Legislation FAQs

 

SPRING SPORT ELIGIBILITY

 

A: Due to the unforeseeable and uncontrollable events related to COVID-19 that resulted in the cancellation of all spring sports on March 16, the NAIA Council of Presidents, (COP) determined students competing in spring sports should not be charged a season of competition for the 2019-20 academic year. To be equitable, this policy applies to all spring sports teams on all NAIA campuses, regardless of how many competitions a team or student may have participated in, and even if the team/student participated in the fall. In its simplest terms, no NAIA student-athlete will be charged a season of competition for a spring sport in 2019-20.

A: No. The NAIA’s decisions to waive the spring sport season and to extend terms of attendance for spring sport competition do not apply to fall or winter sport student-athletes.

A: Any sport that has its championship in the spring. NAIA spring sports are baseball, men’s and women’s golf,  men’s and women’s lacrosse, men’s and women’s outdoor track and field, softball, men’s and women’s tennis, and men’s volleyball.

A: By extension, the National Eligibility Committee has determined that no non-intercollegiate seasons of competition for spring sports will be charged from May 16, 2019 to May 15, 2020. This is in recognition of the fact that many students may have played in non-intercollegiate competition during the summer or fall of 2019 expecting for that play to be grouped into the same season of competition as the Spring 2020 collegiate season. Waiving the intercollegiate season but still charging for the outside play would prevent the students from being able to take advantage of the waived Spring 2020 season.
 
This applies to all student-athletes for any spring sport during the time period of May 16, 2019 – May 15, 2020, regardless of whether the student was identified with an NAIA institution at the time of competition or in the Spring of 2020.

A: As long as all of his competition on the summer team occurred on or after May 16, 2019, he will not be charged a season of competition for either this outside competition or his participation on your school team so far this spring. He will not be charged with any seasons of competition during this time period. However, if he played on the chargeable summer team prior to May 16, 2019 that could result in him being charged a season for outside competition since that participation could not have been expected to fit within the same 12-month window as the spring 2020 season.

A: Generally speaking, a student has 10-semester terms of attendance (i.e. semesters enrolled full-time) in which to use his or her four (4) seasons of competition. The NAIA’s decision to not charge anyone a season of competition for this spring does not address the fact that all these student-athletes were identified and charged TOAs for spring 2020 and most likely Fall 2019. To allow students full opportunity to use the additional season they just regained, students may also need additional TOAs.

A: Two additional semester terms of attendance have been awarded to students who are identified in the Spring 2020 term, or in other words extending the 10-semester term of attendance limit to 12 semester terms of attendance. These additional terms of attendance can be used only for competition in spring sports. In other words, a dual-sport athlete who also participates in a fall sport could not compete in a fall sport in his 11th or 12th semester TOA, even though he could use those TOAs to compete in a spring sport. For quarter institutions, a student is awarded three additional quarter terms of attendance if the student was identified in the Spring 2020 quarter. Additional scenarios:
  •  If a student is identified in the winter and spring quarters but was not identified in the Fall 2019 quarter, the student will still receive three additional quarter terms of attendance. In other words, the student could compete in a spring sport through his or her 16th, 17th and 18th quarter TOA.
  • If a student was enrolled in the Winter 2020 quarter but not the Spring 2020 quarter, the student will receive two additional quarter terms of attendance. In other words, the student could compete in a spring sport through his or her 16th and 17th quarter TOA.
  • If the student was enrolled in the Fall 2019 quarter but not the Winter or Spring 2020 quarters, the student will not be awarded any addition quarter TOAs.

A: For seasons of competition, the least complicated policy change was to waive the season for everyone, or in other words not charge any student, rather than grant an additional season. Granting an additional season would require identifying and verifying which students should receive additional seasons, and likely to get more complicated with breaks in enrollment, transfers, etc.

Conversely, terms of attendance are used for a variety of reasons other than simply the 10 TOA limit, like verifying how many hours a student earns in their recent TOAs. For that reason, “waiving” the spring 2020 term of attendance would have had a domino effect implicating several other rules. Instead, granting two (2)additional TOAs was the cleanest solution.

A: Two (2) additional terms of attendance have been awarded to students who are identified in the spring 2020 term, or in other words extending the 10 term of attendance limit to 12 terms of attendance. These additional terms of attendance can be used only for competition in spring sports.

A: No. The extra TOAs are not dependent on a student being an identified member of a spring sport team. Rather, the two extra TOAs are limited to being used for competition in spring sports. The key is that to receive the extra TOAs you must be identified as a full-time student in spring 2020.

A: No. The ability to play in your 11th and 12th terms of attendance applies only to spring sports, or baseball in this case. Standard NAIA rules apply for fall and winter sports, meaning you could only compete in football through your 10th TOA.

A: There’s no need for the student to complete and earn full-time hours this spring, as long as the student is prepared to earn all the necessary hours to be eligible next year. The student will not be retroactively ineligible for the games in which she already competed, as she was eligible at the time of competition.

In all likelihood, a student who withdraws from coursework at this point will have that enrollment remain on their transcript as Ws, thereby signaling the student was identified and qualifies for the extra terms of attendance. If your institution would remove the coursework completely and result in the student’s transcript showing only part-time enrollment, understand this could cause complications with the student’s ability to use the extra 11th and 12th TOAs. A best practice would be to preserve documentation that the student was identified for the duration of the semester and through March 16 before withdrawing from coursework.

A: No. Unfortunately, he or she had already exhausted his eligibility prior to spring 2020. Therefore the exceptions do not apply to them.

