NAIA Rule Change—Athletes Must Now Register With the NAIA Eligibility Center
For any athlete destined to play sports at the NAIA level, the process of being declared eligible to play was as easy as being accepted to a school. If the athlete met the academic and behavioral requirements for that college, then they had sufficiently met the NAIA eligibility requirements. As of September 1, 2010, however, the NAIA now requires all college-bound athletes to register with the newly formed NAIA Clearinghouse. Before being declared eligible to play at an accredited NAIA college, athletes must now go to the clearinghouse website and submit certain personal information as well as test scores and transcripts to be cleared to play.
If you are an athlete who has shown interest in playing at the NCAA level, then you will find the NAIA Clearinghouse to be very similar to the NCAA Clearinghouse. The NAIA requires athletes to submit transcripts and test scores to their eligibility center and maintain similar academic requirements. To be deemed eligible for participation in NAIA sports, an athlete must achieve a minimum score of 860 on the SAT, a minimum of 18 on the ACT, finish in the top half of his graduating class, and maintain a GPA of 2.00. By satisfying any two of these requirements, an athlete will be deemed eligible to play in the NAIA. Whereas the NCAA uses a sliding scale that allows athletes to get a minimum score on their tests as long as they achieve a high GPA, the NAIA requires only that you meet two of their requirements, and you will be cleared. There are some key differences between the NCAA and NAIA clearinghouse as well. Whereas the NCAA allows athletes to combine the best results from multiple standardized tests into one composite score, the score that an athlete submits to the NAIA website must be achieved on the same test. The NAIA also does not require athletes to be placed on an Institutional Request List. Whereas the NCAA requires a university be interested in an athlete in order to clear him for eligibility, the NAIA requires only that you pay the $60 fee ($85 for international students) and meet two of the aforementioned requirements. Much like the NCAA, the NAIA clearinghouse can take up to six months to clear an athlete, so the sooner you register, the better your chance of being cleared on time. The instance has taken place where an athlete has been accepted to a university but was unable to play sports at the school because he did not get himself cleared on time.
Once cleared to play, you will have access to more than 300 member institutions throughout the U.S. and Canada. The NAIA governs over more than 60,000 athletes in 23 sports, with more than $450 million in available scholarships. Many athletes and families enjoy the small-school atmosphere of NAIA schools, as most of them are private institutions with fewer than 10,000 students. Although the NAIA offers many personalized benefits that the larger NCAA does not, its smaller size can make the NAIA less accessible and more difficult to find exactly what you are looking for. For this reason, a recruiting service such as College Athletic Scholarships can be invaluable to helping you sift through the hundreds of websites and directories in an attempt to get into contact with coaches from these more remote schools. Our database includes the contact information for every coach in every sport at the NAIA (and NCAA) level, and our experience in working with coaches and athletes gives us an expert insight into exactly what it is that college coaches are looking for when considering high school athletes. With our help, we guarantee that you will have college coaches contacting you within two weeks of signing up with our program.