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College Football By The Numbers

National Football Foundation (NFF) Highlights Key Stats on the Game

Notre Dame Stadium (Photo: @NDFootball Twitter)
Photo: @NDFootball Twitter

This gem of a press release from the National Football Foundation (NFF) arrived in my inbox this morning, and I thought you might be interested in perusing it as well.

The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame today released impactful numbers on the state of football, including key stats from the high school, collegiate and NFL levels, showcasing the many opportunities the game provides to the more than 1 million high school and 81,000 collegiate athletes that play the game each year. The NFF has also highlighted the impressive numbers from the 2020-21 season impacted by the pandemic.

“Football has been an integral part of the American experience for 152 years, and it continues to foster the key leadership skills that benefit the young people who play the game,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “We wanted to highlight all of the numbers from high school football, college football and the NFL to show where the game stands today. We also wanted to showcase the 2020-21 season and the resiliency shown by the high school and college football programs who worked to safely provide their student-athletes the ability to still take the field in either the fall or spring.”

During the 2020-21 season impacted by the pandemic, 46 states and the District of Columbia found safe ways for high school football games to be played in either the fall or spring semesters. At the college level, 216 schools from all levels of the NCAA and NAIA were able to play games in the fall while another 296 played games in the spring.

As the 2021 season approaches, the NFF anticipates that more than 1 million students will take the field at 15,810 high schools and another 81,000 will play at the college level at 765 four-year institutions. The game has seen growth in other areas as well, with 15 colleges and universities now offering sprint football while another 15 NAIA schools are playing women’s flag football at the varsity level.

See below for a complete set of facts highlighted by the NFF.


High School Football

15,810* High Schools in the United States that Sponsor Football (as of 2018-19 Season, National Federation of State High School Associations)

1.04 Million* High School Football Players in the United States (as of 2018-19 Season, National Federation of State High School Associations)

7.8 Percent of High School Football Players will Play in College

*Note: These numbers do not include private and/or parochial high schools that do not report to the state high school associations.

College Football (Est. 1869)

765 Colleges & Universities Playing Football at All Levels (FBS, FCS, Div. II, Div. III, NAIA and more)

60 Colleges & Universities Added Football Programs from 2010-20

7 Colleges & Universities Will Add Football Programs in 2021 and Beyond

15 Colleges & Universities Offering Sprint Football

15 NAIA Schools Playing Women’s Flag Football

125 Junior Colleges Offering Football

81,000(+) College Football Players in NCAA & NAIA

0.41 Percent of College Football Players Made NFL Opening Week Rosters in 2020

99.6 Percent of College Football Players Go On to Other Careers

National Football League (Est. 1920)

32 NFL Teams

2,016 Players on NFL Rosters

320 Rookies Made NFL Opening Week Rosters in 2020 (NFL)

259 College Football Players Were Drafted in 2021

243 College Football Players Signed as Undrafted Free Agents or Received Training Camp Invitations in 2021

3.3 Years is an Average NFL Player’s Career (Statista)

College & University Graduation Rates

81% Graduation Success Rate of Football Bowl Subdivision Football Student-Athletes (NCAA)

69% Graduation Rate of General Student Body at Division I Institutions (NCAA)

6 Years is the Average Time Period for a College Student to Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree (National Center for Education Statistics)

$28,950 is the Average Student Loan Debt for the Class of 2019 (The Institute for College Access & Success)

1,452 Student-Athletes Who Played in 2019 Had Already Earned Their Undergraduate Degree

1,046 Super Seniors at FBS Level Taking Advantage of Extra Year of Eligibility in 2021 (AP - as of Feb. 28, 2021)

2,217 Student-Athletes on 2021 FBS Rosters Have Transferred at Least Once in Their Careers (Includes All Transfer Types—as of July 1, 2021)

(According to {November 17, 2020}, here are Notre Dame’s 2020 NCAA figures:

“Notre Dame has claimed the 2020 national championship for graduating student-athletes in all sports–in the process posting the top NCAA Graduation Success Rate (GSR) figure (98) for the 14th straight year.”

“The GSR number for all Notre Dame student-athletes rates the Irish first among the football-playing institutions (tied with Northwestern and Duke) in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A). The 2020 NCAA figures are based on entering classes from 2010 through 2013.”

