Suvarna Garge (Editor)

NCAA Division II Football Championship

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
In operation

Number of playoff teams

Preceded by
Small college polls

Television partner(s)

NCAA Division II Football Championship httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediaenthumb6

Championship trophy
NCAA Division II National Championship Trophy

Most playoff appearances
North Alabama Northwest Missouri State (19)

Current champion
Northwest Missouri State Bearcats football (6)

The NCAA Division II Football Championship is an American college football tournament played annually to determine a champion at the NCAA Division II level. It was first held in 1973, as a single-elimination tournament with eight teams. The tournament field has subsequently been expanded three times; in 1988 it became 16 teams, in 2004 it became 24 teams, and in 2016 it became 28 teams.


The National Championship game has been held in seven different cities; Sacramento, California (1973–1975), Wichita Falls, Texas (1976–1977), Longview, Texas (1978), Albuquerque, New Mexico (1979–1980), McAllen, Texas (1981–1985), Florence, Alabama (1986–2013), and Kansas City, Kansas (2014–2016). The 2017 game will also be played in Kansas City. Since 1994, the games have been broadcast on ESPN.

Prior to 1973, for what was then called the "NCAA College Division," champions were selected by polls conducted at the end of each regular season by two major wire services; in some years the two polls named different number one teams.

NCAA College Division wire service national champions

Polls were conducted by the Associated Press (AP) and United Press International (UPI) at the end of each regular season. The AP would poll a panel of writers, while UPI would poll a panel of coaches.

National champions by polling

While the NCAA started Division II playoffs in 1973, AP and UPI still conducted their polls these years.

NCAA Division II champions

† Mississippi College's 1989 tournament participation, along with its championship, were vacated by the NCAA Committee on Infractions.

Teams that moved to Division I

Most of the participants in early national championship games have moved into Division I, the main catalyst for their moves being the creation of Division I-AA, now the Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), in 1978. The following Division II title game participants later moved to Division I:

Regional bowls

From 1964 to 1972, four regional bowl games were played in order to provide postseason action, however these games took place after the AP and UPI polls were completed, therefore these games did not factor in selecting a national champion for the College Division. The bowl games were:

Winners of regional bowls

Playoff bowls

From 1973 to 1977, some of the tournament games were also known by bowl names;

  • In 1973, one of the first round games was the final playing of the Boardwalk Bowl.
  • From 1973 through 1975, the two semifinal games were the Grantland Rice Bowl and the Pioneer Bowl, while the final game was the Camellia Bowl.
  • In 1976 and 1977, the two semifinal games were the Grantland Rice Bowl and the Knute Rockne Bowl, while the final game was the Pioneer Bowl.
  • References

    NCAA Division II Football Championship Wikipedia

    Similar Topics