The NCAA Division I Rowing Championship is a rowing championship held by the NCAA for Division I women's heavyweight (or openweight) collegiate crews. It was first held in 1997. In 2002, the NCAA added championships for Division II and Division III. All races are 2,000 meters long. The NCAA does not sponsor men's rowing (both heavyweight and lightweight) and women's lightweight rowing championships.
The NCAA Division I Women's Rowing Championships have three events (I Eights, II Eights, Fours), and twenty-two teams compete. Eleven teams are selected through automatic qualification based on conference results. An additional eleven at-large teams are selected by the NCAA Rowing Committee. In previous years an additional, four at-large I Eights are selected. As of 2009 all bids must be full teams. Teams are awarded points by their final placing in each event. The NCAA Champion is determined by the team which accumulates the most points. When teams are tied for points after the three events, the NCAA champion is determined by the team with the higher placing in the I Eight event.
At-large participants in the championships are selected by the NCAA Division I Women’s Rowing Committee. The following criteria are used in selecting teams and individual boats:
The first women’s collegiate championship was held in 1980 at Oak Ridge, Tennessee. National champions were declared from the varsity eight race. California won the first collegiate championship. Below is a list of Women’s National Collegiate varsity eight champions:
Prior to 1980, college boats entered the National Women’s Rowing Association National Championships (what is now the USRowing National Championships). Below is a list of NWRA open eights champions from 1971-1979 (no eights prior to 1971). The top college finisher is in parentheses: