Best NAIA Schools in North Carolina

The Best NAIA Schools in North Carolina For Student-Athletes

Best NAIA Schools in North Carolina: NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) schools are private or public colleges that offer athletic programs alongside traditional academic studies and enroll an average of 20,000 students every year.

For many student-athletes, NAIA schools provide the best collegiate experience possible by offering high-quality sports, impressive coaching staff, and smaller class sizes than their NCAA counterparts.

If you’re a student-athlete in North Carolina and you’re wondering what the best NAIA school near you is, then this article is for you.

What is the NAIA?

The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and its nearly 300 member colleges and universities represent a large number of student-athletes at institutions across the United States and Canada.

While it may be surprising to learn that North Carolina has some schools that compete in the NAIA, it’s true that these schools offer many benefits to student-athletes competing in sports ranging from basketball and football to baseball, softball, volleyball, and soccer.

This guide will tell you everything you need to know about some of the best NAIA schools in North Carolina.

Related rankings:

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What is an NAIA School?

An NAIA school is, therefore, a college that participates in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.

This means that you’ll have the opportunity to play for a team and compete against other colleges within your conference.

These teams are usually smaller than what you would find at a Division I school, so it’s important to be aware of this before you sign on to play for one.

Read this: National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) for all you need to know about the NAIA.

What are the best NAIA schools in North Carolina?


There are currently just two NAIA schools in North Carolina; Montreat College which is located in Montreat and St. Andrews University, located in Laurinburg.

The table below shows the schools, their athletic teams, and the conference they compete predominantly;

Best NAIA Schools in North Carolina (Source: Wikipedia)
School Athletic Team Conference
Montreat College, Montreat. Montreat Cavaliers Appalachian
St. Andrews University, Laurinburg. St. Andres Knights Appalachian

1. St. Andrews University

St. Andrews University is a privately-owned Christian college in North Carolina located in Laurinburg offering liberal arts and is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church.

This tertiary institution was founded in 1958 when Flora MacDonald College in Red Springs and Presbyterian Junior College was merged.

St. Andrews University is one of the NAIA member schools in North Carolina that primarily competes in the Appalachian Athletic Conference (AAC) since the 2012–13 academic year.

Learn more about the Appalachian Athletic Conference (AAC), FAQs & Best Reviews.

St. Andrews University Sports Sponsorship:

St. Andrews University’s athletic team is called the Knights and they participate in 25 intercollegiate varsity sports for both men and women, including;

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St. Andrews University NAIA Sports

Sports Men Women
Basketball Yes Yes
Baseball Yes No
Football Yes No
Softball No Yes
Swimming Yes Yes
Soccer Yes Yes
Cross Country Yes Yes
Golf Yes Yes
Lacrosse Yes Yes
Tennis Yes Yes
Track & Field Yes Yes
Wrestling Yes Yes
Volleyball Yes Yes

St. Andrews University Notable Alumni:

  • Audrey Bolte
  • Erin Harkes
  • Nancy A. Henry
  • Seth Jahn
  • Lydia Lavelle
  • Mark L. Perkins

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2. Montreat College

Founded in 1916, Montreat College is a four-year, privately-owned Christian college located in Montreat, North Carolina, and offers programs that lead to an associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degree.

Montreat College is also one of the NAIA colleges in North Carolina competing predominantly in the Appalachian Athletic Conference (AAC) since the 2001–02 academic year.

Montreat previously competed as an independent in the South Region of the Division II level when it was a member of the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA).

Montreat College NAIA Sports Sponsorship:

The athletic team of Montreat College is called the Cavaliers and they compete in 22 NAIA intercollegiate varsity sports for both men and women;

Montreat College NAIA Sports

Sports Men Women
Basketball Yes Yes
Baseball Yes No
Softball Yes Yes
Soccer Yes Yes
Cross Country Yes Yes
Golf Yes Yes
Lacrosse Yes Yes
Tennis Yes Yes
Track & Field Yes Yes
Wrestling Yes Yes
Volleyball No Yes

Montreat College Notable Alumni:

  • Abdul Bangura
  • Joseph Chambers
  • Cylk Cozart
  • Carlos Crawford
  • Franklin Graham
  • Sammy Stewart
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We hope this article helps you make a more informed decision about your career!

If you are in North Carolina and seeking to get into an athletic college that is a member of the NAIA, these schools are the most recommend.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the advantage of attending an NAIA School?

There are many athletic schools across the states, however, most students prefer NAIA schools because they are really competitive at reasonable price, they offer scholarships and student-athletes can take their careers to a professional level.

How do you get into an athletic college?

To get into an athletic college, students should look for schools that have a strong athletic tradition and offer the academic requirements they need to succeed.

We Also Recommend

To read more articles about athletic schools, visit our ATHLETIC SCHOOLS category, but if you are just interested in NAIA member schools, visit our NAIA Colleges category.

If you are a school or organization and want to partner with us, simply contact us.

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