Top 15 Best NAIA Schools in Kansas For Student-Athletes: Don’t Miss

Best NAIA Schools in Kansas: The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) is one of the main governing bodies that oversee college sports in the United States and Canada.

College athletes playing sports in this association must meet specific eligibility requirements, which vary by school but usually includes maintaining minimum grade point averages, being enrolled as an undergrad student, and being a member of the school’s athletic team.

There are actually many reasons you might consider when choosing a school in a US state; Kansas, but if athletics is one of your primary goals, then we’ve got you covered with this article.

Before writing this article, we updated our list of;

What are the best NAIA schools in Kansas?

NAIA Schools in Kansas

There are currently 15 best NAIA schools and colleges in Kansas that student-athletes must consider first before making a college decision, they include;

  • Baker University
  • Benedictine College
  • Bethany College
  • Bethel College
  • Central Christian College
  • Friends University
  • Haskell Indian Nations University
  • Kansas Wesleyan University
  • McPherson College
  • MidAmerica Nazarene University
  • Ottawa University
  • University of Saint Mary
  • University of Saint Mary
  • Southwestern College
  • Sterling College, and
  • Tabor College

1. Baker University, Baldwin City.

The first on our list of the top NAIA colleges in Kansas is Baker University, it is a private university that was founded in 1858 in Baldwin City, Kansas, and is also the first four-year university in the state.

Baker University is one of the religious schools in Kansas affiliated with the United Methodist Church, this university is made up of four notable schools;

  • The College of Arts and Sciences
  • School of Education (SOE)
  • The School of Professional and Graduate Studies (SPGS)
  • The School of Nursing

Baker University is one of the top athletic schools in Kansas and also a member of the NAIA with over 3000 student enrollment size, and 900 students on the Baldwin City campus.

The school’s athletic teams are called the Wildcats, and they have only one official color, cadmium orange.

The Wildcats primarily competes as a founding member of the Heart of America Athletic Conference (HAAC) since its inception in the 1971–72 academic year.

From 1902-03 to 1970-71, the Wildcats also competed in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC).

Currently, the Wildcats of Baker University partake in 23 intercollegiate varsity sports for both men and women.

Men’s sports include baseball, basketball, bowling, cross country, football, golf, soccer, tennis, track & field, and wrestling.

Women’s sports include basketball, bowling, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, tennis, track & field, volleyball, and wrestling; and co-ed sports include cheerleading, dance, and eSports.

Related: 10 Best NAIA Schools in Florida For Student-Athletes

2. Benedictine College, Atchison.

Benedictine is one of the very reputable NAIA colleges in Kansas, it is located in Atchison and was founded in 1971 as a private liberal arts college.

As one of the top NAIA athletic colleges in the state, the Benedictine athletic team, the Raven competes predominantly in the Heart of America Athletic Conference (HAAC) since the 1991–92 academic year.

The Raven of Benedictine College currently participates in 20 intercollegiate varsity sports for both men and women.

Men’s sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, football, lacrosse, soccer, track & field (indoor and outdoor), and wrestling.

Women’s sports include basketball, cross country, lacrosse, soccer, softball, track & field (indoor and outdoor), and volleyball; and co-ed sports include cheerleading, dance, and spirit squad.

Alsor read: The 5 Best Medical schools in Kansas

3. Bethany College, Lindsborg.

Bethany College was founded in 1881 as a private college in Lindsborg, it is one of the oldest colleges in Kansas.

The school’s athletic team is called the Swedes (or Terrible Swedes) and they are one of the Kansas NAIA colleges primarily competing in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC) since the 1902–03 academic year.

The Terrible Swedes of Bethany College currently compete in 22 intercollegiate varsity sports for both men and women.

Men’s sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, soccer, tennis, track & field (indoor and outdoor), and wrestling.

Women’s sports include basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, tennis, track & field (indoor and outdoor), and volleyball.

Related: 8 Best NAIA Schools in Nebraska for Prospective Students

4. Bethel College, North Newton.

Bethel College is a top athletic private Christian college in North Newton, Kansas. The school’s athletic team is called Threshers and their color is maroon and gray.

The Threshers of Bethel College is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and predominantly competes in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC) since the 1939–40 academic year.

They currently participate in 17 intercollegiate varsity sports for both men and women.

Men’s sports include basketball, cross country, football, golf, soccer, tennis, and track, and field.

Women’s sports include basketball, cross country, flag football (added in fall 2022), soccer, softball, tennis, track and field, and volleyball; and co-ed sports include cheerleading and dance.

Also read: The 7 Best Police Academies in Kansas To Get Started

5. Central Christian College, McPherson.

Central Christian College of Kansas is one of the religious colleges in Kansas that is affiliated with the Free Methodist Church. 

