The 2023 season marks the 31st year for the Pioneer Football League – the nation’s only non-scholarship, football-only NCAA Football Championship Subdivision conference.

The Pioneer Football League is a truly national conference with members on each coast and throughout the nation’s heartland. Butler University, the University of Dayton, Drake University, and Valparaiso University were among the league’s founding members in 1993, with Davidson College, Marist College, Morehead State University, Presbyterian College, the University of San Diego, the University of St. Thomas, and Stetson University joining to form the current 11-team league.

The league has expanded in all directions since its founding. The league added Davidson College and Morehead State University in 2001 from the FCS’ independent ranks. Marist College joined before the 2009 season and extended the league’s footprint into the northeast. Stetson University revived its long-dormant football program and selected the PFL as its conference home in 2013. Presbyterian College and the University of St. Thomas joined the league in 2021, adding to the league’s membership in both the Southeast and Midwest.

In January 1991, the NCAA passed legislation to require Division I institutions to sponsor all intercollegiate sports at the Division I level. The five charter members (Evansville was a founding member before dropping football in 1997), each dedicated to intercollegiate football’s enhancement and sound management as an integral part of the student-athlete collegiate experience, joined to form the Pioneer Football League. From the league’s inception, it was a proponent of creating a non-scholarship football classification within Division I. It adopted the moniker of Pioneer based on the intent to become the first league in that new division. The PFL’s original membership comprised those NCAA Division I universities that previously sponsored intercollegiate football at other NCAA Divisional levels.

The PFL began play in 1993, with Dayton winning the league’s first regular-season title. In the PFL’s first 30 seasons, nine programs have won a regular-season championship, with Dayton and San Diego each claiming 12 titles.

As part of the NCAA Division I Football Championship’s expansion to 24 teams in 2013, the PFL gained an automatic bid. San Diego capitalized on the opportunity in the 2016 and 2017 postseasons by winning first-round road games each season.

 Name Position E-Mail Phone
 Greg Walter Commissioner [E-Mail]
 Patty Viverito Special Assistant [E-Mail]
 Jimmy Heisner Associate Commissioner / Compliance [E-Mail] 314-444-4319
 Cody Bush Media Relations Director [E-Mail] 931-980-4940


PFL Membership Map as of 2021