Why Choose the NAIA?

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.

The NAIA Advantage

  • High-caliber athletics at a reasonable cost
  • Increase enrollment through athletics
  • Autonomy with limited bureaucracy
  • Simple, sensible rules
  • Character-driven athletics

“We switched from NCAA to the NAIA because we were struggling due to the size and finances of our institution. The NAIA is a great fit for us as we should see an increase in student activities and involvement and better opportunity all around. It’s one of the best moves we’ve made for our athletics.”

Wayne Stewart, Dean of Education and Athletic Director
Oklahoma Panhandle State University

Become an NAIA Member


Download the Application.
(Need help? See our Application Guide.)

Step 2:

If your institution qualifies,
the Membership Team schedule
a campus visit.

Step 3:

The NAIA Council of Presidents will
vote on your membership.

For a more detailed timeline, see Membership Process below.

Membership Basics

Learn more by browsing our Membership Basics brochure flipbook. Or download the information in PDF format:

Ready to join? Begin the process now!

Facts & Figures


NAIA Members

Average full-time enrollment: 1,700
Private institutions: 81%
Faith-based institutions: 65%
Average # of sports: 14
Average # of student-athletes: 254
Median athletics budget: 2.93 MM
Operating budget: 1.55 MM
Athletic aid: 1.42 MM

Membership Map

NAIA Products and Services

Champions of Character
NAIA Showcase

Membership Process

October 1

Applications must be received in the NAIA National Office

December 1

Initial review determines whether a campus visit will be conducted

During January

Webinar conducted with prospective member school staff

During February

Membership Evaluation Team visits campus

during April

Council of Presidents meeting — Institution is notified of the decision within 10 days

July 1

If approved, membership becomes effective


Learn more about what the NAIA has to offer your institution.

Kevin Dee

Kevin Dee
VP for Campus & Conference Initiatives

Julie McColllum

Julie McCollum
Director of Membership Sales & Services