What About NAIA Schools?
Recently, the NCAA announced that the DI recruiting dead period would be extended through July 31st. With this announcement, came feelings of anxiety from some players and parents that DII would follow suit.
What is a recruiting dead period? According to NCAA.org, a dead period is a term that is used to describe a period of time when college coaches cannot make in-person contact to recruit an athlete or to evaluate an athlete on or off their college campus. A student-athlete is not allowed to make official visits to a college campus during a dead period, and is also not allowed to talk to a coach during any unofficial visits to a campus during this time.
But, what about NAIA schools? The NAIA stands for the National Association for Intercollegiate Athletics. NAIA schools are often smaller than traditional NCAA schools, but offer just as good of an education. The sport competition level is usually compared to that of a Division II NCAA program. NAIA schools can offer academic and athletic scholarships, and their governing rules regarding recruitment are less stringent than the NCAA. However, according to the NAIA, the budget for their schools come in close to about 50% of the budget of an NCAA DII school.
There are roughly 250 schools that participate in the NAIA, whereas there are about 347 schools competing at the NCAA Division I level, about 300 schools competing at the NCAA Division II level, and about 442 schools competing at the NCAA Division III level. Respectfully speaking, there are more collegiate options within the NCAA than the NAIA, and I think that is why the NAIA is not as commonly discussed amongst players. It also brings up a point that because there aren't as many conferences offered within the NAIA compared to the NCAA, that some players or parents may view this as not being the same competitively.
My advice is to explore all options made available to you, and it is worth looking into an NAIA program especially if the school offers your child's academic interests.
The NAIA is not effected by NCAA dead periods, and their rules of contact are more relaxed. Because of this, as NCAA DI and DII schools start looking toward their 2022 recruiting class come June 15th, NAIA may be a good option for those 2021 athletes who have not been recruited, just yet.
For more information regarding the recruiting process, please visit: