An NCAA (Div 2) university in Colorado has banned its student-athletes from kneeling during the national anthem ... saying the demonstration shows "disrespect towards our country."

A spokesperson for Colorado Christian University tells TMZ Sports ... "all athletes must stand for the National Anthem and prayer before a game or sporting event."

CCU has several varsity teams which compete in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference -- including basketball, baseball, soccer, tennis and golf. 

Jeff Hunt, who runs CCU's Centennial Institute (which the university describes as its on-campus "think tank") issued a statement saying he's "proud that CCU will not take part in these disrespectful protests."

"Unfortunately, refusing to stand during the National Anthem dilutes the message of the protestors and portrays disrespect towards our country, all who are serving it, and our veterans."

The university says the policy is spelled out in the CCU student handbook -- the university officials did not tell us how it plans to discipline athletes who disobey the ban.