NCAA Division I independent schools

In American college sports, NCAA Division I independent schools are four-year institutions that do not belong to a conference for a particular sport.

Beach volleyballEdit

Beach volleyball, currently a women-only sport at the NCAA level, holds a single national championship open to members of all three NCAA divisions. As of the 2020 season (2019–20 school year), abbreviated due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the following programs compete as independents. A total of 13 schools that were independents in the 2019 season exited that status after that season. Of these, 11 are full members of conferences that began sponsoring beach volleyball in 2019–20, with five being members of the Ohio Valley Conference[1] and six being members of the Southland Conference.[2] The other two schools that left the independent ranks, Louisiana–Monroe and Missouri State, joined the Coastal Collegiate Sports Association, a league that sponsors only beach volleyball plus men's and women's swimming & diving.[3]

Institution Team Location Founded Type Enrollment Primary Conference
Boise State University Broncos Boise, Idaho 1932 Public 25,540 Mountain West Conference
California State University, Los Angeles
(Cal State Los Angeles)
Golden Eagles Los Angeles, California 1947 Public 27,685 California Collegiate Athletic Association (Division II)
Carson–Newman University Eagles Johnson City, Tennessee 1851 Private 2,115 South Atlantic Conference (Division II)
Colorado Mesa University Mavericks Grand Junction, Colorado 1925 Public 11,000 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (Division II)
Concordia University Irvine
(Concordia–Irvine)
Golden Eagles Irvine, California 1976 Private 2,564 Pacific West Conference (Division II)
Eckerd College Tritons St. Petersburg, Florida 1958 Private 1,650 Sunshine State Conference (Division II)
Erskine College Flying Fleet Due West, South Carolina 1839 Private 920 Conference Carolinas (Division II)
Florida Southern College Moccasins Lakeland, Florida 1883 Private 2,185 Sunshine State Conference (Division II)
Grand Canyon University Antelopes Phoenix, Arizona 1949 Private 19,500 Western Athletic Conference
Huntingdon College Hawks Montgomery, Alabama 1854 Private 900 USA South Athletic Conference (Division III)
Lincoln Memorial University Railsplitters Harrogate, Tennessee 1897 Private 2,579 South Atlantic Conference (Division II)
Mississippi State University Bulldogs Mississippi State, Mississippi 1878 Public 21,884 Southeastern Conference
University of Nebraska–Lincoln
(Nebraska)
Cornhuskers Lincoln, Nebraska 1869 Public 33,273 Big Ten Conference
Principia College Panthers Elsah, Illinois 1912 Private 600 St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (Division III)
Saint Leo University Lions St. Leo, Florida 1889 Private 2,235 Sunshine State Conference (Division II)
San Jose State University Spartans San Jose, California 1857 Public 33,409 Mountain West Conference
Spring Hill College Badgers Mobile, Alabama 1830 Private 1,439 Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (Division II)
Stevenson University Mustangs Stevenson, Maryland 1947 Private 3,621 MAC Commonwealth (Division III)
University of Tampa Spartans Tampa, Florida 1931 Private 7,600 Sunshine State Conference (Division II)
Tarleton State University Texans Stephenville, Texas 1899 Public 13,020 Western Athletic Conference
Texas A&M University–Kingsville Javelinas Kingsville, Texas 1925 Public 8,783 Lone Star Conference (Division II)
Tusculum University Pioneers Tusculum, Tennessee 1794 Private 2,053 South Atlantic Conference (Division II)

BowlingEdit

Bowling, like beach volleyball, is currently a women-only sport at the NCAA level that holds a single national championship open to all NCAA members. As of the 2020–21 season, 11 bowling programs compete as independents.

Institution Team Location Founded Type Enrollment Primary Conference
Adrian College Bulldogs Adrian, Michigan 1859 Private 1,671 Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (Division III)
Alma College Scots Alma, Michigan 1886 Private 1,400 Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (Division III)
Belmont Abbey College Crusaders Belmont, North Carolina 1876 Private 1,320 Conference Carolinas (Division II)
Chestnut Hill College Griffins Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1924 Private 2,301 Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (Division II)
Kentucky Wesleyan College Panthers Owensboro, Kentucky 1858 Private 785 Great Midwest Athletic Conference (Division II)
University of Nebraska–Lincoln (Nebraska) Cornhuskers Lincoln, Nebraska 1869 Public 25,260 Big Ten Conference (Division I)
Post University Eagles Waterbury, Connecticut 1890 Private 7,317 Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (Division II)
Ursuline College Arrows Pepper Pike, Ohio 1871 Private 1,136 Great Midwest Athletic Conference (Division II)
Walsh University Cavaliers North Canton, Ohio 1960 Private 2,766 Great Midwest Athletic Conference (Division II)
Wilmington University Eagles New Castle, Delaware 1968 Private 20,522 Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (Division II)
University of Wisconsin–Whitewater Warhawks Whitewater, Wisconsin 1868 Public 11,722 Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (Division III)

