NAIA: Character-Driven Intercollegiate Athletics


60,000 student-athletes

13 sports and 23 national championships

Close to 300 colleges and universities

• $450 million in athletic scholarships

In the National  Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, a dedication to leadership development is balanced with sports accomplishment. A trailblazer in providing equal opportunity for all student-athletes. An expectation of ethical behavior, fairness in competition, access to athletic scholarship, sportsmanship and leadership development. At the core of all of this — character.

The seed of the NAIA began in 1937 with a men's basketball tournament that has become the longest running basketball tournament in the country. Out of the tournament grew the NAIA, an association of close to 300 member schools and more than 60,000 student-athletes.

Since 1937, the NAIA has administered programs and championships in proper balance with the overall educational experience. In 2000, the NAIA reaffirmed its purpose to enhance the character-building aspects of sport. Through Champions of Character, the NAIA seeks to create an environment in which every student-athlete, coach, official and spectator is committed to the true spirit of competition through five core values.

Most recently, the association opened the NAIA Eligibility Center, where prospective student-athletes are evaluated for academic and athletic eligibility. It delivers on our larger promise of integrity by leveling the playing field, guiding student-athlete success, and ensuring fair competition. Providing student-athletes a chance to connect with NAIA schools and coaches helps them make the best decision to prepare them for success in both college and athletics.