Rules FAQ: Processes for Requesting Exceptions Hardships and Interpretations

Requesting an Exception to a Standard Rule
Process is detailed under Article V, Section L of the NAIA Bylaws
Below is a listing of materials required before the request can be forwarded to the NAIA National Eligibility Committee for final dispensation:

1. Request must be signed by Institution's Athletics Director AND Faculty Athletics Representative.

2. Request must include all transcripts for the student (including those transcripts from prior institutions if student is a transfer).

3. Request must explicitly state the rule or regulation from which the institution is seeking an exception.

4. Request must list reasons why the institution believes an exception should be granted. (Additional information is recommended)

5. Request must be sent to the conference or region (if independent) eligibility chair for a recommendation. The eligibility chair will then forward the entire case to the NAIA National Office.

Once the request is received in the National Office in its proper order it is immediately mailed to the National Eligibility Committee (NEC). A vast majority of the requests are closed by the NEC within 10-14 days. Some cases do take longer to close due to the need for more information or clarification, the complexity of the issues involved and the evaluation of the potential impact of the decision.

Requesting a Medical Hardship
Requirements are detailed under Article V, Section M of the NAIA Bylaws

The NAIA Hardship Request Form can be found in the official NAIA publications section on the NAIA website.

All Hardship Requests should be mailed directly to the Legislative Services Department at the NAIA National Office in Kansas City, Missouri. There is no requirement for a conference recommendation.

1. All sections of the hardship request form must be filled out completely.

2. Institutions should be wary of certain areas that frequently delay processing of the hardship request by the Legislative Services Department.

a. Institution must list date of injury or illness which incapacitated the student.

b. Form requires signatures of Athletics Director/Faculty Athletics Representative and the Head Coach of the sport in question.

c. If the student is a transfer and the injury occurred at the previous institution, the form must be completed by the original doctor who incapacitated the student and the additional information of an official schedule and stats from that institution must be submitted.

d. Doctor must INITIAL appropriate blanks within his/her section (check marks or other marks are not acceptable). The request will not be processed without initials.

e. The doctor's name and address must be complete and legible.

f. Items 3 and 4 of the doctor's section must be completed with the proper dates.

g. If a student competes after the date of incapacitation (Item 3 of doctor's portion of hardship form) the request will not be processed and a letter will be sent to the doctor inquiring whether a "try and see" clearance was given for the participation or if the doctor incapacitated the student at a date after the last participation.

h. An official transcript or an unofficial transcript signed by the Athletics Director, Faculty Athletics Representative, or Registrar must accompany the request form. This ensures sponsorship of the request by the member institution.

i. Please understand that the requirements listed above are to ensure proper documentation and that the requirements of Article V, Section M are followed

3. If the hardship request form is submitted in proper order with all necessary additional information it will be processed and closed the day of receipt.

Interpretations of the Constitution and Bylaws
Pursuant to NAIA Bylaws Article VIII, Section C, Item 7 the National Eligibility Committee (NEC) is charged with interpreting the Constitution and Bylaws, the disposition of all eligibility cases and problems, and imposing penalties as authorized by the Constitution and Bylaws. It is not the responsibility of the NEC to certify eligibility for students. It is the sole responsibility of the institution to certify eligibility, including the veracity of the information provided by the student-athlete.

Eligibility questions, including Non-Resident Student or Enrollment Gap Forms, should be submitted for an NEC review only when an interpretation is needed or the situation is of such complexity nothing short of an NEC review can resolve the issue.