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The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) is an athletic association that organizes college and university-level athletic programs. Membership in the NAIA consists of smaller colleges and universities across the United States. The NAIA permits membership to colleges and universities outside the USA. The NAIA has five members in Canada and at one point had one in the Bahamas, which made it the only international intercollegiate athletic association in North America until 2009. For the 2007-08 academic year, the NAIA has 291 member institutions. Currently, the headquarters are located in Kansas City, Missourimarker.. The NAIA sponsors 23 national championships. The CBS College Sports Network, formerly called CSTV, serves as the national media for the NAIA .


The National Association of Intercollegiate Basketball (NAIB) was formed in 1937, when Dr. James Naismith and local leaders formed the National College Basketball Tournament staged at Municipal Auditoriummarker in Kansas City, Missouri. The goal of the tournament was to establish a forum for small colleges and universities to determine a national basketball champion. The original eight-team tournament expanded to 32 teams in 1938. On March 10, 1940; the National Association for Intercollegiate Basketball was formed in Kansas City, Missouri. In 1948, the NAIB became the first national organization to open their intercollegiate postseason to black student-athletes. That same year, Indiana Statemarker coach John Wooden brought the first African-American student athlete to play at the national tournament.

In 1952, the NAIB was transformed into the NAIA, and with that came the sponsorship of additional sports such as men's golf, tennis and outdoor track and field.

African-American participation

The association furthered its commitment to African-American athletes, when in 1953, it became the first collegiate association to invite historically black colleges and universities into its membership. In 1957, Tennessee Statemarker became the first historically black institution to win a collegiate basketball national championship. Football in the NAIA was split into two divisions in 1970, based on enrollment (Div. I & Div. II); it was consolidated back into a single division in 1997.

Female participation

The NAIA began sponsoring intercollegiate championships for women in 1980, the first coed national athletics association to do so, offering collegiate athletics championships to women in basketball, cross country, gymnastics, indoor and outdoor track and field, softball, swimming and diving, tennis and volleyball.

Champions of Character

Launched in 2000 by the NAIA, the Champions of Character program addresses character issues more comprehensively than any other national program for youth and serves as a demonstration of the NAIA slogan "NAIA: All that's Right In Sports". The program currently reaches hundreds of thousands of students on nearly 300 college and university campuses in North America and extends into their surrounding communities.

The NAIA Champions of Character program is an educational outreach initiative which emphasizes the tenets of character and integrity, not only for NAIA college students, but for younger students, coaches and parents in our communities. The programs has the following five core tenents: respect, responsibility, integrity, servant leadership, and sportsmanship that are exhibited and promoted by member athletic departments to local communities.

Coaches, parents, administrators and community partners all have a role in developing students of character. The NAIA Champions of Character program brings them training, guidelines and behavior models to create positive environments that promote personal growth, academic enrichment and fun through sports.

Championships Sports

The NAIA has 23 championship sports: 12 for men's sports and 11 for women's sports. Basketball is the only sport divided into two divisions. The association holds, or has held in the past, championship tournaments in the following sports (year established):
  • Baseball (1957)
  • Basketball (For championships by year see table below)
    • Men's
      • Division I (1937)
      • Division II (1992)
    • Women's
      • Division I (1981)
      • Division II (1992)
  • Bowling (discontinued) (1962-1978)
  • Cross Country
  • Football (1956)

Emerging Sports

  • Cheer and Dance
  • Men's Lacrosse
  • Women's Lacrosse
  • Men's Volleyball


The NAIA has 28 member conferences, and 9 football conferences. The membership is also divided into regions which may vary based on sport. .

See also


  1. Membership Information
  2. Downtown Kansas City location opens for business July 2 Location Information
  3. CBS College Sports Network agreement
  4. NAIA History
  5. Volleyball Emerging Sport
  6. List of NAIA Conferences

External links

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