NCAA Division I independent schools
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 upcoming 2020 season (2019–20 school year), the following programs compete as independents. A total of 11 schools that were independents in the 2019 season exited that status after that season. All are full members of conferences that began sponsoring beach volleyball in 2019–20, with five being members of the Ohio Valley Conference and six being members of the Southland Conference.
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 2019–20 season, at least nine bowling programs compete as independents. This list is likely incomplete, as Division III independents have not yet been analyzed.
Football Bowl SubdivisionEdit
As of the current 2019 college football season, there are six NCAA Division I FBS independent schools.
|Institution||Founded||Nickname||First season||Location||Type||Enrollment||Primary conference|
|United States Military Academy
|1802||Black Knights||1890||West Point, New York||Federal||4,294||Patriot League|
|Brigham Young University||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|
|University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass)||1863||Minutemen||1879||Amherst, Massachusetts||Public||29,269||Atlantic 10|
- Does not include roughly 100,000 students enrolled in online programs.
- 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.
Football Championship SubdivisionEdit
One FCS school is playing as an independent in the 2019 season, namely North Dakota. The school left the Big Sky Conference in 2018 to join the non-football Summit League. While North Dakota played as an FCS independent in 2018 and is doing so again in 2019, it continues to play a full Big Sky football schedule due to contractual commitments; games against North Dakota in those seasons count in the Big Sky standings for their opponents. The Fighting Hawks will then join the Missouri Valley Football Conference in 2020.
Two other schools, Hampton and North Alabama, played the 2018 season as FCS independents, but both joined Big South Conference football in 2019. Hampton joined the Big South in other sports in 2018, but due to scheduling issues could not immediately join Big South football. North Alabama moved from Division II to the non-football ASUN Conference in 2018, with the football team joining the Big South in 2019 under the terms of an alliance between the two conferences that provides any full member of either league that sponsors scholarship football with a guaranteed football home in the Big South.
The next FCS independents after North Dakota's move to the MVFC will be Dixie State and Presbyterian. 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. Presbyterian announced in 2017 that it had started a transition to non-scholarship FCS football. The Blue Hose will leave Big South football after the 2019 season and 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.
|Institution||Founded||Nickname||First season||Location||Type||Enrollment||Primary conference|
|University of North Dakota||1883||Fighting Hawks||1894||Grand Forks, North Dakota||Public||14,906||Summit League|
There is currently one NCAA Division I independent in men's ice hockey. The Sun Devils moved up from club hockey in the ACHA to full varsity status. Arizona State 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.
|Arizona State University||Sun Devils||Tempe, Arizona||1885||Public||50,246||2015–present||Pac-12 Conference|
There are currently five NCAA Division I independent teams in women's ice hockey. The NCAA conducts a National Collegiate championship tournament open to Division I and Division II members, with a small number of Division III schools having been grandfathered into the National Collegiate level. A separate Division III championship is also held.
Four of the current independents are full members of Division II; Sacred Heart is the only current women's hockey independent that is a full Division I member. In 2019–20, another Division I member, LIU, will add women's hockey. All current independents participate in a scheduling agreement known as the New England Women's Hockey Alliance, which formed in advance of the 2017–18 season. The LIU athletic program will be formed in 2019–20 with the merger of Long Island University's two current athletic programs—the Division I LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds and the Division II LIU Post Pioneers—into a single Division I program. Shortly before the university announced its impending athletic merger, LIU Brooklyn had announced it would add women's hockey in 2019–20 and participate in the NEWHA. With the alliance now set to have the six members needed to become an officially recognized NCAA conference, it has formally organized as a conference and announced plans to gain NCAA recognition for 2019–20 and beyond.
The Franklin Pierce Ravens moved up from Division III (where they were a member of the New England Hockey Conference) in 2017. Its men's team plays in Division II as a member of the Northeast-10 Conference.
The Saint Anselm Hawks moved up from Division III (where they were a member of the New England Hockey Conference) in 2017. Its men's team plays in Division II as a member of the Northeast-10 Conference.
