NCAA Division I FCS independent schools

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FCS Independents
2013 season
NCAA Division I FCS
Schools (6 in 2013, 1 in 2014)
Sports fielded 1 (men's: 1; women's: 0)
Division I FCS independents map.svg

NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision independent schools are four-year institutions in the United States whose football programs are not part of a football conference. This does not mean that FCS independents schedule each other for competition as conference schools do.

Independent institutions[edit]

Current institutions[edit]

Institution Location Founded Type Enrollment Nickname Future Conference Year Leaving
University of North Carolina at Charlotte (Charlotte) Charlotte, NC 1946 Public 25,063 49ers C-USA 2015
Monmouth University West Long Branch, NJ 1933 Private 7,440 Hawks Big South 2014
Old Dominion University Norfolk, VA 1930 Public 24,125 Monarchs C-USA 2014
Houston Baptist University Houston, TX 1960 Private 2,567 Huskies Southland 2014
Abilene Christian University Abilene, TX 1906 Private 4,558 Wildcats Southland 2014
University of the Incarnate Word San Antonio, TX 1881 Private 8,455 Cardinals Southland 2014
  • Abilene Christian will play in the Southland Conference for all sports except football in 2013. NCAA rules prevent schools from having different sports play in different divisions, so Abilene Christian will play as an FCS independent, mostly with teams from the Division II Lone Star Conference and Division I Southland Conference. They will begin a full transition to Division I status in football in 2014 and become eligible for the Southland title and the playoffs beginning with the 2018 season.
  • Charlotte will begin play in 2013 and spend at least their first two seasons as an FCS independent. They will rejoin Conference USA (C-USA) in 2013 (they had been a charter member of that conference in 1995, but left in 2005), and will become a football member in 2015.[1]
  • Houston Baptist will join the Southland Conference for all sports except football in 2013, while playing as an FCS independent. They will not be eligible for the FCS playoffs, but the first year will not count against eligibility for the team players. Houston Baptist will join the Southland Conference for football in 2014 and become eligible for all events at that time.
  • Incarnate Word will play in the Southland Conference for all sports except football in 2013. NCAA rules prevent schools from having different sports play in different divisions, so Incarnate Word will play as an FCS independent, mostly with teams from the Division II Lone Star Conference and Division I Southland Conference. They will begin a full transition to Division I status in football in 2014 and become eligible for the Southland title and the playoffs beginning with the 2018 season.
  • Monmouth left the Northeast Conference (NEC) for the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC), which does not sponsor football, in July 2013. In February 2013, the Big South Conference announced that Monmouth would become a football-only member beginning with the 2014 season. Monmouth will play as an FCS independent in 2013 in order to better manage its transition from the NEC, which limits its members to 40 full scholarship equivalents, to the Big South, which allows the FCS maximum of 63.[2]
  • Old Dominion is transitioning from FCS to FBS as a part of their 2013 move to C-USA. They will be a FCS independent in 2013, and will be counted as an FBS member for scheduling purposes in 2014. Originally, they were not to become a football member of C-USA until 2015, but the league later voted to make ODU a football member in 2014.

Stadiums[edit]

School Football Stadium Capacity
Abilene Christian Shotwell Stadium 15,075
Charlotte Jerry Richardson Stadium 15,314
Houston Baptist Crusader Stadium†† TBA
Incarnate Word Gayle and Tom Benson Stadium 6,000
Monmouth Kessler Field 4,600
Old Dominion Foreman Field 19,818

† Will be completed in 2013.

†† Will be completed in 2013, with projected capacity of 8,000-10,000.[3]

Former FCS independents[edit]

The following is a complete list of teams which have been Division I-AA/FCS Independents since the formation of Division I-AA in 1978. The "Current Conference" column indicates affiliations for the next college football season of 2013.

Teams in italics are current FBS members.

