Men’s basketball athletes who want to play sports at the collegiate level have typically heard of the NCAA and its three division levels. However, many families often overlook another regulatory body—the National Association for Intercollegiate Athletics. NAIA basketball colleges are in good company—not only is the NAIA the oldest college athletics governing body in the U.S., it’s also growing in popularity and size. Most men’s basketball programs at the NAIA level are made up of smaller, private colleges, though don’t let that deter you—student-athletes on NAIA basketball teams share similar experiences and levels of competition as those who compete at NCAA D3 basketball colleges. Find out more about basketball colleges and how basketball recruiting works.
Perhaps the biggest draw of playing NAIA men’s basketball is that unlike their NCAA D3 counterparts, NAIA basketball colleges do offer athletic scholarships. Each year, NAIA basketball schools offer NAIA basketball scholarships at both the NAIA D1 and NAIA D2 levels. There are typically 11 scholarships per team allotted at the D1 level, while NAIA basketball teams at the D2 levels are given a maximum of 6 scholarships per team. NAIA basketball coaches can split up these scholarships any way they see fit—that means that while it’s possible for some elite athletes to receive full rides to NAIA basketball schools, it’s also likely that coaches will split up one scholarship among a few recruits.
Men’s basketball athletes interested in competing at the collegiate level shouldn’t limit their college lists to NCAA D1, D2 and D3 schools. Instead, they should also consider adding a few NAIA basketball schools to their target lists too. Not only are NAIA coaches more accessible to recruits than those who coach at the NCAA level—who must follow NCAA basketball recruiting rules and contact periods—they’re also allowed to communicate with potential recruits at any time in the recruiting process.
Men’s basketball recruits who have a high academic and athletic caliber, match NAIA basketball recruiting guidelines and want a similar experience to their NCAA D3 counterparts—with the bonus of a potential athletic scholarship—should look at our full list of NAIA basketball colleges below.
Student-athletes who want to compete at some of the most selective academic levels should pursue opportunities at NAIA basketball schools. But just how many NAIA basketball schools are there? There are currently over 200 NAIA basketball colleges to explore—these 230 NAIA basketball teams are comprised of elite players both on and off the court. Potential recruits who want to secure a coveted roster spot at one of these top NAIA basketball schools should be prepared to work hard not only on developing their athletic skills but also their overall GPA and test scores.
When creating a target list of schools, it’s important to explore a complete list of NAIA basketball schools, consider NAIA basketball rankings and be prepared to size up the competition of NAIA basketball teams in terms of physical measurables, like height, and position-specific stats. It’s also essential to start communicating with coaches, as NAIA coaches can contact basketball recruits at any high-school grade level. For a complete list of NAIA basketball colleges, including their conference, location and NAIA division level, look at our NAIA basketball rankings and complete list of NAIA basketball schools below.
Here are the top NAIA basketball schools, according to the NCSA Power Rankings:
While the NCSA Power Rankings offer a good overview of top NAIA basketball schools, student-athletes who want to compete at NAIA basketball colleges shouldn’t limit their search to only the most elite schools who regularly appear at the top of the NAIA basketball rankings, but also explore opportunities at all of the 200+ NAIA basketball schools as well as the NCAA and junior college levels, too. When creating a target list, consider a school’s athletic and academic caliber—and whether they match your own athletic skills, physical measurables, and grades/test scores—along with your personal preferences, too.