1981 NCAA Division II football season
Regular seasonAugust – November 1981
PlayoffsDecember 1981
National ChampionshipPalm Bowl
Veterans Stadium
McAllen, TX
ChampionSouthwest Texas State

The 1981 NCAA Division II football season, part of college football in the United States organized by the National Collegiate Athletic Association at the Division II level, began in August 1981, and concluded with the NCAA Division II Football Championship on December 12, 1981, at McAllen Veterans Memorial Stadium in McAllen, Texas. During the game's five-year stretch in McAllen, the "City of Palms", it was referred to as the Palm Bowl.

Southwest Texas State defeated North Dakota State in the championship game, 42–13, to win their first Division II national title.[1]

Conference realignment

Conference changes

Membership changes

School 1980 Conference 1981 Conference
Eastern Washington Evergreen (NAIA) D-II Independent
Liberty NAIA Independent D-II Independent
Mankato State Northern North Central
Northern Michigan Mid-Continent D-II Independent
Portland State I-AA Independent D-II Independent
Southwest Missouri State MIAA Mid-Continent (I-AA)
St. Cloud State Northern North Central
Youngstown State Mid-Continent (D-II) Ohio Valley (I-AA)

Conference standings

1981 California Collegiate Athletic Association football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
CalState Northridge $ 2 0 0 6 4 1
Cal Poly Pomona 1 1 0 4 7 0
Cal Poly 0 2 0 4 5 0
  • $ – Conference champion
1981 Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
Northern
No. 2 Virginia Union xy$^ 7 0 0 11 1 0
Elizabeth City State ^ 6 1 0 8 3 0
Hampton 5 2 0 8 2 0
Norfolk State 3 4 0 4 5 1
Virginia State 3 4 0 4 6 0
Saint Paul's (VA) 0 7 0 0 10 0
Southern
North Carolina Central xy 6 1 0 7 4 0
Winston-Salem State 4 3 0 5 5 0
Johnson C. Smith 3 4 0 4 6 0
Fayetteville State 2 5 0 3 5 0
Livingstone 1 6 0 3 7 0
Bowie State * 2 5 0 5 5 0
Championship: Virginia Union 45, North Carolina Central 7
  • $ – Conference champion
  • x – Division champion/co-champions
  • y – Championship game participant
  • ^ – NCAA Division II playoff participant
  • * – ineligible for conference title
Rankings from NCAA Division II Football Committee poll
1981 Far Western Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
UC Davis + 4 1 0 6 4 0
Cal State Hayward + 4 1 0 6 4 1
Humboldt State 3 2 0 6 4 0
Chico State 3 2 0 5 5 0
Sacramento State 1 4 0 5 6 0
San Francisco State 0 5 0 3 7 0
  • + – Conference co-champions
1981 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
Grand Valley State $ 6 0 0 7 2 0
Hillsdale ^ 5 1 0 10 2 0
Ferris State 3 3 0 4 4 0
Wayne State (MI) 3 3 0 4 5 0
Northwood 2 4 0 4 6 0
Saginaw Valley State 2 4 0 3 7 0
Michigan Tech 0 6 0 1 8 0
  • $ – Conference champion
  • ^ – NAIA Division I playoff participant
1981 Gulf South Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
No. 5 Jacksonville State $^ 6 0 0 8 3 0
No. T–10 North Alabama 4 2 0 8 2 0
Livingston 4 2 0 6 3 0
Mississippi College 3 3 0 6 4 0
Tennessee–Martin 3 3 0 4 7 0
Troy State 1 5 0 3 7 0
Delta State 0 6 0 3 7 0
  • $ – Conference champion
  • ^ – NCAA Division II playoff participant
Rankings from NCAA Division II Football Committee poll
1981 Heartland Collegiate Conference standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
Franklin (IN) + 6 1 0 8 2 0
Indiana Central + 6 1 0 7 4 0
Saint Joseph's (IN) 5 2 0 6 3 0
Ashland 5 2 0 6 4 0
Butler 2 5 0 3 7 0
Evansville 2 5 0 3 8 0
Georgetown (KY) 1 6 0 1 9 0
Valparaiso 1 6 0 1 9 0
  • + – Conference co-champions
1981 Lone Star Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
No. 4 Southwest Texas State $^ 6 1 0 13 1 0
No. 9 Texas A&I 5 2 0 9 2 0
Abilene Christian 5 2 0 8 2 0
Angelo State 5 2 0 8 3 0
East Texas State 4 3 0 7 4 0
Sam Houston State 2 5 0 3 7 0
Howard Payne 1 6 0 3 7 0
Stephen F. Austin 0 7 0 1 10 0
  • $ – Conference champion
  • ^ – NCAA Division II playoff participant
Rankings from NCAA Division II Football Committee poll
1981 Missouri Intercollegiate Athletic Association football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
NE Missouri State $ 4 1 0 6 4 0
Missouri-Rolla 3 1 1 6 3 1
NW Missouri State 3 2 0 6 4 0
Central Missouri State 2 2 1 4 4 3
SE Missouri State 2 3 0 2 9 0
Lincoln (MO) 0 5 0 0 11 0
  • $ – Conference champion
  • ^ – NCAA Division II playoff participant


