NCAA vs. NAIA – What’s the difference?
Colleges and universities belong to different sports divisions depending on size, affiliation, etc. This means that prospective student-athletes must often meet certain GPA and test score requirements in order to play at those schools. This is especially the case for NCAA Division I and II sports, even though the NCAA does have Division III affiliated colleges as well. Students interested in playing at a Division I and II college must register with the NCAA, preferably by the end of their junior year or at least by the beginning of their senior year, if they wish to become eligible for and hope to be offered a position to play sports at these colleges. Students should visit the NCAA Eligibility Center to register and become informed of the requirements for Division I and II athletics, as well as the rights and responsibilities of both them as prospective student-athletes and the college coaches that may draft them. Below is a PDF of the current NCAA Division I/II Quick Reference Sheet. Please visit the NCAA Eligibility Center for more details including access to the Guide for the College-Bound Student-Athlete!
NAIA is a college sports division that many smaller or private colleges are affiliated with. This division has its own member colleges and its own eligibility center. The NAIA organization link is provided here, in order that prospective student-athletes can view the member colleges and determine whether those colleges may be a better or the best choice for that prospective student-athlete to play and study!