The following contains questions and answers regarding NCAA football, including bowl games, information on the Bowl Championship Series (BCS), the difference between the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) and Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), and other helpful information.
1. Why is there no playoff/traditional championship structure in the Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) football?
The arrangement that determines a national champion in the Bowl Subdivision-- the Bowl Championship Series -- is administered by the 11 Bowl Subdvision Conferences and the University of Notre Dame. The first year of the BCS was 1998.
The BCS consists of five bowl games: the BCS National Championship Game plus four other bowl games (Rose Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, Orange Bowl, Sugar Bowl). The No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the final BCS standings meet in the National Championship Game. This season, the championship game is scheduled for January 7, 2008, in New Orleans.
Visit the official BCS website: www.bcsfootball.org
There are a total of 32 bowl games. Follow this link for a complete list of bowl games and more information.
Competitions created by the BCS are not part of the NCAA championship program, nor are they administered by an NCAA committee or the national office staff.
In order for a NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision Championship to be established, the NCAA Division I membership must consider such a proposal through its normal legislative process. As of this date, legislation to establish an Football Bowl Subdivision championship has not been considered by the membership.
Through the years there have been several efforts to address the subject. In 1976, a proposal to establish an Football Bowl Subdivision championship was introduced on the recommendation of a special committee that had studied the feasibility of a playoff. This proposal, however, was withdrawn and there was no discussion on the Convention floor. A resolution was presented during the 1988 Convention that stated the Division I membership did not support the creation of a national championship in the sport of football, which passed by a vote of 98 in favor, 13 opposed and one abstention. In 1994, a panel was formed to gather information regarding the viability of establishing an Football Bowl Subdivision championship. The panel forwarded a report to the NCAA Presidents Commission; however, it was decided that the Association would not pursue a Football Bowl Subdivision championship at that time.
2. How is the NCAA involved in the bowl games?
The Postseason Football Licensing Subcommittee of the NCAA Division I Championships/Competition Cabinet includes one representative from each Football Bowl Subdivision conference. The subcommittee is responsible for issues involving postseason football contests. There are currently 32 bowls licensed by the NCAA.
Postseason bowls have long been a tradition and a reward for a successful football season. Bowls are an extra contest beyond the limits established in Bylaw 220.127.116.11, and are played after the end of the regular season as defined in Bylaw 18.7.1. Bowls for student-athletes involve additional practice time, physical dedication, risk of injury and, consequently, require NCAA authorization and regulation to protect student-athlete safety and well-being. Bowls ordinarily benefit sponsoring communities, participating member institutions and student-athletes, and must be regulated to preserve these benefits.
Because bowls are licensed by the NCAA and benefit from enabling NCAA bylaws, the public identifies bowls as a part of NCAA football. Bowls are a limited joint venture with the organizing committee, participating conferences, NCAA member institutions and the NCAA. If a bowl were to fail its purposes, its community, its participating institutions or participating student-athletes, the NCAA would be expected to prevent and remedy the situation. The goodwill and intellectual property of the NCAA is therefore affected by the success and failure of the bowls.
The following link will provide access to the 2007-08 Postseason Football Handbook:
3. How is officiating handled for bowl games?
Officials for postseason football games licensed each year by the NCAA are assigned under the jurisdiction of the NCAA Postseason Football Licensing Subcommittee. The national coordinator along with three Football Bowl Subdivision supervisors of officials work with the subcommittee to coordinate crew assignments and make any changes to ensure neutral crews are assigned to games after the teams have been invited to participate. The NCAA staff liaison to the subcommittee also participates in this process along with the national supervisor of officials, who is a permanent ex officio member of the officials subcommittee.
For a detailed list of guidelines for officials, see pages 28-33 of the 2007-08 Postseason Football Handbook:
4. What are the new NCAA football classification terms?
The Division I-A, I-AA and I-AAA designations were confusing and as a result, misapplied by the public, boosters and media when referring not only to their local football programs but also to other sports such as basketball. Additionally, due to the greater awareness of specific conferences and schools, the I-A label was rarely emphasized by the I-A membership, which only caused greater confusion about the I-AA classification.
