As of July 1, 2016, Silver Lake College is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). The NAIA, headquartered in Kansas City, MO, is a governing body of small athletics programs that are dedicated to character-driven intercollegiate athletics. While many athletics programs exist for the purpose of generating revenue, the NAIA prioritizes student athletes and supports their holistic education — as athletes, students, and men and women of character. Rather than pressuring athletes to let sports take over their lives, the NAIA ideology encourages “proper balance with the overall college educational experience.”
There are 245 member schools with nearly 65,000 college athletes in the NAIA. Each member school has access to opportunities for rigorous athletic training, scholarships and financial aid and competition in 25 national championships.
Offering Support for More than just Sports
The most compelling reason for Silver Lake College to join the NAIA was the organization’s compatibility with the SLC mission of educating the whole person. SLC President Dr. Chris Dome’s said in a press release that "The NAIA approach to character development aligns with Silver Lake College’s mission of developing the whole person — mind, body and spirit. We are excited to be joining this association with its long history and tradition of serving student-athletes.”
The NAIA has a system in which they promote their five core values: integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship, and servant leadership. The practical promulgation of these values occurs through training for both coaches and athletes. NAIA coaches are required to complete a “Character Driven Coaching Course” that empowers each coach to create a plan for using teachable moments to build character, rather than simply sharpening and developing athletes’ strength and skill. Similarly, NAIA athletes take short, interactive courses that teach them to apply the five core values to daily life on and off the field.
The Implications of a New Association
This is a big moment for SLC sports. By adding membership to another athletics association, Silver Lake College has more possibilities available than ever before. The NAIA provides added resources for students, coaches, athletic directors, and athletic trainers. It has more championships in which to participate, more sports to offer (if SLC chooses to expand in the future), and more financial aid to offer. And it provides a perfect mission fit with its comprehensive vision for athletic excellence in conjunction with academic success and personal development.
Silver Lake College is excited to see our “student-athletes form close bonds and lifelong friendships with peers, coaches and faculty … mature and develop on all levels — through programs that help prepare you not only for competition and graduation but also leadership.”