FCS Playoffs to Seed 16 Teams Starting in 2024

The NCAA Board of Governors has approved the request that allows the Division I Football Championship Committee to seed 16 teams in the FCS Playoff bracket beginning with the 2024 season.

The use of 16 seeds has happened before in the FCS. From 1995 through 2000, the committee ranked all 16 teams in the FCS playoff bracket before reducing the number of seeds to 4 from 2001 through 2009. When the FCS playoffs expanded to 20 teams from 2010 through 2012, the committee seeded 5 teams. Since the 24-team FCS playoffs began, the committee had seeded 8 teams except for the Fall 2020/Spring 2021 season when only 4 of the 16 teams were seeded.

The increase in the number of seeds from 8 to 16 comes on the heels of the new agreement between ESPN and the NCAA for the broadcast rights to the NCAA Championships. The deal is worth $115 million annually from 2024-25 through 2031-32 and is three times larger than the previous deal. The additional funding allows the NCAA to expand its championship parameters as seen with the expansion of the NCAA Division III playoffs from 32 to 40 teams and now with the extra seeding at the FCS level.

The increased number of seeds will bring some transparency to the hosting process for first-round games in an era that has seen many FCS defections to the FBS coupled with increasingly less competitive playoffs. Additional seeds alone won’t fix all the issues but it is a step in the right direction for a subdivision that is often at the mercy of its larger, more influential FBS brother.

Photo Credit to NCAA Photos / NCAA

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