Continuing Eligibility




A: Fall 2020 will be treated as a term of attendance per standard NAIA bylaws for all intents and purposes EXCEPT the 10-semester / 15-quarter limit (NAIA Bylaw Article V, Section E, Item 1). Fall 2020 will not count as a term towards this limit. Therefore, senior fall sport athletes will be allowed to return spring 2021 and compete in their 10th and final term of attendance.

A: This past spring when our governing bodies were determining the spring 2020 exceptions, the ruling was to provide an additional two terms of attendance (or three quarter-terms) for spring sport athletes. This fall, the decision has been to make fall 2020 not count towards the total maximum limit to compete in the NAIA.

Thinking through this a bit more, we found out that in application, this would provide a spring sport athlete with an additional three terms of attendance (or four, for quarter schools) which was never the intent behind the exception. The intent behind the exception to the terms of attendance was to not burden a student-athlete if they wish to make up the spring sport season they lost in spring 2020. Knowing that many spring sports span throughout the academic year, the intent has always been to provide spring sport athletes who were identified in the spring 2020 term (and/or winter 2020 quarter, spring 2020 quarter) one or two terms so that they may finish their make-up season.

Therefore, the decision has been to treat the Spring 2020 term of attendance exception the same as the Fall 2020 term of attendance exception. Meaning, Spring 2020 (and Winter 2020 for quarter schools) will not count as a term of attendance for spring sport athletes only. Fall 2020 will not count towards the maximum 10 semester/ 15 quarter term of attendance limit for all NAIA athletes identified in the fall.




Fall 2020 Sport Athlete Exception

A: A: No. Fall sports senior student-athletes who graduates at the conclusion of the fall or winter term may compete following graduation without satisfying the 12-Hour Enrollment Rule. The student is required to be enrolled at the NAIA institution in order to continue to compete following graduation, but the institution and/or conference can determine appropriate standards regarding the number or type of credits in which the student must be enrolled.

This is a departure from standard NAIA rules that generally require full-time enrollment to be eligible to compete. Both the National Eligibility Committee and the Council of Presidents Executive Committee recognize that not all students have the option of delaying graduation until the spring, and to apply a full-time enrollment standard after a student has graduated would require unnecessary coursework and tuition.

Many NAIA institutions may have specific requirements for enrollment in order for a student to practice on campus, be covered by insurance, or utilize dining, residential or healthcare services. It will be up to each institution and/or conference to determine options available to graduating fall sport student-athletes to compete in the spring 2021 academic term.

Spring 2020 Athlete Exception

A: If he’s staying at the same school from which he’s graduating, he can pursue either a second baccalaureate degree or major, or a graduate or professional degree or fifth-year teacher education program. Seniors (and all other students) have to be identified to compete, so to play in both fall 2020 and spring 2021, he will have to be enrolled full-time in both terms (12 hours if pursuing undergraduate work, full-time load as defined by the program if pursuing graduate work). The only way he could be enrolled in less than a full-time course load is he qualifies for the senior exception his final term before graduation in the second baccalaureate or graduate degree.

A: No, she is not required to be identified or even enrolled in fall 2020 in order to compete in spring 2021. However, she will be required to earn all necessary hours to compete in spring 2021, so choosing not to enroll in fall 2020 could make it harder to earn the necessary hours. It will be the student’s responsibility to ensure she has earned all necessary hours prior to spring 2021.

A: Yes, BUT the NEC is prepared to review these situations on a case-by-case basis as requests for exceptions. The NEC sympathizes with circumstances like these and intends to provide leniency for situations outside the student’s control that prevented the student from graduating, but did not see an appropriate way to grant a blanket exception. Thus, such scenarios will be handled as individual exceptions.




A: Yes, standard NAIA transfer residency rules will still apply. This particular student could serve the residency in the fall term, or receive the exception to residency by having at least a 2.000 GPA and a release from her previous athletic director.

A: If an NAIA school announces they have canceled their fall season (as opposed to temporarily suspend until the spring), an NAIA athlete may transfer and be eligible to compete immediately. However, if the athlete transfers within conference and the conference has stricter transfer regulations (i.e. an athlete must sit an entire academic year before competing) then the athlete will be held to the stricter transfer regulations.




A: If a school chooses to allow more opportunities for non-standard grading models, for purposes of determining GPA these grades would be given whatever value the school assigns them. For current NAIA students continuing on at the same institution, the GPA listed on the school’s official transcript will be used. For transfer students, the student’s new school will have to confirm the value of these grades and how they will be accepted in order to calculate the student’s GPA.

A: The GPA that appears on the institution’s official transcript will be used to determine eligibility. If a student’s GPA is directly and adversely affected by extenuating circumstances from the national COVID-19 emergency, the student’s institution has the option to request an exception to seek relief.

A: These classes can be used to help meet the 24/36 Hour-Rule and the Progress Rule as long as they continue to meet the definition of institutional credit. There could be implications on an individual student-athlete’s GPA in a way that impacts eligibility, there have not been any exceptions to standard GPA rules granted in response to COVID-19. If an institution believes there is a compelling situation that needs further attention, the institution has the opportunity to request an exception on a case-by-case basis.

A: Application of the repeat rule (NAIA Bylaws Article V, Section C, Item 12) will not apply to courses taken Winter 2020, Spring 2020 or Summer 2020. Courses that were first attempted or repeated during these terms will not be restricted to the terms found in this bylaw. That means that for this example, both the course passed with a ‘D’ and the repeat attempt in Spring 2020 passed with a ‘P’ will count towards the 24/36-Hour Rule.