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NAIA Football Schools: Flexibility in the Recruiting Process and in the College Experience

For many student-athletes, the charm of NAIA schools comes from its smaller class sizes and overall flexibility between athletics, academics and a social life. Furthermore, NAIA football colleges are allowed to manage their own recruiting process—no timelines or calendars to memorize. Coaches at NAIA football schools can recruit at any time, and the window of opportunity is often open longer than at the other division levels.

Are there divisions in the NAIA?

For football, all NAIA teams play in the same division. Two NAIA football divisions existed until 1997, at which point they were consolidated into one. NAIA football schools compete for the Football National Championship, which is decided by a post-season playoff system with the top NAIA football teams battling to make it to the championship game.

How many scholarships does NAIA football have?

NAIA football programs can offer up to 24 scholarships per team. The coaches can divide the scholarships as partial scholarships in order to get more high-quality players on the team. Athletes can receive full-ride scholarships, but they are somewhat rare, reserved for the players who are projected to make the most impact on the team and for athletes who are in unique positions.

How many NAIA football teams are there?

There are 96 NAIA football schools across the country. NAIA football conferences include: Frontier Conference, Great Plains Athletic, Heart of America Athletic, Kansas Collegiate Athletic, Mid-South, Mid-States Football Association, North Start Athletic Association and Sooner Athletic conferences.

NAIA football rankings

The NAIA creates its rankings each year based on votes cast by head football coaches in each conference. The votes are translated into points, and the more points a team has, the higher up in the rankings they are. Currently, the top 10 teams in the NAIA football rankings are:

  1. Saint Francis
  2. Reinhardt
  3. Morningside
  4. Lindsey Wilson
  5. Southern Oregon
  6. Baker
  7. Langston
  8. Saint Xavier
  9. Southeastern
  10. Northwestern

Other websites will also create their own NAIA football rankings, but the top schools typically align from list to list. To start exploring the wealth of NAIA colleges across the country, use the following list of NAIA football teams. Search by state, conference or school name.

