Santa Clara Football
As a result of NCAA legislation, Santa Clara can no longer play at the Division II level where it competed in football from 1959 through 1992. To return football to the campus, Santa Clara must either select to play at the Division "I-A" or "I-AA" level.
Division I-A is the competitive level of the Pacific 10, Big Ten, and six other major conferences. There are 115 schools in Division I-A, including seven in California: Stanford, UC-Berkeley, UCLA, USC, San Jose State, Fresno State, and San Diego State.
Division I-A teams offer 85 full scholarships and must maintain an average minimum home attendance of 17,000 per year by 2004. In 2001, attendance in Division I-A averaged 41,715 per game, ranging from a low of 6,338 per game (San Jose State) to 109,908 per game (Michigan).
Budgets at this level range from $2.5 million to $15 million per year. For obvious reasons, Division I-A is not the future home for Santa Clara football.
Division I-AA is the competitive level for Division I schools in 13 other conferences, such as the Big Sky, Southern Conference, and the Ivy League. Formed in 1978, Division I-AA maintains its own 16 team playoff for a national championship, but its members are not eligible for college bowl games. There are 123 schools in Division I-AA, including three in Northern California: Cal State-Sacramento, UC-Davis, and Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo.
Division I-AA schools have no minimum scholarship or attendance requirements. About one-third of the membership play without athletic scholarships. In 2001, attendance in Division I-AA averaged 7,741 per game, ranging from a low of 802 per game (St. Francis) to 29,607 per game (Jackson State).
Budgets at this level range from $130,000 to $2.6 million per year, depending on scholarships awarded and coaching staffs. Many Catholic schools similar in size and academics to Santa Clara compete at this level nationwide, including teams in the the Patriot League (Holy Cross, Georgetown, Fordham), Pioneer League (San Diego, Dayton), and the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (St. Peter's, Duquesne).
Division I-AA schools are expected to schedule at least five games annually against other Division I-AA opponents. However, the NCAA offers a waiver to Division I-AA schools that do not have enough Division I-AA opponents within close geographic proximity for football scheduling, such as on the West Coast. Such schools can play any teams they wish, provided that they do not have more than 12.6 scholarships (the approximate scholarship level that Santa Clara was scheduled to have for the 1993 football season when the program was dropped).
The Let Them Play Foundation believes that a football team, classified as Division I-AA, similar to what SCU had when it discontinued the sport , is the most appropriate and cost affordable solution for the Broncos.
© 2008, Let Them Play Foundation, Inc., a 501(c)(3) charitable organization incorporated in the state of California. Not affiliated with Santa Clara University. Use of the words 'Santa Clara', 'Broncos', or other descriptions and accounts of Santa Clara Football are used solely within a fair use of same and is provided solely as a means of historical information and context to the public domain. All rights reserved.