Division I (D-I) is the highest level of intercollegiate athletics sanctioned by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in the United States. D-I schools include the major collegiate athletic powers, with larger budgets, more elaborate facilities, and more athletic scholarships than Divisions II and III as well as many smaller schools committed to the highest level of intercollegiate competition.
This level was once called the University Division of the NCAA, in contrast to the lower level College Division; this terminology was replaced with numeric divisions in 1973. The University Division was renamed Division I, while the College Division was split in two; the College Division members that either offered scholarships or wanted to compete against those who did became Division II, while those who did not want to offer scholarships became Division III. For football only, Division I was further subdivided in 1978 into Division I-A (the principal football schools) and Division I-AA; those schools not sponsoring football remained as simply Division I.〔(【引用サイトリンク】title=What to do with I-AA? )〕 In 2006, Division I-A and I-AA were renamed "Football Bowl Subdivision" (FBS) and "Football Championship Subdivision" (FCS), respectively. FBS teams are allowed a maximum of 85 players receiving athletically-based aid per year, with each player allowed to receive up to a full scholarship; FCS teams have the same 85-player limit as FBS teams, but are only allowed to give an amount of aid equivalent to 63 full scholarships. FCS teams are allowed to award partial scholarships, a practice technically allowed but essentially never used at the FBS level. FBS teams also have to meet minimum attendance requirements (average 15,000 people in actual or paid attendance per home game), while FCS teams do not need to meet minimum attendance requirements. Another difference is post season play. Since 1978, FCS teams have played in a college football playoff system to determine a NCAA sanctioned national champion; the FBS teams play in bowl games where various polls rank the number one team after the conclusion of the bowl games. Starting with the 2014 postseason, a four-team playoff called the College Football Playoff, replaced the previous one game championship format. Even so, Division I FBS football is still the only NCAA sport in which a yearly champion is not determined by an NCAA-sanctioned championship event.
For the 2014-15 school year, Division I contained 345 of the NCAA's 1,066 member institutions, with 125 in FBS, 125 in FCS, and 95 non-football schools with 6 additional schools in transition from Division II to Division I).〔(【引用サイトリンク】title=Composition and Sport Sponsorship of the NCAA Membership )〕〔(【引用サイトリンク】title=Multidivision and Reclassifying for 2014-15 )〕 There was a moratorium on any additional movement up to D-I until 2012, after which any school desirous of moving to D-I must first be accepted for membership by a conference and must show the NCAA that it has the financial ability to support a D-I program.
All D-I schools must field teams in at least seven sports for men and seven for women or six for men and eight for women, with at least two team sports for each gender.〔(【引用サイトリンク】title=The Official Web Site of the NCAA )〕 Division I schools must meet minimum financial aid awards for their athletics program, and there are maximum financial aid awards for each sport that a Division I school cannot exceed. There are several other NCAA sanctioned minimums and differences that distinguish Division I from Divisions II and III.〔 Each playing season has to be represented by each gender as well. There are contest and participant minimums for each sport, as well as scheduling criteria. For sports other than football and basketball, Division I schools must play 100 percent of the minimum number of contests against Division I opponents—anything over the minimum number of games has to be 50 percent Division I. Men's and women's basketball teams have to play all but two games against Division I teams; for men, they must play one-third of all their contests in the home arena.
In addition to the schools that compete fully as D-I institutions, the NCAA allows D-II and D-III schools to classify one men's and one women's sport (other than football or basketball) as a D-I sport, as long as they had been sponsoring those sports prior to the latest rules change in 2011.〔(In the news: June 7 ). Ncaa.org (2011-06-07). Retrieved on 2013-08-17.〕 Also, Division II schools are eligible to compete for Division I national championships in sports that do not have a Division II national championship, and in those sports may also operate under D-I rules and scholarship limits.
==Scholarship limits by sport==
The NCAA has limits on the total financial aid each Division I member may award in each sport that the school sponsors. It divides sports that are sponsored into two types for purposes of scholarship limitations:
* "Head-count" sports, in which the NCAA limits the total number of individuals that can receive athletic scholarships, but allows each player to receive up to a full scholarship.
* "Equivalency" sports, in which the NCAA limits the total financial aid that a school can offer in a given sport to the equivalent of a set number of full scholarships. Roster limitations may or may not apply, depending on the sport.
The term "counter" is also key to this concept. The NCAA defines a "counter" as "an individual who is receiving institutional financial aid that is countable against the aid limitations in a sport."〔 See also Bylaw 15.5.1, pp. 199–200, for a more comprehensive discussion of when an individual becomes a "counter" in most sports, and Bylaw 126.96.36.199, pp. 204-205, for a discussion of this concept specifically applying to football.〕
The number of scholarships that Division I members may award in each sport is listed below. In this table, scholarship numbers for head-count sports are indicated ''without a decimal point''; for equivalency sports, they are listed with a decimal point, with a trailing zero if required.
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