1981 North Central Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
No. 6 North Dakota State $^ 7 0 0 10 3 0
North Dakota 4 3 0 6 4 0
Northern Colorado 4 3 0 5 4 0
South Dakota * 3 3 1 5 6 0
Nebraska–Omaha 3 4 0 5 6 0
South Dakota State * 2 4 1 4 6 0
Morningside 2 5 0 5 6 0
Augustana (SD) 2 5 0 3 7 0
  • + – Conference co-champions
  • ^ – NCAA Division II playoff participant
  • * – South Dakota and South Dakota State split two head-to-head games, which counted as a tie for each team in the conference standings.
Rankings from AP Poll
1981 NCAA Division II independents football records
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
No. 1 Northern Michigan ^     11 1 0
Eastern Washington     7 3 0
Saint Mary's     7 3 0
Arkansas–Pine Bluff     5 4 2
Central Connecticut     5 5 0
New Haven     4 4 2
Towson State     5 5 0
Morgan State     4 5 0
Central State (OH)     4 7 0
Sonoma State     3 7 0
Santa Clara     2 8 0
Portland State     2 9 0
American International     1 8 0
Liberty     1 9 0
  • ^ – NCAA Division II playoff participant
Rankings from NCAA Division II Football Committee poll

Conference summaries

See also: List of NCAA Division II football seasons

Conference Champions

Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association – Virginia Union
Far Western Football Conference – UC Davis and Cal State–Hayward
Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference – Grand Valley State
Gulf South Conference – Jacksonville State
Lone Star Conference – Southwest Texas State
Missouri Intercollegiate Athletic Association – Northeast Missouri State
North Central Conference – North Dakota State
Northern Intercollegiate Conference – Minnesota State–Moorhead
Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference – Shippensburg
Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference – New Mexico Highlands
South Atlantic Conference – Elon
Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference – Alabama A&M

Postseason

1981 NCAA Division II Football Championship
Teams8
Finals Site
Champion
Runner-up
Semifinalists
Winning coach

The 1981 NCAA Division II Football Championship playoffs were the ninth single-elimination tournament to determine the national champion of men's NCAA Division II college football. The championship game was held at McAllen Veterans Memorial Stadium in McAllen, Texas, for the first time.

Playoff bracket

First round
Campus sites
Semifinals
Campus sites
Championship
McAllen Veterans Memorial Stadium
McAllen, TX
         
Northern Michigan 55
Elizabeth City State 6
Northern Michigan 0
Southwest Texas State 62
Southwest Texas State 38
Jacksonville State 22
Southwest Texas State 42
North Dakota State 13
North Dakota State 24
Puget Sound 10
North Dakota State 18
Shippensburg 6
Shippensburg 40
Virginia Union 27

See also

References

  1. ^ "1981 NCAA Division II National Football Championship Bracket" (PDF). NCAA. NCAA.org. p. 13. Retrieved January 4, 2014.