|NCAA Division II Football Championship|
|Preceded by||Small college polls|
|Number of playoff teams||28|
|Championship trophy||NCAA Division II National Championship Trophy|
|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).The 2018 and 2019 games were played at the McKinney ISD Stadium and Community Event Center in McKinney, Texas. 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.
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
|Year||UPI number one||AP number one|
|1958||Mississippi Southern||(no poll)|
|1959||Bowling Green||(no poll)|
|1962||Southern Miss||Florida A&M|
|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|
|1974||Louisiana Tech||Central Michigan|
While the NCAA started Division II playoffs in 1973, AP and UPI still conducted their polls these years.
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.
|Year||Champion||Runner-up||Score||Venue||Location||Attendance||Winning head coach|
|1973||Louisiana Tech (1)||Western Kentucky||34–0||Hughes Stadium||Sacramento, California||12,016||Maxie Lambright|
|1974||Central Michigan (1)||Delaware||54–14||Hughes Stadium||Sacramento, California||14,137||Roy Kramer|
|1975||Northern Michigan (1)||Western Kentucky||16–14||Hughes Stadium||Sacramento California||12,017||Gil Krueger|
|1976||Montana State (1)||Akron||24–13||Memorial Stadium||Wichita Falls, Texas||13,200||Sonny Holland|
|1977||Lehigh (1)||Jacksonville State||33–0||Memorial Stadium||Wichita Falls, Texas||14,114||John Whitehead|
|1978||Eastern Illinois (1)||Delaware||10–9||Lobo 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||21–13||University Stadium||Albuquerque, New Mexico||2,056||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||34–9||Veterans Memorial Stadium||McAllen, Texas||8,000||Jim Wacker|
|1983||North Dakota State (1)||Central State||41–21||Veterans Memorial Stadium||McAllen, Texas||5,275||Don Morton|
|1984||Troy State (1)||North Dakota State||18–17||Veterans Memorial Stadium||McAllen, Texas||4,500||Chan Gailey|
|1985||North Dakota State (2)||North Alabama||35–7||Veterans Memorial Stadium||McAllen, Texas||6,000||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||31–17||Braly Municipal Stadium||Florence, Alabama||10,600||Rick Rhoades|
|1988||North Dakota State (4)||Portland State||35–21||Braly Municipal Stadium||Florence, Alabama||6,763||Rocky Hager|
|1989||Mississippi College †||Jacksonville State||3–0||Braly Municipal Stadium||Florence, Alabama||6,763||John M. Williams|
|1990||North Dakota State (5)||Indiana (PA)||51–11||Braly Municipal Stadium||Florence, Alabama||10,080||Rocky Hager|
|1991||Pittsburg State (1)||Jacksonville State||23–6||Braly Municipal Stadium||Florence, Alabama||11,500||Chuck Broyles|
|1992||Jacksonville State (1)||Pittsburg State||17–13||Braly Municipal Stadium||Florence, Alabama||11,733||Bill Burgess|
|1993||North Alabama (1)||Indiana (PA)||41–34||Braly Municipal Stadium||Florence, Alabama||15,361||Bobby Wallace|
|1994||North Alabama (2)||Texas A&M–Kingsville||16–10||Braly Municipal Stadium||Florence, Alabama||13,526||Bobby Wallace|
|1995||North Alabama (3)||Pittsburg State||27–7||Braly Municipal Stadium||Florence, Alabama||15,241||Bobby Wallace|
|1996||Northern Colorado (1)||Carson–Newman||23–14||Braly Municipal Stadium||Florence, Alabama||5,745||Joe Glenn|
|1997||Northern Colorado (2)||New Haven||51–0||Braly Municipal Stadium||Florence, Alabama||3,352||Joe Glenn|
|1998||Northwest Missouri State (1)||Carson–Newman||24–6||Braly Municipal Stadium||Florence, Alabama||6,149||Mel Tjeerdsma|
|1999||Northwest Missouri State (2)||Carson–Newman||58–52 4OT||Braly Municipal Stadium||Florence, Alabama||8,451||Mel Tjeerdsma|
|2000||Delta State (1)||Bloomsburg||63–34||Braly Municipal Stadium||Florence, Alabama||7,123||Steve Campbell|
|2001||North Dakota (1)||Grand Valley State||17–14||Braly Municipal Stadium||Florence, Alabama||6,113||Dale Lennon|
|2002||Grand Valley State (1)||Valdosta State||31–24||Braly Municipal Stadium||Florence, Alabama||9,783||Brian Kelly|
|2003||Grand Valley State (2)||North Dakota||10–3||Braly Municipal Stadium||Florence, Alabama||7,236||Brian Kelly|
|2004||Valdosta State (1)||Pittsburg State||36–31||Braly Municipal Stadium||Florence, Alabama||8,604||Chris Hatcher|
