The NCAA is seen as another word for college sports in America, but what many athletes don’t know is that there is another regulatory body at the college level where scholarship opportunities lie. The NAIA (National Association for Intercollegiate Athletics) is the oldest college sports governing body. Consisting of mostly smaller schools, NAIA schools are almost always a good option to consider.
- The NAIA is an umbrella organization founded in 1937.
- The NAIA administers 25 different sports at the college level.
- There are more than 250 schools and 60,000 athletes competing at the NAIA level in US universities.
- Most NAIA schools are smaller private universities.
- NAIA schools offer scholarships for sports such as basketball, baseball, cross country, american football, soccer, track and field, swimming, tennis and golf.
Each year, the NAIA gives scholarships to NAIA student athletes worth over $ 500 million in total. All scholarships are equivalent, which means that a single scholarship can be split between multiple athletes. Each sport has a maximum number of grants to be divided among the players. NAIA scholarships, like most other athletic scholarships, are not guaranteed for four years. This means that the athletes have to prove themselves every year to keep the scholarship, but also that there are opportunities to increase the scholarship by performing well.
Amount of scholarships per sport:
Basketball Division 1: 11
Basketball Division 2: 6
Cross Country: 5
American Football: 24
Track and Field: 12
Like NCAA schools, NAIA schools are not always fully funded. The above number of scholarships per sport is based on the maximum number of scholarships a team is allowed, but it is not guaranteed that all NAIA schools will be able to offer the full amount of scholarships.
How fanatic are NAIA schools?
NAIA schools are comparable to NCAA Division II schools. There are two categories of NAIA schools: The schools that plan to remain in the NAIA and the schools that have ambitions to enter the NCAA. When talking to an NAIA school as an athlete, it is important to know which category the school falls into.
The level of competition in the NAIA is emerging. Like many of the small schools, the main difference in level is not due to how good the best athletes are, but to the lack of resources to recruit the best athletes. The NAIA schools are becoming increasingly fanatic about this. The cooperation with Slamstox is therefore often seen as very useful, because we can quickly get the right information from the coaches.
Are NAIA schools something to consider?
Athletes interested in college sports in America should always start their search by looking for schools that meet their criteria. Most families start by choosing well-known schools from TV. Due to this a lot of time is wasted trying to stand out in schools the athlete does not have the level for. It is more efficient to start the search by selecting schools based on personal criteria such as location, sport level, academic preference, etc. In this way, in many cases NAIA schools will appear on your list. Slamstox helps athletes to fine-tune their selection criteria in order to arrive at a qualitative list of schools.
Are you interested in learning more about the NAIA and what Slamstox could do for you? Then contact us quickly!