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NCAA Division I

Highest level of intercollegiate athletics sanctioned by the National Collegiate Athletic Association

Top 10 NCAA Division I related articles

NCAA Division I (D-I) is the highest level of intercollegiate athletics sanctioned by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in the United States. D-I schools include the major collegiate athletic powers, with larger budgets, more elaborate facilities and more athletic scholarships than Divisions II and III as well as many smaller schools committed to the highest level of intercollegiate competition.

This level was once called the University Division of the NCAA, in contrast to the lower level College Division; these terms were replaced with numeric divisions in 1973. The University Division was renamed Division I, while the College Division was split in two; the College Division members that offered scholarships or wanted to compete against those who did became Division II, while those who did not want to offer scholarships became Division III.[1]

For college football only, D-I schools are further divided into the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), and those institutions that do not have any football program. FBS teams have higher game attendance requirements and more players receiving athletic scholarships than FCS teams. The FBS is named for its series of postseason bowl games, with various polls ranking teams after the conclusion of these games, while the FCS national champion is determined by a multi-team bracket tournament.

For the 2020–21 school year, Division I contained 357 of the NCAA's 1,066 member institutions, with 130 in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), 127 in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), and 100 non-football schools, with six additional schools in the transition from Division II to Division I.[2][3] There was a moratorium on any additional movement up to D-I until 2012, after which any school that wants to move to D-I must be accepted for membership by a conference and show the NCAA it has the financial ability to support a D-I program.

D-I schools

Schools must field teams in at least seven sports for men and seven for women or six for men and eight for women, with at least two team sports for each gender.[4][5] Teams that include both men and women are counted as men's sports for the purposes of sponsorship counting.[4] Division I schools must meet minimum financial aid awards for their athletics program, and there are maximum financial aid awards for each sport that a Division I school cannot exceed.[6] Several other NCAA sanctioned minimums and differences distinguish Division I from Divisions II and III.[5] Members must sponsor at least one sport (not necessarily a team sport) for each sex in each playing season (fall, winter, spring), again with coeducational teams counted as men's teams for this purpose.[7] There are contest and participant minimums for each sport, as well as scheduling criteria. For sports other than football and basketball, Division I schools must play 100 percent of the minimum number of contests against Division I opponents—anything over the minimum number of games has to be 50 percent Division I. Men's and women's basketball teams have to play all but two games against Division I teams; for men, they must play one-third of all their contests in the home arena.[8]

In addition to the schools that compete fully as D-I institutions, the NCAA allows D-II and D-III schools to classify one men's and one women's sport (other than football or basketball) as a D-I sport, as long as they sponsored those sports before the latest rules change in 2011.[9] Also, Division II schools are eligible to compete for Division I national championships in sports that do not have a Division II national championship, and in those sports may also operate under D-I rules and scholarship limits.[10]

FBS and FCS

For football only, Division I was further subdivided in 1978 into Division I-A (the principal football schools), Division I-AA (the other schools with football teams), and Division I (those schools not sponsoring football).[11][12] In 2006, Division I-A and I-AA were renamed "Football Bowl Subdivision" (FBS) and "Football Championship Subdivision" (FCS), respectively.

FBS teams are allowed a maximum of 85 players receiving athletically based aid per year, with each player on scholarship receiving a full scholarship. FCS teams have the same 85-player limit as FBS teams, but are allowed to give aid equivalent to only 63 full scholarships. FCS teams are allowed to award partial scholarships, a practice technically allowed but essentially never used at the FBS level. FBS teams also have to meet minimum game attendance requirements (average 15,000 people in actual or paid attendance per home game), while FCS teams do not need to meet minimum attendance requirements.

Another difference is postseason play. Since 1978, FCS teams have played in an NCAA-sanctioned bracket tournament culminating in a title game, the NCAA Division I Football Championship, to determine a national champion. Meanwhile, FBS teams play in bowl games, with various polls ranking teams after the conclusion of these games, yielding a Consensus National Champion annually since 1950. Starting with the 2014 postseason, a four-team College Football Playoff has been contested, replacing a one-game championship format that had started during the 1992 postseason with the Bowl Coalition. Even so, Division I FBS football remains the only NCAA sport in which a yearly champion is not determined by an NCAA-sanctioned championship event.

