|2017 NCAA Division I FCS season|
|Duration||August 26 – November 18|
|Payton Award||Jeremiah Briscoe, QB, Sam Houston State|
|Buchanan Award||Darius Jackson, DE, Jacksonville State|
|Duration||November 25 – December 16|
|Championship date||January 6, 2018|
|Championship site||Toyota Stadium, Frisco, Texas|
|Champion||North Dakota State|
|NCAA Division I FCS football seasons|
The 2017 NCAA Division I FCS football season, part of college football in the United States, was organized by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) at the Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) level. The FCS Championship Game was played on January 6, 2018, in Frisco, Texas. The North Dakota State Bison beat the James Madison Dukes, 17–13, to capture their sixth title in seven years.
Conference changes and new programs
|School||Former conference||New conference|
|Coastal Carolina||FCS Independent||Sun Belt (FBS)|
In addition, this was the final year for Campbell in the Pioneer Football League. In November 2016, the school announced that it would transition to scholarship football, and would add the sport to its existing membership in the Big South Conference in 2018.
This was the final season for Idaho as a football member of the Sun Belt Conference, and was also Idaho's final FBS season. Following the 2016 decision of the Sun Belt not to extend its football membership agreements with Idaho after their 2017 expiration, Idaho announced that it would downgrade to FCS football, adding the sport to its full but non-football membership in the Big Sky Conference. This is the first time in Division I that a school has voluntarily descended from FBS to FCS.
- January 26 – The Missouri Valley Football Conference announced that North Dakota would join the league in 2020. The school's other sports, except for men's ice hockey, will move from the Big Sky Conference to the non-football Summit League in 2018, but the football team will remain a Big Sky member until 2020.
- February 16 – Liberty announced plans to undergo the two-year transition period join the Division I FBS as a football independent, while remaining in the Big South Conference in all other sports. While normally against NCAA rules to transition to FBS without a conference invite, Liberty was granted a waiver. Liberty will join FBS in 2018, but will not become a full member and eligible for post-season play until 2019.
- April 14 – The NCAA Division I Council approved a suite of rule changes affecting the recruiting process. The changes most significant to FCS football were:
- Effective with the 2017–18 school year, a national early signing period for high school players was to be introduced, at a time in December to be announced later.
- Effective with the 2017–18 recruiting season, FCS programs no longer have any restriction on the number of new players that may be signed to letters of intent or financial aid agreements. Previously, FCS teams were limited to signing 30 new players per year.
- May 8 – The Collegiate Commissioners Association, which controls the letter of intent program, approved the recruiting changes approved last month by the Division I Council. The early signing period for high schoolers was fixed as the first three days of the midyear signing period for junior college players; in 2017, this window fell on December 20–22.
- November 15 – The Big South Conference announced that Hampton would leave the MEAC and join the Big South effective with the 2017–18 school year. While Hampton will join the Big South in non-football sports at that time, it had not yet been determined whether Hampton football would begin Big South play in 2018 or 2019.
- November 20 – The Pioneer Football League and Presbyterian College jointly announced that the Presbyterian football team would immediately start a transition to non-scholarship football. PC football will leave the Big South after the 2019 season, play the 2020 season as an FCS independent, and join the Pioneer League in 2021.
- Guardian Credit Union FCS Kickoff (aka Montgomery Kickoff Classic)
- Other Week Zero games:
- East Tennessee State defeated Division II Limestone 31–10 in the opener for William B. Greene Jr. Stadium on September 2. The team had played its first two seasons since reinstating football at local high school venue Kermit Tipton Stadium.
- Abilene Christian opened Anthony Field at Wildcat Stadium on September 16 with a 24–3 win over Houston Baptist, following 57 seasons at Shotwell Stadium.
