Photo courtesy of Indiana Wesleyan athletics
As college football fans, we constantly have debate about Power 5 teams playing FCS teams. Many will argue that the contests are rarely competitive and largely a waste of time.
Then you have some reasonable people that will tell you that these games can help fund FCS programs. Occasionally, an upset for the ages can occur. Who can forget then-FCS power Appalachian State going to “The Big House” and taking down Michigan?
So, let’s take a trickle-down approach, and explore this venture. There is a division of college athletics called National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), which is an alternative to the NCAA. Sometimes, the two clash on the field.
In 2022, by our count, we have 29 matchups between NAIA and NCAA programs. In the same logic as above, some of these are money games for NAIA programs. Plus, NAIA players want to play on the biggest stage possible.
Here’s a look at those matchups below. We will be keeping track of this as the season goes along.
NAIA vs. NCAA FCS
(24 Full Athletic Scholarships vs. 63 Full Athletic Scholarships)
- Concordia (MI) vs. Stetson (Sept. 3)
- Florida Memorial vs. Southern (Sept. 3)
- Indiana Wesleyan vs. Valparaiso (Sept. 3)
- St. Thomas vs. Butler (Sept. 3)
- Thomas More vs. Duquesne (Sept. 10)
- Louisiana College vs. Stetson (Sept. 10)
- North American University vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff (Sept. 10)
- Keiser vs. Lindenwood (Sept. 17)
- St. Andrews vs. Davidson (Sept. 17)
- Warner vs. Stephen F. Austin (Sept. 24)
In 2021, Indiana Wesleyan defeated Valparaiso, and if you used the transitive property, Indiana Wesleyan is better than Alabama. The majority of these matchups involve FCS teams from the Pioneer League.
The Pioneer League has a lot of great talent but it is the only FCS conference that does not provide athletic scholarships. Don’t be surprised if NAIA schools grab a few wins here. Thomas More will play Duquesne just a few weeks after Duquesne plays Florida State. This is a neat opportunity for NAIA players.
NAIA vs. NCAA Division II
(24 Full Athletic Scholarships vs. 36 Full Athletic Scholarships)
- Florida Memorial vs. Edward Waters (Aug. 27)
- Dickinson State vs. Black Hills State (Sept. 1)
- Keiser vs. Valdosta State (Sept. 1)
- North American University vs. Texas A&M Kingsville (Sept. 3)
- Warner vs. West Florida (Sept. 3)
- Southeastern vs. Savannah State (Sept. 3)
- Trinity International vs. Quincy (Sept. 8)
- Arizona Christian vs. Fort Lewis College (Sept. 10)
- Keiser vs. Mississippi College (Sept. 10)
- Mayville State vs. Nebraska Wesleyan (Sept. 10)
- Waldorf vs. Ferris State (Sept. 24)
Many will tell you that NAIA and Division II are eerily similar due to the closing gap in scholarship limits. Also, kudos to Keiser. The Seahawks for not only scheduled an FCS team, but multiple D-II teams as well. Waldorf has defending national champion Ferris State on its schedule.
NAIA vs NCAA Division III
(24 Full Athletic Scholarships vs. 0 Full Athletic Scholarships)
- Presentation vs. Luther (Sept. 3)
- Mayville State vs. UW-Stevens Point (Sept. 3)
- Eastern Oregon vs. Whitworth (Sept. 10)
- Iowa Wesleyan vs. Westminster (Sept. 10)
- Iowa Wesleyan vs. Finlandia (Sept. 17)
- Point vs. Birmingham Southern (Sept. 24)
- North American University vs. Texas Lutheran (Oct. 1)
- North American University vs. East Texas Baptist (Nov. 12)
While Division III doesn’t offer athletic scholarships, institutions make up for it with academic money. These eight games in 2022 could easily be an even split.