The addition of three college football programs making the jump from NCAA Division II will increase the Football Championship Subdivision to a record 130 schools in the 2022 season.

Texas A&M-Commerce announced in September it would move to Division I as a Southland Conference member and was followed this year by Lindenwood (Ohio Valley Conference) and Stonehill (Northeast Conference). Their D-I status becomes effective on July 1.

The following is a snapshot of the three incoming programs:


Lindenwood Lions

  • Location – St. Charles, Missouri
  • Enrollment – 3,752 undergraduates, 4,802 overall (fall 2021)
  • New Conference – Ohio Valley
  • Coach – Jed Stugart (fifth season, 26-21 record; 117-45 overall)
  • 2021 Record – 9-3 (7-0 Great Lakes Valley)
  • All-Time Varsity Record – 171-172-2 (since 1990)

The Skinny: Lindenwood played at FCS power South Dakota State early last season and ended its stay in Division II with a second consecutive playoff appearance. Among the Lions’ key returnees are quarterback Cade Brister, the GLVC’s 2019 offensive player of the year; running back Robert Giaimo, the 2021 freshman of the year; and Spencer Redd, the 2021 special teams player of the year. Redd also teams with Payton Rose at wide receiver and left tackle Blake Rogenhafer protects Brister. The defense, which is replacing first-team AFCA All-America linebacker Drew Seers, returns safety Kai Ross.

2022 Schedule

Sept. 10, at Houston Baptist

Sept. 17, Keiser

Sept. 24, at UT Martin*

Oct. 1, Southeast Missouri*

Oct. 9, at Central Arkansas

Oct. 15, at Eastern Illinois (won’t count in OVC standings)

Oct. 22, Murray State*

Oct. 29, William Jewell

Nov. 5, at Tennessee Tech*

Nov. 12, McKendree

*-OVC game

Stonehill Skyhawks

  • Location – Easton, Massachusetts
  • Enrollment – 2,479 undergraduates (fall 2021)
  • New Conference – Northeast Conference
  • Coach – Eli Gardner (sixth season, 27-24 record)
  • 2021 Record – 8-2 (6-2 Northeast-10)
  • All-Time Varsity Record – 147-175-3 (since 1988)

The Skinny: Stonehill makes the jump to the FCS off its best record since 2013, set to join recent NE-10 members LIU and Merrimack in the NEC (their transitions from D-II began in 2019). Quarterback is up for grabs as the Skyhawks replace two-year starter Anton Stoneking, but the new No. 1 will be surrounded by experienced players. There are playmakers in wide receiver Chris Domercant, who averaged 21.5 yards on 38 receptions, including nine touchdowns, and junior running back Jermaine Corbett, who in the second half of last season rushed for 254 yards and two TDs in his first career start. Also, the offensive line returns Joe Bastante and Thomas Walsh. The defensive leader could be linebacker Marje Mulumba.

2022 Schedule

Sept. 3, at Bloomsburg

Sept. 10, Post

Oct. 1, Duquesne*

Oct. 15, at Sacred Heart*

Oct. 22, at Saint Francis*

Oct. 29, Merrimack*

Nov. 5, Wagner*

Nov. 12, at LIU*

Nov. 19, Central Connecticut State*

*-NEC game

Texas A&M-Commerce Lions

  • Location – Commerce, Texas
  • Enrollment – 8,062 undergraduates, 11,624 overall (fall 2020)
  • New Conference – Southland
  • Coach – David Bailiff (third season, 18-7 record; 96-102 overall)
  • 2021 Record – 7-4 (5-2 Lone Star)
  • All-Time Varsity Record – 560-437-31 (since 1914)

The Skinny: A&M-Commerce is the strongest of the three transitioning programs – a two-time national champion (1972 NAIA and 2017 Division II) with its football alums including Harvey Martin, Wade Wilson and Dwight White. After a run of five straight postseason appearances ended last season, Bailiff went big on transfers, including quarterback Jagger LaRoe (Ohio State), wide receiver B.J. Busbee (San Diego State) and running back Reggie Branch (UIW). Jagger appeared to have an edge in spring practice over returning QBs Jaiave Magalei and Eric Rodriguez. While the offensive line will have four new starters, the defensive line returns a lot, including tackle Ben Hutch and end Celestin Haba.

2022 Schedule

Sept. 1, Lincoln (Calif.)

Sept. 10, at Tennessee Tech

Sept. 17, at Sam Houston

Sept. 24, North American

Oct. 8, at Southeastern Louisiana*

Oct. 15, McNeese*

Oct. 22, Houston Baptist*

Oct. 29, at Nicholls*

Nov. 5, Northwestern State*

Nov. 12, at Houston Baptist*

Nov. 19, Tennessee State

*-Southland game

Graphic design by Matt Sisneros.