Northwest Nazarene University includes the following sports in its intercollegiate athletic program:
Men: baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, and track and field (indoor and outdoor).
Women: basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, track and field (indoor and outdoor), and volleyball.
The men's and women's teams are members of the NCAA Division II. Teams compete in the NCAA Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC). The individuals and teams compete for conference and regional championships, this may qualify them for national competition.
Students who wish to compete in intercollegiate athletics must be enrolled full time (typically a minimum of 12 semester credits, with exceptions for undergraduate students in their last semester on schedule to graduate and students enrolled in a graduate program). Other requirements to compete include the following:
- As a freshman, being registered with and declared qualified by the NCAA Eligibility Center.
- Meeting all academic and general eligibility requirements as outlined in the NCAA Division II Manual and as required by the GNAC and NNU.
Freshmen student-athletes who do not meet all academic requirements to compete may be allowed to participate in designated activities (competition not included) depending on their status of "Partial Qualifier" or "Nonqualifier" as outlined in Bylaw 14.3 of the NCAA Division II Manual, "Freshman Academic Requirements."
Transfer student-athletes who do not meet all academic requirements to compete may be allowed to participate in designated activities (competition not included) as outlined in Bylaw 14.5 of the NCAA Division II Manual, "Transfer Regulations."
Student-athletes who do not maintain all academic requirements to compete may be allowed to participate in the same activities (competition not included) designated for a freshman "Partial Qualifier."
Student-athletes may not compete more than four seasons in any one sport. The NCAA made an exception to this rule during the COVID-19 pandemic by granting students participating in spring sports during the 2019-20 academic year one extra year of eligibility. The NCAA also gave athletes participating in fall or spring sports during the 2020-21 academic year one extra year of eligibility.