Years Team Previous Conference Conference Joined Current Conference
1987–1991 Arkansas State Southland Conference Division I-A Independent (1992) Sun Belt Conference (2001–present)[N 1]
1997–2000 Austin Peay Ohio Valley Conference[N 2] Pioneer Football League (2001–2005)
2006 Pioneer Football League Ohio Valley Conference (2007–present)
1978–1985 Bucknell Division II Independent Patriot League (1986–present)[N 3]
1993–1998 Buffalo Division III Independent Mid-American Conference (1999–present)[N 3]
1996–2003 Cal Poly American West Conference Great West Conference (2004–2011)[N 4] Big Sky Conference (2012–present)
1993–1995 Central Connecticut State Division II Independent Northeast Conference (1996–present)
2013–2014 Charlotte No football program
1982–1985 Colgate Division I-A Independent Patriot League (1986–present)[N 3]
1989 Davidson Colonial League[N 3] Division III Independent (1990–1992)
1993–2000 Division III Independent Pioneer Football League (2001–present)
1980–1985 Delaware Division II Independent Yankee Conference (1986–1996) Colonial Athletic Association (2007–present)[N 5][N 6]
1993 Duquesne Division III Independent Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (1994–2007) Northeast Conference (2008–present)
1984–1986 Eastern Washington Division II Independent Big Sky Conference (1987–present)
1999–2001 Elon Division II Independent Big South Conference (2002) Southern Conference (2003–present)
2002–2004 FIU No football program Sun Belt Conference (2005–2012) Conference USA (2013–present)
2001–2004 Florida Atlantic No football program Sun Belt Conference (2005–2012) Conference USA (2013–present)
1989 Fordham Liberty Football Conference Patriot League (1990–present)
2000 Georgetown Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Patriot League (2001–present)
1984–1991 Georgia Southern Club football Southern Conference (1992–2013)[N 7]
2011 Georgia State Unclassified (exhibition only) Colonial Athletic Association (2012) Sun Belt Conference (2013–present)
1982–1985 Holy Cross Division I-A Independent Patriot League (1986–present)[N 3]
1982–1985 Indiana State Division I-A Independent Missouri Valley Football Conference (1997–present)[N 8]
1998–2000 Jacksonville No football program Pioneer Football League (2001–present)
1980–1992 James Madison Division III Independent Yankee Conference (1993–1996) Colonial Athletic Association (2007–present)[N 9][N 6]
1978–1985 Lafayette Division II Independent Patriot League (1986–present)[N 3]
1978–1985 Lehigh Division II Independent Patriot League (1986–present)[N 3]
1989–2001 Liberty Division II Independent Big South Conference (2002–present)[N 10]
1987–1988 Louisiana Tech Southland Conference Division I-A Independent (1989–1992) Conference USA (2013–present)
1993 Marist Liberty Football Conference Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (1994–2007)
2008 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Pioneer Football League (2009–present)
2013 Monmouth Northeast Conference
1996–2000 Morehead State Ohio Valley Conference Pioneer Football League (2001–present)
1978 Nevada Division II Independent Big Sky Conference (1979–1991) Mountain West Conference (2012–present)
1980–1983 Nicholls State Division II Independent Gulf Star Conference (1984–1986)
1987–1991 Gulf Star Conference Southland Conference (1992–present)
1978–1983 Northwestern State Division I Independent Gulf Star Conference (1984–1986) Southland Conference (1987–present)
2009–2010 Old Dominion No football program Colonial Athletic Association (2011–2012)
2013 Colonial Athletic Association
1978–1980 Portland State Division II Independent Division II Independent (1981) Big Sky Conference (1996–present)
1982–1985 Richmond Division I-A Independent Yankee Conference (1986–1996) Colonial Athletic Association (2007–present)[N 6]
1993–1995 Saint Francis (PA) Division III Independent Northeast Conference (1996–present)
1989–2002 Samford Division III Independent Ohio Valley Conference (2003–2007) Southern Conference (2008–present)
2002–2009 Savannah State Division II Independent Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (2010–present)
2011 South Alabama Unclassified (exhibition only) Sun Belt Conference (2012–present)[N 11]
1997–2000 South Florida No football program Division I-A Independent (2001–2002) Big East Conference/American Athletic Conference (2005–present)[N 12]
1980–1983 Southeastern Louisiana Division II Independent Gulf Star Conference (1984–1985)
2003–2004 No football program[N 13] Southland Conference (2005–present)
1996–2003 Southern Utah American West Conference Great West Conference (2004–2011)[N 4] Big Sky Conference (2012–present)
2007 Stony Brook Northeast Conference Big South Conference (2008–2012) Colonial Athletic Association (2013–present)
1981–1987 Tennessee State Division I-A Independent Ohio Valley Conference (1988–present)
1987–1996 Towson Division II Independent Patriot League (1997–2003) Colonial Athletic Association (2007–present)[N 14]
