|In operation 1973–present|
Number of playoff teams 28
|Preceded by Small college polls|
Television partner(s) ESPN 2
|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.
- NCAA College Division wire service national champions
- NCAA Division II champions
- Teams that moved to Division I
- Regional bowls
- Playoff bowls
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:
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
From 1973 to 1977, some of the tournament games were also known by bowl names;