Field hockeyEdit

The only Division I independent in field hockey in the spring 2021 season (moved from its normal fall scheduling due to COVID-19 disruptions) is Bellarmine, which started a transition from Division II in July 2020 and is thus highlighted in yellow. The spring 2021 season will be Bellarmine's only season as an independent, as it will become a single-sport member of the Mid-American Conference that July.[4]

Institution Team Location Founded Type Enrollment Primary Conference
Bellarmine University Knights Louisville, Kentucky 1950 Private 3,759 ASUN Conference

FootballEdit

Football Bowl SubdivisionEdit

As of the current 2020 college football season, there are seven NCAA Division I FBS independent schools.

Institution Founded Nickname First season Location Type Enrollment Primary conference
United States Military Academy
(Army)
1802 Black Knights 1890 West Point, New York Federal 4,294 Patriot League
Brigham Young University (BYU) 1875 Cougars 1922 Provo, Utah Private 29,672 West Coast Conference
Liberty University 1971 Flames 1973 Lynchburg, Virginia Private 15,000[a] ASUN Conference
New Mexico State University 1888 Aggies 1893 Las Cruces, New Mexico Public 18,497 Western Athletic Conference
University of Notre Dame 1842 Fighting Irish 1887 Notre Dame, Indiana Private 12,179 Atlantic Coast Conference
[b]
University of Connecticut (UConn) 1881 Huskies 1896 Storrs, Connecticut Public 32,257 Big East Conference
University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass) 1863 Minutemen 1879 Amherst, Massachusetts Public 29,269 Atlantic 10
Notes
  1. ^ Does not include roughly 100,000 students enrolled in online programs.
  2. ^ Notre Dame remains officially an independent football team, and is not a member of the ACC in any capacity for football. However, as part of the agreement to join the ACC in other sports, Notre Dame agreed to schedule 5 games per year against ACC opponents.[5]

Football Championship SubdivisionEdit

In the 2020 season, four schools will play as FCS independents—Dixie State, Presbyterian, Robert Morris, and Tarleton State. Dixie State announced in January 2019 that it would begin a transition from Division II to the non-football Western Athletic Conference in July 2020, with the football program becoming an FCS independent at that time.[6] Presbyterian announced in 2017 that it had started a transition to non-scholarship FCS football. The Blue Hose played their final season of Big South Conference football in 2019, and will play the 2020 season as an independent before joining the Pioneer Football League, a football-only conference made up entirely of non-scholarship FCS programs, in 2021. Presbyterian will remain a full non-football Big South member.[7] Robert Morris left the football-sponsoring Northeast Conference for the non-football Horizon League in July 2020; it will play the 2020 season as an independent and then join Big South football.[8] Tarleton State announced in 2019 that it would join the WAC alongside Dixie State and also play football as an FCS independent.[9]

The only school that had played as an FCS independent in 2019, North Dakota, joins the Missouri Valley Football Conference in 2020. North Dakota left the Big Sky Conference in 2018 to join the non-football Summit League, but agreed to honor existing contracts to play Big Sky members in football, and thus played a full Big Sky football schedule as an FCS independent in 2018 and 2019. While North Dakota was not listed in conference standings, their games against Big Sky football members counted fully in conference standings.[10]

Institution Founded Nickname First season Location Type Enrollment Primary conference
Dixie State University 1883 Trailblazers 2006 St. George, Utah Public 11,193 Western Athletic Conference
Presbyterian College 1880 Blue Hose 1913 Clinton, South Carolina Private 1,280 Big South Conference
Robert Morris University 1921 Colonials 1994 Moon Township, Pennsylvania Private 4,895 Horizon League
Tarleton State University 1883 Texans 1904 Stephenville, Texas Public 13,226 Western Athletic Conference

GolfEdit

MenEdit

Institution Team Location Founded Type Enrollment Primary Conference
Francis Marion University Patriots Florence, South Carolina 1970 Public 4,200 Peach Belt Conference (Division II)[11]

WomenEdit

Institution Team Location Founded Type Enrollment Primary Conference
Augusta University Jaguars Augusta, Georgia 1828 Public 9,000 Peach Belt Conference (Division II)[12]


Ice hockeyEdit

MenEdit

There are currently two NCAA Division I independents in men's ice hockey—Arizona State University and Long Island University (LIU).

