NCAA Division II Football Championship
Logo used for the 2005 NCAA Division II National Championship Game
In operation1973–present
Preceded bySmall college polls
Number of playoff teams28
Championship trophyNCAA Division II National Championship Trophy
Television partner(s)ESPNU
Most playoff appearancesNorthwest Missouri State (24)
Most playoff championshipsNorthwest Missouri State (6)
Current championFerris State (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 polled a panel of writers, while UPI polled 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)
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
1973dagger Tennessee State
1974dagger Louisiana Tech Central Michigan

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

NCAA Division II champions

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.
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.

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.

See also: List of NCAA Division II Football Championship appearances by team

Season Champion Score Runner-up Venue Location Attendance Winning
head coach
1973 Louisiana Tech (1) 34–0 Western Kentucky Hughes Stadium Sacramento, California 12,016 Maxie Lambright
1974 Central Michigan (1) 54–14 Delaware Hughes Stadium Sacramento, California 14,137 Roy Kramer
1975 Northern Michigan (1) 16–14 Western Kentucky Hughes Stadium Sacramento California 12,017 Gil Krueger
1976 Montana State (1) 24–13 Akron Memorial Stadium Wichita Falls, Texas 13,200 Sonny Holland
1977 Lehigh (1) 33–0 Jacksonville State Memorial Stadium Wichita Falls, Texas 14,114 John Whitehead
1978 Eastern Illinois (1) 10–9 Delaware Lobo Stadium Longview, Texas 5,500 Darrell Mudra
1979 Delaware (1) 38–21 Youngstown State University Stadium Albuquerque, New Mexico 4,000 Tubby Raymond
1980 Cal Poly (1) 21–13 Eastern Illinois University Stadium Albuquerque, New Mexico 2,056[3] Joe Harper
1981 Southwest Texas State (1) 42–13 North Dakota State Veterans Memorial Stadium McAllen, Texas 9,415 Jim Wacker
1982 Southwest Texas State (2) 34–9 UC Davis Veterans Memorial Stadium McAllen, Texas 8,000 Jim Wacker
1983 North Dakota State (1) 41–21 Central State Veterans Memorial Stadium McAllen, Texas 5,275 Don Morton
1984 Troy State (1) 18–17 North Dakota State Veterans Memorial Stadium McAllen, Texas 4,500 Chan Gailey
1985 North Dakota State (2) 35–7 North Alabama Veterans Memorial Stadium McAllen, Texas 6,000 Earle Solomonson
1986 North Dakota State (3) 27–7 South Dakota Braly Municipal Stadium Florence, Alabama 11,506 Earle Solomonson
1987 Troy State (2) 31–17 Portland State Braly Municipal Stadium Florence, Alabama 10,600 Rick Rhoades
1988 North Dakota State (4) 35–21 Portland State Braly Municipal Stadium Florence, Alabama 6,763 Rocky Hager
1989 Mississippi College 3–0 Jacksonville State Braly Municipal Stadium Florence, Alabama 6,763 John M. Williams
1990 North Dakota State (5) 51–11 Indiana (PA) Braly Municipal Stadium Florence, Alabama 10,080 Rocky Hager
1991 Pittsburg State (1) 23–6 Jacksonville State Braly Municipal Stadium Florence, Alabama 11,500 Chuck Broyles
1992 Jacksonville State (1) 17–13 Pittsburg State Braly Municipal Stadium Florence, Alabama 11,733 Bill Burgess
