Have you heard of the NAIA or the NJCAA? In this week's blog, we are going to break these two associations down and list why these can be another alternative to the NCAA, as the NCAA may not be the best option for everyone.
The National Association for Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) is the USA's oldest collegiate sports governing body, which is comprised of smaller universities and colleges. There are about 300 NAIA member schools that help over 60,000 student-athletes achieve academic success, while they compete in the sports they love.
NAIA institutions tend to be smaller private universities and colleges; offering a personalised experience that focuses on academic excellence and competitive athletics. There are a large number of Protestant and Catholic institutions in the NAIA; however, this is not a religious, athletic association; and there are many nondenominational schools included.
The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics only has one division, with the exception of basketball, which has D1 and D2. The level of competition in the NAIA is often compared to the NCAA's Division 2 level. However, there are some teams who will be able to compete at the NCAA Division 1 level, if their colleges had to make the switch.
Should students wish to compete in the NAIA, they will have to meet two out of the three requirements listed below, before being able to compete:
The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NJCAA) consists only of Junior & Community Colleges, where students graduate with a two-year associates degree. These Two-year colleges often have partnerships with surrounding universities that are in favour of accepting transfer students into their 3rd year of studies. Thus, students will receive academic credits when they transfer into NCAA or NAIA colleges.
Coaches in the NJCAA, form close relationships with NCAA and NAIA coaches. Many see it as their duty to get their student-athletes placed at top-class Universities where they can further their academic and athletic careers. Many athletes spend one year in the NJCAA; before being scouted and moving across to the NCAA.
The NJCAA has three divisions, over 500 member institutions, and 60,000 student-athletes. The level of competition in Division 1 is comparable to the NCAA Division 1 AA (The second tier of NCAA D1) or top teams in the NCAA Division 2.
Students who wish to compete in the NJCAA will have to meet basic academic requirements. A student simply needs to have a 45% matriculation average or a 1.6 GPA to be able to play. However, should they wish to transfer from the NCJAA into an NAIA or NCAA institution, they will need to take the SAT, before doing so.
There you have it, folks, we have broken down the two major alternative athletic associations to the NCAA. Students, naturally want to compete in the NCAA, but sometime this may not be the right choice for them, based on a number of factors. The NAIA and the NJCAA are both fantastic routes that our students have taken, to reach their academic and athletic goals. Should you have any other questions, please comment below, reach out to us on our social media channels or contact us on our Contacts Page.
All blogs are written by former student-athletes. If you would like to learn more, please leave a comment below and the author will respond to your questions.