA) are also ineligible for the playoffs.
Division I FCS schools are currently restricted to giving financial assistance amounting to 63 full scholarships. As FCS football is an "equivalency" sport (as opposed to the "head-count" status of FBS football), Championship Subdivision schools may divide their allotment into partial scholarships. However, FCS schools may only have 85 players receiving any sort of athletic financial aid for football—the same numeric limit as FBS schools. Because of competitive forces, however, a substantial number of players in Championship Subdivision programs are on full scholarships. Another difference is that FCS schools are allowed to award financial aid to as many as 30 new players per season, as opposed to 25 in FBS.
A few Championship Subdivision conferences are composed of schools that offer no athletic scholarships at all, most notably the Ivy League and the Pioneer Football League, a football-only conference. The Ivy League allows no athletic scholarships at all, while the PFL consists of schools that offer scholarships in other sports but choose not to take on the expense of a scholarship football program. The Northeast Conference also sponsored non-scholarship football, but began offering a maximum of 30 full scholarship equivalents in 2006, which grew to 40 in 2011 after a later vote of the league's school presidents and athletic directors. The Patriot League does not currently give football scholarships, but permits them in other sports (athletes receiving these scholarships are ineligible to play football for Patriot League schools). Starting with the class entering in the 2013 season, the Patriot League will allow its members to offer football scholarships; when the transition to scholarship football is complete, member schools will be allowed up to 60 full scholarship equivalents. The Pioneer Football League will earn an automatic bid beginning in 2013.
|Conference||Nickname||Founded||Full Members||Sports||Headquarters||FCS Tournament Bid|
|Big Sky Conference||Big Sky||1963||11 (12 by July 2014)[FCS 1][FCS 2]||15||Ogden, Utah||Automatic|
|Big South Conference||Big South||1983||12[FCS 3]||18||Charlotte, North Carolina||Automatic|
|Colonial Athletic Association||CAA||1983[FCS 4]||11 (9 by July 2013)[FCS 5]||21||Richmond, Virginia||Automatic|
|Division I FCS Independents [FCS 6]||3||Invitation|
|Ivy League||Ivy League||1954||8||33||Princeton, New Jersey||Automatic – (Abstains)|
|Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference||MEAC||1970||13[FCS 7]||15||Virginia Beach, Virginia||Automatic|
|Missouri Valley Football Conference||MVFC||1985[FCS 8]||10||1||St. Louis, Missouri||Automatic|
|Northeast Conference||NEC||1981||12[FCS 9]||23||Somerset, New Jersey||Automatic|
|Ohio Valley Conference||OVC||1948||12[FCS 10]||17||Brentwood, Tennessee||Automatic|
|Patriot League||Patriot||1986||8 (10 by July 2013)[FCS 11][FCS 12]||23||Center Valley, Pennsylvania||Automatic|
|Pioneer Football League||PFL||1991||10 (12 by July 2013)[FCS 13]||1||St. Louis, Missouri||Invitation (Automatic in 2013)|
|Southern Conference||SoCon||1921||12[FCS 14]||19||Spartanburg, South Carolina||Automatic|
|Southland Conference||SLC||1963||10 (14 by July 2013)[FCS 15]||17||Frisco, Texas||Automatic|
|Southwestern Athletic Conference||SWAC||1920||10||18||Birmingham, Alabama||Abstains|
- ^ Cal Poly and UC Davis, both full members of the non-football Big West Conference, are football-only affiliates.
- ^ In July 2014, Idaho will return its non-football sports to the Big Sky after an 18-year absence.
- ^ The Big South has seven full members that compete for its football championship. Stony Brook of the non-football America East Conference is an associate member for that sport, but its football team will leave for the CAA in July 2013. Although Campbell became a full member of the Big South in July 2011, its football program remains in the Pioneer Football League.