FCS team wins over FBS teams
(FCS rankings from the STATS poll)
- August 31:
- September 2:
- September 9:
- September 16:
- September 23:
|Conference||Champion||Runner-up||Score||Offensive Player of the Year||Defensive Player of the Year||Coach of the Year|
Other conference winners
Note: Records are regular-season only, and do not include playoff games.
|Conference||Champion||Record||Offensive Player of the Year||Defensive Player of the Year||Coach of the Year|
|Big Sky||Southern Utah
|Big South||Kennesaw State||10–1 (5–0)||Chandler Burks
|CAA||James Madison||11–0 (8–0)||Kyle Lauletta
|Ivy||Yale||9–1 (6–1)||Chad Kanoff
|MEAC||North Carolina A&T||11–0 (8–0)||Lamar Raynard
(North Carolina A&T)
(South Carolina State)
(North Carolina A&T)
|MVFC||North Dakota State||10–1 (7–1)||Chris Streveler
(North Dakota State)
|NEC||Central Connecticut||8–3 (6–0)||Tommy Stuart
|OVC||Jacksonville State||10–1 (8–0)||Roc Thomas
|Pioneer||San Diego||9–2 (8–0)||Anthony Lawrence
|Southern||Wofford||9–2 (7–1)||Devlin Hodges
|Southland||Central Arkansas||10–1 (9–0)||Hayden Hildebrand
Automatic berths for conference champions
|Big Sky Conference||Southern Utah||3rd||2015||First Round (L – Sam Houston State)|
|Big South Conference||Kennesaw State||1st||–|
|Colonial Athletic Association||James Madison||14th||2016||National Champions (W – Youngstown State)|
|Missouri Valley Football Conference||North Dakota State||8th||2016||Semifinals (L – James Madison)|
|Northeast Conference||Central Connecticut||1st||–|
|Ohio Valley Conference||Jacksonville State||8th||2016||Second Round (L – Youngstown State)|
|Patriot League||Lehigh||11th||2016||First Round (L – New Hampshire)|
|Pioneer Football League||San Diego||3rd||2016||Second Round (L – North Dakota State)|
|Southern Conference||Wofford||8th||2016||Quarterfinals (L – Youngstown State)|
|Southland Conference||Central Arkansas||4th||2016||Second Round (L – Eastern Washington)|
At large qualifiers
|Big Sky Conference||Northern Arizona||6th||2013||First Round (L – South Dakota State)|
|Weber State||6th||2016||First Round (L – Chattanooga)|
|Big South Conference||Monmouth||1st||–|
|Colonial Athletic Association||Elon||2nd||2009||First Round (L – Richmond)|
|New Hampshire||16th||2016||Second Round (L – James Madison)|
|Stony Brook||3rd||2012||Second Round (L – Montana State)|
|Missouri Valley Football Conference||Northern Iowa||19th||2015||Quarterfinals (L – North Dakota State)|
|South Dakota State||7th||2016||Quarterfinals (L – North Dakota State)|
|Western Illinois||11th||2015||Second Round (L – Illinois State)|
|Southern Conference||Furman||17th||2013||Second Round (L – North Dakota State)|
|Samford||5th||2016||First Round (L – Youngstown State)|
|Southland Conference||Nicholls State||4th||2005||First Round (L – Furman)|
|Sam Houston State||11th||2016||Quarterfinals (L – James Madison)|
- Ivy League – Yale
- Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference – North Carolina A&T
- Southwestern Athletic Conference – Grambling State
NCAA FCS Playoff bracket
December 8 and 9
December 15 and 16
ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN3
Toyota Stadium, Frisco, Texas
|Stony Brook*||59||Stony Brook||7|
|Weber State*||21||Weber State||30|
|Western Illinois||19||1||James Madison*||51|
|5||South Dakota State||16|
|New Hampshire*||14||New Hampshire||21|
|Central Connecticut||0||New Hampshire||14|
|5||South Dakota State*||56|
|5||South Dakota State*||37|
|Northern Iowa*||46||Northern Iowa||22|
|2||North Dakota State||17|
|2||North Dakota State*||38|
|Northern Arizona*||10||San Diego||3|
|San Diego||41||2||North Dakota State*||42|
|Furman||28||2||North Dakota State*||55|
|6||Sam Houston State||13|
|Kennesaw State*||28||Kennesaw State||17|
|6||Sam Houston State*||34|
|6||Sam Houston State*||54|
|Nicholls State*||31||South Dakota||42|
|Game||Date/TV||Location||Home team||Away team||Score||Offensive MVP||Defensive MVP|
|Celebration Bowl||December 16
|North Carolina A&T||Grambling State||21–14||Marquell Cartwright
(RB, North Carolina A&T)
|Franklin McCain III|
(DB, North Carolina A&T)
Awards and honors
Walter Payton Award
- The Walter Payton Award is given to the year's most outstanding offensive player. Finalists:
Buck Buchanan Award
- The Buck Buchanan Award is given to the year's most outstanding defensive player. Finalists:
Jerry Rice Award
- The Jerry Rice Award is given to the year's most outstanding freshman.