NCAA Division I D-I schools articles: 7

Finances

Division I athletic programs generated $8.7 billion in revenue in the 2009–2010 academic year. Men's teams provided 55%, women's teams 15%, and 30% was not categorized by sex or sport. Football and men's basketball are usually a university's only profitable sports,[13] and are called "revenue sports".[14] From 2008 to 2012, 205 varsity teams were dropped in NCAA Division I – 72 for women and 133 for men, with men's tennis, gymnastics and wrestling hit particularly hard.[15]

In the Football Bowl Subdivision (130 schools in 2017), between 50 and 60 percent of football and men's basketball programs generated positive revenues (above program expenses).[16] However, in the Football Championship Subdivision (124 schools in 2017), only four percent of football and five percent of men's basketball programs generated positive revenues.[17]

In 2012, 2% of athletic budgets were spent on equipment, uniforms and supplies for male athletes at NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision school, with the median spending per-school at $742,000.[18]

In 2014, the NCAA and the student athletes debated whether student athletes should be paid. In April, the NCAA approved students-athletes getting free unlimited meals and snacks. The NCAA stated "The adoption of the meals legislation finished a conversation that began in the Awards, Benefits, Expenses and Financial Aid Cabinet. Members have worked to find appropriate ways to ensure student-athletes get the nutrition they need without jeopardizing Pell Grants or other federal aid received by the neediest student-athletes. With their vote, members of the council said they believe loosening NCAA rules on what and when food can be provided from athletics departments is the best way to address the issue."[19]

Conferences

Under NCAA regulations, all Division I conferences defined as "multisport conferences" must meet the following criteria:[20]

  • A total of at least seven active Division I members.
  • Separate from the above, at least seven active Division I members that sponsor both men's and women's basketball.
  • Sponsorship of at least 12 NCAA Division I sports.
  • Minimum of six men's sports, with the following additional restrictions:
    • Men's basketball is a mandatory sport, and at least seven members must sponsor that sport.
    • Non-football conferences must sponsor at least two men's team sports other than basketball.
    • At least six members must sponsor five men's sports other than basketball, including either football or two other team sports.
  • Minimum of six women's sports, with the following additional restrictions:
    • Women's basketball is a mandatory sport, with at least seven members sponsoring that sport.
    • At least two other women's team sports must be sponsored.
    • At least six members must sponsor five women's sports other than basketball, including either football or two other team sports. If a conference officially sponsors an NCAA "emerging sport" for women (as of 2020, acrobatics & tumbling, equestrianism, rugby union, triathlon, or wrestling), that sport will be counted if five members (instead of six) sponsor it.

FBS conferences

FBS conferences must meet a more stringent set of requirements for NCAA recognition than other conferences:[21]

  • A total of at least eight active FBS members.
  • To be counted toward this total, a school must participate in conference play in at least six men's and eight women's sports, including men's and women's basketball, football, and at least two other women's team sports.
    • Each school may count one men's and one women's sport not sponsored by its primary conference toward the above limits, as long as that sport competes in another Division I conference. The men's and women's sports so counted need not be the same sport.
Conference Nickname Founded Members Sports Headquarters Total
NCAA
Titles
Men's
NCAA
Titles
Women's
NCAA
Titles
Co-ed
NCAA
Titles
American Athletic Conference *** The American 1979[a] 11 [b][c] 22 Providence, Rhode Island 55 37 18 0
Atlantic Coast Conference ** ACC 1953 15 [d] 27 Greensboro, North Carolina 150 87 58 5
Big Ten Conference ** Big Ten 1896 14 [e] 28 Rosemont, Illinois 317 229 72 16
Big 12 Conference ** Big 12 1996 10 [f] 21 Irving, Texas 166 3
Conference USA *** C-USA 1995[g] 14 [h] 19 Irving, Texas
Division I FBS Independents[i] 7 1
Mid-American Conference *** MAC 1946 12[j] 24 Cleveland, Ohio
Mountain West Conference *** MW 1999 11[k][l] 19 Colorado Springs, Colorado 21 13 5 3
Pac-12 Conference ** Pac-12 1915[m] 12[n] 24 Walnut Creek, California 501 309 174 18
Southeastern Conference ** SEC 1932 14 20 Birmingham, Alabama 223 118 104 1
Sun Belt Conference *** Sun Belt 1976 12[o][p] 18 New Orleans, Louisiana 12 12 0 0

