NCAA Division I FCS independent schools

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FCS Independents
2013 season
NCAA Division I FCS
Schools 1 (none in 2015)
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

Charlotte began play in 2013 and is spending its first two seasons as an FCS independent. Charlotte rejoined Conference USA (C-USA) in 2013 (it had been a charter member of that conference in 1995, but left in 2005), and will become a football member in 2015.[1]

Five other schools had competed as FCS independents in the 2013 season, but joined football conferences in July 2014:

  • Old Dominion (ODU), which began a transition to FBS in 2013, became a football member of Conference USA, which it had joined as a full but non-football member in 2013. As a second-year transitional school that had a pre-existing FCS program (unlike Charlotte, which did not start its football program until announcing its FBS transition in 2013), ODU is counted as an FBS member for scheduling purposes in 2014. It will become a full FBS member in 2015.
  • 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 the Monmouth football team would become a single-sport associate member beginning with the 2014 season. Monmouth played 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]
  • The other three schools, all of which had joined the Southland Conference (SLC) as full but non-football members in 2013, became football members of that conference.
    • Abilene Christian and Incarnate Word had established football programs; they started transitions from Division II to Division I upon joining the SLC. Both played schedules mostly made up of teams from the SLC and their former Division II league, the Lone Star Conference. They began full transitions to Division I status in football in 2014 and will become eligible for the Southland title and the FCS playoffs beginning with the 2018 season.
    • Houston Baptist (HBU) played a partial schedule as an FCS independent in 2013. HBU was not eligible for the FCS playoffs, but that season did not count against eligibility for the team players. HBU is fully eligible for the SLC title and the FCS playoffs from 2014 forward.

Stadiums[edit]

School Football Stadium Capacity
Charlotte Jerry Richardson Stadium 15,314

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 2014 college football season.

Teams in italics are current FBS members; this includes second-year transitional schools that are counted as FBS for scheduling purposes but not bowl game eligibility.

Years Team Previous Conference Conference Joined Current Conference
2013 Abilene Christian Lone Star Conference (Div. II) Southland Conference (2014–present)
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 4]
1996–2003 Cal Poly American West Conference Great West Conference (2004–2011)[N 5] Big Sky Conference (2012–present)
1993–1995 Central Connecticut State Division II Independent Northeast Conference (1996–present)
2013–2014 Charlotte No football program (Conference USA in 2015)
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 6][N 7]
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) Colonial Athletic Association (2014–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) Sun Belt Conference (2014–present)
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]
2013 Houston Baptist No football program Southland Conference (2014–present)
2013 Incarnate Word Lone Star Conference (Div. II) Southland Conference (2014–present)
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 7]
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)
1994-1995 Monmouth Unclassified Independent Northeast Conference
2013 Northeast Conference Big South Conference (2014–present)
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 Conference USA (2014–present)
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 7]
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 5] 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) Conference USA (2014–present)
1982–1992 William & Mary Division I-A Independent Yankee Conference (1993–1996) Colonial Athletic Association (2007–present)[N 9][N 7]
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 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. ^ Buffalo became a full member of the MAC in 1998, but was not a football member until 1999.
  5. ^ a b The Great West Conference began in 2004 as the Great West Football Conference. It became an all-sports conference in 2008.
  6. ^ 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).
  7. ^ 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.
  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 original Big East Conference split into the football-sponsoring American Athletic Conference and a new non-football Big East Conference in 2013. South Florida remained with the FBS schools in The American.
  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.

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.