A Closer Look - NAIA and NCAA DII

What’s the difference between NAIA and NCAA DII? This is a commonly asked question by institutions trying to determine the best athletic affiliation for their school. While many of the demographics for top performing schools in the NAIA and the NCAA are similar, there are some key differences that set the NAIA apart.

  • DII schools spend 70% more than NAIA schools to offer quality athletic programs.
  • NAIA schools spend significantly less to be nationally competitive. The median athletics budget difference between the NAIA Top 100 Directors’ Cup schools and all NAIA members was $400,000. For DII schools, the difference was $2.4 million.

What does all this mean? NAIA members are on a more level playing field financially, competitively, and enrollment-wise. Schools don’t have to be the biggest or have the deepest pockets to experience success in the NAIA. The focus is where it should be – on maximizing your Return on Athletics®.

 

NAIA Institutions

NAIA Institutions Enrollment Student-Athletes Operating Budget Total Budget
75th percentile 1,566 397 $2.3 MM $5.2 MM
Median (50th) 1,013 273 $1.6 MM $3.2 MM
25th percentile 676 158 $1.0 MM $1.8 MM

NAIA Director's Cup

NAIA Directors’ Cup Median Enrollment Median Op. Budget Median Total Budget
Top 25 1,459 $2.2 MM $4.5 MM
Top 50 1,267 $2.2 MM $4.4 MM
Top 100 1,089 $1.9 MM $3.6 MM

NCAA DII Institutions

NCAA DII Institutions Enrollment Student-Athletes Operating Budget Total Budget
75th percentile 4,670 489 $4.8 MM $7.4 MM
Median (50th) 2,436 359 $3.4 MM $5.5 MM
25th percentile 1,446 263 $2.5 MM $4.1 MM

NCAA DII Director's Cup

NCAA DII Directors’ Cup Median Enrollment Median Op. Budget Median Total Budget
Top 25 5,259 $5.8 MM $9.6 MM
Top 50 4,783 $5.4 MM $8.7 MM
Top 100 4,098 $4.9 MM $7.9 MM

Source of the data includes EADA, IPEDs, The Chronicle of Higher Education.

 

Download Closer Look (DII) PDF

“Moving from NCAA DIII to NAIA has given our whole athletics department a boost – financially, in recruitment and it’s been a definite step up in competition for all of our student-athletes.”

Terry Connor, Athletics Director
Thomas More College (Ky.)
(Moved to NAIA August 2018)

 

President Jim Carr appeared on the Success Is A Choice podcast and discussed what sets the NAIA apart from the NCAA.