In response to overwhelming support by NCAA Division III coaches, the American Football Coaches Association began publishing a Division III Top 25 Coaches’ Poll in 1999.
Prior to 1999, there were no coaches’ polls for any NCAA divisions other than Football Bowl Subdivision. The NCAA had published a regional poll for Division III prior to 1999, but discontinued the poll because of changes in the selection process for the Division III playoffs that took effect in 1999.
The regional poll had been used to rank teams for consideration for the 16-team playoff tournament. But in 1999, the Division III playoffs expanded to 28 teams and the regional format was no longer used.
The weekly release of the Division II and III polls each Monday makes that day, on average, the busiest day of the week each month on the AFCA website during September, October and November.
The Division III poll follows the same basic format as the USA Today Coaches’ Poll. The 2012 Division III Board of Coaches will have 42 voters, representing all Division III conferences.
The Division III Coaches’ Poll will be released on Mondays beginning on September 21 and will run through the completion of the regular season in mid-November. A final poll will be released on the Monday following the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl.
2011 Division III Poll Notes
Thirty-nine schools spent at least one week ranked in the Division III Coaches’ Poll in 2011 ... Sixteen schools were ranked in the Top 25 all 10 weeks the poll was released in 2011: Wisconsin-Whitewater, Mount Union (Ohio), Wesley (Del.), St. Thomas (Minn.), Mary Hardin-Baylor (Texas), Bethel (Minn.), Wheaton (Ill.), Linfield (Ore.), Thomas More (Ky.), North Central (Ill.), Delaware Valley, Kean (N.J.), Wesley (Del.), Wabash (Ind.), Salisbury (Md.), Johns Hopkins (Md.) and Trinity (Texas) ... Mount Union has appeared in every Top 25 since the AFCA first released the poll in 1999 ... The American Southwest Conference had four schools ranked in the Top 25 poll at least once in 2011 (Mary Hardin-Baylor, Hardin-Simmons, Louisiana College, McMurry) … Four conferences had three schools each in the Top 25 this season ... College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (Wheaton, North Central, Illinois Wesleyan); Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (St. Thomas, Bethel, St. Olaf); Ohio Athletic Conference (Mount Union, Ohio Northern, Baldwin-Wallace); New Jersey Athletic Conference (Montclair St., Kean, Cortland St.) … St. John Fisher (N.Y.) began the season unranked but was ranked No. 10 in the final Top 25 in 2011, which was the biggest jump by a team that wasn’t ranked in the season-opening poll.