1993–1995 Troy Division II Independent Southland Conference (1996–2000)
2001 Southland Conference Division I-A Independent (2002–2003) Sun Belt Conference (2004–present)[N 15]
1993–1995 UAB Division III Independent Division I-A Independent (1996–1998) Conference USA (1999–present)[N 16]
1990–1995 UCF Division II Independent Division I-A Independent (1996–2001) American Athletic Conference (2013–present)
2011 UTSA No football program Western Athletic Conference (2012) Conference USA (2013–present)
1993–1995 Wagner Liberty Football Conference Northeast Conference (1996–present)
1982–1998 Western Kentucky Ohio Valley Conference Ohio Valley Conference (1999–2000)
2007–2008 Gateway Football Conference[N 8] Sun Belt Conference (2009–2013)[N 17]
1982–1992 William & Mary Division I-A Independent Yankee Conference (1993–1996) Colonial Athletic Association (2007–present)[N 9][N 6]
1995–1996 Wofford Division II Independent Southern Conference (1997–present)
1988–1996 Youngstown State Ohio Valley Conference Missouri Valley Football Conference (1997–present)[N 8]
  1. ^ Arkansas State has been a full Sun Belt member since 1991, but the conference did not sponsor football until 2001.
  2. ^ Austin Peay only departed OVC football; it remained a full but non-football member before returning to OVC football in 2007.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g The conference now known as the Patriot League began in 1986 as the football-only Colonial League. It adopted its current name in 1990, when it became an all-sports conference.
  4. ^ a b The Great West Conference began in 2004 as the Great West Football Conference. It became an all-sports conference in 2008.
  5. ^ Delaware has been a full CAA member since 2001. However, the CAA did not sponsor football until 2007, when it effectively took over the football league previously sponsored by the Atlantic 10 Conference (A10).
  6. ^ a b c d The CAA football conference is the direct successor of both the Yankee Conference and A10 football conference. The football-only Yankee Conference was absorbed by the A10 after the 1996 season. After the 2006 season, the A10 dropped football after all of its football members joined the newly formed CAA football conference. The Yankee Conference's automatic bid to the I-AA/FCS playoffs passed in succession to the A10 and CAA.
  7. ^ Georgia Southern will begin an FBS transition in the 2013 season in advance of its 2014 move to the Sun Belt Conference. It will be eligible for the Sun Belt championship but not for bowl games in 2014, and will become a full FBS member in 2015.
  8. ^ a b c The MVFC did not adopt its current name until 2008. Before then, it was known as the Gateway Collegiate Athletic Conference (1982–1993) and Gateway Football Conference (1993–2008).
  9. ^ a b James Madison and William & Mary have been CAA members since the conference's establishment in 1979. However, the CAA did not sponsor football until 2007, when it effectively took over the football league previously sponsored by the Atlantic 10 Conference (A10).
  10. ^ Liberty has been a full member of the Big South since 1991, but the conference did not sponsor football until 2002.
  11. ^ South Alabama has been a Sun Belt member from the conference's creation in 1976. However, the Sun Belt did not sponsor football until 2001. South Alabama did not start a football program until 2009, and did not play Sun Belt football until 2012.
  12. ^ The current Big East will split in July 2013 with the departure of the league's seven non-FBS schools, which have purchased the Big East name. The remaining schools, including South Florida, will retain the original Big East charter, but will operate as the American Athletic Conference.
  13. ^ Southeastern Louisiana dropped football after the 1985 season.
  14. ^ Towson was a CAA member at the conference's formation in 1979, but left in 1981; after having been a member of four other conferences, it rejoined the CAA in 2001. However, the CAA did not sponsor football until 2007, when it effectively took over the football league previously sponsored by the Atlantic 10 Conference (A10).
  15. ^ Troy joined the Sun Belt for football in 2004, and became an all-sports member in 2005.
  16. ^ UAB was a charter member of Conference USA at its creation in 1995, but did not join for football until 1999.
  17. ^ Western Kentucky has been a full Sun Belt member since leaving the OVC in 1982, but was not a football member until 2009. WKU will leave the Sun Belt for Conference USA in 2014.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Schlabach, Mark (June 24, 2011). "49ers preparing for Charlotte market". ESPN. Retrieved 2011-09-15. 
  2. ^ "Big South Adds Monmouth University as Associate Football Member" (Press release). Big South Conference. February 14, 2013. Retrieved February 19, 2013. 
  3. ^ http://www.umhb.edu/masterplan/crusader-stadium