IMPORTANT: Unless otherwise noted in the below FAQs all normal eligibility rules must be met for students to be eligible to compete.
FALL 2020 ELIGIBILITY UPDATES (Added 8/12/2020)
Q: My senior fall sport athlete intends to enroll in his 10th semester term of attendance this fall. With the announcement of all fall sport championships being moved to spring, will he not be able to compete if he has used all of his terms of attendance? (Added 8/12/2020)
Q: A women’s volleyball athlete intended to enroll in her remaining nine credits and graduate this December. Since the women’s volleyball championship has been moved to the spring, will the student need to enroll in another major in order to be eligible to compete? (Added 8/19/2020)
Q: We have a women’s soccer player in her home country who is unable to return to the United States in the fall. She would like to compete in a local soccer league to maintain her conditioning. Will she be charged a season of competition for outside competitive experience? (Added 8/12/2020)
A student can only be charged one SOC during any 12-month period. Because the NAIA season of competition often becomes a de-facto “umbrella” under which other competition can occur without harm, this year’s uncertainty of if or to what extent a given sport will be played at any individual NAIA institution effectively undermines a student-athlete’s ability to accurately budget thr competition.
SPRING 2020 SPORT ELIGIBILITY
Q: We have a baseball player who played in a chargeable league last summer 2019 and into the fall 2019. We knew it was a chargeable league, but we expected that he’d also be playing for our school in spring 2020, and it would all be rolled into one season of competition. What happens to him now?
Q: Previously, the exception for spring 2020 stated the NAIA is awarding two additional terms of attendance (TOAs). With the change to Fall 2020 term of attendance exception, what does this mean for Spring 2020? (Updated 8/20/2020)
A student that does not have a satisfactory test score can satisfy freshman eligibility standards and become eligible by having at least a 2.000 final high school GPA. The student will receive an eligible determination from the eligibility center. However, any student using this exception will be required to earn at least a 2.000 cumulative collegiate GPA prior to their next season of competition in order to maintain eligibility and compete in that following season. This additional collegiate GPA requirement is required as part of the student’s ability to gain eligibility immediately by use of solely a high school GPA, and is in addition to any applicable continuing eligibility rules that would normally apply.
The 2.000 cumulative GPA that is required prior to the student’s next season of competition will be sport specific. For example, a student who becomes eligible in cross country based off of this initial eligibility exception will not be required to have a 2.000 cumulative collegiate GPA prior to indoor or outdoor track and field in 2020-21. Rather, the student will be required to meet the collegiate 2.000 cumulative GPA prior to their second cross country season of competition. Institutions will verify satisfaction of the college GPA requirement within the ECP software.
All 2020-2021 entering freshmen can still become eligible by satisfying two out of the three requirements, as normal. Any freshmen gaining eligibility this way will not be required to meet a collegiate 2.00 GPA prior to their second season of competition.
For example, a student could gain eligibility as a freshman by earning 9 institutional credit hours and having a 2.000 high school GPA. In that scenario, the student would not be required to utilize the COVID-19 freshman exception, and would not be required to earn a collegiate 2.00 GPA prior to their second season of competition.
The student could also gain eligibility as a freshman by earning 9 institutional credit hours and a satisfactory ACT or SAT test score.
Q: We have a student who graduated high school in December 2019 and enrolled with us in spring 2020. He received an ineligible decision for spring 2020 for failure to meet two out of the three initial eligibility requirements. He met the high school GPA requirement but did not meet the test score or class rank criteria. Can he use this COVID-19 freshman exception to potentially become eligible in the fall of 2020? And if so, at what point is he required to have a collegiate 2.000 GPA? (Added 4/17/2020)
Q: We are recruiting a student from a junior college who has used one term of attendance (spring of 2020) and one non-intercollegiate season of competition (competed in a chargeable league in 2018). How does this COVID-19 freshman exception work for this student? (Added 4/17/2020)
Q: We have a football player who played in the fall of 2019 at a junior college and did not identify in the spring of 2020. This student passed 12 hours in the fall of 2019 but with a collegiate GPA of 1.95. He only meets the high school GPA requirement for initial eligibility. Could this student use the COVID-19 freshman exception to be eligible to compete in the fall of 2020? (Updated 8/20/2020)
Letter of Intent (added 8/12/2020)
Transfer 16-week residency (added 8/12/2020)
Q: We have a senior outdoor track student-athlete who will graduate in May 2020, and now has one more season of competition. If she transfers and pursue a master’s degree at a different NAIA school could she use her final season of competition?