Arizona State moved up from club hockey in the ACHA to full varsity status. The Sun Devils began playing a full Division I schedule in 2016–17, and expected to be in a hockey conference for 2017–18, but no conference move has yet materialized.

LIU announced in late April 2020 that it would launch varsity men's hockey for the 2020–21 season. The Sharks have yet to announce a conference home.

Institution Team Location Founded Type Enrollment Years Primary Conference
Arizona State University Sun Devils[13] Tempe, Arizona 1885 Public 50,246 2015–present Pac-12 Conference
Long Island University Sharks[14] Brooklyn and Brookville, New York[a] 1926 Private 15,197 2020–present Northeast Conference
  1. ^ The current LIU athletic program was created in 2019 with the merger of the athletic programs of the university's two main campuses—the Brooklyn campus, which had been a Division I member, and the Post campus in Brookville, which had competed in Division II. The merged program inherited Brooklyn's Division I membership. The team is open to undergraduate men at both campuses who meet NCAA eligibility requirements.

WomenEdit

No women's ice hockey teams played as independents at the National Collegiate level, the de facto equivalent to Division I in that sport, in the 2019–20 season.

Five schools—Franklin Pierce, Post, Sacred Heart, Saint Anselm, and Saint Michael's—competed as independents in the 2018–19 season, all participating in the nascent New England Women's Hockey Alliance (NEWHA), which had originally been established in 2017 as a scheduling alliance among all of the then-current National Collegiate independents. The NEWHA initially included six schools, but Holy Cross left after the inaugural 2017–18 NEWHA season to join Hockey East. The NEWHA officially organized as a conference in advance of the 2018–19 season,[15] but was not officially recognized by the NCAA as a Division I league until the 2019–20 season, by which time the newly launched LIU program had joined to return the conference membership to six.[16]

SoccerEdit

MenEdit

There is one men's soccer independent in the 2020 season, Chicago State University, a full member of the Western Athletic Conference which announced in late June 2020 that it would add the sport effective immediately. Because this announcement took place less than three months before the 2020 season had originally been scheduled to begin, Chicago State could not play a WAC schedule in that season.[17] Due to COVID-19 issues, the NCAA announced that no championships would be held in fall sports in 2020, though it left open the possibility of organizing championships in those sports in spring 2021.

Institution Team Location Founded Type Enrollment Primary Conference
Chicago State University Cougars Chicago, Illinois 1867 Public 2,950 Western Athletic Conference

WomenEdit

Two schools were independents in the most recently completed 2019 women's soccer season. The most recent departure from the independent ranks was Hampton University, which joined the Big South Conference, which sponsors women's soccer, in 2018.[18]

Institution Team Location Founded Type Enrollment Primary Conference
Delaware State University Hornets Dover, Delaware 1891 Public 3,400 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference
South Carolina State University Lady Bulldogs Orangeburg, South Carolina 1896 Public 3,000 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference

Men's volleyballEdit

Men's volleyball has a truncated divisional structure in which members of both Division I and Division II compete under identical scholarship limits for a single national championship. In the 2021 season, 12 men's volleyball programs, all but one of which are Division II members, will compete as independents.

D'Youville, currently reclassifying from Division III to Division II, is highlighted in yellow.

Institution Team Location Founded Type Enrollment Primary Conference
Alderson Broaddus University Battlers Philippi, West Virginia 1871 Private 1,052 Mountain East Conference
Coker University Cobras Hartsville, South Carolina 1908 Private 1,000 South Atlantic Conference
Daemen College Wildcats Amherst, New York 1947 Private 3,005 East Coast Conference
D'Youville College Saints Buffalo, New York 1946 Private 2,900 East Coast Conference
Limestone University Saints Gaffney, South Carolina 1845 Private 3,300 South Atlantic Conference
Lincoln Memorial University Railsplitters Harrogate, Tennessee 1897 Private 2,579 South Atlantic Conference
University of Puerto Rico at Bayamón Cowboys Bayamón, Puerto Rico 1971 Public 5,014 Independent[a]
University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez Tarzans Mayagüez, Puerto Rico 1911 Public 13,146 Independent[a]
University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus Gallitos San Juan, Puerto Rico 1903 Public 18,653 Independent[a]
Queens University of Charlotte Royals Charlotte, North Carolina 1857 Private 2,100 South Atlantic Conference
St. Francis College
(St. Francis Brooklyn)
Terriers[b] Brooklyn, New York 1858 Private 2,834 Northeast Conference (Division I)
Tusculum University Pioneers Tusculum, Tennessee 1794 Private 2,053 South Atlantic Conference
  1. ^ a b c While no member of the University of Puerto Rico system is part of a recognized NCAA conference, all are members of Liga Atlética Interuniversitaria de Puerto Rico, which governs college sports competitions in both Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.
  2. ^ St. Francis Brooklyn will join the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association in July 2021.[19]

