How Many Players on a College Football Team?


The number of players allowed on the pitch at any time during a game of football hasn’t changed since 1880.

But that number is much lower than the actual number of players on a college football team or even a professional NFL team. 

So, how many players are on a college football team?

Let’s find out.

How Many Players Are On a College Football Team?

College football teams can have anywhere between 105 and 125 active players on them. Most teams have 60-70 players on their college football roster.

These college football team size restrictions are largely made on a departmental level. For example, teams in the I-AA Division only get a total of 63 scholarships, Division II teams can have up to 36 players under scholarship, and Division I are allowed 85 scholarship players in a year.

What’s more, some conferences limit teams to the maximum number of players that can be taken on the road for games. 

For instance, the Big 10 cannot travel with more than 70 players for conference games.

That’s still a lot more, compared to the NFL (National Football League) where teams cannot have more than 53 players on the roster. Even then, only 46 players can suit up for the game. The only time an NFL team can have up to 90 players on the roster is in the preseason.

Worth noting: College football isn’t limited by the same rules that apply to the NFL. These teams are not required to report who will be dressed for the game and who will be inactive.

How Many College Football Teams Are There?

According to the NCSA, there are nearly 900 football colleges that span across five different division levels, NJCAA, NAIA, and NCAA Division 1, Division 2, and Division 3. 

The state with the most college football teams is Pennsylvania which has a whopping 52 college teams, followed by Ohio (41), Texas, (37), New York, and North Carolina (each counting 31). Other states that made it to the top of the list are Massachusetts (29), Illinois (28), Minnesota (25), Virginia (24) and California (22).

Who Can Play College Football?

College football is a sport that is open to all college students. 

However, those who want to compete and receive football-related financial aid at Division 1 and 2 schools have to meet certain requirements, including:

  • Graduate from high school.
  • Complete a minimum of 16 core courses and earn a minimum requirement grade.
  • Finish the SAT or ACT with a qualifying test score.

Division I student-athletes also have to:

  • Earn at least a 2.3 grade-point average in the core courses.
  • Meet an increased sliding-scale standard.
  • Complete 10 of the 16 total required core courses before the start of the 7th semester in high school, including in English, math and science.

Worth noting: There are no initial eligibility requirements for Division 3 colleges.

Bottom Line

College football teams have a lot more players in their roster than the number of players they’re allowed to have on the field.

They can have up to 125 active players, though most have up to 85 or less, depending on how many scholarships the team is allowed.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many players can dress for a college football game?

SEC rules dictate that no more than 60 players can dress for a league game. But for non-conference games, the SEC follows NCAA rules which caps teams at 82 players.

How many scholarship players can an NCAA football team have?

Division I teams can give away up to 85 scholarships in a year.

How many players are on an NFL football team?

Usually, an NFL football team can have up to 53 players.

How many players on a college football team?

They can have up to 125 active players.

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