NCAA Division I-FBS independent schools

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NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision independent schools are four-year institutions whose football programs are not part of an NCAA-affiliated conference. This means that FBS independents do not schedule each other for competition like conference schools do. There are many fewer independent schools than in years past; many independent schools join, or attempt to join, established conferences, usually in order to gain a share of television revenue and access to bowl games that agree to take teams from certain conferences.

All Division I FBS independents are eligible for a Bowl Championship Series bowl provided they meet eligibility requirements. Notre Dame receives an automatic bid by finishing in the top eight of the final BCS ranking. Notre Dame also has other bowl agreements as part of its affiliation with the Big East Conference, and Navy and Army have agreements with the Military Bowl (formerly the EagleBank Bowl).[1]

The ranks of football independents will increase by one for the 2011 season with the announcement that BYU would leave the Mountain West Conference to become a football independent starting with that season.[2]


Reasons for independence

In recent years, most independent FBS schools have joined a conference for two primary reasons: A guaranteed share of television and bowl revenues, and ease of scheduling. The three remaining independent FBS schools, plus future independent BYU, have unique circumstances that circumvent their need for conference affiliation.

Notre Dame

Notre Dame is one of the most prominent programs in the country. Due to its national popularity built over many years, Notre Dame is the only individual school to have its own national television contract,[3][4] and is the only independent program to be part of the Bowl Championship Series coalition and its guaranteed payout. These factors help make Notre Dame the most financially valuable football program in the country, thus negating the need for Notre Dame to secure revenue by joining a conference.[5][6]

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