WrestlingEdit

The only Division I wrestling independent in the upcoming 2020–21 season (subject to COVID-19 disruptions) is Bellarmine, which started a transition from Division II in July 2020 and is thus highlighted in yellow.

Institution Team Location Founded Type Enrollment Primary Conference
Bellarmine University Knights Louisville, Kentucky 1950 Private 3,759 ASUN Conference

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "OVC Adds Beach Volleyball as Championship Sport" (Press release). Ohio Valley Conference. July 30, 2019. Retrieved August 21, 2019.
  2. ^ "Southland Conference Adds Beach Volleyball to Championship Sports Offerings" (Press release). Southland Conference. August 14, 2019. Retrieved September 1, 2019.
  3. ^ "CCSA Announces Addition of Louisiana Monroe and Missouri State to Beach Volleyball" (Press release). Coastal Collegiate Sports Association. December 13, 2019. Retrieved June 5, 2020.
  4. ^ "Bellarmine to Join MAC as Affiliate Member in Field Hockey" (Press release). Mid-American Conference. June 9, 2020. Retrieved October 1, 2020.
  5. ^ "Notre Dame Goes To ACC: Bowl Security, Football Scheduling Flexibility Key To Move". Sports Business Daily. Street and Smith’s Sports Group. September 13, 2012. Retrieved September 9, 2013.
  6. ^ "Blazing a New Trail: Dixie State Accepts Invitation to Join Western Athletic Conference" (Press release). Dixie State Trailblazers. January 11, 2019. Retrieved January 25, 2019.
  7. ^ "Presbyterian College to join Pioneer Football League in 2021" (Press release). Pioneer Football League. November 20, 2017. Retrieved November 21, 2017.
  8. ^ "Big South Conference Adds Robert Morris University as Football Member" (Press release). Big South Conference. June 15, 2020. Retrieved June 15, 2020.
  9. ^ "Tarleton State University to Join Western Athletic Conference in 2020-21" (Press release). Western Athletic Conference. November 12, 2019. Retrieved December 1, 2019.
  10. ^ "UND athletics accepts invites to The Summit League, Missouri Valley Football Conference" (Press release). North Dakota Fighting Hawks. January 26, 2017. Retrieved May 18, 2018.
  11. ^ "NCAA Membership Directory: Francis Marion University". NCAA. Retrieved January 15, 2020.
  12. ^ "NCAA Membership Directory: Augusta University". NCAA. Retrieved January 15, 2020.
  13. ^ "Sun Devil Athletics Announces Addition of Men's Ice Hockey as NCAA Sport" (Press release). Arizona State Athletics. November 18, 2014. Retrieved February 3, 2015.
  14. ^ "LIU Announces Addition of Men's Ice Hockey" (Press release). LIU Sharks. April 30, 2020. Retrieved May 12, 2020.
  15. ^ "NEWHA announces intent to be recognized as NCAA national collegiate women's hockey conference". USCHO.com. September 26, 2018. Retrieved October 7, 2018.
  16. ^ "New England Women's Hockey Alliance approved for NCAA Division I status, effective with '19-20 season". USCHO.com. September 4, 2019. Retrieved October 14, 2019.
  17. ^ "Chicago State Announces Sport Sponsorship Adjustment". Western Athletic Conference. June 23, 2020. Retrieved August 14, 2020.
  18. ^ "Big South Adds Hampton University as Full Member" (Press release). Big South Conference. November 16, 2017. Retrieved November 17, 2017.
  19. ^ "St. Francis College Brooklyn Men's Volleyball Accepted into EIVA" (Press release). St. Francis Brooklyn Terriers. May 6, 2020. Retrieved May 8, 2020.