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Recruiting Rules

NAIA Recruiting Information

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The NAIA recruiting information is less cumbersome, with few restrictions on the contact between a student-athlete and a college coach. This levels the playing field for NAIA institutions to compete against NCAA schools.

The NAIA has around 300 colleges and universities. The appeal that the NAIA has to offer is their smaller class sizes and tight knit campus communities, the ability to transfer and not lose any eligibility, there are fewer recruiting rules and restrictions, and you have the opportunity to compete for championships. Not everyone has the ability or the academics to play NCAA sports. The NAIA is a terrific chance for any student athlete looking to earn a scholarship.

Each NAIA institution will have their own academic requirements that you must meet, and the NAIA association has an overview of recruiting rules and requirements that student-athletes must meet.

Student-athletes must meet 2 of the 3 requirements below in order to be eligible for the NAIA:

  1. Achieve a minimum of 18 on the ACT or 860 on the SAT.
  2. Achieve a minimum overall high school GPA of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale.
  3. Graduate in the top half of your graduating class.


If you would like to play college athletics at the NAIA level, you must follow these steps:

  1. Register with the NAIA Eligibility Center and pay the $70 fee ($120 for international students).
  2. Submit your info: contact info, address, high school attended, sport(s) played.
  3. Insert the code: 9876 when taking the ACT and/or SAT on the lists of places test scores should be sent.
  4. Have your guidance counselor send your official transcripts to the NAIA Eligibility Center (address below)

NAIA Eligibility Center – Transcripts
P.O. Box 15340
Kansas City, MO 64106

*The NAIA and NCAA are two separate associations, with different rules and eligibility process. Your eligibility with the NCAA is separate from your eligibility with the NAIA.

Quick Facts About The NAIA

  1. The NAIA sponsors 13 sports and determines 23 national championships.
  2. 60,000 student athletes compete at NAIA member schools.
  3. There are nearly 300 NAIA colleges and universities.
  4. NAIA schools award more than $500 million in financial aid each year.

Does The NAIA have national letters of intent?

As an association, the NAIA does not have a letter of intent program in which students sign
a binding agreement to participate in athletics at a particular institution.  Student-athletes
may sign letters of intent with an individual NAIA school, however, they aren’t obligated to
attend that institution.  That said, some NAIA conferences require their member schools
to recognize letters of intent that are signed with other institutions within the conference.
Please check with your prospective school to see if any conference programs apply.


What are the amount of scholarships awarded at the NAIA level?

Each sport has scholarship limits set by the NAIA, but those scholarships can be dispensed as partial awards to spread financial aid around among athletes.  Each sport has an overall limit on the amount of financial aid it can award as full or partial.

Lacrosse is a new and emerging sport in the NAIA.  During the summer of 2015, the NAIA approved men’s and women’s lacrosse to move from emerging sport status to national invitational. This move allows NAIA varsity teams to compete within the NAIA rather than an outside organization. The first NAIA National Invitational Tournament (NIT) was held in May 2016 in Greenville, SC. Lacrosse is required to remain an invitational sport for a minimum of two years before applying for full championship status. As of fall 2017 both men’s and women’s lacrosse remained invitational status.

Originally posted 2016-05-05 13:57:05.

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