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Why Choose the NAIA?


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Factor in the NAIA's strong level of competition and the ability to align your athletics programs with your institution's mission, and you'll soon realize, the NAIA just fits.

NAIA Application Guide

Application 2017

New Member Transition


Kevin Dee
VP for Campus
& Conference Initiatives


Julie McCollum
Director of Membership
Sales & Services

Learn more about what the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics has to offer your institution. Contact Kevin Dee, Vice President for Campus and Conference Initiatives, or Julie McCollum, Director of Membership Sales & Service at 816.595.8000

Active membership in the NAIA is open to four-year colleges and universities and upper-level, two-year institutions in the United States and Canada that award the bachelor's (baccalaureate) degree, or its equivalent. Institutions in the U.S. must be fully accredited by one of the six regional accrediting bodies; Canadian institutions must have accreditation from the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. Associate membership is accorded to institutions that meet the criteria but do not hold full membership in one of the accrediting bodies or to institutions that hold full accreditation but are classified as developing athletic programs.

Every NAIA institution must sponsor a minimum of six NAIA championship sports no later than the beginning of the fourth full academic year of active NAIA membership.  Single gender institutions must sponsor a minimum of three NAIA championship sports no later than the beginning of the fourth full academic year of active NAIA membership.   Affiliated NAIA conferences often have more strict sponsorship requirements.

Institutions in the process of building sports programs have the option of sponsoring an intercollegiate sport and opting out of NAIA championships on a year-by-year basis. This affords the institution scheduling advantages and requires application of NAIA rules for participating student-athletes in that sport.

One-time application fee
— $10,000
Annual membership dues (estimated for 2017-18) — $7,800
Average dues for affiliated conference membership — $9,700
Average dues for independent — $3,500 plus $300 per sport
Statistical software fees — range from $125 to $2,000
Drug education fees — $200 plus $2.50 per student-athlete
Required participation in the NAIA's catastrophic injury insurance — ranges from $3,425 to $19,049. Details and available policies.

The NAIA has maximum institutional aid limits for each varsity sport, but those do not apply to junior varsity. Some or all of the institutional aid awarded to individual student-athletes may be exempted based on their academic performance.

Playing rules for each sport may stipulate facility or playing field dimensions or standards. The membership evaluation process may take into consideration the quality of current athletics facilities and feasibility of planned improvements.

The NAIA has 21 conferences including the Association of Independent Institutions. Conference membership offers scheduling benefits, cost-effective post season opportunities and an environment to build relationships and rivalries with other institutions. It is recommended that prospective members engage in a discussion with potential conferences.

All first-time NAIA student-athletes must register with the NAIA Eligibility Center to have their academic and athletic eligibility determined. Ongoing eligibility is managed at the institution.

October 1 — Membership applications must be received in the NAIA National Office.
By December 1 — Initial review determines whether a campus visit will be conducted.
January — Webinar conducted with prospective member school staff
By March 1 — Membership Evaluation Team visits campus.
April — Council of Presidents meeting — Institution is notified of the decision within 10 days.
July 1 — If approved, membership becomes effective. 


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