List of NAIA football schools

School
City and State
Region
Conference
Division
Phoenix, ARIZONA
South West
Central States Football League  
NAIA  
Ave Maria, FLORIDA
South East
Florida Sun Conference  
NAIA  
Kansas City, MISSOURI
Mid West
Heart of America Athletic Conference  
NAIA  
Baldwin City, KANSAS
Mid West
Heart of America Athletic Conference  
NAIA  
Atchison, KANSAS
Mid West
Heart of America Athletic Conference  
NAIA  
Lindsborg, KANSAS
Mid West
Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference  
NAIA  
North Newton, KANSAS
Mid West
Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference  
NAIA  
McKenzie, TENNESSEE
Mid East
Mid-South Conference  
NAIA  
Bluefield, VIRGINIA
Mid East
Mid-South Conference  
NAIA  
Sioux City, IOWA
Mid West
Great Plains Athletic Conference  
NAIA  
Campbellsville, KENTUCKY
Mid East
Mid-South Conference  
NAIA  
Helena, MONTANA
North West
Frontier Conference  
NAIA  
Fayette, MISSOURI
Mid West
Heart of America Athletic Conference  
NAIA  
Cincinnati, OHIO
Great Lakes
Mid-South Conference  
NAIA  
Dubuque, IOWA
Mid West
Heart of America Athletic Conference  
NAIA  
Ann Arbor, MICHIGAN
Great Lakes
Mid-States Football Association  
NAIA  
Seward, NEBRASKA
Mid West
Great Plains Athletic Conference  
NAIA  
Canton, MISSOURI
Mid West
Heart of America Athletic Conference  
NAIA  
Lebanon, TENNESSEE
Mid East
Mid-South Conference  
NAIA  
Madison, SOUTH DAKOTA
North West
North Star Athletic Association  
NAIA  
Mitchell, SOUTH DAKOTA
North West
Great Plains Athletic Conference  
NAIA  
Dickinson, NORTH DAKOTA
North West
North Star Athletic Association  
NAIA  
Crete, NEBRASKA
Mid West
Great Plains Athletic Conference  
NAIA  
Sioux Center, IOWA
Mid West
Great Plains Athletic Conference  
NAIA  
La Grande, OREGON
West Coast
Frontier Conference  
NAIA  
Jacksonville, FLORIDA
South East
Other  
NAIA  
Springfield, MISSOURI
Mid West
Heart of America Athletic Conference  
NAIA  
Montgomery, ALABAMA
South East
Mid-South Conference  
NAIA  
Wichita, KANSAS
Mid West
Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference  
NAIA  
Georgetown, KENTUCKY
Mid East
Mid-South Conference  
NAIA  
Lamoni, IOWA
Mid West
Heart of America Athletic Conference  
NAIA  
Des Moines, IOWA
Mid West
Heart of America Athletic Conference  
NAIA  
Hastings, NEBRASKA
Mid West
Great Plains Athletic Conference  
NAIA  
Marion, INDIANA
Great Lakes
Mid-States Football Association  
NAIA  
Salina, KANSAS
Mid West
Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference  
NAIA  
West Palm Beach, FLORIDA
South East
Florida Sun Conference  
NAIA  
Grayson, KENTUCKY
Mid East
Mid-South Conference  
NAIA  
Langston, OKLAHOMA
Mid South
Red River Athletic Conference  
NAIA  
Southfield, MICHIGAN
Great Lakes
Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference  
NAIA  
Belleville, ILLINOIS
Great Lakes
American Midwest Conference (NAIA)  
NAIA  
Columbia, KENTUCKY
Mid East
Mid-South Conference  
NAIA  
Batesville, ARKANSAS
Mid South
Central States Football League  
NAIA  
Indianapolis, INDIANA
Great Lakes
Mid-States Football Association  
NAIA  
Mayville, NORTH DAKOTA
North West
North Star Athletic Association  
NAIA  
McPherson, KANSAS
Mid West
Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference  
NAIA  
Olathe, KANSAS
Mid West
Heart of America Athletic Conference  
NAIA  
Fremont, NEBRASKA
Mid West
Great Plains Athletic Conference  
NAIA  
Saint Louis, MISSOURI
Mid West
Mid-States Football Association  
NAIA  
Marshall, MISSOURI
Mid West
Heart of America Athletic Conference  
NAIA  
Havre, MONTANA
North West
Frontier Conference  
NAIA  
Butte, MONTANA
North West
Frontier Conference  
NAIA  
Sioux City, IOWA
Mid West
Great Plains Athletic Conference  
NAIA  
Orange City, IOWA
Mid West
Great Plains Athletic Conference  
NAIA  
Goodwell, OKLAHOMA
Mid South
Lone Star Conference  
NAIA  
Bourbonnais, ILLINOIS
Great Lakes
Mid-States Football Association  
NAIA  
Ottawa, KANSAS
Mid West
Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference  
NAIA  
Phoenix, ARIZONA
South West
(NAIA) (NCWA - Wrestling)  
NAIA  
Peru, NEBRASKA
Mid West
Heart of America Athletic Conference  
NAIA  
West Point, GEORGIA
South East
Independent Southeast Region  
NAIA  
Aberdeen, SOUTH DAKOTA
North West
North Star Athletic Association  
NAIA  
Waleska, GEORGIA
South East
Mid-South Conference  
NAIA  
Chicago, ILLINOIS
Great Lakes
Independent Midwest Region  
NAIA  
Billings, MONTANA
North West
Frontier Conference  
NAIA  
Chicago, ILLINOIS
Great Lakes
Mid-States Football Association  
NAIA  
Adrian, MICHIGAN
Great Lakes
Mid-States Football Association  
NAIA  
Lakeland, FLORIDA
South East
Florida Sun Conference  
NAIA  
Ashland, OREGON
West Coast
Frontier Conference  
NAIA  
Waxahachie, TEXAS
Mid South
Central States Football League  
NAIA  
Winfield, KANSAS
Mid West
Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference  
NAIA  
Davenport, IOWA
Mid West
Mid-States Football Association  
NAIA  
Laurinburg, NORTH CAROLINA
Mid East
Appalachian Athletic Conference  
NAIA  
Sterling, KANSAS
Mid West
Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference  
NAIA  
Hillsboro, KANSAS
Mid West
Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference  
NAIA  
Upland, INDIANA
Great Lakes
Mid-States Football Association  
NAIA  
Tyler, TEXAS
Mid South
Central States Football League  
NAIA  
Fort Worth, TEXAS
Mid South
Sooner Athletic Conference  
NAIA  
Caldwell, IDAHO
North West
Frontier Conference  
NAIA  
Deerfield, ILLINOIS
Great Lakes
Mid-States Football Association  
NAIA  
Barbourville, KENTUCKY
Mid East
Mid-South Conference  
NAIA  
Jamestown, NORTH DAKOTA
North West
North Star Athletic Association  
NAIA  
Dillon, MONTANA
North West
Frontier Conference  
NAIA  
Pikeville, KENTUCKY
Mid East
Mid-South Conference  
NAIA  
Fort Wayne, INDIANA
Great Lakes
Mid-States Football Association  
NAIA  
Leavenworth, KANSAS
Mid West
Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference  
NAIA  
Joliet, ILLINOIS
Great Lakes
Mid-States Football Association  
NAIA  
Williamsburg, KENTUCKY
Mid East
Mid-South Conference  
NAIA  
Valley City, NORTH DAKOTA
North West
North Star Athletic Association  
NAIA  
Forest City, IOWA
Mid West
Midwest Collegiate Conference (NAIA)  
NAIA  
Lake Wales, FLORIDA
South East
Mid-South Conference  
NAIA  
Plainview, TEXAS
Mid South
Sooner Athletic Conference  
NAIA  
Babson Park, FLORIDA
South East
Florida Sun Conference  
NAIA  
Oskaloosa, IOWA
Mid West
Heart of America Athletic Conference  
NAIA  
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