The Division I Board of Directors, comprised of Division I presidents and chancellors voted on the change in August 2006.
The Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly I-A) includes those programs that compete in an effort to participate in the postseason bowl system (the 32 NCAA-licensed events which includes the Bowl Championship Series).
The NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (formerly I-AA) includes those programs that compete in an effort to participate in the NCAA championship postseason structure (one of the 88 NCAA national championships).
Here is a quick guide on proper term usage:
||Football Bowl Subdivision
|I-A (short hand)
|I-A (acronym for NCAA manual use)
|Bowl Championship Series
||NCAA Football Championship Subdivision
|I-AA (short hand)
||Football Championship Subdivision
|I-AA (acronym for NCAA manual use)
|NCAA Division I-AA Football Championship
||NCAA Division I Football Championship
|Division I-AA Football Committee
||Division I Football Championship Committee
|Division I (all other sports)
5. What is the payout structure for the BCS games?
The NCAA compiles the finances for the bowl games as part of its licensing role for the contests.
Here is a link to 2006-07 NCAA postseason football finances:
6. Who are the media contacts for the BCS?
Bowl Championship Series
For individual bowl contact information, schedules and what teams are playing in each bowl, visit this link:
7. Separate from the bowl games, how are football championships structured in Divisions I, II and III?
NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA)
The Division I Football Championship provides for a maximum field of 16 teams. Teams play first-round games on the campuses of competing teams. Eight member conferences have been granted automatic qualification for the 2006 championship. The remaining eight teams will be selected at large by the Division I Football Championship committee.
The top four teams in the 16-team bracket for the championship will be seeded. Team pairings will be determined by geographical proximity, with the exception that teams from the same conference may not be paired in the first round.
At-large teams shall be selected by the Division I Football Championship committee, assisted by four regional advisory committees that serve in an advisory capacity only.
Additional Football Criteria. Conferences must conduct regular-season, round-robin play among the members to determine the champion. The Division I Football Championship committee may grant exceptions to the round-robin requirement subject to approval of the NCAA Executive Committee.
Certification of Eligibility/Availability
[Reference: Certification of Eligibility/Availability in the Division I General Section and Bylaws 3.2.4, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 18.104.22.168 in the NCAA Manual.]
Only student-athletes eligible under Bylaws 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16 may compete in NCAA championships. In accordance with Bylaw 3.2.4, member institutions are required to certify the eligibility of their student-athletes before the beginning of each academic year and to withhold ineligible student-athletes from all intercollegiate competition. Member institutions are reminded to notify the NCAA national office before the selection date for each championship of any student-athlete who may have participated in regular-season competition but subsequently is determined to be ineligible or unavailable for NCAA championship competition.
For the Division I Football Championship, the championship liaison must be notified before November 3.
Division II Football Championship
The top-seeded team, as determined by the governing sports committee, shall be provided the opportunity to host first-round, second-round, quarterfinal and semifinal competition, provided the specific criteria that have been developed by the governing sports committee have been met, as well as the following general site-selection criteria:
1. Quality and availability of the facility and other necessary accommodations;
2. Revenue potential (e.g., a financial guarantee or guideline that ensures fiscal responsibility and is appropriate for the particular event, as recommended by the governing sports committee and approved by the Championships Committee); and
3. Attendance history and potential.
For the championship, prospective hosts for first-round, second-round, quarterfinal and semifinal games are required to submit proposed budgets with 75 percent guaranteed net receipts of $10,000, $10,000, $15,000 and $20,000, respectively; once these minimums have been guaranteed, the Division II Football Committee then will award playoff sites based on the stated criteria above. Please note that teams from the same conference will be paired in the first round if seeding justifies such a pairing.
