I believe you came looking for NAIA schools in Missouri because you’re a student-athlete and would love to continue your athletic career even in college. And, I also believe at the back of your mind you’re thinking of National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) schools too.
Probably you’ve even done some research on them, and both of us would agree that the NCAA is best for those intending to play sports professionally. But NAIA provides lots of scholarships, I’m talking about over $600 million in scholarships and students still have the chance to compete in 26 national championships.
Even though NAIA has rules, they are not as strict as the NCAA where each division has its own set of rules.
We’re not here to talk about the difference between NAIA and NCAA but to show you the best NAIA universities in Arizona that you can depend on for both academic distinction and athletic prowess.
But, let’s first list some basic eligibility in NAIA.
Basic NAIA Eligibility Rules
There are so many requirements to participate in NAIA, but here are some essential criteria you’ll need.
- Entering freshmen must meet two of the three following criteria to compete in athletic competition:
- Achieve a minimum of 18 on the ACT or a 970 on the SAT.
- Achieve a minimum of a 2.0 high school grade point average.
- Graduated in the top half of his/her high school graduation class.
- OR, An athlete may be declared eligible without an ACT/SAT score if they achieved a high school GPA of 2.3 or higher.
- Each student-athlete must be declared eligible by the NAIA Eligibility Center prior to competing (game or scrimmage) for the University. This is done through the NAIA Eligibility website, www.playnaia.org
- Each athlete must register for at least 12 hours each semester.
- IMPORTANT: Dropping below 12 hours will render you ineligible. You must obtain your coach’s approval to drop any course.
- All continuing student-athletes must have passed 24 hours in the previous two semesters in order to be eligible. Up to 12 hours earned during the summer may be applied to the 24-hour rule.
- A GPA of 2.0 or greater must be earned each semester. A student-athlete must have a GPA of 2.0 or higher to play a second, third or fourth season.
- To play a second season, you must have earned 24 hours; to play a third season, 48 hours; to play a fourth season, 72 hours.
- Repeat Courses: There are special rules, depending on the grade earned in the previous course as to whether or not it can be repeated and counted toward the 24-hour rule. Check with your coach for clarification.
- Athletic Scholarship Information: Athletic Scholarship awards are performance-based.
- An athlete will have 10 full-time semesters to complete 4 seasons of competition.
NAIA Schools in Missouri
1. Columbia College of Missouri
For more than 160 years, Columbia College has been able to help students advance their lives and career through quality education and athletics.
As part of NAIA Division 1 competitive sports, they are able to provide men’s and women’s basketball, cross-country, golf, soccer, and track & field. They also have women’s softball, women’s volleyball, women’s bowling, men’s baseball and men’s lacrosse.
Columbia College’s athletic team is called the Columbia Cougars, and they also compete in esports which include; Rocket League, League of Legends, Madden, and Valorant.
Besides their athletic activities, they also provide 14 associate degrees, more than 40 bachelor’s degrees, 4 master’s degrees and provide $4 million in scholarships.
Four Cougars Named NAIA Daktronics Scholar Athletes https://t.co/a1l93k4tcO
— Columbia Cougars (@ColumbiaCougars) March 10, 2023
2. Culver-Stockton College
This is another NAIA school in Missouri that has more than 160 years of a rich history of producing quality education for students. Their athletic team is known as C-SC Wildcats and most of them live on campus in residence halls or fraternity and sorority houses, and live within close proximity to academic classrooms, athletic facilities, dining options and countless student life opportunities.
They participate in both NAIA National Tournament Appearances and the Heart of America Athletic Conference Championships.
Men’s Sports Offered
Baseball; Basketball; Bowling; Football; Golf; Soccer; Track and Field; Volleyball.
Women’s Sports Offered
Basketball; Bowling; Golf; Lacrosse; Soccer; Softball; Track and Field; Volleyball.
Duel Sports Offered
Cheer; Dance, Shotgun Sports
3. Evangel University
This is one of the best NAIA schools in Missouri that are not only good on the field but also produce excellent students. For instance, they have notable Alumni like George O. Wood who was an American Minister, Todd Tiahrt was former United States Representative, Beverly Lewis a Novelist of 100 books, Vern Clark who was a retired admiral that served as Chief of Naval operations of the United States Navy, etc.
Evangel Athletics competes in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and is a member of the Heart of America Athletic Conference (the Heart)
Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country, Football, Golf, Soccer, Tennis, and Track & Field.
Basketball, Cross Country, Soccer, Golf, Softball, Tennis, Track & Field, Volleyball, and Cheer.
4. Harris-Stowe State University
Again, this is another NAIA college in Missouri that has more than 160 years of providing quality education. Because of their openness to diverse cultures and equality, they have been able to accept students from 23 countries.
Their athletic sport, Hornets prepares student-athletes, coaches and staff for life, both on and off the field of play, by emphasising their University’s Hallmarks of Learning: Effective Communication Skills, Interpersonal Growth, Critical Thinking, Workplace Readiness and Understanding of and Appreciation for Diversity.
Baseball, Basketball, Soccer, Track & Field
Basketball, Soccer, Softball, Track & Field, Volleyball
5. Lindenwood University-St. Charles
Besides being a proud member of NCAA Division I, the school has a reputation for providing one of the best financial aid to students. They provide 15,750 in Financial Aid annually to each student, on average.
