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Coaches Corner Test Q & A

July 10, 2013

At the 2013 NAIA National Convention, NAIA membership adopted an amendment to the definition of a season of competition. Under the new amendment, students are charged a season of competition for participating in non-intercollegiate, elite-level competition occurring on or after the first day of the thirteenth month following a student’s high school graduation. This rule creates a twelve-month window after high school graduation during which a student will not be charged a season of competition for participating in amateur competition outside intercollegiate athletics. This twelve-month window is now known as the post-secondary amateur competition year.

 Q: How is this different than the previous rule?

A: The new rule creates a twelve-month window unique to the individual student-athlete. Every student, regardless of his or her month of graduation, now has the post-secondary amateur competition year during which the student is not subject to the competitive experience rule. The previous rule used September 1st in the year of high school graduation as the point after which a student could be charged a season of competition. 

Q: When is a student subject to being charged a season of competition for elite-level participation if the student graduated high school on May 1, 2013? What about graduating on December 1, 2013?

A: A student who graduated high school in May 2013 would be charged a season of competition for participating in elite-level competition occurring on or after June 1, 2014. A student graduating high school in December 2013 would be charged a season of competition for participating in elite-level competition occurring on or after January 1, 2015.

Q: Does the rule change impact a previous determination by the NAIA Eligibility Center?

A: In general, subsequent rule changes do not impact previous determinations by the NAIA Eligibility Center. In this case a season of competition charged under the previous rule is not subject to change.

Q: Can a student take part in professional competition during the post-secondary amateur competition year?

A: No, the new definition of season of competition does not allow a student to compete as a professional. A student is still subject to NAIA amateurism regulations during the student's post-secondary amateur competition year.

Q: What if a student takes part in summer competition occurring after the expiration of the post-secondary amateur competition year?

A: In general, a student is subject to the competitive experience rule upon expiration of the student's post-secondary amateur competition year. Therefore, a student could be charged a season of competition for participating in elite-level competition occurring between May 16th and July 31st. However, such competition would be charged within the same season of competition as any NAIA intercollegiate competition occurring during the subsequent academic year (see NAIA Bylaws Article V, Section B, Item 18, Note 3).