How Do The NCAA Division II Baseball Playoffs Work?

How Do The NCAA Division II Baseball Playoffs Work?

Since 1968, the NCAA Div. II Baseball Playoffs have crowned a national champion. Learn how the postseason event has changed over the years.

Sep 20, 2023 by Kyle Kensing
How Do The NCAA Division II Baseball Playoffs Work?

Each year, national championship dreams are broken or defined in the NCAA Div. II Baseball Playoffs. The postseason tournament, which turned 55 years old in the 2023 season, marks the culmination of the Div. II season. 

Every year since 1968 — which the exception of the COVID-impacted 2020 edition — a national champion has emerged from the field to hoist the hardware. Angelo State became the most recent and the third consecutive first-time winner of the Div. II Playoffs with its defeat of Rollins. 

The Div. II Playoffs have seen plenty of changes in the last half-century-plus. The following is a primer on the history and the innerworkings of the championship tournament. 

How Many Teams Qualify For The NCAA Div. II Baseball Playoffs? 

Fifty-six teams participate in the NCAA Div. II Baseball Playoffs each year, with seven squads in each of the eight divisions. The divisions are: 

  • Atlantic 
  • Central
  • East
  • Midwest
  • South 
  • South Central 
  • Southeast 
  • West

The tournament has expanded from its early days when, as the NCAA College Division tournament, there were just four Regionals featuring four teams each. 

Each of the Regionals are double-elimination, with each of the eight champions advancing on to the National Finals. 

How Do Teams Qualify for the NCAA Div. II Baseball Playoffs? 

Automatic qualifiers from 22 conferences receive bids into the Div. II Playoffs. Those leagues are: 

  • California Collegiate Athletic Association 
  • Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference 
  • Conference Carolinas
  • East Coast Conference
  • Great American Conference
  • Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference 
  • Great Lakes Valley Conference
  • Great Midwest Athletic Conference
  • Great Northwest Athletic Conference
  • Gulf South Conference 
  • Lone Star Conference 
  • Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association 
  • Mountain East Conference 
  • Northeast-10 Conference 
  •  Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference
  • Pacific West Conference 
  • Peach Belt Conference
  • Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference
  • Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference
  • South Atlantic Conference 
  • Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference 
  • Sunshine State Conference

The other 34 bids are awarded by the NCAA Div. II Baseball Committee. 

Where Are The National Finals Held? 

Since 2009 — with the exception of the 2017 event in Grand Prairie, Texas — Cary, North Carolina has been home to the National Finals. The USA Baseball National Training Complex is contracted to stay on as the host venue through 2026, guaranteeing Cary to be the second-longest tenured host city in NCAA Div. II Baseball Playoffs history. 

Paterson Field in Montgomery, Alabama, hosted the event from 1985 through 2003, while Montgomery's Riverwalk Stadium took over duties from 2004 until the final National Finals in the city in 2007. 

Springfield, Missouri, hosted the four initial National Finals, followed by Springfield, Illinois, then Riverside, California. 

What Programs Have Won The NCAA Div. II Baseball Playoffs? 

Florida Southern boasts a record nine NCAA Div. II national championships, though the University of Tampa isn't far behind with eight. Tampa narrowed the gap with a run of three titles won from 2013 through 2019. 

Florida Southern's last national championship came in 2005. 

Cal Poly Pomona is the only other program with more than two national championships, claiming its third in 1983. Nine programs have won two national championships: 

  • Cal State Northridge
  • Central Missouri   
  • Chico State 
  •  Jacksonville State 
  • Southern Indiana 
  • Troy
  • UC Irvine 
  • UC Riverside 
  • West Chester

With its 2023 title, Angelo State joined the club of 16 programs with one national championship. 

  • Angelo State
  • Augustana (South Dakota)
  • Chapman 
  • Columbus State 
  • Delta State 
  • Illinois State 
  • Kennesaw State 
  • Lynn 
  • Mount Olive 
  • North Greenville 
  • Nova Southeastern 
  • St. Mary's (Texas) 
  • Southeastern Oklahoma State 
  • Valdosta State 
  • West Florida 
  • Wingate