(** "Power Five" conferences with guaranteed berths in the "access bowls" associated with the College Football Playoff)

(*** "Group of Five" conferences)

Notes
  1. ^ The conference was founded in 1979 as the original Big East Conference. It renamed itself the American Athletic Conference following a 2013 split along football lines. The non-FBS schools of the original conference left to form a new conference that purchased the Big East name, while the FBS schools continued to operate under the old Big East's charter and structure. The American also inherited the old Big East's Bowl Championship Series berth for the 2013 season, the last for the BCS.
  2. ^ 10 of the 11 full members sponsor football, with Wichita State as the only non-football member.
  3. ^ In addition to the full members, five schools have single-sport associate membership, and another is a member in two sports:
  4. ^ Notre Dame is a full member except in football, in which it remains independent. It has committed to play five games each season against ACC opponents, and to play each other ACC member at least once every three years.
  5. ^ In addition to the full members, two schools have affiliate membership:
    • Johns Hopkins, otherwise a Division III member, is an affiliate in both men's and women's lacrosse, sports in which the school fields Division I teams.
    • Notre Dame is a men's hockey affiliate.
  6. ^ In addition to the full members, the Big 12 has 10 members that participate in only one sport, plus one that competes in two sports:
  7. ^ The conference was founded in 1995, with football competition starting in 1996.
  8. ^ In addition to the 14 full members, Conference USA features two schools that play men's soccer in the conference: Kentucky and South Carolina.
  9. ^ Note that "Independents" is not a conference; it is simply a designation used for schools whose football programs do not play in any conference. All of these schools have conference memberships for other sports.
  10. ^ In addition to the 12 full members, the Mid-American Conference features 18 members which only participate in one sport each, plus one other school that competes in two sports.
  11. ^ Since 2012, Hawaiʻi has been a football-only associate member, with most of its remaining teams in the non-football Big West Conference.
  12. ^ In addition to the 11 full members and football affiliate Hawaiʻi, Colorado College, a Division III school with a Division I men's ice hockey team, plays Division I women's soccer in the MW.
  13. ^ The charter of the Pac-12 dates only to the formation of the Athletic Association of Western Universities (AAWU) in 1959. However, the Pac-12 claims the history of the Pacific Coast Conference, which was founded in 1915 and began competition in 1916, as its own. Of the nine members of the PCC at the time of its demise in June 1959, only Idaho never joined the Pac-12. The PCC's berth in the Rose Bowl passed to the AAWU.
  14. ^ The Pac-12 also includes four associate members, each of which competes in a single sport. San Diego State plays men's soccer, and Cal State Bakersfield, Cal Poly, and Little Rock compete in wrestling.
  15. ^ Ten Sun Belt Conference members currently sponsor football, with Little Rock and UT Arlington as members that do not play football at all.
  16. ^ Central Arkansas and Howard are affiliates in men's soccer. Howard will move men's soccer to the Northeast Conference in July 2021.