1993 North Alabama (1) 41–34 Indiana (PA) Braly Municipal Stadium Florence, Alabama 15,361 Bobby Wallace
1994 North Alabama (2) 16–10 Texas A&M–Kingsville Braly Municipal Stadium Florence, Alabama 13,526 Bobby Wallace
1995 North Alabama (3) 27–7 Pittsburg State Braly Municipal Stadium Florence, Alabama 15,241 Bobby Wallace
1996 Northern Colorado (1) 23–14 Carson–Newman Braly Municipal Stadium Florence, Alabama 5,745 Joe Glenn
1997 Northern Colorado (2) 51–0 New Haven Braly Municipal Stadium Florence, Alabama 3,352 Joe Glenn
1998 Northwest Missouri State (1) 24–6 Carson–Newman Braly Municipal Stadium Florence, Alabama 6,149 Mel Tjeerdsma
1999 Northwest Missouri State (2) 58–52 4OT Carson–Newman Braly Municipal Stadium Florence, Alabama 8,451 Mel Tjeerdsma
2000 Delta State (1) 63–34 Bloomsburg Braly Municipal Stadium Florence, Alabama 7,123 Steve Campbell
2001 North Dakota (1) 17–14 Grand Valley State Braly Municipal Stadium Florence, Alabama 6,113 Dale Lennon
2002 Grand Valley State (1) 31–24 Valdosta State Braly Municipal Stadium Florence, Alabama 9,783 Brian Kelly
2003 Grand Valley State (2) 10–3 North Dakota Braly Municipal Stadium Florence, Alabama 7,236 Brian Kelly
2004 Valdosta State (1) 36–31 Pittsburg State Braly Municipal Stadium Florence, Alabama 8,604 Chris Hatcher
2005 Grand Valley State (3) 21–17 Northwest Missouri State Braly Municipal Stadium Florence, Alabama 6,837 Chuck Martin
2006 Grand Valley State (4) 17–14 Northwest Missouri State Braly Municipal Stadium Florence, Alabama 7,437 Chuck Martin
2007 Valdosta State (2) 25–20 Northwest Missouri State Braly Municipal Stadium Florence, Alabama 7,532 David Dean
2008 Minnesota–Duluth (1) 21–14 Northwest Missouri State Braly Municipal Stadium Florence, Alabama 6,215 Bob Nielson
2009 Northwest Missouri State (3) 30–23 Grand Valley State Braly Municipal Stadium Florence, Alabama 6,211 Mel Tjeerdsma
2010 Minnesota–Duluth (2) 20–17 Delta State Braly Municipal Stadium Florence, Alabama 4,027 Bob Nielson
2011 Pittsburg State (2) 35–21 Wayne State (MI) Braly Municipal Stadium Florence, Alabama 7,276 Tim Beck
2012 Valdosta State (3) 35–7 Winston-Salem State Braly Municipal Stadium Florence, Alabama 7,525 David Dean
2013 Northwest Missouri State (4) 43–28 Lenoir–Rhyne Braly Municipal Stadium Florence, Alabama 6,543 Adam Dorrel
2014 CSU–Pueblo (1) 13–0 Minnesota State–Mankato Children's Mercy Park Kansas City, Kansas 6,762 John Wristen
2015 Northwest Missouri State (5) 34–7 Shepherd Children's Mercy Park Kansas City, Kansas 16,181 Adam Dorrel
2016 Northwest Missouri State (6) 29–3 North Alabama Children's Mercy Park Kansas City, Kansas 9,576[4] Adam Dorrel
2017 Texas A&M–Commerce (1) 37–27 West Florida Children's Mercy Park Kansas City, Kansas 4,259 Colby Carthel
2018 Valdosta State (4) 49–47 Ferris State McKinney ISD Stadium McKinney, Texas 4,306 Kerwin Bell
2019 West Florida (1) 48–40 Minnesota State–Mankato McKinney ISD Stadium McKinney, Texas 3,415 Pete Shinnick
2020 Canceled due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic
2021 Ferris State (1) 58–17 Valdosta State McKinney ISD Stadium McKinney, Texas 3,933 Tony Annese

† Mississippi College's 1989 tournament participation, along with its championship, were vacated by the NCAA Committee on Infractions.[5]