“In calculations including all student-athletes in all sports, Notre Dame ranks first (at 98) among the FBS schools in the GSR figures, which were initiated in 2005 by the NCAA. Using the federal formula, Notre Dame graduated a four-year average of 92 percent of its student-athletes, behind only Stanford at 93.”

“In addition to its number-one GSR ranking for all student-athletes (98), Notre Dame finished tied for first among female student-athletes at 100, third among male student-athletes at 96 percent.”)

National Football Foundation (Est. 1947)

5.47 Million College Football Players All-Time (est. 1869)

1,038 Players and 223 Coaches inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame All-Time (est. 1951)

Less Than Two One-Hundredths of a Percent (.02%) of All-Time Players Have Earned Induction into the College Football Hall of Fame

31 William V. Campbell Trophy® recipients recognized as College Football’s Top Scholar-Athlete (est. 1990

878 College Football Players from 268 Schools Honored as NFF National Scholar-Athletes All-Time (est. 1959)

13,081 College Football Players All-Time Named to the NFF Hampshire Honor Society (est. 2007)

120 Chapters in 47 States Representing Over 6,000 High Schools and 600,000(+) Players (est. 1957)

63rd NFF Annual Awards Dinner in Las Vegas on Dec. 7, 2021 – Visit for More Information

NFF Future For Football® (Est. 2014)

24 Hours a Day / 7 Days a Week as the Go-To Source for the Good in the Game – Visit for More Information


High School Football – Fall 2020

35 States Sponsored Football in the Fall

15,471 Attendance for Texas Class 6A DI State Championship Game

2 States Sanctioned 7-on-7 (Maine, Vermont)

College Football – Fall 2020

127 of the 130 NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) Institutions Played Football in the Fall

25 Bowl Games Were Played Including Both National Semifinals and the CFP National Championship

4 Combined Games Canceled Between Big 12 and Southeastern Conferences

17 NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) Institutions Played at Least One Football Game in the Fall

16 NCAA Division II and III Institutions that Played at Least One Football Game in the Fall (Division II - 10; Division III - 6)

56 NAIA Institutions Played Football in the Fall

National Football Foundation – Fall 2020

19 Electees in the 2020 College Football Hall of Fame Class (17 players, 2 coaches)

199 Semifinalists for the Campbell Trophy® Presented to College Football’s Top Scholar-Athlete

12 Finalists for the Campbell Trophy® Representing Each Level of College Football

3 Number of Degrees Earned by 2020 Campbell Trophy® Recipient Brady White [QB, Memphis]

7 Times Alabama Coach Nick Saban has Claimed NFF’s MacArthur Bowl, Presented to College Football’s National Champion Since 1959 – All-Time Record

High School Football – Spring 2021

11 States and District of Columbia Sponsored Football in the Winter/Spring of 2021

4 States Did Not Sponsor Football in 2020-2021 (Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Vermont)

College Football – Spring 2021

1 NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) Institution Played a Two-Game Schedule (New Mexico State)

94 NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) Institutions Played Games in the Spring

16 NCAA FCS Institutions Played in the FCS Playoffs Culminating with National Championship Game (Sam Houston State def. South Dakota State) on May 17 in Frisco, TX, Televised by ABC

39 NCAA Division II Institutions Played Games in the Spring

113 NCAA Division III Institutions Played Games in the Spring

49 NAIA Institutions Played Games in the Spring

National Football Foundation – Spring 2021

13 Electees in the 2021 College Football Hall of Fame Class (11 players, 2 coaches)

16 State High School Coaches Associations Partnering with the NFF on Creation and Launch of the NFF National High School Academic Excellence Award (as of July 1, 2021)

600+ High School Student-Athletes Participated in the 13th Annual NFF TD Club of Houston High School Showcase in Front of 41 NCAA Div. II, Div. III and NAIA Institutions in Attendance


About The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame

Founded in 1947 with early leadership from General Douglas MacArthur, legendary Army coach Earl “Red” Blaik and immortal journalist Grantland Rice, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame is a non-profit educational organization that runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in young people. With 120 chapters and 12,000 members nationwide, NFF programs include the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, Future For Football, The William V. Campbell Trophy®, the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class Presented by Fidelity Investments and a series of initiatives to honor the legends of the past and inspire the leaders of the future. NFF corporate partners include Delta Air Lines, Fidelity Investments, Goodyear, Jostens, the New York Athletic Club, the Pasadena Tournament of Roses and the Sports Business Journal. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @NFFNetwork and learn more at