FCS conferences

Conference Nickname Founded Football Members Sports Headquarters
Big Sky Conference Big Sky 1963 13[a] 16 Ogden, Utah
Big South Conference Big South 1983 8[b] 19 Charlotte, North Carolina
Colonial Athletic Association CAA 1979 12[c] 21 Richmond, Virginia
Ivy League [d] 1954 8 33 Princeton, New Jersey
Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference [e] MEAC 1970 9[f] 16 Norfolk, Virginia
Missouri Valley Football Conference MVFC 1982 11 1 St. Louis, Missouri
Northeast Conference NEC 1981 8[g] 24 Somerset, New Jersey
Ohio Valley Conference OVC 1948 9[h] 19 Brentwood, Tennessee
Patriot League 1986 7[i] 24 Center Valley, Pennsylvania
Pioneer Football League PFL 1991 9[j] 1 St. Louis, Missouri
Southern Conference SoCon 1921 9[k] 20 Spartanburg, South Carolina
Southland Conference Southland 1963 11[l] 17 Frisco, Texas
Southwestern Athletic Conference [m] SWAC 1920 10[n] 18 Birmingham, Alabama
Notes
  1. ^ The football membership consists of all 11 full members plus football-only affiliates Cal Poly and UC Davis.
    • The conference will drop to 10 total members and 12 football members in 2022 with the departure of Southern Utah for the Western Athletic Conference.
  2. ^ Six full Big South members do not sponsor football at all, while a seventh (Presbyterian) is playing an FCS independent in 2020–21 before joining the Pioneer Football League. The Big South football league includes four associate members: Kennesaw State, Monmouth, North Alabama, and Robert Morris.
    • 9 football members in 2021 with addition of North Carolina A&T as a full member, including football.
    • 7 football members in 2022 with loss of Kennesaw State and North Alabama to the new football league of their full-time home, the ASUN Conference.
  3. ^ Of the 10 full CAA members, five do not sponsor football at all. The CAA football league includes seven associate members: Albany, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Richmond, Stony Brook, and Villanova.
  4. ^ The Ivy League abstains from the championship tournament and all postseason play.
  5. ^ The MEAC Champion, since 2015, forgoes its automatic bid to allow its champion to participate in the Celebration Bowl. Non-champions are eligible for at-large bids (an example being North Carolina A&T in 2016).
  6. ^ Of the 11 full MEAC members, two do not sponsor football: Coppin State and Maryland Eastern Shore.
    • 6 football members in 2021 with departure of Bethune–Cookman and Florida A&M to the Southwestern Athletic Conference, and North Carolina A&T to the Big South Conference.
  7. ^ Three of the 10 full members do not sponsor football. The seven football-sponsoring schools are joined by associate member Duquesne.
  8. ^ Of the 12 full members, Belmont and SIU Edwardsville do not sponsor football, and Morehead State competes in the Pioneer Football League.
  9. ^ Of the 10 full members, American, Boston University, and Loyola (MD) do not sponsor football, and Army and Navy play FBS football. The five full members that play Patriot League football are joined by associates Fordham and Georgetown.
  10. ^ 11 members in 2021 with addition of Presbyterian and St. Thomas (MN).
  11. ^ 10 full members, with UNC Greensboro not sponsoring football.
  12. ^ Two of the 13 full members do not sponsor football: New Orleans and Texas A&M–Corpus Christi.
  13. ^ The SWAC abstains from the championship tournament to allow for a longer regular season, an in-conference championship game and the winner participating in the Celebration Bowl. If a team is not in the championship game and not playing a regular season game on the 1st weekend of the FCS Playoffs. They could qualify for a At-Large bid to play if selected.
  14. ^ 12 full members, all with football, in 2021 with addition of Bethune–Cookman and Florida A&M.

NCAA Division I Conferences articles: 152

Sports

Men's team sports

No. Sport Teams[22] Conferences Scholarships
per team
Season Most Championships
1 Football 257
(130 FBS, 127 FCS)
24
(10 FBS, 14 FCS)
85 (FBS)
63.0 (FCS)
Fall Princeton (28)
2 Basketball 351 32 13 Winter UCLA (11)
3 Baseball 302 32 11.7 Spring USC (12)
4 Soccer 204 23 9.9 Fall St. Louis (10)
5 Wrestling 79 7 9.9 Winter Oklahoma State (34)
6 Ice Hockey 61 6 18.0 Winter Michigan (9)
7 Lacrosse 68 10 12.6 Spring Syracuse (10)
8 Volleyball 23 4 4.5 Spring UCLA (19)
9 Water Polo 22 4 4.5 Fall California (13)

Sports are ranked according to total possible scholarships (number of teams x number of scholarships per team). Scholarship numbers for head-count sports are indicated without a decimal point. Numbers for equivalency sports are indicated with a decimal point, with a trailing zero if needed.

