|2019 NCAA Division I FCS season|
|Number of teams||126|
|Duration||August – November|
|Payton Award||Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State|
|Buchanan Award||Dante Olson, LB, Montana|
|Duration||November 30 – December 21|
|Championship date||January 11, 2020|
|Championship site||Toyota Stadium, Frisco, Texas|
|Champion||North Dakota State|
|NCAA Division I FCS football seasons|
The 2019 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 11, 2020, in Frisco, Texas. North Dakota State entered the season as the defending champion, and after completing the regular season undefeated, successfully defended their title and secured their eighth championship in nine seasons.
Conference changes and new programs
|School||Former conference||New conference|
|Hampton Pirates||FCS independent||Big South|
|LIU Sharks[a]||NE-10 (D-II)||NEC|
|Merrimack Warriors||NE-10 (D-II)||NEC|
|North Alabama Lions||FCS independent||Big South|
|North Dakota Fighting Hawks||Big Sky||FCS independent[b]|
|Savannah State Tigers||MEAC||SIAC (D-II)|
- Following the 2018–19 school year, Long Island University merged its two then-existing athletic programs—the Division I non-football LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds and Division II football-sponsoring LIU Post Pioneers—into a single Division I program that now competes as the LIU Sharks. The Sharks inherited LIU Brooklyn's membership in the Northeast Conference, with the former Post football team joining the NEC alongside most of LIU's other sports.
- North Dakota will officially join the Missouri Valley Football Conference in 2020, and is classified as an FCS independent for 2018 and 2019. However, to accommodate pre-existing game contracts, it still played its Big Sky Conference schedule and conference games counted for their opponents.
The 2019 season was the last for Presbyterian in Big South Conference football. The school announced in 2017 that it had begun a transition to non-scholarship football. Presbyterian will play the 2020 season as an FCS independent before joining the non-scholarship FCS Pioneer Football League in 2021; it will remain a full but non-football Big South member.
The following playing rule changes have been recommended by the NCAA Football Rules Committee for 2019:
- Requiring replay reviews on targeting calls be either confirmed or overturned by reviewing all aspects of the play. If the review shows not all elements of targeting exist or if there is no indisputable video evidence, the call will be overturned.
- Players who commit a second targeting penalty in the same season will not only have to sit out the remainder of that game, but will also have to sit out their team's entire next scheduled game.
- Eliminating the two-man wedge on kickoffs.
- Starting with the fifth overtime period, each team will line up to attempt a two-point conversion instead of snapping the ball from the 25-yard-line. Successful plays are scored as conversions.
- Adding a two-minute break after the second and fourth overtime period.
- Blindside blocks delivered with forcible contact will draw a 15-yard penalty (personal foul). If elements of targeting exist, the player delivering the block will be subject to ejection as with any other targeting foul.
All FCS teams were allowed to schedule 12 regular season games in the 2019 season. A standard provision of NCAA bylaws allows for 12 regular season games during years having 14 Saturdays in the period starting with the Labor Day (first Monday in September) weekend and ending with the last Saturday of November. The next time that a 12-game regular season will be allowed is 2024.
The regular season began with two games on Saturday, August 24:
- Villanova def. No. 13 Colgate, 34–14
- FCS Kickoff (Cramton Bowl, Montgomery, Alabama): Youngstown State def. Samford, 45–22
FCS team wins over FBS teams
- August 29:
- September 7:
- September 14:
Non-DI team wins over FCS teams
- September 7:
- September 14:
- September 21:
- September 28:
- October 12:
Teams were announced in a selection show on November 24, with the top eight teams seeded and receiving first-round byes.
NCAA FCS Playoff bracket
12:00 pm EST
Toyota Stadium, Frisco, Texas
|1||North Dakota State||37|
|North Dakota||6||1||North Dakota State||9|
|Southeast Missouri State||6||Illinois State||24|
|Illinois State||24||1||North Dakota State||42|
|Austin Peay||42||Austin Peay||42|
|Central Connecticut||14||1||North Dakota State||28|
|Holy Cross||27||2||James Madison||17|
|7||South Dakota State||10|
|Northern Iowa||17||Northern Iowa||13|
|San Diego||3||2||James Madison||30|
|Kennesaw State||28||3||Weber State||17|
|Southeastern Louisiana||45||Southeastern Louisiana||28|
|Dec. 21||Celebration Bowl||Mercedes-Benz Stadium
|ABC||North Carolina A&T Aggies (8–3)
Alcorn State Braves (9–3)
|North Carolina A&T 64|
Alcorn State 44
Preseason and in-season
This is restricted to coaching changes that took place on or after May 1, 2019. For coaching changes that occurred earlier in 2019, see 2018 NCAA Division I FCS end-of-season coaching changes.
|Howard||Ron Prince||November 6||Placed on administrative leave||Aaron Kelton (interim)|
Prince was placed on administrative leave by the university, "after allegations of verbal abuse and intimidation of players."
End of season
|Gardner–Webb||Carroll McCray||November 24||Fired||Tre Lamb|
|Mercer||Bobby Lamb||November 24||Fired||Drew Cronic|
|Murray State||Mitch Stewart||November 24||Reassigned within athletic department||Dean Hood|
|Northern Colorado||Earnest Collins Jr.||November 24||Fired||Ed McCaffrey|
|Eastern Kentucky||Mark Elder||November 25||Contract not renewed||Walt Wells|
|Lamar||Mike Schultz||November 25||Fired||Blane Morgan|
|Cal Poly||Tim Walsh||November 25||Retired||Beau Baldwin|
|Jacksonville||Ian Shields||December 3||Program discontinued||None|
|Wagner||Jason Houghtaling||December 6||Fired||Tom Masella|
|Howard||Ron Prince||December 6||Resigned||Larry Scott|
|Missouri State||Dave Steckel||January 9||Fired||Bobby Petrino|
|McNeese State||Sterlin Gilbert||January 12||Became OC at Syracuse||Frank Wilson|
|Youngstown State||Bo Pelini||January 27||Became DC at LSU||Doug Phillips|
|Arkansas Pine-Bluff||Cedric Thomas||February 17||Became DB coach at Southern Miss||Doc Gamble|
- 2019 NCAA Division I FCS football rankings
- 2019 NCAA Division I FBS football season
- 2019 NCAA Division II football season
- 2019 NCAA Division III football season
- 2019 NAIA football season
- North Dakota State vs. Illinois State on December 14; other games on December 13
- "Road to the Championship". ncaa.com. 2019. Retrieved November 11, 2019.
- "2019 FCS Playoff Schedule". FBSchedules.com. Retrieved January 9, 2019.
- "North Dakota State Completes Perfect Season as No. 1 Ranked Team". FCS Football Insider. Retrieved January 9, 2019.
- "North Dakota State football beats James Madison for eighth FCS championship". NCAA.com. January 11, 2020. Retrieved January 11, 2020.
- "Jacksonville University Discontinues Football" (Press release). Jacksonville Dolphins. December 3, 2019. Retrieved December 5, 2019.
- "Football Rules Committee to examine targeting". ncaa.org. February 26, 2019. Retrieved March 14, 2019.
- "Bylaw 126.96.36.199: Number of Contests, Maximum Limitations—Institutional" (PDF). 2018–19 NCAA Division I Manual. NCAA. July 2018. p. 273. Retrieved March 14, 2019.
- Chiusano, Anthony (November 16, 2019). "Every automatic qualifier for the 2019 FCS football playoffs". NCAA.com. Retrieved November 17, 2019.
- "FCS bracket revealed for 2019 Division I football championship". ncaa.com. November 24, 2019. Retrieved November 24, 2019.
- "2019 FCS Football Official Bracket". NCAA.org. December 2019. Retrieved December 13, 2019.
- VanHaaren, Tom (November 6, 2019). "Howard places coach Ron Prince on leave amid ongoing investigation". ESPN. Retrieved November 12, 2019.
- Bogage, Jacob (December 6, 2019). "Howard football coach Ron Prince resigns after allegations of verbal abuse, player intimidation". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 14, 2019.