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Athletic programs in North American Colleges have grown dramatically over the last few decades, with college football having played a notably significant role in the rise of intercollegiate games, in part, due to the NCAA's massive popularity in the region.

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The 2016/17 season will be the third one for the Division 1 FBS games. Football is the only sport that has subdivisions in the conferences. The NCAA uses two criteria for categorizing whether a particular school is a championship or bowl subdivision. One is attendance, which can be reflected by the number of ticket sales. A school can move up or down depending on how it holds up attendance for its football games. The other is the number of students receiving financial assistance. Schools in the FBS can have up 85 students that are on scholarships.

The Role of Intercollegiate Games

Intercollegiate football games have various benefits to schools and students. For one, these games provide a platform for students to showcase their talents. The exposure that NCAA football offers has been an effective launch pad professional careers. Football programs are also attractive elements that parents and students look for before enrolling in a school. Some schools also get a lot of revenue from intercollegiate games, which help in improving student life.

Where it all Started

To see how far NCAA football has come, it is important to know where it came from. The first intercollegiate game to be played was in 1869 between Rutgers and Princeton where Rutgers won 6-4. That first game was played in New Brunswick, New Jersey with 25 players on each side. By 1875, there were a few more teams from Steven’s Tech, Yale, Columbia, and Harvard. The naming of the first All-America team was in 1889.

Rules of the Game

The rules have changed immensely since that first game. Devising an efficient scoring system is one of the reasons the game became popular. Around 1883, new scoring rules increased the value of a touchdown. It went from 4 to five in 1897 and then to 6 in 1912, and it is the valued used today. A field goal was five points and then dropped to four in 1904 and later to its modern value of 3 in 1909.

The NCAA changed some rules that will apply in the 2016 season. One is that coaches can now use electronic devices during a game to help with their duties but only in the locker room and press box. It is still against regulations to utilize electronic devices on the sidelines or the field. Now there is a penalty for deliberately tripping a ball carrier. Another rule change is that a ball carrier will be regarded as a defenseless player if they give themselves up. Perhaps the biggest rule that will make an impact in the new season is the use of replays to review fouls that on-field officials may have missed.

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