How Many Players on a College Football Team

In today’s football-obsessed world, the question has been raised of how many players on a college football team. At first glance, it may seem easy to answer that question — if you’ve got 63 on your roster list and 15 more on your bench, then you must have 66 players. But this is not always the case when it comes to college football rosters. The number of players on a college football team can fluctuate depending on the size of the program, roster size requirements for each individual sport, and other factors.

How Many Players on a College Football Team? 

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In NCAA football, the NCAA requires a football program to have 85 players on their roster, but the maximum can be up to 105. This means that college teams can have a maximum of 20 more players than the NCAA requires. This could be considered cheating but is allowed. Also, rosters for other sports teams like basketball and baseball are not included in the 85-105 limit.

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Another factor in how many players on college football team can have is the size of the roster. The NCAA requires that all rosters contain 63 players at minimum. If a team has more than 63, it must be able to trim down its team roster to 36 players.

The NCAA also states that all teams will have between 35 and 60 walk-ons, depending on the program and sport. The NCAA’s roster rules are laid out on the official NCAA football roster guidelines, but these guidelines do not define what a walk-on is. 

In fact, the NCAA does not define what “walk-on” is or how this status determines whether or not a player should be treated as a scholarship player. The NCAA has said that it uses a system of incentives and sanctions to determine how many scholarship players and walk-ons each team must have each year.

Many programs choose to play with as many as they legally can, while other programs choose to have less than the NCAA requires. Programs often prefer to have more players in order to increase the number of scholarships they can award and the number of walk-ons that may receive scholarships. 

On the other hand, some programs choose not to roster certain positions (for instance, quarterbacks) because they are highly sought after and don’t feel that these positions are important enough for full scholarship players. 

The NCAA does stipulate that the maximum for a roster is 105 players. This number has been adopted by conferences in an effort to equalize the size of some of these programs (such as the Southeastern Conference).

Big 12 Conference: The Big 12 Conference has no limit on roster size, but league officials have indicated they would like to see teams slim down their rosters to 65 or even 60 players in order to maintain competitive balance. The SEC, Big Ten, and Pac-12 all require a minimum number of players. The NCAA FCS has a limit of 63 players on the roster. 

The FBS does not have a roster limit.

For teams to get the largest benefit from their football program, they must follow these NCAA rules in order to maintain eligibility. This includes following the recruiting calendar and adhering to NCAA guidelines for summer practice and training camp. 

Another important aspect of maintaining eligibility is how many players are on the football team’s roster.

How Many College Football Teams Are There

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The former NCAA rule regarding institutional aid was that, if there were more than 120 FBS football teams (2006), then at least 14 universities would receive a national championship. 

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In NCAA Division I, there are currently 130 schools in FBS. In FBS, there are 34 schools in each conference. The conferences are split into five divisions: the Big Ten (East and West), the ACC, the SEC, the Big 12, and the Pac-12. 

Frequently Asked Questions

#1 What State Has the Most College Football Teams?

With recent statistics, Pennsylvania has the most college football teams with 52 teams. The second most teams is Texas with 43 teams and the third is Georgia with 40 teams. In particular, Pennsylvania has 32 FBS schools.

#2 What State Has the Least College Football Teams?

In particular, Utah has the fewest college football teams with only 9 squads. The next state with clubs is Wyoming with 14 clubs and then Mississippi with 16 teams. Utah does have a lot of colleges like Brigham Young University, Weber State University, Southern Utah University, Utah Valley University, and Southern Utah University.

#3 How Many College Football Teams Are There in the United States?

According to NCSA, there are approximately 890 college football teams in the US for all 5 divisions.

#4 Which College Football Teams Were Founded First?

In particular, the first college football teams in America were Harvard and Yale who formed a match on November 13, 1875. The match was the first of two college football clubs in the United States ever. Harvard beat Yale for a 6 to 0 result. On November 23, Columbia and Rutgers played for the first time ever as well.

#5 Who Can Play College Football?

College football was a game that could not be played by all players. It was simple: the NCAA didn’t allow underclassmen to play. But in 1972, Alabama junior Joe Namath famously broke the rules and sued to play in the Sugar Bowl. The rest is history, and now anyone can play college ball. 

View more: When was the NFL founded

#6 Do College Basketball and Football Have the Same Schedules?

Football and basketball have the same scheduling, but in one field, they are different. The season starts in late August or September for football, but it starts in November. The month of December is generally where both basketball and football end.


The number of players on a college football team can vary depending on the size of the program, roster size requirements for each individual sport, and other factors. It is important to follow NCAA rules in order to maintain eligibility and receive benefits. The number of players on a college football team may not be the same as college basketball but they represent the official sanctioning body for college sports.

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