Transfer Students


Transfer Students

Switching schools is never an easy decision. There are many factors to consider, actions that will affect your collegiate sports eligibility and your education. The NAIA will help you get on the right path as you begin your transfer journey.


Get in the Game!




The NAIA Experience for Transfer Students

Student-athletes come first in the NAIA. They are the inspiration that drives us to make character a core component and benefit of all intercollegiate sports. Read on to learn what you can expect from your NAIA experience.

Once you've graduated high school, eligibility rules are based on your individual academic and athletic history. The NAIA Eligibility Center will assess any athletic participation you did in college or outside the college setting, all of your college transcripts (including dual enrollment and part-time coursework) and will sometimes need your high school information. Eligibility requirements for transfers and students with a break between high school and the NAIA can be complex so get started as early as possible. Register at to access details in your resources menu.

In the NAIA, only amateur student-athletes are eligible to participate in a given sport. An amateur engages in athletics contests for educational values, personal pleasure, satisfaction, and for the love of the sport, not for monetary or material gain. If you become a professional in a particular sport recognized by the NAIA, you will be considered a professional in that sport only and are ineligible for intercollegiate competition in that sport. 
The following will cause a student to lose amateur standing:
  • Signing a contract with any professional team or entering into an agreement to compete in professional athletics, with either a professional sports organization or with any individual or group of individuals authorized to represent the athlete with a professional sports organization
  • Participating in any athletics contest as a professional or as a team member where you receive reimbursement, directly or indirectly, exceeding the actual expenses of travel, meals, and lodging
  • Receiving remuneration for any appearance or advertisement/promotion that references the student’s collegiate institution or intercollegiate athletic participation

No, there is no age limit for participation in the NAIA. Instead, students are restricted to four seasons of competition in a given sport and have 10 college semesters to complete those four seasons of competition.

In the NAIA, a “season of competition” is charged when you participate in one or more intercollegiate contests whether at the varsity, junior varsity, or freshman level or in elite-level, non-collegiate competition. Student-athletes can compete during four seasons of competition within the first 10 semesters (or equivalent) they are in college. For transfers, seasons of competition at the previous institution(s) are determined under the rules of the association (such as the NCAA, NJCAA, etc.) under which you competed previously. Non-collegiate competitive experiences are also assessed to determine potential additional seasons of competition used.

Once you compete in the NAIA, your ongoing eligibility will be assessed on campus by your athletics department (athletics director, faculty athletics representative, compliance, head coach, and others). These individuals are excellent resources for you as your progress through your college career.

Once in college, your best resource for eligibility questions will be your campus faculty athletics representative. The NAIA Official Handbook outlines all association rules governing eligibility and it’s available online at

Fork in the road? Follow your new path to eligibility.

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Get Eligible

Take your life and your game in a new direction. Register with PlayNAIA, the official clearinghouse for NAIA eligibility.


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Search by sport, location, school size, and more!


Stay in the game!

Keep playing the sport you love while earning your degree.

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What our student-athletes are saying

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I would tell anybody if they are looking for a school to plays sports don't just settle on NCAA DI, DII, DIII. NAIA is just as good if not better.

Macie Lively
Marian (Ind.)


It's never too early to get eligible




The NAIA has partnered with Next College Student Athlete (NCSA), the world’s largest collegiate athletic recruiting network. NCSA serves as the official North American recruiting services partner of the NAIA. Register now to use the NAIA Pre-Eligibility Indicator Tool which allows prospective student-athletes to showcase their future eligibility status to NAIA member institutions as early as their first year in high school.


Start your recruiting profile with NCSA 




Playnaia is the official clearinghouse for NAIA eligibility. Every student-athlete must register with the NAIA Eligibility Center to play sports at an NAIA college or university. Register now to make sure your eligibility is in order, increase your opportunity for scholarships, and show coaches you are ready to play.


Register with PlayNAIA now