General

What is the difference between NCAA and NAIA?

By Stewart Stanbra
One common question that most young athletes ask, when considering College Sports, is what the differences are in the divisions?

One common question that most young athletes ask, when considering College Sports, is what the differences are in the divisions?

It is a massively misunderstood part of the process, but it is understandable why people are confused.

In most of the world Division 1 is better than Division 2…naturally.

This is not how it works in College Sports!

Each university offering college sports must apply for an affiliation to a college sports division, the major ones being:

NCAA D1
(4 year Schools)
NCAA D2
(4 year Schools)
NCAA D3
(4 year Schools)
NAIA
(4 year Schools)
NJCAA
(2 year Schools)
# Universities/Colleges 351 308 443 250 500
# Student-Athletes 180,000 122,000 191,000 65,000 59,000
Athletic scholarship Yes Yes No Yes Yes

 

There is a lot of criteria considered when a university decides on what division it will compete in, like finances, location and preference.

One major factor:

How many sports does the university offer?

Therefore…

Whatever division the university decides to compete in normally ALL the other sports following and compete in that division. Being in NCAA Division 1 does not automatically make the program better.

It is true that the elite NCAA Division 1 teams, due to the popularity of the sports programs lead by American Football and Baksetball, tend to attract the top American sporting talents to their schools, which often means that the other sports at those schools are strong too.

But unless you are Olympic level- or youth international level athlete, who usually are recruited by the top 30-40 NCAA Division 1 teams, you must remember that there are many other factors than just the division to consider when evaluating a school.

Find out more about College Sports here: https://www.collegescholarshipsusa.com/college-sports/

Christian Ingul

Golf
Menlo College, California

Fredrik Borenstein

Soccer
Duquesne University, Pennsylvania

Hanna Månsson

Soccer
Campbell University, North Carolina

Isabella Tropé

Soccer
Idaho State University

Janne Kildahl Brouer

Soccer
Clayton State University, Georgia

William Heuser

Soccer
University of Wisconsin-Superior