The 2016 college football season is just around the corner, and this fall will see a more crowded landscape than at any point in the game's 147-year history. According to a report published by the National Football Foundation Tuesday, an all-time high 774 colleges and universities will take the field this season.
The number has grown by five from 2015 to '16 as Cincinnati Christian University, Davenport University (Grand Rapids, Mich.), Morthland College (West Frankfort, Ill.), UT-Permian Basin (Odessa, Texas) and the University of West Florida (Pensacola, Fla.) will take the field for the first time. Six more schools will join them over the next two years.
The majority of new football schools join either Division II, Division III or NAIA, but each division has seen a rise to its ranks over the past decade.
“With more than one million high school students playing football and more than 70,000 spots on college teams, there is plenty of room for expansion,” NFF Chairman Archie Manning said in a statement. “Many of these colleges clearly recognize that football can play an important role in encouraging students to continue their educations by enticing them to enroll.”
As numbers in youth football fall from their peak, today's report shows that those who remain on the field through high school will enjoy more opportunity than ever.