The 14 Best NAIA Schools in Missouri For Student-Athletes

There are 14 colleges and universities in the state of Missouri that field NAIA sports teams, and NAIA which stand for National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics is an organization that regulates collegiate sports in most smaller colleges in the USA and Canada.

So whether you’re looking to join an athletics program, or you’re already on the team, it’s important to understand your options within the state if you want to be a student-athlete in Missouri.

To help you with that, we have carefully ranked these Missouri NAIA schools to help guide your decision-making process.

What are the best NAIA Schools in Missouri?

Best NAIA schools in Missouri

Here is the list of the 14 NAIA colleges in Missouri for student-athletes to make a more informed decision;

Best NAIA Schools in Missouri Nickname (Teams) Conference
Avila University Avila Eagles Kansas
Central Methodist University Central Methodist Eagles Heart of America
Columbia College Columbia Cougars American Midwest
Cottey College Cottey Comets American Midwest
Culver-Stockton College Culver-Stockton Wildcats Heart of America
Evangel University Evangel Valor Heart of America
Hannibal-LaGrange University Hannibal-LaGrange Trojans American Midwest
Harris-Stowe State University Harris-Stowe State Hornets American Midwest
Missouri Baptist University Missouri Baptist Spartans American Midwest
Missouri Valley College Missouri Valley Vikings Heart of America
Park University Park Pirates Heart of America
St. Louis College of Pharmacy St. Louis College of Pharmacy Eutectics America Midwest
Stephens College Stephens Stars American Midwest
William Woods University William Woods Owls American Midwest

1. Avila University

Avila University is the first on our list of NAIA universities in Missouri, it is a Roman Catholic university located in Kansas City, Missouri.

As a top athletic school that is part of the NAIA, Avila University competes primarily in the Kansas Collegiate Conference (KCAC) since the 2018–19 academic year.

Avila University’s athletic team is called the Avila Eagles, they compete in 14 intercollegiate varsity sports for both men and women.

The Eagles Men’s sports include baseball, basketball, bowling, football, soccer, and wrestling; the women’s sports include basketball, bowling, soccer, softball, volleyball, and wrestling.

Related: 8 Best NAIA Schools in Nebraska for Prospective Students

2. Central Methodist University

Central Methodist University is the next on our list, it was formerly known as Central Methodist College and is also known as Central College or CMU.

Central Methodist University is located in Fayette, Missouri, and is a private university religiously affiliated with the United Methodist Church.

As one of the NAIA member schools in Missouri, Central Methodist University’s athletic team, also called the Eagles competed predominantly in the Heart of America Athletic Conference (HAAC) since the 1991–92 academic year.

From 1986-87 to 1990-91, it was recorded that Central Methodist Eagles competes as an NAIA Independent.

The Eagles are involved in 19 intercollegiate varsity sports competing for both men and women.

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

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

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

3. Columbia College

Columbia College is also one of the best NAIA colleges in Missouri, it is a private college founded in 1851 as a nonsectarian college in Columbia, Missouri.

The college athletic team is called the Cougars and they compete primarily in the American Midwest Conference (AMC) since the 1986–87 academic year.

The Columbia Cougars participate in 18 intercollegiate varsity sports for both men and women, here is a list of the men’s sports; baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, lacrosse, soccer, and track & field.

The Cougars women’s sports include basketball, bowling, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, track & field, and volleyball; and co-ed sports include competitive cheer, competitive dance, and eSports.

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

4. Cottey College

Founded in 1884 and named after Virginia Alice (Cottey) Stockard, Cottey College is a privately-owned women’s college in Nevada, Missouri.

As one of the top members of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics in Missouri, Cottey College’s athletic team the Comets competes predominantly in the American Midwest Conference (AMC) since the 2022–23 academic year.

The Cottey Comets participates in 8 intercollegiate varsity sports; basketball, cross country, eSports, flag football, golf, softball, track, and field, and volleyball.

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

5. Culver-Stockton College

Founded in 1853 as a Christian University, Culver-Stockton College is a privately-owned liberal arts college in Canton, Missouri.

Culver–Stockton is one of the Missouri athletic colleges that is a member of the NAIA, the school’s athletic team is called the Wildcats.