Q: We have a student transferring to us for the 2020-2021 academic year. She was not charged a season in the spring of 2020, but did compete before the season was cancelled. Will she have to serve the 16-week residency since she competed? (Added 4/3/2020)
SENIORS AND GRADUATE STUDENTS - Spring 2020
Q: We have a senior golfer who is graduating in May 2020. He wants to return to use the extra season of competition. He’s not sure yet if he wants to pursue a second baccalaureate degree or a master’s program. What are his options, and what are the hourly enrollment requirements?
Q: A senior softball player is going to graduate in May 2020. She’d like to return as a graduate student, and the program requires nine (9) hours to be full-time. Will she still have to meet the 24/36-Hour Rule as a graduate student next spring?
- Fall 2020: two (2) most recent TOAs are undergraduate = 24 undergrad hours required
- Spring 2021: one (1) most recent TOA is undergraduate, 1 is graduate = 12 undergrad hours + 9 graduate hours required
Q: A softball player on our campus was utilizing the graduating senior exception this spring and competed prior to the sport’s cancellation. The student was enrolled in an in-person lab that cannot be done remotely and thus she will not graduate in May as planned. Is her eligibility terminated as outlined in the senior exception since she failed to graduate in spring 2020? (Added 4/17/2020)
Q: Some schools are creating options to switch course grading from the standard letter grade to a Pass/Fail model or an S/D/F model (S = satisfactory and takes place of A/B/C letter grades, D and F letter grades are awarded as normal). How would this impact the 2.0 requirement for juniors and seniors?
Q: Will the NAIA still calculate students’ GPAs in the same way? In other words, are any exceptions being made to account for the fact that students are unexpectedly being transitioned to online coursework or to environments not conducive to remote learning, and therefore GPAs may suffer?
Q: We have a student-athlete who was repeating a course previously passed with a ‘D’ in Fall 2019. However, for the Spring 2020 term, our NAIA institution has chosen to offer Pass/Fail for course grading instead of a letter grade. Assume the student receives a ‘P’. How will this affect my student-athlete’s eligibility? (Added 4/3/2020)
Q: There is a spring sport student-athlete on our campus who competed this spring, but isn’t going to pass all 12 institutional credit hours in which she was enrolled. Can she use the ‘first time participant’ exception to the 24/36-Hour Rule this fall (Article V, Section C, Item 6)? (Added 4/17/2020)
Q: When we are doing eligibility in Fall 2020/Spring 2021, how do we handle students who did not compete and were not certified with respect to the competitive experience form? It would appear that we have to do the forms for all spring sport student-athletes who were not certified this spring, which could include a lot of students. (Added 4/17/2020)
A: The Competitive Experience Form is generally required when students have breaks in enrollment and/or are not charged seasons of competition. Recognizing that all spring 2020 student-athletes would meet the latter, it is not necessary for schools to fill out the form for spring-sport student-athletes based on 2019-20 enrollment or competition. The Competitive Experience Form will only be required for those spring-sport student-athletes who would meet the criteria for the form (see below) prior to May 16, 2019.
The Competitive Experience Form should be completed for any student who meets any of the following criteria since from the time of his or her Eligibility Center determination through May 16, 2019:
- NAIA Identification: Student was identified at an NAIA institution but not certified as eligible for one or more academic terms.
