The NAIA, or National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, represents a groups of about 300 colleges in the United States and Canada, providing prospective students at those universities with sports scholarships. Unlike the NCAA,the NAIA provides scholarships primarily to athletes below the Division I level, i.e. those athletes who are not considered elite. Some Division I schools offer NAIA scholarships, but there are only about a dozen of them.
Acquiring an NAIA scholarship is easiest if you plan and put in a lot of effort. Since NAIA scholarships do not go to top athletes, those who do receive them are probably not being recruited heavily. Instead, recipients of NAIA sports scholarships are usually those who try the hardest to obtain them. When visiting schools which are associated with the NAIA, it is best to become familiar with the coach of the sport you play. Coaches are the primary determiners of who receive scholarships, so you will want to network with him or her.
Since athletes applying for NAIA scholarships will be doing so primarily at Division II and III colleges, academics are just as important as sports ability. You will need to demonstrate you are just as solid, if not superior, in the classroom as you are on the field. Almost all Division II and III sports scholarships are for a combination of sports ability and academics. Without solid grades, it will be nearly impossible to receive an NAIA scholarship.
When you decide upon the schools at which you would like to apply, be sure to fill out the NAIA scholarship application and list these universities. Make sure you ill out all of the relevant information and send in the application in a timely manner. There are different NAIA scholarships available, and you will need to fill out and send in different applications for each one.