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Difference Between NCAA and NAIA

athletics-pdNCAA vs NAIA

The National Collegiate Athletic Association, or NCAA, and the The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, or NAIA, are two different associations that relate to atheltics in universities.

The NCAA is a larger association, and it represents the big universities and colleges in the US and Canada. It is a semi voluntary organisation. Unlike the NCAA, the NAIA is a smaller assocation that represents small universities and colleges in the United States.

When considering their history, the National Collegiate Athletic Association is much older than the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. The NCAA’s predecessor is the Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States, which was formed in 1906. This association later became the NCAA in 1910. The NAIA’s predecessor is the National Association of Intercollegiate Basketball, which was established in 1937. It was in 1952 that this association was transformed into the NAIA.

While the National Collegiate Athletic Association headquarters is situated in Indianapolis, Indiana, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics is situated in Kansas City, Missouri.

When comparing their memberships, the NCAA has a larger membership than the NAIA.

One can also come across differences in the championships that both the associations conduct. The National Collegiate Athletic Association conducts 87 national championships a year, which includes 40 men championships, 44 women championships, and three coed championships. On the other hand, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics has 23 championships a year, of which 12 are for men.

Another difference that can be seen is that the recruitment process of the NAIC has fewer restrictions than that of the NCAA. Moreover, the NAIA do not have as complex rules as the NCAA. Where the NCAA has been divided into three divisions, the NAIA has no divisions.

Summary:

1. The NCAA is a larger association and it represents the big universities and colleges in the US and Canada. On the other hand, the NAIA is a smaller assocation that represents small universities and colleges in the United States.

2. The National Collegiate Athletic Association is much older than the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.

3. The NCAA conducts 87 national championships a year. On the contraray, the NAIA has only 23 championships a year.

4. Unlike the NCAA, the NAIA do not have very complex rules.

5. Where the NCAA has been divided into three divisions, the NAIA has no divisions.

6. When comparing their memberships, the NCAA has a larger membership than the NAIA.


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3 Comments

  1. The NAIA was the first athletic association to include Canadian members, and has 5 active members. The NAIA has also had a member from the Bahamas. Whereas, the NCAA has only one foreign member. Thus it is more appropriate to say that the NAIA represents Colleges and Universities in the US and Canada, while the NCAA only represents US institutions.

    The NAIA does have 2 scholarship divisions in basketball.

    The NCAA does not represent just big universities, nor does the NAIA just represent small colleges.

  2. I am still a little confused on the differences. Do these divisions, the NAIA and NCAA play each other or are the divisions distinct?

    • I have played soccer at an NAIA school for the past 2 years, and we have played D2 and D3 in our first few games of the season. It’s up to the coaches of the schools. Also, our women’s team played a D1 school and it counted for a game for us, but not them.

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