NAIA votes to combine basketball divisions

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 Mon...

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 Monday at the 2018 NAIA National Convention.

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. Jamestown, Valley City State, Mayville State and Dickinson State have been competing at the NAIA Division II level.

The task force also recommends a postseason format including 64 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 men's DI tournament has been held at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Mo. for the last 17 years and it is anticipated to be contracted through 2020. It is also expected that the men's DII tournament in Sioux Falls, S.D., women's DI tournament in Billings, Mont., and women's DII tournament in Sioux City, Iowa will continue at their respective host sites through 2020.