Sports

NAIA and NCCAA post season outlook

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While attending athletic events is a big part of the social life at Bethel College, many athletes are unaware of the divisional set up that the NAIA currently has established. Like the NCAA, there are separate divisions for different sports. In addition, Bethel College also belongs to the NCCAA which has its own divisions. Teams from different sports compete in a variety of post season tournaments through both the NAIA and the NCCAA. Bethel's teams always aim to qualify for the NAIA tournament which is usually clinched through winning the MCC but are eligible to compete in the NCCAA as long as they have at least a .500 record. In the fall, there are six NAIA sports held and none of them contain divisions. These consist of men’s and women’s cross country, football, men’s and women’s soccer, and volleyball. In addition, the NCCAA also hosts all of these sports except they generally provide two divisions. Bethel currently competes at the NCCAA division I level. The winter sports are very different for the NAIA. Men’s and women’s basketball are the only two sports that compete with two divisions, which slims down each division significantly. The NAIA also hosts men’s and women’s swimming and diving, indoor track and field, and wrestling. Bethel does not compete in swimming and diving as well as wrestling and the NCCAA does not support either of these sports.
(photo from http://www.naiasports.org/openDates.php)
The spring sports consist of men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s outdoor track, men’s and women’s tennis, and softball. Bethel has teams in each of these areas and the NCCAA hosts all of them. As stated earlier the NAIA only has two divisions in men’s and women’s basketball, which was established in 1992. Although for several years football had more than one division that was based on enrollment, the basketball system is a little different. According to the NAIA website, schools and conferences are given freedom in choosing which divisions to compete in; however, division I allows more scholarships. Therefore, typically schools that are able to give more scholarships move to the more competitive division. Aside from the MCC tournament that takes place for most sports, there are a number of post season opportunities for all sports. Currently, Bethel competes at the division I level in the NCCAA and division II in the NAIA for both women’s and men’s basketball.
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