The Culver-Stockton College Wildcats competes predominantly in the Heart of America Athletic Conference (HAAC) for most of its sports since the 1980–81 academic year.

The Wildcats participate in 22 intercollegiate varsity sports for both men and women, men’s sports include baseball, basketball, bowling, cross country, football, golf, soccer, track & field, and volleyball.

The Wildcats women’s sports include basketball, bowling, cross country, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, track & field, and volleyball.

Related: 11 Best NAIA Schools in Michigan For Student-Athletes

6. Evangel University

Evangel University is one of the top Missouri athletics universities located in Springfield, it is a Christian university that is affiliated with the Assemblies of God Christian denomination.

The school is a member of the NAIA and its athletic team, the Valor competes predominantly in the Heart of America Athletic Conference (HAAC) since the 1987–88 academic year.

The Evangel Valor participates in 17 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.

Related: 9 Best NAIA Schools in Tennessee For Athletes

7. Hannibal-LaGrange University

Formerly called the Hannibal–LaGrange College, the Hannibal–LaGrange University (HLGU), is a private Christian university in Hannibal associated with the Missouri Baptist Convention.

Hannibal–LaGrange University (HLGU) is one of the athletic universities in Missouri that are part of the NAIA, its athletic team, the Trojan competing majorly in the American Midwest Conference (AMC) since the 1986–87 academic year.

Hannibal–LaGrange University’s Trojan participates in 12 intercollegiate varsity sports fielding both men and women; men play in baseball, basketball, cross country, soccer, track & field, and wrestling.

Women’s sports include basketball, cross country, soccer, softball, track & field, and volleyball.

Related: 21 Best NAIA Schools in Georgia for Student Athletes

8. Harris–Stowe State University

Harris–Stowe State University started as a black public university in St. Louis, Missouri. The school is known for its excellence in offering programs in education, business, and arts & sciences.

Harris–Stowe State University is also one of the athletic schools in Missouri and a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), competing predominantly in the American Midwest Conference (AMC) since the 1986–87 academic year. Their mascot is the Hornet.[9]

Harris–Stowe State University’s mascot is called the Hornets, their colors are brown and gold and they compete in 12 intercollegiate varsity sports.

The Hornets Men’s sports include baseball, basketball, soccer, and track & field (indoor and outdoor); while women’s sports include basketball, soccer, softball, track & field (indoor and outdoor), and volleyball.

Related: The Complete List of 260 Best NAIA Schools By States For Students

9. Missouri Baptist University (MBU)

Missouri Baptist University (MBU) is one of the three universities of the Missouri Baptist Convention, it is a private Southern Baptist university in Creve Coeur, Missouri.

Missouri Baptist University (MBU) is also one of the college athlete schools in the state that is part of the NAIA, their mascot is called the Spartans with colors; Navy Blue and White.

The Missouri Baptist University’s Spartans compete predominantly in the American Midwest Conference (AMC) for most of its sports since the 1986–87 academic year.

The Spartans of Missouri Baptist University participate in 28 intercollegiate varsity sports for both men and women.

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

While the Spartans women’s sports include basketball, beach volleyball, bowling, cross country, dance, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, stunt, tennis, track & field, volleyball, and wrestling.

Related: 5 Best NAIA Schools in Arizona for Student Athletes

10. Missouri Valley College

Founded in 1889, Missouri Valley College is a privately-owned college that is religiously affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA) and located in Marshall, Missouri.

Missouri Valley College is also one of the NAIA colleges in Missouri that competes predominantly as a founding member of the Heart of America Athletic Conference (HAAC) since its inception in the 1971–72 academic year.

Missouri Valley College’s mascot is called the Vikings, their colors are purple and orange, and they participate in 29 intercollegiate varsity sports for both men and women.

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

Their women’s sports include basketball, cross country, golf, lacrosse, powerlifting, rodeo, soccer, softball, tennis, track & field, volleyball, and wrestling.

Related: 5 Best NAIA Schools in Alabama for Athletics

11. Park University

Founded in 1875, Park University is a private university in Parkville, and one of the college athletic schools in Missouri.

