NAIA Emerging Sports Report

Updated 2011

The Emerging Sports sub-committee of the Council of Athletics Administrators (CAA) continues to study the subject of emerging sports. In June 2005, the CAA approved the following Emerging Sports Plan that creates three categories of NAIA sports: Recognized Sports, Emerging Sports and Championship Sports. In September 2005, the Council of Presidents (COP) accepted the emerging sports report. In July 2010, the National Administrative Council (NAC) approved a few changes highlighted in bold below.

NAIA Recognized Sport

15 or more institutions declare intent to participate.

NAIA Emerging Sport

Any sport currently "recognized" by the NAIA "as a varsity sport as defined by the NAIA" but does not include official national championship competition.

NAIA Championship Sport

Any sport currently "sponsored" by the NAIA that follows all rules and regulations and includes official national championship competition.

Conditions for Establishment of a Recognized Sport
The NAIA national office will send an emerging sports designation form. If 15 or more institutions designate in a particular sport, the sport will be recognized by the NAIA. Each school designating those sports shall follow the definition of varsity. 

Conditions for Establishment of an Emerging Sport
Twenty five or more institutions designated will be considered an emerging sport. The sport will be in a "provisional" period of one year and does not include official national championship competition. A coaches association will be mandatory to develop policies and procedures for the emerging sport during the "provisional" period.

Following the "provisional" period, the emerging sport may organize an NAIA "invitational" event. The NAIA will endorse but not sponsor or financially support the event. Institutions, along with the coaches association, will be responsible for the finances and organization of the NAIA "invitational" event. NAC must approve policies, procedures and qualification plans for all invitational events.

Conditions for Establishment of a Championship Sport
Fifty or more institutions designated will be considered a championship sport. The NAIA will sponsor national championship competition for the sport, granted it has met the emerging sport "provisional" and "invitational" years.  If not, it will be in a "provisional" period of one year and does not include official national championship competition. A coaches association will be mandatory to develop policies and procedures for the emerging sport during the "provisional" period.

Following the "provisional" period, the championship sport may organize an "invitational" event. The NAIA will not sponsor or financially support the event. Institutions, along with the coaches association, will be responsible for the finances and organization of the "invitational" event. NAC must approve policies, procedures and qualification plans for all invitational events.

In July 2010, the National Administrative Council (NAC) approved the following changes:

The NAC will evaluate the first "invitational" and make recommended changes for a second "invitational" year. NAC will have final approval between the second ivitational and becoming championship sport status.

Any proposed legislation will be voted on at the NAIA Convention as long as: at least two invitationals have occured; and one year with 50 or more declared institutions.

Following the second year of declaring as a championship sport, the NAIA will sponsor national championship competition.

After the second year, if fewer than 50 institutions but more than 24 institutions declare intent to partici-pate as of May 1, the sport shall be considered at-risk and the first warning will be issued. The sport will still be "sponsored" by the NAIA, follow all rules and regulations and include official national championship competition.

Following the first warning, if a championship sport has fewer than 50 institutions but more than 24 institutions, the sport shall still be considered "at-risk" and a second warning will be issued. The sport will still be "sponsored" by the NAIA, follow all rules and regulations and include official national championship competition.

A championship sport that has been issued a second warning and falls below the minimum of 50 institutions declaring intent to participate shall no longer be a championship sport. The national championship will be discontinued at the conclusion of the academic year and the sport immediately moves to emerging sport status.

NOTE: Wrestling and Swimming and Diving will be grandfathered in through 2016.