|1986 NCAA Division I-AA season|
|Duration||November 29–December 19|
|Championship date||December 19, 1986|
|Championship site||Tacoma Dome|
|NCAA Division I-AA football seasons|
The 1986 NCAA Division I-AA football season, part of college football in the United States organized by the National Collegiate Athletic Association at the Division I-AA level, began in August 1986, and concluded with the 1986 NCAA Division I-AA Football Championship Game on December 19, 1986, at the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, Washington. The Georgia Southern Eagles won their second consecutive I-AA championship, defeating the Arkansas State Indians (now Red Wolves) by a final score of 48–21.
Conference changes and new programs
- Prior to the season, the Colonial League, now known as the Patriot League, was established as a six-member, football-only league for teams in Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania. The Colonial League, however, was totally separate from the current Colonial Athletic Association.
- Prior to the 1986 season, the Gateway Conference was formed out of the four remaining members of the disbanded Association of Mid-Continent Universities (Eastern Illinois, Northern Iowa, Western Illinois, Southwest Missouri State) and two former members of the Missouri Valley Conference (Illinois State and Southern Illinois). The MVC stopped sponsoring football after the 1985 season.
Big Sky Conference – Nevada
The playoffs expanded from twelve to sixteen teams this season, eliminating the bye for the top four seeds.
NCAA Division I-AA Playoff bracket
|National Championship Game |
December 19 
|North Carolina A&T||21|
|Sam Houston State||7|
|William & Mary*||21|
* Denotes host institution
- "Georgia Southern goes for 2nd-straight title". The News-Press. Fort Myers, Florida. AP. December 19, 1986. p. 5C. Retrieved May 2, 2019 – via newspapers.com.
- "Georgia Southern wins I-AA football crown". Reno Gazette-Journal. Reno, Nevada. December 20, 1986. p. 1B. Retrieved May 2, 2019 – via newspapers.com.
- "1986 NCAA Division I Football Championship" (PDF). NCAA.org. p. 14. Retrieved December 29, 2013.
- "I-AA playoffs". Daily Press. Newport News, Virginia. November 24, 1986. p. C5. Retrieved February 6, 2019 – via newspapers.com.