Play Football in the NAIA

Play Football in the NAIA

NAIA Guide for the College-Bound Student- Athlete

Your NAIA Game Plan

• What about financial aid and scholarships?

• PlayNAIA — NAIA Eligibility Center

The NAIA Football program was inaugurated in 1956 with the first National Championship game being played in Little Rock, Arkansas as the Aluminum Bowl. In 1956 and 1957, two leading NAIA Football teams were invited to participate in the game, and in 1958, a four-team playoff was implemented to determine the NAIA National Football Champion.


PLAYING RULES: National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) rules are followed in all regular season and championship series games with the tie-break plan being used in all championship series games including the championship game.

OFFICIAL BALL: The Rawlings ST5 is the official NAIA football.

NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP FORMAT: A 16-team championship series is contested over four Saturdays. There are 89 football playing institutions and 16 teams qualify for the championship series.

Find answers in the NAIA Guide to the College-Bound Student-Athlete!
•  What's the NAIA participation experience?
•  What's different about recruiting in the NAIA?
•  Can I visit a campus for a tryout?
•  What about financial aid, scholarships, grants, loans?
•  Do I meet the freshman eligibility requirements?
•  What if I didn't attend a U.S. high school?
•  The NAIA Eligibility Center
•  What are the transfer student eligibility requirements?
•  Who's considered a professional in the NAIA?
•  How long can I compete?
•  What happens if I suffer an injury during college?
•  What if I've competed in my sport outside of college?
•  How do I remain eligible during college?

Register early with the NAIA Eligibility Center. It's required for any student who plans to attend an NAIA school. By registering, you also have the chance to let NAIA coaches know you're interested in playing in college. Our Connections service search allows you to check out which schools offer your sport, major and size that fits your interests. Register today!

Championship Information

NAIA Football Championship

November 23, 30, Dec. 7, 2019
Football Championship Series
Campus Sites

December 21, 2019
Eddie G. Robinson Stadium
Ruston, La.