|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 by a score of 48–21.
|School||1985 Conference||1986 Conference|
|Drake||Missouri Valley||Dropped Program|
|Florida A&M||I-AA Independent||MEAC|
|Holy Cross||I-AA Independent||Colonial|
|Illinois State||Missouri Valley||Gateway|
|Indiana State||I-AA Independent||Gateway|
|Southern Illinois||Missouri Valley||Gateway|
|Southwest Missouri State||AMCU||Gateway|
|West Texas State||Missouri Valley||Division II|
Big Sky Conference – Nevada
The playoffs expanded from twelve to sixteen teams this season, eliminating the bye for the top four seeds.
The top four teams were seeded, with remaining teams placed in the bracket based on geographical considerations.
|National Championship Game |
December 19 
|North Carolina A&T||21|
|Sam Houston State||7|
|William & Mary*||21|
* Denotes host institution