|2005||Grand Valley State (3)||Northwest Missouri State||21–17||Braly Municipal Stadium||Florence, Alabama||6,837||Chuck Martin|
|2006||Grand Valley State (4)||Northwest Missouri State||17–14||Braly Municipal Stadium||Florence, Alabama||7,437||Chuck Martin|
|2007||Valdosta State (2)||Northwest Missouri State||25–20||Braly Municipal Stadium||Florence, Alabama||7,532||David Dean|
|2008||Minnesota–Duluth (1)||Northwest Missouri State||21–14||Braly Municipal Stadium||Florence, Alabama||6,215||Bob Nielson|
|2009||Northwest Missouri State (3)||Grand Valley State||30–23||Braly Municipal Stadium||Florence, Alabama||6,211||Mel Tjeerdsma|
|2010||Minnesota–Duluth (2)||Delta State||20–17||Braly Municipal Stadium||Florence, Alabama||4,027||Bob Nielson|
|2011||Pittsburg State (2)||Wayne State (MI)||35–21||Braly Municipal Stadium||Florence, Alabama||7,276||Tim Beck|
|2012||Valdosta State (3)||Winston-Salem State||35–7||Braly Municipal Stadium||Florence, Alabama||7,525||David Dean|
|2013||Northwest Missouri State (4)||Lenoir–Rhyne||43–28||Braly Municipal Stadium||Florence, Alabama||6,543||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 Park||Kansas City, Kansas||16,181||Adam Dorrel|
|2016||Northwest Missouri State (6)||North Alabama||29–3||Children's Mercy Park||Kansas City, Kansas||9,576||Adam Dorrel|
|2017||Texas A&M–Commerce (1)||West Florida||37–27||Children's Mercy Park||Kansas City, Kansas||4,259||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 Stadium||McKinney, Texas||3,415||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.
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:
|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|
Winners of regional bowls
|1964||Montana State||State College (IA)||Middle Tennessee State||East Carolina|
|1965||Cal State Los Angeles||North Dakota State||Ball State / Tennessee State (tie)||East Carolina|
|1966||San Diego State||North Dakota||Tennessee State||Morgan State|
|1967||San Diego State||Texas-Arlington||Eastern Kentucky||Tennessee-Martin|
|1968||Humboldt State||North Dakota State||Louisiana Tech||Delaware|
|1969||North Dakota State||Arkansas State||East Tennessee State||Delaware|
|1970||North Dakota State||Arkansas State||Tennessee State||Delaware|
|1971||Boise State||Louisiana Tech||Tennessee State||Delaware|
|1972||North Dakota||Tennessee State||Louisiana Tech||Massachusetts|
From 1973 to 1977, some of the tournament games were also known by bowl names;
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The Grantland Rice Bowl was an annual college football bowl game from 1964 through 1977, in the NCAA's College Division, for smaller universities and colleges, and later Division II. The game was named for Grantland Rice, an early 20th century American sportswriter known for his elegant prose, and was originally played in his hometown of Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
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A national championship in the highest level of college football in the United States, currently the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), is a designation awarded annually by various organizations to their selection of the best college football team. Division I FBS football is the only National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) sport for which the NCAA does not sanction a yearly championship event. As such, it is sometimes unofficially referred to as a "mythical national championship".
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The 1968 NCAA College Division football season was the 13th season of college football in the United States organized by the National Collegiate Athletic Association at the NCAA College Division level.
The 1971 NCAA College Division football season was the 16th season of college football in the United States organized by the National Collegiate Athletic Association at the NCAA College Division level.
The 1972 NCAA College Division football season was the 17th and final season of college football in the United States organized by the National Collegiate Athletic Association at the NCAA College Division level.