What is the NAIA?

What is the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA)?


The NAIA is the National governing body for approximately 300 small-college athletics programs in the United States.  

In the NAIA, a dedication to leadership development is balanced with sports accomplishment. NAIA is 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.

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 are committed to the true spirit of competition through five core values: integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship and servant leadership.


Athletes must register with the NAIA Eligibility Center.


NAIA Facts

• 65,000 student athletes

• 13 sports and 25 National Championships

• More than 250 colleges and universities and 21 conferences

• $500 million in athletic scholarships









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