North Dakota's sporting teams participate in Division I of the NCAA. All of North Dakota's schools are members of the Big Sky Conference, which is part of the Pacific West region.
The only other Division I sport in North Dakota is basketball. The North Dakota State Bison play in the National Basketball Association (NBA).
Division II of the NCAA consists of two-year colleges and universities that sponsor varsity sports. North Dakota has no division II institutions.
All North Dakota college football teams are members of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC). The NSIC sponsors 12 games each season that all of its members play one another. In addition, all of the teams in the conference will receive an equal share of the conference's revenue distribution. The NSIC was founded in 1999 when three conferences merged: the Northwest Athletic Association of Colleges and Schools, the Northern California Collegiate Football League, and the Southwestern Athletic Conference.
The only other Division I program in North Dakota is North Dakota State University (NDSU). NDSU plays in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)'s Division I FCS (Football Championship Subdivision).
Except for men's hockey, which competes in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference, teams participate in the Summit League. All other sports programs are part of the Big Sky Conference.
There are two universities in North Dakota that support college football teams. The University of North Dakota and the North Dakota State University. Both schools are members of the Missouri Valley Football Conference. They play each other annually for the Arlen Schmidt Cup. The winner of this game goes to the next season's NCAA Division I FCS football championship game.
The only other team in North Dakota that plays at the D-I level is the South Dakota State University Jackrabbits. They play in the Missouri Valley Football Conference too but they don't have any other sports programs so they can't offer any other opportunities for their athletes. As a result, most of them choose to play soccer or basketball instead.
In addition to these two schools, there is also a community college in Bismarck named Dickinson College. This school offers several football scholarships so it can attract more players than just the two main universities. However, since it's not a permanent position, players usually change positions before graduating.
Overall, North Dakota doesn't have a strong tradition of college sports.
Sports. North Dakota has no significant professional sports teams. The North Central Conference is home to the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux and the North Dakota State University Bison. The University of North Dakota also fields a college ice hockey team.
North Dakota has two National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I football programs: North Dakota State University and the University of North Dakota. Both schools are members of the Western Athletic Conference. UND's football program has been in continuous operation since 1894, while NDSU's program began in 1889. In addition, North Dakota is also home to one NCAA Division III football program - Concordia College.
The state's only other team is the North Dakota State University Bison baseball team. The school was a member of the now-defunct Northern Sun Belt Conference from 1991 to 2005 before moving over to the Big Sky Conference. The Bison have won three national championships: 1986, 1990, and 1991. They have also appeared in the World Series five times without winning a single game.
Other than these two institutions, North Dakota does not have any other major sports teams.
However, many students participate in intramural sports during their time at university. These can include things such as basketball, soccer, softball, and volleyball.
North Dakota State University plays Division I football.
The North Dakota State Bison football team participates in the Missouri Valley Football Conference and represents North Dakota State University in collegiate football at the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision level.
North Dakota State has won 15 national championships: three in the College Division (precursor to Division II), five in Division II, and seven in Division I FCS. The Bisons' most recent title was in 2016 when they beat Ohio University 26-24 in overtime in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision National Semifinals.
They have been national champions three times in the Pre-NCAA Football Tournament Era (1930, 1934, and 1936). In 1930, under head coach Joe Kapp, NDSU defeated Washington 14-7 to win their first championship. In 1934, under head coach Clark Shaughnessy, the Bisons defeated California 28-0 to win their second title. In 1936, under head coach Charlie Bachman, the Bisons defeated Iowa 20-6 to win their third title.
In addition to these three titles, NDSU has been national runner-up four times: in 1947, 1948, 1999, and 2000. In 1947, under head coach Gus Dorais, the Bisons lost to USC 21-20 in Los Angeles after leading 20-0 at halftime. In 1948, under head coach Eddie Crowder, NDSU defeated Texas A&M 27-7 but lost to Oklahoma 7-3 in the Orange Bowl.
In 1894, North Dakota fielded its first football squad. They were one of the nine founder members of the North Central Conference in 1922, and they participated in that conference until 2008, when they upgraded all of its sports programs to Division I and joined the Great West Conference. In 2012, they joined the Big Sky Conference.
When they've beaten FBS opponents (who they're 6-0 against since 2010), numerous of fans and media sites (including this one) have speculated on how they'd do in DI's upper level. NDSU is ranked 19th in the all-DI Sagarin ratings, which include 255 FBS and FCS teams.