Banner Day for CIU Athletics: CIU Approved as Member of NAIA

April 17, 2018

Columbia International University is now a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). The announcement from the NAIA comes after the CIU Athletics Department completed a year-long process for NAIA membership as well as membership in the Appalachian Athletic Conference (AAC).

Membership criteria includes financial stability, sports sponsorship, accreditation, and a commitment to character-driven athletics. Enrollment numbers, graduation percentages, retention rates, and overall athletics budgets are also taken into consideration.

"This is a banner day for CIU Athletics,” said CIU Athletics Director James Whitaker. “We're thrilled to be a part of the NAIA and AAC. This is the next step for CIU as we continue to grow in athletics and as an institution."

CIU currently offers 11 intercollegiate sports: men's and women's basketball, men's and women's soccer, men's and women's cross country, men's and women's track and field, women's volleyball, women's softball and men's golf. Plans are underway to add baseball in the 2019-20 school year.

CIU is one of eight schools approved for membership by the NAIA Council of Presidents (COP) on April 15 at the annual NAIA National Convention. CIU’s membership becomes effective July 1, 2018. 

“We’re excited to welcome these eight new members into the NAIA,” said Jim Carr, NAIA president and CEO. “These institutions share the NAIA's commitment to high standards and to the principle that participation in athletics serves as an integral part of the student experience.”

Discover how you can participate in CIU athletics. Visit or call (800) 777-2227. CIU is experiencing growth in enrollment and has announced $25 million in expansion plans. CIU is accredited by SACS-COC.