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In the NCAA, the three divisions (I, II, and III) are separated based on the athletic scholarships that the schools can offer. I can't find any information about the similar divisions in the NAIA, other than that the NAIA Division I is comparable to NCAA Division II in skill. Is skill the only difference between NAIA DI and DII?

I found that in the past, it was based on enrollment, but that no longer seems to be the case. For example, Arizona Christian University has ~781 students and is DI. Aquinas College in Michigan is DII, yet has ~2000 students. Any insight is appreciated.

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It took a bit of poking around on the NAIA site. The document that is clearest is the NAIA Guide for the College-Bound Student Athlete, see the NAIA Guide. The only sport in which there is a Division I vs Division II split is in Basketball. There the distinction between divisions is in the amount of financial aid that the institution can award (as full or partial grants). Division I is 11, Division II is 6. Aid can be full, half, or quarter scholarship awards, but the total cannot exceed the 11 or 6 when added up. So, a Division II team can give 6 full scholarships or 2 full and 8 half, or ...

So, it would appear that individual schools will make a decision based on their athletic budgets. Of course, the conference they are in may well make that decision for them, but that is how the NAIA views the divisions.

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