Most national championships

Team Titles Winning Years
Northwest Missouri State 6 1998, 1999, 2009, 2013, 2015, 2016
North Dakota State 5 1983, 1985, 1986, 1988, 1990
Grand Valley State 4 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006
Valdosta State 4 2004, 2007, 2012, 2018
North Alabama 3 1993, 1994, 1995
Pittsburg State 2 1991, 2011
Minnesota–Duluth 2 2008, 2010
Northern Colorado 2 1996, 1997
Texas State[a] 2 1981, 1982
Troy[b] 2 1984, 1987
Cal Poly 1 1980
Central Michigan 1 1974
CSU–Pueblo 1 2014
Delaware 1 1979
Delta State 1 2000
Eastern Illinois 1 1978
Ferris State 1 2021
Jacksonville State 1 1992
Lehigh 1 1977
Louisiana Tech 1 1973
Montana State 1 1976
North Dakota 1 2001
Northern Michigan 1 1975
Texas A&M–Commerce 1 2017
West Florida 1 2019
Mississippi College 0 1989

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

Championship game appearances

Main article: List of NCAA Division II Football Championship appearances by team

Programs that no longer compete in Division II are indicated in italics with a pink background.

Team Appearances Years
Northwest Missouri State 10 1998, 1999, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2013, 2015, 2016
North Dakota State 7 1981, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1988, 1990
Grand Valley State 6 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2009
Valdosta State 6 2002, 2004, 2007, 2012, 2018, 2021
Pittsburg State 5 1991, 1992, 1995, 2004, 2011
North Alabama 5 1985, 1993, 1994, 1995, 2016
Jacksonville State 4 1977, 1989, 1991, 1992
Carson–Newman 3 1996, 1998, 1999
Delaware 3 1974, 1978, 1979
Delta State 2 2000, 2010
Eastern Illinois 2 1978, 1980
Ferris State 2 2018, 2021
Indiana (PA) 2 1990, 1993
Minnesota–Duluth 2 2008, 2010
Minnesota State–Mankato 2 2014, 2019
North Dakota 2 2001, 2003
Northern Colorado 2 1996, 1997
Portland State 2 1987, 1988
Texas State[a] 2 1981, 1982
Troy[b] 2 1984, 1987
Western Kentucky 2 1973, 1975
West Florida 2 2017, 2019
Akron 1 1976
Bloomsburg 1 2000
Cal Poly 1 1980
Central Michigan 1 1974
Central State 1 1983
CSU–Pueblo 1 2014
Lehigh 1 1977
Lenoir–Rhyne Bears 1 2013
Louisiana Tech 1 1973
Montana State 1 1976
New Haven 1 1997
Northern Michigan 1 1975
Shepherd 1 2015
South Dakota 1 1986
Texas A&M–Commerce 1 2017
Texas A&M–Kingsville 1 1994
UC Davis 1 1982
Wayne State (MI) 1 2011
Winston-Salem State 1 2012
Youngstown State 1 1979
Mississippi College 0 1989

Of the programs that no longer compete in D-II, Akron, Central Michigan, Louisiana Tech, Texas State, Troy and Western Kentucky currently competes in Division I FBS. All others compete in Division I FCS.

Notes

† 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,[5] 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:

Region 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972
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

Year West Midwest Mideast East
1964 Montana State State College of Iowa Middle Tennessee East Carolina
1965 Cal State Los Angeles North Dakota State Ball State / Tennessee A&I (tie) East Carolina
1966 San Diego State North Dakota Tennessee A&I 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 State Tennessee State Louisiana Tech UMass

[5]

Playoff bowls

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

References

  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". KansasCity.com. Kansas City Star. September 4, 2018. Retrieved September 6, 2018.
  3. ^ "Cal Poly-SLO, Martin wreck Eastern Illinois". The Pantagraph. Bloomington, Illinois. AP. December 14, 1980. Retrieved February 26, 2017 – via newspapers.com.
  4. ^ "North Alabama vs. Northwest Missouri State - Game Summary". ESPN. December 18, 2016.
  5. ^ a b c "Division II All-Time Championship Results Bracket" (PDF). NCAA. NCAA.org. p. 2. Retrieved March 3, 2014.

See also