March 15, 2016

In the Know: What is the NAIA

The NAIA, or the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, is a governing body for small athletics programs and its primary focus is on character-driven Student-Athletes. The NAIA is composed of more than 250 educational institutions with 21 conferences, over 65,000 student-athletes and $500 million in available athletic scholarships. TheNational Association of Intercollegiate Athletics organizes athletic programs among smaller institutions primarily across the USA, but also includes two members in Canada and one in the Bahamas. With a focus on balancing athletics with the overall college educational experience the NAIA puts the student-athlete at the center of all NAIA experiences.

In order to be eligible to compete in the NAIA prospective student-athletes must be accepted as a student in good standing or be a graduate of an accredited high school and have completed 2 out of 3 of the following:

  • A minimum score of 18 for the ACT or 860 for the SAT
    • These tests must be taken on a State, National, or International testing date and scores must be achieved on a single test.
    • SAT: The Writing score cannot be used; the score must be achieved in Critical Reading and Math.
    • These tests are required to be completed the term before the term in which athletic participation will take place.
    • Remember the NAIA code 9876 will ensure that tests scores are sent directly to the eligibility center.
  • Graduate in the top half of your high school class
    • Many transcripts show class rank, but if this is not the case a signed letter from the principal, composed on the school’s official letterhead and with the schools official seal confirming the final rank, may be submitted.
  • Get a minimum overall GPA of 2.0 (4.0 Scale) 
    • A minimum grade point average of 2.0 on the 4.0 scale as determined by the high school will be accepted by the NAIA as long as it is recorded and submitted in the same manner for each student at the school.

If you are entering as a freshman and cannot meet at least 2 of the 3 above mentioned criteria you cannot participate in athletics for your first full year of attendance. The NAIA is responsible for determining eligibility for all first time student-athletes and each student-athlete must have their eligibility determined by the eligibility center. Every NAIA school is bound by the eligibility center’s decisions.

For more information on eligibility please visit the NAIA Eligibility center by clicking HERE and keep in mind that every student-athlete who plans to attend a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics institution must register.

The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics allows student-athletes to focus on all aspects of their college life, providing a more relaxed schedule and less pressure while also offering an average of $7,000 in financial assistance with over 90% of institutions offering scholarships.  Despite being smaller than the NCAA, with 23 National Championships and lots of perks the NAIA is definitely worth considering.

For more information click HERE for the NAIA Guide for the College Bound Student Athlete.

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