|1987 NCAA Division I-AA season|
|Duration||August – November|
|Payton Award||Kenny Gamble (RB, Colgate)|
|Duration||November 28 – December 19|
|Championship date||December 19, 1987|
|Championship site||Minidome, Pocatello, Idaho|
|Champion||Northeast Louisiana Indians|
|Division I-AA football season|
The 1987 NCAA Division I-AA football season, part of college football in the United States organized by the National Collegiate Athletic Association at the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision level, began in August 1987, and concluded with the National Championship Game of the NCAA Division I Football Championship on December 19, 1987, at the Minidome in Pocatello, Idaho. The Northeast Louisiana Indians (known as the Louisiana–Monroe Warhawks since 2006) won their first I-AA championship, defeating the Marshall Thundering Herd by a final score of 43–42.
Conference changes and new programs
- The Gulf Star Conference folded after the 1986 season when four of its founding members, Northwestern State, Sam Houston State, Southwest Texas State, and Stephen F. Austin, joined the Southland Conference. The Gulf Star's remaining football member, Nicholls State, opted to become an Independent. Three former Southland Conference members, Arkansas State, Lamar, and Louisiana Tech, moved to D-IAA Independent status following their joining the newly formed, non-football, American South Conference as charter members.
Big Sky Conference – Idaho
Four teams were seeded in the 16-team bracket; Appalachian State, Northeast Louisiana, Northern Iowa, and Idaho, who were seeded first through fourth, respectively. Undefeated and top-ranked Holy Cross, featuring Heisman Trophy candidate Gordie Lockbaum, did not participate in the postseason, per the rules of their conference, the Colonial League (known as the Patriot League since 1990).
The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) conference champion Howard Bison, who finished their regular season with a 9–1 record but did not receive an invitation to the I-AA playoffs, filed a lawsuit against the NCAA and sought a temporary restraining order to delay the start of the playoffs. The lawsuit asserted "unlawful and racially motivated reasons" for the team being passed over. Two days later, the request for a temporary restraining order was rejected by United States federal judge John Garrett Penn. Howard then advocated that they, plus three other teams, should be added to the second round of the playoffs; the proposal was rejected by the NCAA, who said that Howard had played a weak schedule. In September 1989, MEAC stripped Howard of their 1987 conference championship, retroactively awarding it to Delaware State, after finding that Howard had used some players beyond their four years of NCAA eligibility.
NCAA Division I-AA Playoff bracket
|National Championship Game |
Minidome – Pocatello, Idaho
|(1) Appalachian State*||20|
|(1) Appalachian State*||19|
|(1) Appalachian State*||10|
|(2) Northeast Louisiana||43|
|North Texas State||9|
|(2) Northeast Louisiana*||30|
|(2) Northeast Louisiana*||33|
|(2) Northeast Louisiana*||44**|
|(3) Northern Iowa||41|
|(3) Northern Iowa*||31|
|(3) Northern Iowa*||49|
* Next to team name denotes host institution
* Next to score denotes host overtime periods
- "1987 NCAA Division I Football Championship" (PDF). NCAA. NCAA.org. p. 14. Retrieved December 26, 2013.
- "Southland foes meet in playoffs". The Town Talk. Alexandria, Louisiana. November 23, 1987. p. B-1. Retrieved February 13, 2019 – via newspapers.com.
- "Div. I-AA poll". The San Francisco Examiner. November 24, 1987. p. F-6. Retrieved February 13, 2019 – via newspapers.com.
- "Lockbaum now waits to hear from pros". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. AP. November 21, 1987. p. 12. Retrieved February 13, 2019 – via newspapers.com.
- "Howard University files suit vs. NCAA". The Santa Fe New Mexican. AP. November 26, 1987. p. C-1. Retrieved February 13, 2019 – via newspapers.com.
- "Judge Orders Playoffs In Division I-AA To Go On". St. Louis Post Dispatch. AP. November 28, 1997. p. 5C. Retrieved February 13, 2019 – via newspapers.com.
- "Howard plans pursuing suit". Indianapolis News. December 1, 1987. p. B-6. Retrieved February 13, 2019 – via newspapers.com.
- "MEAC strips Howard of Division I-AA title". Sun-Sentinel. Fort Lauderdale, Florida. September 26, 1989. p. 2C. Retrieved February 13, 2019 – via newspapers.com.