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Ralph's Report

What's the difference between FCS and FBS?

Rating: 9 votes, 3.44 average.
I received an email alert today of this Internet posting at "", which generally delineated the differences between the FCS and the FBS. Of course I went to the site (which is well done) and examined the article. In it I found many vague and often incomplete descriptions so I partially rewrote the article, attempting to keep the original intact and only inserting/replacing some things. Therefore it isn't perfect but I think it is more clear. What do you think?

Here's my rewrite:


In the college football arena of which the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is the major authority, one should be familiar with the various conferences or game divisions. Each division can vary per state, or per country, but above all else, this simply makes football more exciting. In this scenario, you have more game options to watch, compared to watching only one single division being played over and over again. More players also get the chance to play football as well.

FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision) and FCS (Football Championship Subdivision) are two new NCAA Division I terms that took effect in 2006. These terms were originally named according to how the institution athletic department is equipped and funded. If it is well funded (number of sports, coaches, facilities, administration staffs, etc.), then most likely it will be classified as Division I. The lower the number of the division, the less funded the school is expected to be. The NCAA has three divisions, and uses roman numerals to denote them; I, II, and III. Division I is the only NCAA division which has subdivisions and only in the sport of football.

FBS is very different from FCS. FBS, originally known as Division I-A, conducts a ‘bowl’ postseason of unrelated games (the only NCAA sport that does not finish with an NCAA championship). Conversely, the FCS, originally known as Division I-AA, conducts an official NCAA playoff that culminates with the NCAA Division I championship game. The teams battle it out through the process of single elimination. FCS is the highest level of NCAA championship football.

The two divisions also differ in terms of authority. Although both are within the scope of the NCAA, the FCS has the Division I Committee for playoff selection. They determine the ranking of the teams who are able to play in the playoff series. In the case of the FBS, their postseason ‘championship game’ falls under an independent body – the Bowl Championship Series (BCS), whose authority is sanctioned by the NCAA.

Lastly, in the aspect of scholarships, FBS colleges is required to give 85 scholarships to 85 different and qualified players. FBS is required to give these players full scholarships, as opposed to FCS that is allowed to give full or partial scholarships. They are given the choice as to how many full or partial scholarships they can give in a year’s time but are limited to 63 total scholarships or scholarship equivalencies.


1. FBS is required to spend more money on their football programs, whereas, FCS is known as the cost-containment level of Division I football.
2. FBS conducts unrelated post season games, whereas the FCS stages the highest level of NCAA championship football that makes use of a single elimination tournament.
3. The FBS postseason is governed by a separate body, apart from and sanctioned by the NCAA, which is known as the BCS.
4. Mandated by the NCAA, FBS has to give full scholarships to 85 players, 22 more than the FCS is allowed to allocate.

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