Notes:

The NCAA officially classifies the men's championships in volleyball and water polo as "National Collegiate" championships, that being the designation for championships that are open to members of more than one NCAA division. The ice hockey championship, however, is styled as a "Division I" championship because of the previous existence of a separate Division II championship in that sport.
  • Football — D-I football programs are divided into FBS and FCS. The 128 FBS programs can award financial aid to as many as 85 players, with each player able to receive up to a full scholarship. The 124 FCS programs can award up to the equivalent of 63 full scholarships, divided among no more than 85 individuals. Some FCS conferences restrict scholarships to a lower level or prohibit scholarships altogether.
  • Soccer — The Big 12 and the SEC are the only two major traditional D-I conferences that do not sponsor soccer. Several other D-I conferences also do not sponsor the sport—the Big Sky, MEAC, Mountain West, Ohio Valley, Southland, and SWAC.
  • Ice Hockey — Almost all D-I ice hockey programs are in the Northeast, the Upper Midwest, or the Colorado Front Range. Only one D-I all-sports conference, the Big Ten, sponsors a men's hockey league. All other conferences operate as hockey-specific leagues. Of the 61 teams that will compete in D-I hockey in 2020–21, 23 are otherwise classified as either D-II or D-III; a number of schools from D-II play in D-I ice hockey as the NCAA no longer sponsors a championship in D-II and many have traditional/cultural fan bases that support ice hockey, and the D-III schools were "grandfathered" in to D-I through their having sponsored hockey prior to the creation of D-III.
  • Lacrosse — The vast majority of D-I lacrosse programs are from the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. There are only three D-I programs west of the Mississippi—Air Force and Denver on the Colorado Front Range, and Utah.
  • Volleyball — Of the traditional D-I conferences, only the Big West sponsors men's volleyball, and it did not do so until the 2017–18 school year. Two of the other three major volleyball conferences, defined here as leagues that include full Division I members, are volleyball-specific conferences; the third is the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, a multi-sport conference that does not sponsor football or basketball. In addition to the D-I schools, 32 D-II schools will compete in the National Collegiate division in 2020–21; nine of these are members of Conference Carolinas, the first all-sports league outside Division III to sponsor the sport, and the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference will start play in 2020–21 with six newly launched teams.
  • Water Polo — The number of D-I schools sponsoring men's water polo has declined from 35 in 1987/88 to 22 in 2010/11.[23] No school outside of California has ever made the finals of the championship, and all champions since 1998 have come from one of the four California-based Pac-12 schools.

Men's individual sports

The following table lists the men's individual DI sports with at least 1,000 participating athletes. Sports are ranked by number of athletes.

No. Sport Teams (2015)[24] Teams (1982)[24] Change Athletes[24] Season
1 Track (outdoor) 278 230 +48 11,067 Spring
2 Track (indoor) 257 209 +48 10,174 Winter
3 Cross country 311 256 +56 4,845 Fall
4 Swimming & diving 134 181 –47 3,839 Winter
5 Golf 297 263 +34 2,947 Spring
6 Tennis 258 267 –9 2,678 Spring
7 Wrestling 76 146 –70 2,520 Winter

DI college wrestling has lost almost half of its programs since 1982.[25]

Women's team sports

No. Sport Teams[26] Conferences Scholarships
per team
Season Most Championships
1 Basketball 349 32 15 Winter Connecticut (11)
2 Soccer 333 31 14.0 Fall North Carolina (21)
3 Volleyball 334 32 12* Fall Stanford (9)
4 Softball 295 32 12.0 Spring UCLA (12)
5 Rowing 88 12 20.0 Spring Brown (7)
6 Lacrosse 112 13 12.0 Spring Maryland (12)
7 Field Hockey 78 10 12.0 Fall Old Dominion (9)
8 Ice Hockey 40 4 18.0 Winter Minnesota (6)
9 Beach Volleyball 47 5 6.0* Spring USC (2)
10 Water Polo 34 6 8.0 Spring UCLA (7)

Notes:

  • As in the men's table above, sports are ranked in order of total possible scholarships. Numbers for head-count sports are indicated without a decimal point; those for equivalency sports are indicated with a decimal point, with a trailing zero if needed.
  • Women's soccer is the fastest growing NCAA D-I women's team sport over a prolonged period, increasing from 22 teams in 1981/82 to 315 teams in 2010/11.[27] However, in recent years, the fastest-growing has been beach volleyball, which went from 14 Division I teams in 2011–12 to 55 in 2016–17.
  • = In the 2016–17 school year, rugby is classified by the NCAA as an "emerging sport" for women. Beach volleyball, which had previously been an "emerging sport" under the name of "sand volleyball",[28] became an official NCAA championship sport in 2015–16.[29]
  • * = The number of scholarships are partially linked for (indoor) volleyball and beach volleyball. Schools that field both indoor and beach volleyball teams are allowed 6.0 full scholarship equivalents specifically for beach volleyball as of 2016–17, with the further limitations that (1) no player receiving aid for beach volleyball can be on the indoor volleyball roster and (2) a maximum of 14 individuals can receive aid in beach volleyball. If a school fields only a beach volleyball team, it is allowed 8.0 full scholarship equivalents for that sport, also distributed among no more than 14 individuals.

