Several questions have come up on needing clarification on the 24-week season exemption. Before we move on, please visit Article 1 Section F in the NAIA Official Handbook for basic bylaws on frequency of play limits, breaks and what would not count against your 24-week season.
If you need any reference to the 24 week season i.e. breaks, dates, etc., please click here.
For more information what constitues as a countable practice, please click here.
NAIA-approved postseason and postseason practice
This seems to be the topic we in the Legislative Department get the most questions about this time of the year. This section will break down what will and will not count towards your 24-week period during your NAIA-approved postseason.
24-week exemption during NAIA-approved postseason
NAIA-approved postseason- Conference/A.I.I./unaffiliated grouping competition used for qualification of a NAIA championship, NCCAA National Championship and NAIA National Championship.
The 24-week exemption starts the day you compete in a NAIA-approved postseason contest.
Per the bylaw Article 1 Section F Item 5 exemption; practice activities occurring between the deadline of the sport’s completion of conference, A.I.I. or unaffiliated grouping qualifying competition and the team’s participation in its final contest in NAIA-approved postseason shall not count towards the team’s 24-week period.
The qualifying event will not count towards your frequency of play or your 24-week season.
This is where most people are getting confused. Practices leading up to the tournament are not practice activities after a qualifying competition; in fact these practices occur before the qualifying event. If your team qualifies after the tournament, that is when the 24-week exemption kicks in and any practices after that leading up to the national championship, WILL NOT count. The 24-week exemption stops the moment a team is eliminated from NAIA-approved postseason.
If your team’s regular season ends on October 29, 2016 and let’s say your qualifying event starts on November 7, 2016, practices on October 29, 2016 through November 6, 2016 WILL count against your 24-week season. Please not though, if your first NAIA-approved postseason contest does not start on the first day of the tournament, i.e. starts day two or November 8, 2016, and you practice on November 7th, that will count against your 24 week period.
The best word to remember is foreseeable. Anything you can foresee happening in your season, will count against your 24-week season. At the time you create your schedule, you can foresee when the qualifying event occurs, but you can’t foresee what happens beyond that.