NCAA Division II Football Championship

Last updated
NCAA Division II Football Championship
2005 Div2 Championship Logo.png
Logo used for the 2005 NCAA Division II National Championship Game
In operation 1973–present
Preceded bySmall college polls
Number of playoff teams28
Championship trophyNCAA Division II National Championship Trophy
Television partner(s) ESPNU
Most playoff appearances Northwest Missouri State (24)
Most playoff championships Northwest Missouri State (6)
Current champion University of West Florida (1)

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 (2014–2017). [1] The 2018 and 2019 games were played at the McKinney ISD Stadium and Community Event Center in McKinney, Texas. [2] 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

YearUPI number oneAP number one
1958 Mississippi Southern (no poll)
1959 Bowling Green (no poll)
1960 Ohio
1961 Pittsburg State
1962 Southern Miss Florida A&M
1963 Delaware Northern Illinois
1964 Cal State Los Angeles Wittenberg
1965 North Dakota State
1966 San Diego State
1967 San Diego State
1968 San Diego State North Dakota State
1969 North Dakota State
1970 Arkansas State
1971 Delaware
1972 Delaware
1973 Dagger-14-plain.png Tennessee State
1974 Dagger-14-plain.png Louisiana Tech Central Michigan

Dagger-14-plain.pngWhile the NCAA started Division II playoffs in 1973, AP and UPI still conducted their polls these years.

NCAA Division II champions

Since 1973, a post-season tournament has been held to determine the Division II Champion. The current format, in use since 2016, features 28 teams. The 28 teams are organized into 4 super-regions of 7 teams each, the top-seeded team in each super-region gets a bye during the first round. The champions of the four super-regions meet in the semi-final round, and the winners of the two semi-final games meet in a neutral-site championship game. Prior to the championship game, the semi-final games are held at the home stadiums of the two highest-seeded remaining teams. The championship game has been played at several sites through history, starting in 2018 it was held at the McKinney Independent School District Stadium, a 12,000 seat facility that opened in August, 2018.

