The second division was created in 1905 and was known as the Promotion at the time. From 1923 on there were two leagues in that division (called Promotion A and Promotion B). In 1926, the system changed, with only one league of 14 clubs at the second-highest level now called Division I. At the end of the 1930-31 season, Division I was split into two leagues again (of 14 clubs each). Each year, the bottom two teams of each league were relegated to Division II and the top two clubs were promoted to the Premier Division. In 1952, the division was renamed to Division II with 16 teams (one league). The first two clubs qualified for the first division. In 1974, play-offs were introduced to qualify a second team to the top level. Finally, in 1994, the number of clubs was increased to 18 clubs. A win earns three points since the 1993-94 season. In the seasons 2008-09 and 2009–10, the second division was played between 19 teams following the Namur - Geel case (both teams claiming their rights to access the second division).
The season comprises the regular season (18 teams, 34 matchdays) and the play-offs. The regular season is a double round-robin tournament played between August and May, with an interruption of 3 weeks in the winter. Beside the overall classification of teams, 3 other rankings are computed, one for each of three periods. The first period consist of the first 10 matchdays, the second of the next 12 matchdays and the third of the final 12 matchdays. At the beginning of each period, all teams start with a blank record for the next period ranking. The winner of the overall regular season is promoted to the first division. The teams with the best record in each of the 3 periods qualify for the play-offs, together with the 15th-placed team in the first division. If one or several periods are won by the regular season champion or if another team wins several periods, the best-placed teams in the overall ranking qualify for the play-offs, so that it is played between 4 teams. The play-offs are a double round-robin, with the winner earning a place in the first division.
The standings, for both the regular season and the 3 periods, are determined by the following criteria, in order:
The standings during the play-offs are determined following the same criteria except that the goal-average is not taken into account. A team cannot play in the first division unless it has a professional license. If it does not have its license, it is replaced if possible, by the next highest team in the overall regular season ranking. For the automatic promotion spot (as opposed to the play-offs) the team must have finished in the top three clubs. When no team meets those conditions, the number of teams in the first division decreases.
The two lowest-placed teams relegate to the third division (which is divided into 2 leagues of 18 clubs) and are replaced by the two champions of that division. Furthermore, the 16th-placed team in the second division play the third division play-off with 6 teams from the third division, entering on the second round. The winner of this play-off remains or promotes to the second division.