Park University is also one of the NAIA athletic schools in Missouri, its athletic team is called the Pirates, and its colors are canary and wine.

The Park University’s Pirates competes majorly in the Heart of America Athletic Conference (HAAC) since the 2020–21 academic year.

The Pirates have been involved in 18 intercollegiate varsity sports for both men and women.

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

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

Related: 10 Best NAIA Schools in Ohio for Aspiring Athletes

12. St. Louis College of Pharmacy

Founded in 1864, the University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy is a private university that is focused on the health sciences that is located in St. Louis, Missouri.

The St. Louis College of Pharmacy is one of the oldest pharmacy schools in the United States and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

The St. Louis College of Pharmacy is also one of the athletic colleges in Missouri, its athletic team is called the Eutectics and its colors are purple and gold, they are also one of the NAIA member schools in the state.

The St. Louis College of Pharmacy’s Eutectics competes primarily in the American Midwest Conference (AMC) for most of its sports since the 2014–15 academic year.

They have also been involved in 28 intercollegiate varsity sports for both men and women.

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

While women’s sports include basketball, bowling, cross country, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, tennis, track & field (indoor and outdoor), volleyball, and wrestling.

Related: 20 Best NAIA Schools in California To Get Into

13. Stephens College

Started on August 24, 1833, as the Columbia Female Academy, Stephens College is one of the oldest women’s educational institutions in the United States.

Stephens College is a privately-owned female college in Columbia, Missouri. It was named after James L. Stephens.

The school has become one of the top athletic colleges in the state and is also a part of the NAIA with its athletic team, the Stars participating in four intercollegiate varsity sports: basketball, soccer, softball, and volleyball.

Stephens College Star’s colors are maroon and gold and they compete majorly in the American Midwest Conference (AMC) since the 2008–09 academic year.

From 2004-05 to 2007-08, the Stars competed as an NAIA Independent, and before joining the NAIA, they were a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) from 1994-95.

Related: 14 Best NAIA Schools In Texas That You Can Get Into

14. William Woods University

William Woods University was founded in 1870, it is a private university in Fulton, Missouri, and has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

William Woods University is one of the NAIA universities in Missouri primarily competing in the American Midwest Conference (AMC) since the 1993–94 academic year.

William Woods University’s athletic team is called the Owls, their colors are forest green and maroon.

The Owls have been involved in 19 intercollegiate varsity sports for both men and women; the men’s sports include baseball, basketball, bowling, cross country, golf, soccer, tennis, and track & field.

While women’s sports include basketball, bowling, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, tennis, track & field, and volleyball; and co-ed sports include cheerleading and outdoor life sports.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best NCAA D1 Schools in Missouri?

There are six top NCAA D1 Schools in Missouri, they include; University of Missouri-Kansas City, Lindenwood University, University of Missouri, Missouri State Univgety, Saint Louis University, and Southeast Missouri State University

What are the best NCAA D2 Schools in Missouri?

There are 13 top NCAA D2 Schools in Missouri, including; the University of Central Missouri, Drury University, Lincoln University of Missouri, Maryville University, Missouri University of Science and Tech, Missouri Southern State University, Missouri Western State Uni, Northwest Missouri State University, Rockhurst Unversity, Southwest Baptist University, Truman State University, University of Missouri-St. Louis, William Jewell College.

What are the best NCAA D3 Schools in Missouri?

They are four top NCAA D3 schools in Missouri, they include; Fontbonne University, Washington University in St. Louis, Webster University, Westminster College,

What are the best NJCAA Schools in Missouri?

There are 15 top NJCAA schools in Missouri, and here are some of them; Crowder College, East Central College, Jefferson Colege, Metropolitan Community College, and Mineral Area College.

What are the best NCCAA Schools in Missouri?

There are 5 top NCCAA schools in Missouri, they include; Baptist Bible College, Calvary University, Central Christian College of the Bible, College of the Ozarks, and Ozark Christian College.

What is the best ACCA School in Missouri?

The best ACCA School in Missouri is St. Louis Christian College.

Conclusion

We hope this article helps you in decision-making about your next athletic school.

Reference:

  • College Athletic Programs in Missouri: Wikipedia

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