NCAA Isn't Your Only Option: Consider the NAIA
Most everyone is familiar with the NCAA and its three divisions and junior college division. Indeed, many assume that, for student athletes, NCAA programs are the only options. However, there is another governing body of collegiate athletics. The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, known as the NAIA, offers another choice for athletic competitors.
Started in 1937, the NAIA has close to 300 schools, and about 60,000 students. The NAIA has two divisions: Division I and Division II. Division I in the NAIA is comparable to Division II in the NCAA.
About 90% of the schools in the NAIA offer athletic scholarships, totaling about $450 million a year. Each student athlete receives an average of $7,000 in financial aid. The amount and type of aid depends on the school’s association and which division that particular school plays in.
The NCAA eligibility requirements and scholarship rules are much more strict than the requirements in the NAIA. For those who are concerned that their academic performance might not be up to snuff in the NCAA, it's possible to look into other options; you can still get a scholarship to play at a NAIA school. When when deciding where you want to play in college know that there are other schools outside of the NCAA, and you might be a good fit for them.