Women's individual sports

The following table lists the women's individual DI sports with at least 1,000 participating athletes. Sports are ranked by number of athletes.

No. Sport Teams (2015)[24] Teams (1982)[24] Change Athletes[24] Season
1 Track (outdoor) 329 180 +149 13,075 Spring
2 Track (indoor) 319 127 +192 12,816 Winter
3 Cross country 342 183 +159 6,031 Fall
4 Swimming & diving 195 161 +34 5,393 Winter
5 Golf 259 83 +176 2,170 Spring
6 Tennis 318 246 +72 2,912 Spring
7 Gymnastics 61 99 –38 1,085 Winter

NCAA Division I Sports articles: 12

Broadcasting and revenue

NCAA Division I schools have broadcasting contracts that showcase their more popular sports — typically football and men's basketball — on network television and in basic cable channels. These contracts can be quite lucrative, particularly for DI schools from the biggest conferences. For example, the Big Ten conference in 2016 entered into contracts with Fox and ESPN that pay the conference $2.64 billion over six years.

The NCAA also holds certain TV contracts. For example, the NCAA's contract to show the men's basketball championship tournament (widely known as March Madness) is currently under a 14-year deal with CBS and Turner that runs from 2010 to 2024 and pays $11 billion.

For the 2014–15 fiscal year, the conferences that earned the most revenues (and that distributed the most revenues to each of their member schools) were:

  1. SEC — $527 million (dispersed $33 million to each of its member schools)
  2. Big 10 — $449 million (dispersed $32 million each)
  3. Pac-12 — $439 million (dispersed $25 million each)
  4. ACC — $403 million (dispersed $26 million each)
  5. Big 12 — $268 million (dispersed $23 million each)
U.S. college sports TV rights
Sports rights Sport National TV contract Total Revenues
(Per Year)
Ref
NCAA March Madness Basketball CBS, Turner $8.8bn ($1.1bn)
College Football Playoff Football ESPN $5.6bn ($470m)
Pac-12 Conference All Fox, ESPN $3.0bn ($250m)
Big Ten Conference (Big Ten/B1G) All Fox, ESPN, CBS $2.6bn ($440m) [30]
Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) All ESPN $3.6bn ($240m)
Big 12 Conference All Fox, ESPN $2.6bn ($200m)
Southeastern Conference (SEC) All CBS, ESPN $2.6bn ($205m)
American Athletic Conference All ESPN $910m ($130m)
Mountain West Conference (MW) All CBS, ESPN $116m ($18m) [31]
Mid-American Conference (MAC) All ESPN $100m ($8m) [32]

NCAA Division I Broadcasting and revenue articles: 2

Scholarship limits by sport

The NCAA has limits on the total financial aid each Division I member may award in each sport that the school sponsors. It divides sports that are sponsored into two types for purposes of scholarship limitations:

  • "Head-count" sports, in which the NCAA limits the total number of individuals that can receive athletic scholarships, but allows each player to receive up to a full scholarship.
  • "Equivalency" sports, in which the NCAA limits the total financial aid that a school can offer in a given sport to the equivalent of a set number of full scholarships. Roster limitations may or may not apply, depending on the sport.

The term "counter" is also key to this concept. The NCAA defines a "counter" as "an individual who is receiving institutional financial aid that is countable against the aid limitations in a sport."[33]

The number of scholarships that Division I members may award in each sport is listed below. In this table, scholarship numbers for head-count sports are indicated without a decimal point; for equivalency sports, they are listed with a decimal point, with a trailing zero if required.

Sport Men's Women's
Acrobatics & tumbling 14.0[34]
Baseball 11.7[35][nb 1]
Basketball 13[41] 15[42]
Beach volleyball 6.0[nb 2]
Bowling 5.0[34]
Cross-country/track & field 12.6[45][nb 3] 18.0[34][nb 4]
Equestrian 15.0[34]
Fencing 4.5[45] 5.0[34]
Field hockey 12.0[34]
Football 85 (FBS)[47][nb 5]
63.0 (FCS)[48][nb 6]
Golf 4.5[45] 6.0[34]
Gymnastics 6.3[45] 12[50]
Ice hockey 18.0[51][nb 7] 18.0[nb 8]
Lacrosse 12.6[45] 12.0[34]
Rifle 3.6[45][nb 9]
Rowing 20.0[34]
Rugby 12.0[34]
Skiing 6.3[45] 7.0[34]
Soccer 9.9[45] 14.0[34]
Softball 12.0[34]
Swimming and diving 9.9[45] 14.0[34]
Tennis 4.5[45] 8[50]
Triathlon 6.5[34]
Volleyball 4.5[45] 12[50]
Water polo 4.5[45] 8.0[34]
Wrestling 9.9[45] 10.0[34]
  1. ^ This total is also subject to the following restrictions:
    • The number of total counters is limited to 27.[35]
    • Each counter must receive "athletically related and other countable financial aid" equal to at least 25% of a full scholarship.[36] Most institutional and governmental non-athletic aid falls in the "countable" category;[37] an official NCAA rules interpretation also allows schools to count aid that would otherwise be exempt by NCAA rule (such as purely academic awards) toward the 25% limit, as long as it also is included in the calculations for the team equivalency limit.[38] The 25% rule does not apply to baseball schools that offer only need-based aid (such as Ivy League members).[39] A second exception to the 25% rule, added in 2012, is for players in their final year of athletic eligibility who have not previously received athletically related aid in baseball at any college.[40]
  2. ^ This total is for schools that also sponsor women's indoor volleyball.[43] If a school does not sponsor women's indoor volleyball, it is allowed 8.0 equivalents for beach volleyball.[44] For all schools, the maximum number of counters in beach volleyball is 14.[43][44]
  3. ^ If a school sponsors men's cross-country but does not sponsor either indoor or outdoor track and field for men, it is allowed 5.0 scholarship equivalents for that sport.[46]
  4. ^ If a school sponsors women's cross-country but does not sponsor either indoor or outdoor track and field for women, it is allowed 6.0 scholarship equivalents for that sport.[46]
  5. ^ FBS programs are also limited to 25 new counters per school year.[47]
  6. ^ FCS programs are also limited to 85 total counters per school year.[48] Effective with the recruiting cycle for the 2018–19 school year, the previous limit of 30 new counters per year for FCS programs has been removed.[49]
  7. ^ The number of total counters is limited to 30.[51]
  8. ^ The NCAA Division I Manual does not include any scholarship limitations for women's ice hockey. These limitations are instead found in the Division II Manual.[52] The Division II Manual does not include any limit on total counters for any sport, including women's ice hockey.
  9. ^ NCAA rifle competition is fully coeducational. For purposes of sports sponsorship, the NCAA classifies teams that include both men and women as men's teams.[53] Of the 33 NCAA rifle schools (23 in Division I, 4 in Division II, and 6 in Division III), 22 field a single coed/mixed team. Six schools (five in Division I and one in Division III) field women-only teams. Schools are also allowed to field any combination of men's, women's, and mixed teams; several NCAA rifle schools field two types of teams, but none currently fields all three types. The scholarship limits are per school, not per team.

Rules for multi-sport athletes

The NCAA also has rules specifying the sport in which multi-sport athletes are to be counted, with the basic rules being:[54]

  • Anyone who participates in football is counted in that sport, even if he does not receive financial aid from the football program. An exception exists for players at non-scholarship FCS programs who receive aid in another sport.[55]
  • Participants in basketball are counted in that sport, unless they also play football.
  • Participants in men's ice hockey are counted in that sport, unless they also play football or basketball.
  • Participants in both men's swimming and diving and men's water polo are counted in swimming and diving, unless they count in football or basketball.
  • Participants in women's (indoor) volleyball are counted in that sport unless they also play basketball.
  • All other multi-sport athletes are counted in whichever sport the school chooses.

NCAA Division I Scholarship limits by sport articles: 26