 

TRANSFER STUDENTS

 



A: The NAIA honors seasons as charged by other athletic associations. The NCAA is also waiving spring sport seasons of competition, so the expectation would be that the student would not be charged by the NCAA, which the NAIA would then honor. As it relates to the terms of attendance, the NAIA assesses terms of attendance for each transfer student. If this student was enrolled full-time in spring 2020 at their NCAA school, spring 2020 will be counted as a term of attendance but the student would also have the opportunity to play through 12 TOAs in the NAIA.

A: Yes, standard NAIA bylaws would apply. Since she is not charged a season of competition for this year, she still has one season of competition remaining, and as long as she is pursuing a post-graduate degree program at the new NAIA institution she can continue to compete.

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.

 

SENIORS AND GRADUATE STUDENTS

 

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: The standard NAIA rules regarding the senior exception apply:
  • Spring 2020 is considered a term of attendance.
  • Spring 2020 will NOT be included in calculation of the 24/36-Hour Rule in the future (consider his two previous TOAs instead).
  • He can only use the graduating senior exception one time, meaning he’ll have to be enrolled full-time to compete in any future term.
  • If he fails to graduate in May 2020, any remaining eligibility is forfeited and he has no more eligibility in the NAIA.

A: Yes. She would still need to meet the 24/36 hour rule, but when one of the most recent TOAs is a graduate term, the 24/36-Hour Rule is pro-rated to what the program considers to be full time. So in this case, the student’s 24/36-Hour Rule requirements would be as follows:
  • 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

A: Yes. These students will be able to compete next year while enrolled full-time in their post-graduate program. If they utilized the graduating senior exception this spring, then the 24/36-Hour Rule will be prorated to take the reduced graduate courseload into account.

 

GENERAL ELIGIBILITY

 

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.

 

FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE

 

A: An institution can provide this sort of emergency relief for a student-athlete so long as such opportunities or benefits are available to all students on campus.

A: Yes. NAIA bylaws permit a third party relief organization to provide financial assistance to student-athletes in times of natural disaster or emergency, assuming such opportunities are available to other students who are similarly affected.

A: NAIA financial assistance bylaws passed in 2019 now allow student-athletes to receive financial benefits from third-party individuals.

 

FINANCIAL AID AND MAXIMUM TEAM LIMITS

 

A:No. The NAIA Council of Presidents decided not to change the existing team financial aid limits for 2020-2021. All financial aid policies and academic exemptions will apply. Note: Independent of COVID-19 implications, the COP did accept recommendations from the Financial Aid Task Force to amend portions of the financial aid policy beginning August 2020. More detailed information will be coming soon regarding these changes, but in the meantime you can review the recommendations here.

A:Yes. Even though the student-athletes have been granted an exception that waives the season of competition, financial aid policies require institutions to report aid for students who participate. While the COVID-19 pandemic hindered students from competing and thus warranted an exception regarding seasons of competition, it does not substantially impact a school’s ability to submit financial aid reporting. Further, the analytical insights gained from having data on institutional finances related to athletics will be more important than ever, meaning the absence of any financial aid data for all spring sports would be very detrimental to NAIA schools in the future. Note: Beginning Fall 2020, the Year-End Report financial aid submission will be merged with ROA data. This means all NAIA institutions will submit one cumulative set of data that will be used to provide information on financial aid maximum team limits (previously known as Year-End Report) and also to populate ROA Insights analytics. Each school will submit its information regarding the 2019-2020 school year by December 1, 2020.

A:As mentioned in the above answer, it will be important that NAIA members have access to spring financial aid data, so we’ll have to make due the best we can in this scenario. The solution, for those spring sports that have did actually begin to compete, is to submit financial aid data reporting on the student-athletes the coaching staff anticipated would have been varsity participants. Obviously this is not an exact science, and there will be a significant degree of trust extended to athletics directors in submitting this information. The purpose here is to ensure all NAIA members have the benefit of thorough financial aid data across all sports when as viewed through the ROA Insights platform.

A:Dual-sport spring student-athletes will still have their aid split evenly between all sports for which they competed as a varsity student-athlete. Even if the spring team was not able to begin competitions, the student’s aid can still be split with the fall/winter sport(s) in keeping with what was previously anticipated.

 

RECRUITING AND PRACTICE RULES

 

A: The Council of Presidents’ decision effectively cancels all practices in any NAIA sport. Individual workouts or open gyms that do not involve coaches are not considered practices. Therefore, it would be an institution’s decision if it is going to have facilities open and available.

A: No. The NAIA does not currently restrict recruiting periods, frequency or travel opportunities, and does not plan to do so. Recruiting and enrollment continue to be vital functions for NAIA institutions and the NAIA does not wish to negatively impact these efforts. Standard NAIA recruiting rules will continue to apply as written, and institutions may limit any recruiting activities as necessary to protect the safety of all involved.

A: NAIA recruiting rules continue to apply as written. Students who are graduating this spring can be contacted once they graduate or complete all requirements for graduation, whichever is later. As always, a student-athlete is free to reach out to coaches at another school at any time without restriction.

A: Yes. NAIA recruiting rules state an NAIA coach cannot initiate contact with a junior college student until after the end of the academic year in which the student competed in his or her first season of competition. In this scenario, while the NJCAA has decided to waive the charging of the season, the student did compete in her first year of play at the junior college. As long as the NAIA coach waits until the end of this academic year, the coach is then allowed to reach out and initiate contact with the junior college student.

A: Yes. NAIA recruiting rules are unchanged. As always, an NAIA coach can initiate contact with a student identified at a junior college after the end of the academic year in which the student uses his or her first season of competition. In this case, the student completed their first season of competition (and the corresponding academic year) prior to 2019-20, and NAIA coaches are free to initiate contact with this student right now.