The Saint Michael's Purple Knights moved up from Division III (where they were a member of the New England Hockey Conference) in 2017. Its men's team plays in Division II as a member of the Northeast-10 Conference.
The Post Eagles have participated in the NEWHA since the 2017–18 season. They launched their women's program in 2016–17, playing as a de facto Division III independent in their first season. The Eagles men's team plays in Division II as an independent, but with a cross-scheduling agreement with the Northeast-10.
|Sacred Heart University||Pioneers||Fairfield, Connecticut||1963||Private||8,532||2003–present||Northeast Conference|
|Post University||Eagles||Waterbury, Connecticut||1890||Private||7,059||2017–present||Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference|
|Franklin Pierce University||Ravens||Rindge, New Hampshire||1962||Private||2,381||2017–present||Northeast-10 Conference|
|Saint Anselm College||Hawks||Manchester, New Hampshire||1889||Private||1,968||2017–present||Northeast-10 Conference|
|Saint Michael's College||Purple Knights||Colchester, Vermont||1904||Private||2,316||2017–present||Northeast-10 Conference|
- Possible future independent
|Long Island University (LIU)||Sharks||Brooklyn, New York[a]||1926||Private||18,500[b]||2019–future||Northeast Conference|
- The unified LIU athletic program bases some sports at the Brooklyn campus and others at the Post campus in Brookville, New York. Women's ice hockey is based in Brooklyn.
- Combined enrollment of the school's Brooklyn and Post campuses. All LIU varsity sports are open to undergraduates at either campus who meet NCAA eligibility requirements.
There are no men's soccer independents as of the 2018 season.
Two schools are independents in the current 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.
|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 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 upcoming 2020 season, 11 men's volleyball programs, all but one of which are Division II members, will compete as independents.
There are no wrestling independents as of the 2018 season.
- "OVC Adds Beach Volleyball as Championship Sport" (Press release). Ohio Valley Conference. July 30, 2019. Retrieved August 21, 2019.
- "Southland Conference Adds Beach Volleyball to Championship Sports Offerings" (Press release). Southland Conference. August 14, 2019. Retrieved September 1, 2019.
- "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.
- "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.
- Johnson, Dave (May 15, 2018). "As an FCS independent, HU releases its 2018 schedule". Daily Press. Newport News, VA. Retrieved May 18, 2018.
- "North Alabama To Join Big South Football in 2019" (Press release). Big South Conference. December 6, 2016. Retrieved December 7, 2016.
- "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.
- "Presbyterian College to join Pioneer Football League in 2021" (Press release). Pioneer Football League. November 20, 2017. Retrieved November 21, 2017.
- "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.
- "NEWHA announces intent to be recognized as NCAA national collegiate women's hockey conference". USCHO.com. September 26, 2018. Retrieved October 7, 2018.
- "Statistics :: History :: Sacred Heart :: Women's Hockey :: USCHO.com :: U.S. College Hockey Online". USCHO.com. Retrieved April 21, 2010.
- "Statistics :: History :: Post :: Women's Hockey :: USCHO.com :: U.S. College Hockey Online". USCHO.com. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
- "Statistics :: History :: Franklin Pierce :: Women's Hockey :: USCHO.com :: U.S. College Hockey Online". USCHO.com. Retrieved November 23, 2017.
- "Statistics :: History :: Saint Anselm :: Women's Hockey :: USCHO.com :: U.S. College Hockey Online". USCHO.com. Retrieved November 23, 2017.
- "Statistics :: History :: Saint Michael's :: Women's Hockey :: USCHO.com :: U.S. College Hockey Online". USCHO.com. Retrieved November 23, 2017.
- "Women's Ice Hockey Added as Varsity Sport at LIU Brooklyn; Morgan Tabbed as Inaugural Head Coach" (Press release). LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds. September 10, 2018. Retrieved September 21, 2018.
- "Big South Adds Hampton University as Full Member" (Press release). Big South Conference. November 16, 2017. Retrieved November 17, 2017.