D1 Schools Prolific In North Carolina; Attractive For Sports Betting

Does it seem like college football Saturdays and college hoops seasons are busy in North Carolina? That’s because our state has 18 Division-I (D1) schools, the fourth most in the nation.

Only three states have more D1 schools than North Carolina’s 18. With an estimated 10.8 million citizens as of December 2023, according to the Census Bureau, the Tar Heel State has one D1 school per approximately 601,000 people, which ranks 14th nationally among the 49 states with at least one D1 school.

North Carolina’s 18 D1 Schools:

  • Appalachian State University.
  • Campbell University.
  • Davidson College.
  • Duke University.
  • East Carolina University.
  • Elon University.
  • Gardner-Webb University.
  • High Point University.
  • North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.
  • University of North Carolina at Asheville.
  • North Carolina Central University.
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
  • University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
  • University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
  • North Carolina State University.
  • University of North Carolina at Wilmington.
  • Wake Forest University.
  • Western Carolina University.

Why does North Carolina have so many D1 colleges? It helps that North Carolina is such an old state: admitted as the 12th “state” before there was a United States of America, on Nov. 21, 1789. Many of the state’s colleges and universities trace their history to the 19th century, but the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was founded in 1789.

Most D1 schools by state, per capita

Only California, New York, and Texas have more D1 schools than North Carolina. Those states rank 1st, 2nd, and 4th in population, respectively. However, they sit far lower on the list of D1 schools per capita than the Tar Heel State.

Alabama95,108,46856,7607.6Alabama, Auburn, UAB
Arizona37,431,3442,477,114.7Arizona, Arizona State
Arkansas53,067,732613,546.4Arkansas, Arkansas Little Rock
California2438,965,1931,623,549.7USC, Stanford, UCLA, Cal, UCSB, Loyola, San Jose State
Colorado55,877,6101,175,522.0Colorado, Colorado State, Air Force
Connecticut73,617,176516,739.4UConn, Yale, Sacred Heart
Delaware21,031,890515,945.0Delaware, Delaware State
Florida1322,610,7261,739,286.6Florida, Florida State, Miami
Georgia711,029,2271,575,603.9Georgia, Georgia Tech, Kennesaw State University
Idaho31,964,726654,908.7Idaho, Boise State, Idaho State
Illinois1312,549,689965,360.7Illinois, Northwestern, Loyola, DePaul
Indiana106,862,199686,219.9Indiana, Notre Dame, Purdue, Ball State
Iowa43,207,004801,751.0Iowa, Iowa State, Drake
Kansas32,940,546980,182.0Kansas, Kansas State, Wichita State
Kentucky74,526,154646,593.4Kentucky, Louisville, Murray State, Eastern Kentucky
Louisiana124,573,749381,145.8LSU, Louisiana Tech, Tulane
Maryland96,180,253686,694.8Maryland, Navy
Massachusetts67,001,3991,166,899.8UMass, Harvard, Boston College
Michigan710,037,2611,433,894.4Michigan, Michigan State, Western Michigan
Mississippi62,939,690489,948.3Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Alcorn State
Missouri56,196,1561,239,231.2Missouri, Missouri State
Montana21,132,812566,406.0University of Montana, Montana State
Nebraska31,978,379659,459.7Nebraska, Creighton
Nevada23,194,1761,597,088.0UNLV, Nevada
New Hampshire21,402,054701,027.0New Hampshire, Dartmouth
New Jersey89,290,8411,161,355.1Princeton, Rutgers, Seton Hall, Monmouth
New Mexico22,114,3711,057,185.5New Mexico, New Mexico State
New York2219,571,216889,600.7Syracuse, St. John's, Colgate
North Carolina1810,835,491601,971.7UNC, Duke, NC State, Wake Forest, UNC at Charlotte
North Dakota2783,926391,963.0UND, North Dakota State
Ohio1311,785,935906,610.4Ohio State, Cincinnati, Xavier, Bowling Green
Oklahoma44,053,8241,013,456.0Oklahoma, OK State, Tulsa
Oregon44,233,3581,058,339.5Oregon, Oregon State
Pennsylvania1412,961,683925,834.5Penn State, Pitt, Temple, Villanova
Rhode Island41,095,962273,990.5Rhode Island, Providence, Brown
South Carolina125,373,555447,796.3Clemson, SC State, South Carolina, Coastal Carolina
South Dakota2919,318459,659.0South Dakota, SD State
Tennessee127,126,489593,874.1Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Memphis, Middle Tennessee State
Texas2130,503,3011,452,538.1Texas, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, SMU, Houston, Baylor
Utah63,417,734569,622.3Utah, Brigham Young, Weber State
Virginia148,715,698622,549.9Virginia, Virginia Tech, Old Dominion, University of Richmond
Washington57,812,8801,562,576.0Washington, Washington State, Gonzaga
West Virginia21,770,071885,035.5West Virginia, Marshall
Wisconsin45,910,9551,477,738.8Wisconsin, Marquette
Wyoming1584,057584,057.0University of Wyoming

Sports betting on D1 schools in NC, an opportunity and a challenge

We’ll see legal online sports betting in North Carolina debut in 2024.

The NC State Lottery Commission has announced that betting will not be ready by Jan. 8 (the same day as the College Football Championship game). Instead, we expect the state to launch its sports betting market in the spring, perhaps as soon as the 2024 March Madness tournament, which begins on March 19.

This represents a major opportunity for NC sportsbooks to capitalize on North Carolina’s rich collegiate athletics culture. It also means that operators, regulators and bettors will all need to do their due diligence to protect against such pernicious sports betting byproducts as match fixing and betting-related harassment.

For the latest NC sports betting news, bookmark NCSharp.com. Here, you can follow our reporters covering the regulatory process and stay apprised of the NC sportsbook promos and offers from sports betting operators.


Image Credit: Gerry Broome / AP Images

About the Author

Dan Holmes

Dan Holmes writes about sports betting, sports media, and sports betting legislative matters. He's the author of three books, and previously reported for Major League Baseball, as well as the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.