- ^ The CAA football conference was only founded in 2007, but has a continuous history dating to the late 1930s (although not under the same charter):
- The New England Conference was formed by five New England state universities, plus one private university in that region (Northeastern), in 1938. Four of the public schools—Maine, UMass, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island—were in the CAA football conference through the 2011 season. However, UMass football left for the MAC in 2012. URI football initially planned to leave for the Northeast Conference in 2013, but decided to remain in the CAA.
- In 1946, after the departure of Northeastern, the remaining members of the New England Conference affiliated with the University of Vermont to form the Yankee Conference under a separate charter, with athletic competition starting in 1947.
- In 1997, the Yankee Conference was absorbed by the Atlantic 10 Conference. The A10 inherited the Yankee Conference's automatic berth in the Division I-AA (now FCS) playoffs. In addition to the four charter New England Conference members mentioned above, five other members of the Yankee Conference at the time of the A10 merger are still in the CAA football conference.
- After the 2006 season, all of the A10 football teams left for the new CAA football conference. The CAA inherited the A10's automatic berth in the FCS playoffs.
- ^ The CAA has 11 full members, but after Hofstra and Northeastern dropped football following the 2009 season, only four of the full members were part of the CAA football conference. The number of full CAA members that play football in that conference increased to five in 2011 with the addition of the Old Dominion football program. Georgia State began CAA competition in 2012 after starting an FCS program in 2010, but will not compete for the conference championship—it will begin an FBS transition that season, and then leave for the Sun Belt Conference in 2013. Old Dominion will not start its FBS transition until it leaves for C-USA in 2013. Currently, five associate members fill out the ranks of the CAA football conference. This latter group will increase to seven in 2013 when Albany and Stony Brook move their football programs into the CAA.
- ^ Note that "Independents" is not a conference; it is simply a designation used to indicate schools whose football programs do not play in any conference. All of these schools have conference memberships for other sports.
- ^ The football conference currently consists of 11 of the 13 member schools following the 2010 addition of North Carolina Central University.
- ^ The football conference dates to 1985, but the conference charter was established in 1982. See History of the Missouri Valley Football Conference for more details.
- ^ The conference has seven full members that sponsor football. Two schools from non-football conferences are associate members for football—Albany of the America East Conference and Duquesne of the Atlantic 10. Albany football will leave for the CAA in July 2013.
- ^ The football conference consists of 9 of the 12 member schools. Morehead State plays non-scholarship football in the Pioneer Football League, while Belmont and SIU Edwardsville do not sponsor football.
- ^ Two non-football schools with no plans to add the sport, Boston University and Loyola University Maryland, will join the Patriot League in 2013.
- ^ Three of the full members, plus future full members Boston University and Loyola (Maryland), do not sponsor FCS football. American, Boston University and Loyola do not sponsor football at all, while Army and Navy are FBS independents. Fordham and Georgetown are associate members in football. However, Fordham became ineligible for the conference title starting in 2010 when it started offering football scholarships, although it will play a full Patriot League schedule until at least 2012. The league has since announced that it will allow its members to award football scholarships starting with the 2013 season.
- ^ The PFL will expand to 12 members in July 2013 when Mercer and Stetson join. Both are reinstating football.
- ^ The football conference consists of 9 of the 12 member schools. Although Davidson competes as a full member of the SoCon, its football program remains in the Pioneer Football League
- ^ The football conference currently consists of 8 of the 10 member schools. In 2013, four schools—two current Division I members, and two that will upgrade from Division II—will join the Southland. The incoming Division I schools are Houston Baptist and New Orleans, neither of which currently has a football program. Houston Baptist has announced it will start a football program in 2013, and will begin playing a full Southland schedule in 2014. The incoming Division II schools are Abilene Christian (a charter Southland member that had left in 1973) and Incarnate Word. Both have football teams, and will start playing full Southland football schedules in 2014.