- Non-NAIA Identification: Student is transferring from a non-NAIA institution and was not charged a season of competition for every year in which student was enrolled full-time at a non-NAIA institution. If a student was not charged a season of competition during each year that the student was enrolled full-time at a non-NAIA institution, the student’s non-collegiate participation in that year(s) is subject to a competitive experience review.
- No Identification: Student has a break in continuous, full-time enrollment from any institution.
Q: We’re closing residence and dining halls on my campus, and one student-athlete is displaced and unable to return home. We’d like to help provide housing or funds for the student to travel home. Can we do that?
Q: Knowing our campus is closing residence and dining halls and some students are displaced or without a reliable food source, some local nonprofit agencies are offering to help. Can our student-athletes take advantage of these opportunities?
Q: If residence or dining halls are closing for the remainder of the semester and student-athletes are displaced, can they stay with a friend until they are able to either return home or move back on campus?
FINANCIAL AID AND MAXIMUM TEAM LIMITS
Q: Since we are unexpectedly allowing seniors in spring sports to have eligibility to return next year, that could make it hard to manage our team financial aid limits for the spring sports. Is there an exception to the financial aid limits for spring sport teams in the 2020-2021 academic year to increase the maximum amount of scholarships? (Added 4/3/2020)
Q: Our outdoor track and field team began to practice in Spring 2020, but we never got the chance to compete in any competitions. Therefore none of our track and field student-athletes meet the definition of a varsity athlete for financial aid reporting purposes. How do we report financial aid if we technically did not have any varsity athletes? (Added 4/3/2020)
Q: We have a student-athlete who competes on both the football and outdoor track and field teams. He represented our school in varsity football games in the fall of 2019, but our outdoor track and field team never actually competed in Spring 2020. Is this student-athlete still considered a dual-sport athlete and can we still split his aid between the two sports? (Added 4/3/2020)
Q: We are finding that many of our student-athletes are needing additional financial assistance due to loss of employment, necessity to change housing or living situation, and other COVID-19 related financial burdens. Our institution has the ability to assist our student-athletes through financial benefits such as the CARES Act. Can our student-athletes receive the additional aid? If so, will it be considered countable aid and count towards our team financial aid limit? (Added 4/17/2020)
As it relates to financial aid limits, generally any aid like this that is provided by your institution would meet the definition of countable aid. However, Article II, Section B, Item 1b specifically states that such aid should “not discriminate for or against presumed or recognized athletes,” meaning that institutions should be able to distribute such funds to student-athletes without negative implication. Therefore, financial benefits allocated to student-athletes through financial support such as the CARES Act and that are available to athletes and non-athletes alike will not count as countable aid and will not accumulate towards a team’s maximum upper limit.
RECRUITING AND PRACTICE RULES
Q: Is the NAIA limiting individual workouts or open-gym style opportunities for spring and/or fall/winter sports? In other words, if the institution allows use of the facility, can two (or more) students use a facility during this time assuming no coach is present? (Updated 6/25/2020)
Q: Now I have a couple graduating seniors who are suddenly interested in transferring elsewhere to keep playing. Do graduating seniors need to be released by me before talking to potential transfer schools?
Q: We want to recruit a freshman junior college softball player who would have completed her first season of competition at the junior college this spring before the season was cancelled. Per the NJCAA, she will not be charged a season of competition this spring. Can my coach contact her directly when this academic year is over? (Added 4/3/2020)
Q: We want to recruit a sophomore junior college softball player who would have completed her second season of competition at the junior college this spring before the season was cancelled. Per the NJCAA, she will not be charged a season of competition this spring, and does have the opportunity to return to the junior college for a third year next year and use her second season. Can my coach contact her directly when this academic year is over? (Added 4/3/2020)
Q: Can multiple potential student-athletes tryout at the same time? (Added 6/25/2020)
Q: Where can tryouts be conducted? (Added 6/25/2020)