|1978 NCAA Division I-AA season|
|Number of teams||43|
|Duration||December 9–December 16|
|Championship date||December 16, 1978|
|Championship site||Memorial Stadium|
Wichita Falls, Texas
|NCAA Division I-AA football seasons|
The 1978 NCAA Division I-AA football season was the first season of Division I-AA college football; Division I-AA was created in 1978 when Division I was subdivided into Division I-A and Division I-AA for football only. With the exception of seven teams from the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC), Division I teams from the 1977 season played in Division I-A during the 1978 season. The SWAC teams, along with five conferences and five other teams formerly in Division II, played in Division I-AA.
The Division I-AA season began in August 1978 and concluded with the 1978 NCAA Division I-AA Football Championship Game played on December 16 at Memorial Stadium in Wichita Falls, Texas. The Florida A&M Rattlers won the first I-AA championship, defeating the UMass Minutemen in the Pioneer Bowl, 35–28. Florida A&M of 1978 remains the only team from an HBCU to play in the I-AA/FCS national championship game.
Conference changes and new programs
Big Sky Conference – Northern Arizona
NCAA Division I-AA Playoff bracket
The bracket consisted of three regional selections (West, East, and South) plus an at-large team. Florida A&M (FAMU) of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) was the at-large selection. While the SIAC was a Division II conference, FAMU had successfully petitioned the NCAA for Division I classification (Division I-AA in football), which took effect on September 1, 1978.
|National Championship Game|
Memorial Stadium–Wichita Falls, TX
* Denotes host institution
- "Big schools win battle". St. Petersburg Independent. (Florida). Associated Press. January 13, 1978. p. 5C.
- "1978 NCAA Division I Football Championship" (PDF). NCAA.org. p. 14. Retrieved December 29, 2013.
- Climer, David (July 22, 1978). "I-AA Finals Set At Pioneer Bowl". The Tennessean. Nashville, Tennessee. p. 20. Retrieved February 9, 2019 – via newspapers.com.
- "FAMU Gains I-AA Playoffs". Fort Lauderdale News. Fort Lauderdale, Florida. December 4, 1978. p. 19. Retrieved February 9, 2019 – via newspapers.com.
- Cooper, Barry (August 31, 1978). "Florida A&M granted Division 1 status". Tallahassee Democrat. Tallahassee, Florida. p. 1B. Retrieved May 13, 2019 – via newspapers.com.