It is one of the Kansas NAIA Colleges with an amazing athletic team, the Tigers competing primarily in the Sooner Athletic Conference (SAC) since the 2017–18 academic year.

The Tigers currently compete in 16 intercollegiate varsity sports for both men and women.

Men’s sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, volleyball, and wrestling; while women’s sports include basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, volleyball, and wrestling.

Related: The 8 Best NAIA Schools in Oklahoma, Don’t Miss Out!

6. Friends University, Wichita.

Friends University was founded in 1898 and it is a private nondenominational Christian university in Wichita, Kansas.

Friends University is one of the NAIA member schools in Kansas, its athletic teams are called the Falcons and they compete majorly in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC) since the 1953–54 academic year.

The Falcons of Friends University currently partake in 23 intercollegiate varsity sports for both men and women.

Men’s sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, powerlifting, soccer, tennis, track & field (indoor and outdoor), and wrestling.

Women’s sports include basketball, cross country, cheerleading, golf, powerlifting, soccer, softball, tennis, track & field (indoor and outdoor), volleyball, and wrestling.

Also read: The Top 10 Best Military Schools in Kansas

7. Haskell Indian Nations University (HINU), Lawrence.

Haskell Indian Nations University is one of the top NAIA universities in Kansas, it was founded in 1884 as a boarding school but has now developed into a university operated by the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Haskell Indian Nations University’s athletic team is called the Fighting Indians, their team colors are purple, gold and white.

As one of the Kansas NAIA member schools, they primarily competing as an NAIA Independent within the Continental Athletic Conference since the 2015–16 academic year.

The Fighting Indians currently compete in 11 intercollegiate varsity sports for both men and women.

Men’s sports include basketball, cross country, golf, and track & field (indoor and outdoor).

Women’s sports include basketball, cross country, softball, track & field (indoor and outdoor), and volleyball.

Related: The Best NAIA Schools in North Carolina For Student-Athletes

8. Kansas Wesleyan University, Salina.

Kansas Wesleyan University was founded in 1886, it is one of the religious universities in Kansas, affiliated with the United Methodist Church.

Kansas Wesleyan University is also one of the top athletic schools in the state and a member of the NAIA, competing majorly in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC) since the 1902–03 academic year.

Kansas Wesleyan University’s athletic team (Coyotes) currently competes in 25 intercollegiate varsity sports for both men and women.

Men’s sports include baseball, basketball, bowling, cross country, football, golf, soccer, tennis, track & field (indoor and outdoor), and volleyball.

Women’s sports include basketball, bowling, cross country, flag football, golf, soccer, softball, tennis, track & field (indoor and outdoor), and volleyball.

Also read: Top 14 Best Culinary Schools in Kansas: Cooking Schools

9. McPherson College, McPherson.

McPherson College was chartered in 1887, it is a private college affiliated with the Church of the Brethren and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

McPherson College’s athletic team is called the Bulldogs, known for their red and white color, and they compete majorly as an NAIA school in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC) since the 1902–03 academic year.

The Bulldogs of McPherson College compete in 18 intercollegiate varsity sports for both men and women.

Men’s sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, football, soccer, tennis, and track & field.

Women’s sports include basketball, cross country, soccer, softball, tennis, track & field, and volleyball; and co-ed sports include competitive cheer, competitive dance, and shotgun sports.

Related: 9 Best NAIA Schools in Tennessee For Athletes

10. MidAmerica Nazarene University (MNU), Olathe.

MidAmerica Nazarene University (MNU) was founded in 1966 and is one of the privately owned religious universities in Olathe, affiliated with the Church of the Nazarene in the metropolitan area.

As one of the top NAIA athletic schools in Kansas, the MNU’s athletic team, the Pioneers with their trademark scarlet, white, and navy blue colors competes in the Heart of America Athletic Conference (HAAC) since the 1980–81 academic year.

The MNU Pioneers currently compete in 18 intercollegiate varsity sports for both men and women.

Men’s sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, soccer, and track & field (indoor and outdoor).

Women’s sports include basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, track & field (indoor and outdoor), and volleyball.

11. Ottawa University, Ottawa.

Ottawa University (OU) was founded in 1865, it’s a private Baptist university that is affiliated with the Ottawa Tribe of Oklahoma and the American Baptist Churches USA.

As one of the NAIA Schools in Kansas, Ottawa University’s athletic team (the Braves) majorly competes in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC) since the 1982–83 academic year.

They also competed in the Heart of America Athletic Conference (HAAC) from 1971-72 to 1981–82 as a founding member.

Currently, the Ottawa Braves compete in 31 NAIA intercollegiate varsity athletic teams for both men and women.

Men’s sports include baseball, basketball, bowling, cross country, football, golf, lacrosse, powerlifting, soccer, tennis, track & field, volleyball, and wrestling.