Moreover, they have one of the largest athletic programs (49 to be precise) of any college at all levels in the United States and over 1,300 student-athletes.
Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country, Football, Golf, Ice Hockey, Lacrosse, Soccer, Swimming & Diving, Tennis, Track & Field, Volleyball, and Wrestling.
Basketball, Beach Volleyball, Cross Country, Field Hockey, Golf, Gymnastics, Ice Hockey, Lacrosse, Soccer, Softball, Swimming & Diving, Tennis, Track & Field, Volleyball, Wrestling
Archery, Bowling-Men’s, Bowling-Women’s, Cheer, Cycling, Dance, eSports, Ice hockey ACHA, Olympic Weightlifting, Roller Hockey, Rugby.
6. Missouri Baptist University
This is one of the NAIA schools in Missouri that pattern all their teaches and athletics to the ways of Jesus Christ. Their Athletic team is known as MBU Spartans
Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Cross Country, Football, Golf, Lacrosse, Soccer, Tennis, Track & Field, Volleyball, Wrestling
Basketball, Beach Volleyball, Bowling, Cross Country, Dance, Golf, Lacrosse, Soccer, Softball, Stunt, Tennis, Track & Field, Volleyball, Wrestling
7. Missouri Valley College
This school opened its door for the first time to students on 17th September 1889 and has grown to have lots of students from the United States and outside the country. The school is committed to an Intercollegiate Athletic Program that supports the college as a whole by providing opportunities for its student-athletes in accordance with the rules and regulations of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.
Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country, Football, Golf, Lacrosse, Soccer, Tennis, Track & Field, Wrestling, Volleyball, Rodeo, Lifting Sports, and Bowling.
Basketball, Cross Country, Golf, Lacrosse, Soccer, Softball, Tennis, Track & Field, Volleyball, Wrestling, Lifting Sports, and Rodeo.
Competitive Cheer, Competitive Dance, Shotgun Sport, Esports
8. Park University
This is one of the private, non-profit, top NAIA colleges in Missouri that has helped students break barriers to education since 1875. The school is also very good at welcoming diversity, which has made them welcome 260 international students from 60 countries.
Their Athletic team is known as Park Pirates and they are doing so well in their sports, especially Volleyball where they are ranked #3 in the NAIA.
Baseball, Basketball, Cross country, Golf, Soccer, Track & field, Volleyball
Basketball, Cross Country, Golf, Soccer, Softball, Track & Field, Volleyball, and Beach Volleyball.
9. Southwest Baptist University
Southwest Baptist University was founded in 1879 and their mission is to equip students academically, spiritually and socially for a lifetime of servant leadership. Regardless of having 17 Varsity Athletic Teams, they also provide financial aid to 99% of their students.
Their Athletic team is known as Bearcats
Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country, Football, Soccer, Tennis, Track & Field (Indoor & Outdoor)
Basketball, Beach Volleyball, Cross Country, Softball, Soccer, Tennis, Track & Field (Indoor & Outdoor), Volleyball
10. Stephens College
Stephens College is proud to be the second-oldest women’s college in the country. They are also a proud affiliate of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and a member of the American Midwest Conference (AMC).
Their Athletic team name is Stephen College Stars
Basketball, Soccer, Softball, Volleyball
11. William Woods University
This is one of the best NAIA schools in Missouri that believes that excellence is what the competition is about, what the training is about, what the rules and the drills and the long hours are all about. WWU Owls have several men’s and women’s sports.
Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Cross Country, Golf, Soccer, Tennis, Track & Field, and Wrestling.
Basketball, Bowling, Cross Country, Golf, Soccer, Softball, Tennis, Track & Field, Volleyball, and Wrestling.
Competitive Cheerleading, Shotgun Sports, Archery
12. Avila University
Avila University is home to 16 varsity sports and competes in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC), an NAIA division. Students can join them on the hill overlooking “the Z” or get closer to the action in the Eagle Empire student section.
Their athletic team is known as Avila Eagles.
baseball, basketball, cross country, football, bowling, wrestling, and soccer
basketball, cross country, soccer, softball, wrestling, bowling, cheer, dance, and volleyball
13. Central Methodist University
This is another NAIA school in Missouri that was founded in 1854, and it’s a four-year, private, liberal arts university. CMU Eagles are proud to support the NAIA Champions of Character program that goes well beyond the playing field to the daily decisions of their youth.
Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Cross Country, Football, Golf, Soccer, Track & field, Wrestling
Basketball, Bowling, Cross Country, Golf, Soccer, Softball, Stunt, Track & Field, Volleyball, Wrestling
14. Cottey College
This is the second all-girls NAIA college in Missouri on our list. It was founded in 1884 by Virginia Alice Cottey. Their athletic team bears the name Cottey College Comets.
Basketball, Softball, Volleyball, Flag Football, Golf, Cross Country, and Indoor/Outdoor Track & Field.
15. Hannibal-LaGrange University
One of the things I love about this school besides proudly working with NAIA is that they offer scholarships and grants to all their students, yes 100% of their students, whether rich or poor. Their sports team is known as the Trojans.
Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country, Soccer, Track & Field.
Basketball, Cross Country, Soccer, Softball, Volleyball, Track & Field.
In summary, one of the things we love about these best NAIA schools in Missouri is that they ensure their student-athletes are competent both on and off the field. Even if you don’t feel like enrolling in one of these schools, you can still try NAIA schools in Arizona, they might meet your need.