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|Current season, competition or edition:|
2023 NCAA Division I FCS football season
|No. of teams||128|
The NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), formerly known as Division I-AA, is the second-highest level of college football in the United States, after the Football Bowl Subdivision. Sponsored by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the FCS level comprises 128 teams in 14 conferences as of the 2023 season. The FCS designation is only tied to football with the non-football sports programs of each school generally competing in NCAA Division I.
From 1906 to 1955, the NCAA had no divisional structure for member schools. Prior to the 1956 college football season, NCAA schools were organized into an upper University Division and lower College Division. In the summer of 1973, the University Division became Division I, but by 1976, there was a desire to further separate the major football programs from those that were less financially successful, while allowing their other sports to compete at the top level.
Prior to the 1978 season, Division I was split into upper Division I-A and lower Division I-AA. These two divisions were renamed as NCAA Division I FBS and NCAA Division I FCS prior to the 2006 season.
The FCS has held a post-season playoff to award an NCAA-sanctioned national championship since its inception in 1978. The size of the playoff bracket has increased from 4 teams in 1978 to 24 teams in the 2020 season. This makes the FCS the highest level of college football with an NCAA-sanctioned national championship.
As of the 2023 football season, there are 13 Division I FCS football conferences:
- Big Sky Conference
- Big South–OVC Football Association
- CAA Football – While administered by the multi-sports Coastal Athletic Association, it is a separate legal entity—although the NCAA considers both sides of the CAA to be a single conference.
- Ivy League
- Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference
- Missouri Valley Football Conference
- Northeast Conference
- Patriot League
- Pioneer Football League
- Southern Conference
- Southland Conference
- Southwestern Athletic Conference
- United Athletic Conference
- Formed in December 2022 by a football-only merger of the ASUN Conference and Western Athletic Conference. In the 2021 and 2022 seasons, those two all-sports conferences had been partners in a football alliance that shared a single berth in the FCS playoffs. The NCAA technically considers the UAC to be a continuation of this alliance instead of a fully formed conference.
- List of NCAA Division I FCS football programs
- List of NCAA Division I FCS football stadiums
- List of NCAA Division I FCS playoff appearances by team
- List of NCAA Division I-AA/FCS football seasons
- NCAA Division I FBS
- "NCAA may drop 100 Division 1 schools". Deseret News. (Salt Lake City, Utah). Associated Press. November 16, 1976. p. B11.