Women’s sports include basketball, beach volleyball, bowling, cross country, flag football, golf, lacrosse, powerlifting, soccer, softball, stunt, tennis, track & field, volleyball, and wrestling.

Related: 260 Best NAIA Schools By States For Students

12. University of Saint Mary, Leavenworth.

The University of Saint Mary (USM) was established in 1923 as Saint Mary College, it was initially intended for just women, but it is now co-educational.

The University of Saint Mary is one of the private athletic Catholic institutions and one of the NAIA universities in Kansas.

The school’s athletic team (the Spires) known for their trademark navy and gold colors, majorly compete in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC) since the 1999–2000 academic year.

From 1994-95 to 1998-99, the Spires competed in the defunct Midlands Collegiate Athletic Conference (MCAC).

They currently compete in 26 intercollegiate varsity sports for both men and women.

Men’s sports include baseball, basketball, bowling, cross country, football, lacrosse, soccer, swimming, tennis, track & field, and wrestling.

Women’s sports include basketball, bowling, cross country, flag football, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, track & field, volleyball, and wrestling.

13. Southwestern College, Winfield.

Founded in 1885, Southwestern College is a private Methodist college and one of the NAIA athletic colleges in Kansas.

The school’s athletic team is called the Moundbuilders and they compete predominantly in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC) since the 1958–59 academic year.

The Moundbuilders also previously competed from 1923–24 to 1957–58 in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (CIC).

The Moundbuilders of Southwestern College currently compete in 18 intercollegiate varsity sports for both men and women.

Men’s sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, soccer, tennis, and track & field.

Women’s sports include basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, tennis, track & field, and volleyball; and co-ed sports include cheerleading and dance.

Related: 10 Best NAIA Schools in Ohio for Aspiring Athletes

14. Sterling College, Sterling.

Sterling College is one of the religious colleges with an athletic school in Kansas, it is a private evangelical Christian college accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

The Sterling athletic team is called the Warriors and they are known for their navy, cardinal, and silver colors.

Sterling College is one of the NAIA colleges in Kansas, the Warriors primarily compete in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC) since the 1958–59 academic year.

The Warriors of Sterling College currently compete in 23 intercollegiate varsity sports for both men and women.

Men’s sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, powerlifting, soccer, swimming, tennis, and track & field (indoor and outdoor).

Women’s sports include basketball, cross country, golf, powerlifting, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, track & field (indoor and outdoor), and volleyball; and co-ed sports include cheerleading.

Related: The 11 Best NAIA Schools in Kentucky for Aspiring Athletes

15. Tabor College, Hillsboro.

Tabor College is the last on our list of the best NAIA schools in Kansas, this is a private college owned and operated by the Mennonite Brethren Church.

Tabor College’s athletic team is called the Bluejays and they compete primarily in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC) since the 1968–69 academic year.

The Bluejays currently compete in 20 intercollegiate varsity sports for both men and women.

Men’s sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, soccer, tennis, and track & field (indoor and outdoor).

Women’s sports include basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, tennis, track & field (indoor and outdoor), and volleyball.

Related: 20 Best NAIA Schools in California To Get Into

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best NAIA teams in Kansas?

There are 15 top NAIA teams in Kansas include; Baker Wildcats, Benedictine Raven, Central Christian Tigers, Friends Falcons, Haskell Indian Nations Fighting Indians, Kansas Wesleyan Coyotes, McPherson Bulldogs, MidAmerica Nazarene Pioneers, Ottawa Braves, Saint Mary Spires, Southwestern Moundbuilders, Sterling Warriors, and Tabor Bluejays.

What are the best NAIA conferences in Kansas?

There are three most recognized conferences in Kansas that are part of the NAIA, including; the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC), the Heart of America Athletic Conference (HAAC), and the Sooner Athletic Conference (SAC).

What are the best NCAA D1 Schools in Kansas?

There are three most recognized NCAA Division I schools in Kansas including; the University of Kansas, Kansas State University, and Wichita State University.

What are the best NCAA D2 Schools in Kansas?

There are five most recognized NCAA Division II schools in Kansas including; Emporia State University, Fort Hays State University, Newman University, Pittsburg State University, and Washburn University.

What are the best NJCAA Schools in Kansas?

There are twenty-one most recognized NJCAA schools in Kansas including; Allen Community College, Barton Community College, Butler Community College, Cloud County Community College, Coffeyville Community College, Colby Community College Colby, Cowley County Community College, Dodge City Community College, Fort Scott Community College, Garden City Community College, Hesston College, Highland Community College, Hutchinson Community College, Independence Community College, Johnson County Community College, Kansas City Kansas Community College, Labette Community College, Neosho County Community College, Northwest Kansas Technical College, Pratt Community College Pratt, and Seward County Community College.

Conclusion

We hope this concise article on the NAIA schools in Kansas helps you make a more informed career decision.

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.

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