Several Bowl Subdivision and Championship Subdivision conferences have member institutions that do not compete in football. Such schools are sometimes unofficially referred to as I-AAA. For example, the Big East Conference, a Bowl Subdivision conference in football, has five members that discontinued their football programs (DePaul, Marquette, Providence, Seton Hall, and St. John's), plus an additional two members who play football in Championship Subdivision conferences (Georgetown and Villanova); conference member Notre Dame plays football as a Bowl Subdivision independent.
Bowl Subdivision football independents Army and Navy compete in the Patriot League, a FCS conference, in all other sports sponsored by that league.
In addition, some schools officially affiliated with conferences that do not sponsor football do, in fact, field football teams. For example:
The following Division I conferences do not sponsor football. These conferences still compete in Division I for all sports that they sponsor.
|America East Conference||America East||1979||9 (8 by July 2013)[NF 1]||22||Boston, Massachusetts|
|Atlantic Sun Conference||A-Sun||1978||10||17||Macon, Georgia|
|Atlantic 10 Conference||A-10||1975||16 (14 by July 2013)[NF 2]||21||Newport News, Virginia|
|Big West Conference||Big West||1969||10 (11 by July 2013)[NF 3]||16||Irvine, California|
|Great West Conference||Great West||2004[NF 4]||5 (3 by July 2013)[NF 5]||15||Elmhurst, Illinois|
|Horizon League||Horizon||1979||9||19||Indianapolis, Indiana|
|Independents [NF 6]||Independents||2 (none by July 2013)[NF 7]|
|Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference||MAAC||1980||10 (9 by July 2013)[NF 8]||25||Edison, New Jersey|
|Missouri Valley Conference||MVC / Valley||1907||10||19||St. Louis, Missouri|
|The Summit League||The Summit||1982||9||19||Elmhurst, Illinois|
|West Coast Conference||WCC||1952||9 (10 by July 2013)[NF 9]||13||San Bruno, California|
- ^ Boston University will leave the America East for the Patriot League in 2013.
- ^ In July 2013, the A10 will lose Temple to the Big East and Charlotte to Conference USA.
- ^ The Big West will gain two members and lose one in July 2013. Boise State and San Diego State will both join from the Mountain West, and Pacific will leave for the West Coast Conference.
- ^ The Great West Conference began as a football-only conference. In 2008, it became an all-sports conference.
- ^ The conference dropped to 5 full members when North Dakota went to the Big Sky Conference in 2012, and will drop to 3 in 2013 when Houston Baptist departs for the Southland Conference and Utah Valley joins the WAC. The football conference disbanded after the 2011 season, with four of its football programs moving to the Big Sky and the other to the Missouri Valley Football Conference. The future of the all-sports conference is uncertain, given that the NCAA requires member conferences to have 6 members and only three are committed to the league beyond 2013.
- ^ Note that "Independents" is not a conference, it is simply a designation used to indicate schools which are not a member of any conference.
- ^ The current D-I independents are Cal State Bakersfield and New Orleans, the latter of which announced in March 2012 that it would halt its transition to Division II and return to Division I. Both schools have since accepted invitations to join D-I conferences in 2013—Cal State Bakersfield to the WAC and New Orleans to the Southland Conference.
- ^ Loyola University Maryland will leave the MAAC for the Patriot League in 2013.
- ^ Pacific, a charter member of the WCC that left in 1971, will rejoin the WCC in July 2013.
Of these, the two that most recently sponsored football were the Atlantic 10 and the MAAC. The A-10 football league dissolved in 2006 with its members going to the Colonial Athletic Association. In addition, six A-10 schools (Butler, Dayton, Fordham, Duquesne, Massachusetts, and Temple) play football in a conference other than the new CAA, which still includes two full-time A-10 members (Rhode Island and Richmond). The MAAC stopped sponsoring football in 2007, after most of its members gradually stopped fielding teams. The only full MAAC member that still sponsors football is Marist.
