In August 1973, the NCAA adopted the three-division setup of Division I, Division II and Division III by their members. According to NCAA rules, Division I and Division II schools can offer student-athletes scholarships to participate in a sport. Division III schools can not offer any athletic scholarships.
The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) is an athletic association whose members consist of smaller colleges and universities across the United States and Canada. At one point the NAIA even had one member from the Bahamas, which made it the only international intercollegiate athletic association in North America until 2009. For the 2010-11 academic year, the NAIA has 290 member institutions.
The NAIA is headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri. The NAIA sponsors 23 national championships. The CBS College Sports Network, formerly called CSTV, serves as the national media for the NAIA.
A contact occurs any time a coach has any face-to-face contact with you or your parents off the college’s campus and says more than hello. A contact also occurs if a coach has any contact with you or your parents at your high school or any location where you are competing or practicing.
- Contact Period
During this time, a college coach may have in-person contact with you and/or your parents on or off the college’s campus. The coach may also watch you play or visit your high school. You and your parents may visit a college campus and the coach may write and telephone you during this period.
- Dead Period
The college coach may not have any in-person contact with you or your parents at any time in the dead period. The coach may write and telephone you or your parents during this time.
An evaluation is an activity by a coach to evaluate your academic or athletics ability. This would include visiting your high school or watching you practice or compete.
- Evaluation Period
The college coach may watch you play or visit your high school, but cannot have any in-person conversations with you or your parents off the college’s campus. You and your parents can visit a college campus during this period. A coach may write and telephone you or your parents during this time.
- Official Visit
Any visit to a college campus by you and your parents paid for by the college. The college may pay the following expenses:
- Your transportation to and from the college;
- Room and meals (three per day) while you are visiting the college; and
- Reasonable entertainment expenses, including three complimentary admissions to a home athletics contest.
Before a college may invite you on an official visit, you will have to provide the college with a copy of your high school transcript (Division I only) and SAT, ACT or PLAN score and register with the NCAA Eligibility Center.
- Prospective Student-Athlete
You become a "prospective student-athlete" when:
- You start ninth-grade classes; or
- Before your ninth-grade year, a college gives you, your relatives or your friends any financial aid or other benefits that the college does not provide to students generally.
- Quiet Period
The college coach may not have any in-person contact with you or your parents off the college’s campus. The coach may not watch you play or visit your high school during this period. You and your parents may visit a college campus during this time. A coach may write or telephone you or your parents during this time.
- Unofficial Visit
Any visit by you and your parents to a college campus paid for by you or your parents. The only expense you may receive from the college is three complimentary admissions to a home athletics contest. You may make as many unofficial visits as you like and may take those visits at any time. The only time you cannot talk with a coach during an unofficial visit is during a dead period.
- Verbal Commitment
This phrase is used to describe a college-bound student-athlete’s commitment to a school before he or she signs (or is able to sign) a National Letter of Intent. A college-bound student-athlete can announce a verbal commitment at any time. While verbal commitments have become very popular for both college-bound student-athletes and coaches, this "commitment" is NOT binding on either the college-bound student-athlete or the school. Only the signing of the National Letter of Intent accompanied by a financial aid agreement is binding on both parties.