Division III Football Championship
The Division III Championships Committee has prioritized the site-selection criteria in the following order for Division III championships:
1. Quality and availability of the facility and other necessary accommodations;
2. Geographical location (including such factors as rotation of sites, weather conditions, accessibility and transportation costs);
3. Seeding; and
4. Attendance history and revenue potential, which shall be considered necessary to assure fiscal responsibility.
First- and second-round, quarterfinal and semifinal sites will be awarded to the highest-seeded teams in each of the brackets (assuming that these teams have met all of the site-selection criteria and have submitted bids to host).
For more information, football championship handbooks in all three divisions are available at www2.ncaa.org/portal/sports/fall/football/mens/index.html.
8. What are NCAA rules regarding bowl gifts?
NCAA members feel it is important to allow mementos or other awards to honor the hard work of student-athletes to achieve athletics success, from regular-season participation through a national championship. To not allow this would mean national champions could not receive a ring, Heisman winners could not receive a trophy, or seniors could not receive a keepsake honoring years of hard work. Allowing these awards with reasonable limits is well within the confines of amateurism.
The limits are meant to level the playing field. NCAA members don’t want a large, profitable program or event to be able to provide more valuable gifts than less-profitable schools or events. The limits allow a reasonable award while helping to ensure that everybody participates on an equal footing.
For detailed information, see Bylaw 16.1.4 and Figures 16-1, 16-2 and 16-3 in the Division I manual.
9. Is it unfair that student-athletes not in the post-season don’t receive an additional award?
There are allowances for awards in regular season participation. The limits for annual participation are: Awards valued up to $175/sport for underclassmen and awards valued at up to $325/sport for seniors.
10. Can student-athletes receive cash?
Awards may not include cash, gift certificates, a cash-equivalent award (something that can be traded for cash, trade services or merchandise), country club or other sports club membership.
11. What are the limits on gifts student-athletes can receive?
** Annual Participation: Institution may give awards valued at up to $175/sport (underclassmen); and awards valued at up to $325/sport (seniors).
** Postseason conference championship or tournament: Institution and event managers may give a COMBINED total of awards valued at up to $325.
** Postseason NCAA championship or tournament: Institution may give awards valued at up to $325; there is no limit for what the NCAA may give.
** All-star game or bowl: Institution may give awards valued at up to $350. Event Management may give awards valued at up to $500.
NOTE: Prior to 2005, the maximum amount for event management was $350. Effective 8/1/05, the maximum amount for event management was changed to $500 to make bowl game awards more consistent with the awards received by student-athletes who participate in NCAA championship events. The increase provides a direct benefit to student-athletes at no additional cost to institutions.
** Other established meets, tournaments: Institution and event management may give a COMBINED total of awards valued at up to $350.
** NCAA National Championship: Institution and conference may each give awards valued at up to $415 per each championship conducted by the NCAA.
** Non-NCAA National Championship: same as above.
** Regular season conference champs: Institution and conference may each give awards valued at up to $325. (NOTE: If same team wins regular season and tournament, the combined total shall not exceed awards valued at up to $325).
** Postseason conference champs: Institution and conference may each give awards valued at up to $325. (NOTE: If same team wins regular season and tournament, the combined total shall not exceed awards valued at up to $325).
12. How are the limits determined?
The award totals were revised in 2004-05 to adjust for inflation. The last time awards were modified was in the mid-1990s. Due to inflation, it is becoming increasingly difficult to purchase the same or similar types of awards from year to year. The increase allowed institutions to purchase the same or similar awards for its student-athletes and still be within the specified NCAA limitations.
13. Why is there no limit for what the NCAA may give for participation in an NCAA tournament?
Participating in the NCAA championship is the ultimate achievement athletically in college. So, the membership is not concerned with putting limits on participation awards for NCAA events. The NCAA does not have a competitor, as institutions do, that would claim a recruiting advantage because of the amount its awards are worth.
14. Is merchandise other than trophies, rings, etc. allowed, including electronics?
Merchandise is allowed, but it must abide by the limits stated above and may not be re-sold.
15. May any awards be sold or traded?
Awards received for intercollegiate athletics participation may not be sold, exchanged or assigned for another item of value, even if the student-athlete's name or picture does not appear on the award.