Other non-football conference schools that sponsor football include seven of the Missouri Valley schools (Drake, Illinois State, Indiana State, Missouri State, Northern Iowa and Southern Illinois); four Summit League members (North Dakota State, South Dakota, South Dakota State and Western Illinois); and two Horizon League schools (Valparaiso and Youngstown State). The Missouri Valley Football Conference is a separate entity from the Missouri Valley Conference, despite sharing a name (from 2008).
Division I in ice hockey
As ice hockey is limited to a much smaller number of almost exclusively Northern schools, there is a completely different conference structure for teams. These conferences feature a mix of teams that play their other sports in various Division I conferences, and even Division II and Division III schools. With the exception of the Ivy League's hockey-playing schools being members of the ECAC, there is no correlation between a team's ice hockey affiliation and its affiliation for other sports. For example, the Hockey East men's conference consists of one ACC school, one Big East school, four schools from America East, one from the A-10, one CAA school, and two schools from the D-II Northeast Ten Conference, whereas the CCHA and WCHA both have some Big Ten representation, plus Division II and III schools. Also, the divisional structure is truncated, with the Division II championship abolished in 1999.
Starting with the 2013–2014 season, Division I men's hockey will experience a major realignment. The Big Ten Conference will become the first regular all-sport Division I conference to sponsor hockey since the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference ceased its sponsorship of the sport in 2003, with the remaining members forming Atlantic Hockey. Existing Big Ten schools will withdraw their membership from the WCHA and CCHA. Additionally, six other schools from those conferences are withdrawing to form the new National Collegiate Hockey Conference at the same time, and several other schools are expected to change conferences to replace the schools which are leaving.
- ^ Connecticut will leave for Hockey East, already home to the school's women's team, after the 2013–14 season.
- ^ All of the CCHA's members will join other conferences after the 2012–13 season. Five will join the WCHA, three Big Ten members will join that conference's new hockey league, two will become charter members of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference, and one will join Hockey East.
- ^ The Notre Dame men's team will join in July 2013. Connecticut, whose women's team is already a member, will move its men's team to Hockey East in 2014.
- ^ The Penn State men's team will play its first varsity season of 2012–13 as an independent before joining the Big Ten hockey league in 2013.
- ^ In July 2013, eight schools will leave the men's side of the WCHA for other conferences, and five other schools will join. The women's side of the conference will remain intact.
In the early 21st century, a controversy arose in the NCAA over whether schools will continue to be allowed to have one showcased program in Division I with the remainder of the athletic program in a lower division, as is the case of, notably, Johns Hopkins University lacrosse as well as Colorado College and University of Alabama in Huntsville in ice hockey. This is an especially important issue in hockey, which has no Division II national championship and has several schools whose other athletic programs compete in Division II and Division III.
This controversy was resolved at the 2004 NCAA Convention in Nashville, Tennessee when the members supported Proposal 65-1, the amended legislation co-sponsored by Colorado College, Clarkson University, Hartwick College, the Johns Hopkins University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Rutgers University-Newark, St. Lawrence University, and SUNY Oneonta. Each school affected by this debate is allowed to grant financial aid to student-athletes who compete in Division I programs in one men's sport and one women's sport. It is still permitted for other schools to place one men's and one women's sport in Division I going forward, but they cannot offer scholarships without bringing the whole program into compliance with Division I rules. In addition, schools in Divisions II and III are allowed to "play up" in any sport that does not have a Division II championship, but only Division II programs and any Division III programs covered by the exemption can offer scholarships in those sports.
The Division I programs at each of the eight "waiver schools" which were grandfathered with the passing of Proposal 65-1 were:
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- ^ "Bylaw 22.214.171.124 Men's Basketball" (PDF). 2012–13 NCAA Division I Manual. NCAA. p. 215. http://www.ncaapublications.com/productdownloads/D113.pdf. Retrieved September 15, 2012.
- ^ "Bylaw 126.96.36.199 Women's Basketball" (PDF). 2012–13 NCAA Division I Manual. NCAA. p. 215. http://www.ncaapublications.com/productdownloads/D113.pdf. Retrieved September 15, 2012.
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- ^ a b "Bylaw 15.5.4 Baseball Limitations" (PDF). 2012–13 NCAA Division I Manual. NCAA. p. 215. http://www.ncaapublications.com/productdownloads/D113.pdf. Retrieved September 15, 2012.
- ^ "Bylaw 184.108.40.206 Minimum Equivalency Value" (PDF). 2012–13 NCAA Division I Manual. NCAA. p. 215. http://www.ncaapublications.com/productdownloads/D113.pdf. Retrieved September 15, 2012.
- ^ "Bylaw 220.127.116.11.1 Exception—Need-Based Athletics Aid Only" (PDF). 2012–13 NCAA Division I Manual. NCAA. p. 215. http://www.ncaapublications.com/productdownloads/D113.pdf. Retrieved September 15, 2012.
- ^ "Bylaw 18.104.22.168.2 Exception—Final Year of Eligibility and Not Previously Aided" (PDF). 2012–13 NCAA Division I Manual. NCAA. p. 215. http://www.ncaapublications.com/productdownloads/D113.pdf. Retrieved September 15, 2012.
- ^ "Bylaw 22.214.171.124 Championship Subdivision Football. (FCSD)" (PDF). 2012–13 NCAA Division I Manual. NCAA. p. 215. http://www.ncaapublications.com/productdownloads/D113.pdf. Retrieved September 15, 2012.
- ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Bylaw 126.96.36.199.1 Men's Sports (Maximum Equivalency Limits)" (PDF). 2012–13 NCAA Division I Manual. NCAA. p. 212. http://www.ncaapublications.com/productdownloads/D113.pdf. Retrieved September 15, 2012.
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- ^ "Bylaw 184.108.40.206 Institutions That Sponsor Women's Sand Volleyball and Women's Volleyball" (PDF). 2012–13 NCAA Division I Manual. NCAA. p. 217. http://www.ncaapublications.com/productdownloads/D113.pdf. Retrieved September 15, 2012.
- ^ "Bylaw 220.127.116.11 Institutions That Sponsor Women's Sand Volleyball but Do Not Sponsor Women's Volleyball" (PDF). 2012–13 NCAA Division I Manual. NCAA. p. 217. http://www.ncaapublications.com/productdownloads/D113.pdf. Retrieved September 15, 2012.
- ^ a b "Bylaw 18.104.22.168.3 Maximum Equivalency Limits—Institutions That Sponsor Cross Country but Do Not Sponsor Track and Field" (PDF). 2012–13 NCAA Division I Manual. NCAA. p. 213. http://www.ncaapublications.com/productdownloads/D113.pdf. Retrieved September 15, 2012.
- ^ "Bylaw 15.5.7 Ice Hockey Limitations" (PDF). 2012–13 NCAA Division I Manual. NCAA. p. 217. http://www.ncaapublications.com/productdownloads/D113.pdf. Retrieved September 15, 2012.
- ^ "Bylaw 15.5.9 Multi-Sport Participants" (PDF). 2012–13 NCAA Division I Manual. NCAA. pp. 217–18. http://www.ncaapublications.com/productdownloads/D113.pdf. Retrieved September 15, 2012.
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|Division I sports|
- Athletic directors
- Baseball (Championship, CWS)
- Basketball (Men, Women)
- Women's bowling
- Cross country (Men, Women)
- Fencing (Team, Individual)
- Women's field hockey
- Football (FBS / BCS, FCS)
- Golf (Men, Women)
- Gymnastics (Men, Women)
- Ice hockey (Men, Women)
- Lacrosse (Men, Women)
- Rowing (Women's Championship)
- Soccer (Men, Women)
- Softball (Championship, CWS)
- Swimming and diving (Men, Women)
- Tennis (Men, Women)
- Track and field (Men's indoor and outdoor, Women's indoor and outdoor)
- Volleyball (Men, Women)
- Water polo (Men, Women)
- Wrestling (Championship)