Mexican schools can now join the NCAA

The NCAA’s Division II voted by a wide margin last week in Indianapolis to allow Mexican colleges to apply for membership, expanding its international reach beyond Canada.

The legislation takes effect immediately. Schools must meet all Division II standards, including facilities and staff, before being considered. Ten years ago, the NCAA approved accepting Canadian schools, and in 2012, Simon Fraser in Vancouver, British Columbia became the only non-U.S. full-time member.

Mexico has two thriving college football leagues, the CONADEIP, Comisión Nacional Deportiva Estudiantil de Instituciones Privadas, A.C. (private university league), and the ONEFA – Organización Nacional Estudiantil de Futbol Americano (National Student Organization of American Football).

In 2016, the San Diego Torreros (NCAA Pioneer Football League) played the UDLAP Aztecas from Puebla, Mexico, defeating them 49-25.

The school that would likely apply first would be the CETYS University Zorros in Tijauna , which last February petitioned the NCAA to join DII. The Zorros currently play in the CONADEIP league, which offers scholarships. In fact, CETYS played Div. II powerhouse Humboldt State this past fall in a game that saw them totally outmatched by their American rivals. So they have a ways to go.

Any school applying  would be required to complete a three-year provisional period before becoming a full member. Division I and Division III schools will not be affected.

College football growing internationally

Although college football, is a predominantly American sport, it’s growing internationally, with multiple games being played outside of the U.S. in the past:

Canada, Japan, Mexico, South Korea and the United Kingdom have college leagues for American football, so there’s technically college football happening all over the world anyway. But as this map shows, American colleges have played games all over the world, starting in Canada in the 1870s and including last year’s games in Sydney and Ireland (Boston College-Georgia Tech in Dublin). 

Map: SB Nation

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