YearChampion [3] Runner-upScoreVenueLocationAttendanceWinning head coach
1973 Louisiana Tech (1) Western Kentucky 34–0 Hughes Stadium Sacramento, California 12,016 Maxie Lambright
1974 Central Michigan (1) Delaware 54–14Hughes StadiumSacramento, California14,137 Roy Kramer
1975 Northern Michigan (1) Western Kentucky 16–14Hughes StadiumSacramento California12,017 Gil Krueger
1976 Montana State (1) Akron 24–13 Memorial Stadium Wichita Falls, Texas 13,200 Sonny Holland
1977 Lehigh (1) Jacksonville State 33–0Memorial StadiumWichita Falls, Texas14,114 John Whitehead
1978 Eastern Illinois (1) Delaware 10–9Lobo Stadium Longview, Texas 5,500 Darrell Mudra
1979 Delaware (1) Youngstown State 38–21 University Stadium Albuquerque, New Mexico 4,000 Tubby Raymond
1980 Cal Poly (1) Eastern Illinois 21–13University StadiumAlbuquerque, New Mexico2,056 [4] Joe Harper
1981 Southwest Texas State (1) North Dakota State 42–13 Veterans Memorial Stadium McAllen, Texas 9,415 Jim Wacker
1982 Southwest Texas State (2) UC Davis 34–9Veterans Memorial StadiumMcAllen, Texas8,000 Jim Wacker
1983 North Dakota State (1) Central State 41–21Veterans Memorial StadiumMcAllen, Texas5,275 Don Morton
1984 Troy State (1) North Dakota State 18–17Veterans Memorial StadiumMcAllen, Texas4,500 Chan Gailey
1985 North Dakota State (2) North Alabama 35–7Veterans Memorial StadiumMcAllen, Texas6,000 Earle Solomonson
1986 North Dakota State (3) South Dakota 27–7 Braly Municipal Stadium Florence, Alabama 11,506 Earle Solomonson
1987 Troy State (2) Portland State 31–17Braly Municipal StadiumFlorence, Alabama10,600 Rick Rhoades
1988 North Dakota State (4) Portland State 35–21Braly Municipal StadiumFlorence, Alabama6,763 Rocky Hager
1989 Mississippi College Jacksonville State 3–0Braly Municipal StadiumFlorence, Alabama6,763 John M. Williams
1990 North Dakota State (5) Indiana (PA) 51–11Braly Municipal StadiumFlorence, Alabama10,080 Rocky Hager
1991 Pittsburg State (1) Jacksonville State 23–6Braly Municipal StadiumFlorence, Alabama11,500 Chuck Broyles
1992 Jacksonville State (1) Pittsburg State 17–13Braly Municipal StadiumFlorence, Alabama11,733 Bill Burgess
1993 North Alabama (1) Indiana (PA) 41–34Braly Municipal StadiumFlorence, Alabama15,361 Bobby Wallace
1994 North Alabama (2) Texas A&M–Kingsville 16–10Braly Municipal StadiumFlorence, Alabama13,526 Bobby Wallace
1995 North Alabama (3) Pittsburg State 27–7Braly Municipal StadiumFlorence, Alabama15,241 Bobby Wallace
1996 Northern Colorado (1) Carson–Newman 23–14Braly Municipal StadiumFlorence, Alabama5,745 Joe Glenn
1997 Northern Colorado (2) New Haven 51–0Braly Municipal StadiumFlorence, Alabama3,352 Joe Glenn
1998 Northwest Missouri State (1) Carson–Newman 24–6Braly Municipal StadiumFlorence, Alabama6,149 Mel Tjeerdsma
1999 Northwest Missouri State (2) Carson–Newman 58–52 4OTBraly Municipal StadiumFlorence, Alabama8,451 Mel Tjeerdsma
2000 Delta State (1) Bloomsburg 63–34Braly Municipal StadiumFlorence, Alabama7,123 Steve Campbell
2001 North Dakota (1) Grand Valley State 17–14Braly Municipal StadiumFlorence, Alabama6,113 Dale Lennon
2002 Grand Valley State (1) Valdosta State 31–24Braly Municipal StadiumFlorence, Alabama9,783 Brian Kelly
2003 Grand Valley State (2) North Dakota 10–3Braly Municipal StadiumFlorence, Alabama7,236 Brian Kelly
2004 Valdosta State (1) Pittsburg State 36–31Braly Municipal StadiumFlorence, Alabama8,604 Chris Hatcher
2005 Grand Valley State (3) Northwest Missouri State 21–17Braly Municipal StadiumFlorence, Alabama6,837 Chuck Martin
2006 Grand Valley State (4) Northwest Missouri State 17–14Braly Municipal StadiumFlorence, Alabama7,437 Chuck Martin
2007 Valdosta State (2) Northwest Missouri State 25–20Braly Municipal StadiumFlorence, Alabama7,532 David Dean
2008 Minnesota–Duluth (1) Northwest Missouri State 21–14Braly Municipal StadiumFlorence, Alabama6,215 Bob Nielson
2009 Northwest Missouri State (3) Grand Valley State 30–23Braly Municipal StadiumFlorence, Alabama6,211 Mel Tjeerdsma
2010 Minnesota–Duluth (2) Delta State 20–17Braly Municipal StadiumFlorence, Alabama4,027 Bob Nielson
2011 Pittsburg State (2) Wayne State (MI) 35–21Braly Municipal StadiumFlorence, Alabama7,276 Tim Beck
2012 Valdosta State (3) Winston-Salem State 35–7Braly Municipal StadiumFlorence, Alabama7,525 David Dean
2013 Northwest Missouri State (4) Lenoir–Rhyne 43–28Braly Municipal StadiumFlorence, Alabama6,543 Adam Dorrel
2014 CSU–Pueblo (1) Minnesota State–Mankato 13–0 Children's Mercy Park Kansas City, Kansas 6,762 John Wristen
2015 Northwest Missouri State (5) Shepherd 34–7 Children's Mercy ParkKansas City, Kansas16,181 Adam Dorrel
2016 Northwest Missouri State (6) North Alabama 29–3 Children's Mercy ParkKansas City, Kansas9,576 [5] Adam Dorrel
2017 Texas A&M–Commerce (1) West Florida 37–27 Children's Mercy ParkKansas City, Kansas4,259 Colby Carthel
2018 Valdosta State (4) Ferris State 49–47 McKinney ISD Stadium McKinney, Texas 4,306 Kerwin Bell
2019 West Florida (1) Minnesota State–Mankato 48–40 McKinney ISD StadiumMcKinney, Texas3,415 Pete Shinnick
2020 Canceled due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic

† 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:

Postseason bowls

Regional bowls

From 1964 to 1972, four regional bowl games were played in order to provide postseason action, [3] 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:

East Tangerine Bowl Boardwalk Bowl
Orlando, Florida Atlantic City, New Jersey
Mideast Grantland Rice Bowl
Murfreesboro, Tennessee Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Midwest Pecan Bowl Pioneer Bowl
Abilene, Texas Arlington, Texas Wichita Falls, Texas
West Camellia Bowl
Sacramento, California

Winners of regional bowls [3]

1964Montana StateState College (IA)Middle Tennessee StateEast Carolina
1965Cal State Los AngelesNorth Dakota StateBall State / Tennessee State (tie)East Carolina
1966San Diego StateNorth DakotaTennessee StateMorgan State
1967San Diego StateTexas-ArlingtonEastern KentuckyTennessee-Martin
1968Humboldt StateNorth Dakota StateLouisiana TechDelaware
1969North Dakota StateArkansas StateEast Tennessee StateDelaware
1970North Dakota StateArkansas StateTennessee StateDelaware
1971Boise StateLouisiana TechTennessee StateDelaware
1972North DakotaTennessee StateLouisiana TechMassachusetts

Playoff bowls

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


Usa edcp relief location map.png
Gold pog.svg
Northwest Missouri State
Red pog.svg
North Dakota State
Blue pog.svg
Grand Valley State
Pink pog.svg
North Alabama
Blue pog.svg
Valdosta State
Black pog.svg
Southwest Texas State
Black pog.svg
Black pog.svg
Pittsburg State
Black pog.svg
Northern Colorado
Black pog.svg
White pog.svg
Louisiana Tech
White pog.svg
Central Michigan
White pog.svg
Northern Michigan
White pog.svg
Montana State
White pog.svg
White pog.svg
Eastern Illinois
White pog.svg
White pog.svg
Cal Poly SLO
White pog.svg
Mississippi College
White pog.svg
Jacksonville State
White pog.svg
Delta State
White pog.svg
North Dakota
White pog.svg
White pog.svg
Texas A&M–
White pog.svg
Schools with Division II championships
Gold pog.svg – 6 championships, Red pog.svg – 5 championships, Blue pog.svg – 4 championships
Pink pog.svg – 3 championships, Black pog.svg – 2 championships, White pog.svg – 1 championship
Italics indicate schools that have since moved to Division I

See also

National football championship trophy room at Bearcat Stadium at Northwest Missouri State University. The two trophies in the middle are for the team's 1998 and 1999 national championships. The four trophies on the left are for appearances in the 2005-2008 title games. Nwmsu-trophy.jpg
National football championship trophy room at Bearcat Stadium at Northwest Missouri State University. The two trophies in the middle are for the team's 1998 and 1999 national championships. The four trophies on the left are for appearances in the 2005–2008 title games.

Related Research Articles

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  1. "Kansas City to host 14 NCAA championships". Sporting Kansas City. December 11, 2013.
  2. "NCAA seeks new D2 football title game host because Sporting KC will renovate field". Kansas City Star. September 4, 2018. Retrieved September 6, 2018.
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