KANSAS CITY, Mo. - This summer’s round of NAIA Showcases, where prospective high school and junior college students have the opportunity to demonstrate their skills and connect with NAIA coaches, concluded July 21. More than 456 prospective student-athletes registered to attend the second annual NAIA Showcase event in Kansas City.
The NAIA is the only collegiate athletics association that hosts official recruiting events, where prospective athletes can play in front of NAIA coaches and meet with them in person as part of the event.
Student-athlete participation was up 26%, and coach attendance saw a 151% increase from the inaugural year in 2014. Fifty-three NAIA institutions were represented. NAIA coaches reported making 147 offers to participants during the six Showcase events in football, baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s soccer. The softball showcase was rained out.
“The ability to see kids from all over the country in one spot is great for NAIA coaches," said Boyd Pitkin, Briar Cliff University (Iowa) head baseball coach and president of the NAIA Baseball Coaches Association. "The Showcase gives the students the individual ability to show us what they have. We often only see these guys in game situations, and especially in baseball, you may not see exactly what that guy has to offer. The quality of student-athletes here at the baseball showcase was good.”
The majority of prospective students were incoming high school seniors from 27 states and as far away as New York and Alaska. In addition to being available to attending coaches, Showcase participant information and academic interests are shared with every NAIA program in that sport after the Showcase.
More than 500 parents attended the showcases, which include presentations on NAIA eligibility rules, NAIA rules that permit contact with coaches and NAIA character initiatives. Admissions representatives from NAIA schools were busy throughout the Showcases.
“The direction and feedback we received from NAIA coaches after our first Showcase in East Peoria, Ill., last year, allowed us to make huge strides in creating such unique and exciting opportunities for both NAIA coaches and potential student-athletes,” said Austin Bennett, Showcase Director.
The NAIA Showcase will continue to develop in the coming years, expanding to increase the number of sports offered and traveling to different regions of the country to make the event available to even more athletes.
In the meantime, the planning process has begun for the next round of Showcase events. For more information about the NAIA Showcases or to see more photos from this year’s events, visit www.NAIAShowcase.com.