April 30, 2018

NAIA Basketball Merging Two Divisions Into One in 2020

Kelsie Cleeton dribbling to the basket in the national tournamentKelsie Cleeton at 2018 NAIA DII National Championship

KANSAS CITY, MO - The NAIA will move to a single division in both men's and women's basketball, effective for the 2020-21 academic year, with a maximum limit of eight scholarships for each. The decision was approved by the Council of Presidents on April 16 at the 2018 NAIA National Convention in Kansas City, Mo.

The COP vote concluded nearly two years of NAIA basketball research and data analysis, led by a task force of representatives from NAIA member institutions.

The task force also recommends a postseason format including 64 postseason qualifiers as well as a 16 team final site tournament to the National Administrative Council (NAC). The NAC will continue to study the recommended format as well as alternatives, including a 32-team final site model. A final format will be voted upon by the NAC, most likely in June 2018.

“This was a significant decision and one that the association did not take lightly,” said NAIA President Jim Carr. “However, for an organization of our size, one basketball division makes the most sense both financially and logistically.”

Previously, the NAIA had single divisions in men’s and women’s basketball until 1992, when two divisions were created to better accommodate a range of school sizes and the varying number of scholarships schools could award. However, over the last seven years, the difference between the average aid awarded at Division I and II schools had narrowed considerably.

The COP vote concluded nearly two years of NAIA basketball research and data analysis, led by a task force of representatives from NAIA member institutions.