Defunct NAIA Football Programs

With the news of Presentation College closing its doors, you can’t just help to have your heart ache for those students. While we focus more on the football side this affects every person that was involved with the school. We are going to keep a close eye on players searching for new homes.

The NAIA has recently gone through this with Cincinnati Christian closing their doors after their 2019 season. We saw players flee in all directions to find a new home, and their head coach Trevor Zeiders finally got his career back on track. Similar to Presentation these are always gut-wrenching situations, and sad stories to develop with them.

Today we are going to look back on all defunct NAIA Football programs. Most of the Universities are still standing but their football team is just memories at this point. All the content below is from the NationalChamps website. Consider taking a visit over there as they have amazing content, especially for their helmet project.

So take a look at the several NAIA Programs below, and see which ones existed that do not anymore. Some you may know, and some you don’t. After reading, you will know them all. We would love to know which programs you would like to see back. Here is the list of Defunct NAIA Football Programs, let us know if we are missing any.

Defunct NAIA Football Programs

Bacone College (Muskogee, OK)

Facing financial difficulties, Bacone College (Muskogee, OK) announced that it would close in May 2018; this announcement was later rescinded and the college remains in operation, though without its football team, which was discontinued. The school had an NAIA football team from 2001 through 2017 and a junior college team in 1957 and earlier.

Cincinnati Christian College (Cincinnati, OH)

Cincinnati Christian University (Cincinnati, OH) had an NAIA football team for four years (2016 through 2019); the school announced on October 28, 2019 that it would close following the Fall 2019 semester. The team finished with a 2-8 record in 2019, going 2-6 in played games and forfeiting the last two scheduled games (at Reinhardt and at Bluefield)

Dana College (Blair, NE)

Dana College (Blair, NE) ceased operations on June 30, 2010. At the time of the announcement, the college’s football team had been a member of the NAIA Great Plains Athletic Conference for several

Georgia Southwestern College (Americus, GA)

Georgia Southwestern had a football team only from 1983 through 1989 which apparently used only the helmet design shown above during its existence. The team played at the NAIA level and was known as the “Hurricanes”. The school is presently named Georgia Southwestern State University. –

Haskell (Lawrence, KS)

Haskell (Lawrence, KS) announced the suspension of its NAIA independent football team on June 12, 2015. –

Lambuth University (Jackson, TN)

Lambuth University (Jackson, TN) closed on June 30, 2011; the school had a football team from 1985 through 2010. The team (called the ‘Eagles’) had been a member of the NAIA and the Mid-South Conference during its last few Current Auburn Head Coach Hugh Freeze got a jump start here.

Lindenwood-Belleville University (Belleville, IL)

Lindenwood-Belleville University (Belleville, IL) had an NAIA football team for just seven years (2012 through 2018). The school had announced in early 2019 that the 2019 season would be the team’s last, but due to a player shortage, the final season was abruptly canceled in July 2019.

Lubbock Christian College (Lubbock, TX – now Lubbock Christian University)

Lubbock Christian College (Lubbock, TX – now Lubbock Christian University) had an NAIA football team for just four seasons – 1979 through 1982.

Menlo College (Atherton, CA)

Menlo College (Atherton, CA) announced the termination of its NAIA-member intercollegiate football team on February 2, 2015, citing scheduling difficulties and the expense of the program. The team had played for 29 years (1986 through 2014)

Mount Senario College (Ladysmith, WI)

Mount Senario College (Ladysmith, WI) announced the discontinuation of all its intercollegiate athletic programs on December 12, 2001; the college closed altogether in August 2002. Mount Senario had been a member of the NAIA and the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference during its last

Oregon Institute of Technology (Klamath Falls, OR)

Oregon Institute of Technology (Klamath Falls, OR) had a football team for several decades; the team last played in 1992 at which time the school was a member of the

Saint Mary of the Plains College (Dodge City, KS)

The above helmet design was used during the late 1960s and 1970s by Saint Mary of the Plains College (Dodge City, KS), an NAIA team that participated in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference. The school closed in 1992.

Salem College (Salem, WV) 

The last Salem College (Salem, WV) football team played in 1988, at which time the team participated in the NAIA’s West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The team was known as the “Tigers”


This college, which was located in Huron, South Dakota, closed on April 1, 2005. Its football team had been a member of the NAIA Dakota Athletic Conference during its last few years. The school’s name was Huron University prior to April

Tarkio College (Tarkio, MO) 

The last Tarkio College (Tarkio, MO) football team played in 1990 as a member of the NAIA Heart of America Athletic Conference; the college closed its doors shortly thereafter. The team was known as the “Owls”

Tennessee Wesleyan University (Athens, TN) 

The name of Tennessee Wesleyan University (Athens, TN) did not appear on the long list of defunct college teams upon which I based the list of defunct teams elsewhere at this website, but I repeatedly came across its name while researching other schools in the region. TWU apparently had an NAIA football team from 1984 or 1985 through 1993. The university’s yearbooks have been digitized allowing partial information to be gathered regarding the team’s sequence of helmet designs; there were apparently at least two others besides those represented above. ‘Bulldogs’ was the team nickname. Any additional information would be

West Virginia University Tech

The discontinuation of the WVU Tech football team was announced on November 14, 2011, with “the high cost of operating [the] program, coupled with low fan attendance and support” cited as reasons for the decision. The team had most recently competed in the NAIA Mid-South Conference. A return of the team in some yet-unspecified year has been announced. –

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