- AFCA Coach of the Year: Brian Bohannon, Kennesaw State
- Eddie Robinson Award: Will Healy, Austin Peay
This section needs additional citations for verification. (November 2017)
This is restricted to coaching changes that took place on or after May 1, 2017. For coaching changes that occurred earlier in 2017, see 2016 NCAA Division I FCS end-of-season coaching changes.
|Alabama State||Brian Jenkins||October 6||Fired||Donald Hill-Eley [a]|
|Holy Cross||Tom Gilmore||October 15||Fired||Brian Rock (interim)|
- Interim for remainder of season; interim tag removed on December 7, 2017.
End of season
- 2017 NCAA Division I FCS football rankings
- 2017 NCAA Division I FBS football season
- 2017 NCAA Division II football season
- 2017 NCAA Division III football season
- "The Summit League Adds The University of North Dakota" (Press release). The Summit League. January 26, 2017. Retrieved January 27, 2017.
- "UND to Join Missouri Valley Football Conference" (Press release). Missouri Valley Football Conference. January 26, 2017. Archived from the original on February 2, 2017. Retrieved January 27, 2017.
- Sordelett, Damien (February 16, 2017). "LU to be FBS bowl eligible starting in 2019". The News & Advance. Archived from the original on February 18, 2017. Retrieved February 18, 2017.
- Kercheval, Ben (April 14, 2017). "NCAA DI Council approves early signing period for football, prohibits oversigning". CBSSports.com. Retrieved April 27, 2017.
- Stephenson, Creg (April 14, 2017). "NCAA adopts 10th assistant, restricts off-field staff hires, satellite camps in sweeping vote". The Birmingham News. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
- Rittenberg, Adam (May 8, 2017). "Collegiate Commissioners Association approves early signing period for football". ESPN. Retrieved May 9, 2017.
- "Big South Adds Hampton University as Full Member" (Press release). Big South Conference. November 16, 2017. Retrieved November 17, 2017.
- "Presbyterian College to join Pioneer Football League in 2021" (Press release). Pioneer Football League. November 20, 2017. Retrieved November 21, 2017.
- "Thomas had 190 yards, Jacksonville St tops Chattanooga 27–13". ESPN. Associated Press. August 26, 2017. Retrieved September 1, 2017.
- "Mangum, Canada lead BYU to 20–6 win over Portland State". ESPN. Associated Press. August 26, 2017. Retrieved August 27, 2017.
- "Colgate fends off Cal Poly 20–14 behind Holland". ESPN. Associated Press. August 26, 2017. Retrieved September 1, 2017.
- "Stanley accounts for 2 TDs, FAMU beats Texas Southern 29–7". ESPN. Associated Press. August 26, 2017. Retrieved September 1, 2017.
- O'Neill, Kane (September 2, 2017). "ETSU tops Limestone 31–10 in season opener at new stadium". Johnson City, TN: WJHL-TV. Retrieved September 17, 2017.
- "Abilene Christian inaugurates new stadium with 24–3 win". ESPN. Associated Press. September 16, 2017. Retrieved September 17, 2017.
- "Spady not returning to Alabama A&M as head football coach". Alabama A&M Athletics. Retrieved November 19, 2017.
- Nuanez, Colter (November 20, 2017). "Bob Stitt out as head coach of Griz football". Skyline Sports.
- "A&T's Broadway retires; Washington promoted". ESPN.com. ESPN. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
- "Head football coach Marcus Satterfield relieved of duties, national search to begin immediately". Tennessee Tech Athletics. November 19, 2017. Retrieved November 23, 2017.