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Case Study: Certification Between Inter-Term

November 06, 2017
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This week in our new brief style, we are going to dive into the implications and timing of certification of student athletes between terms. We will discuss inter-terms, multi-semester sports, and multi-sport athletes. We have discussed these issues in the past, feel free to explore our past publications at the links below.

Past Briefs:

Inter-Term Brief

Mid-Year Certification

Playing and Practicing Between Terms


Scenario 1:

Shafer University is an NAIA school who has a winter inter-term that they have decided stands alone. This means that it does not attach to the spring or the fall semester for purposes of certification. Jared is a basketball player who was ineligible for failure to meet the GPA requirement for the fall term but he will regain eligibility for the spring. Because the school decided the inter-term stands alone, they will have to certify the basketball team at the end of fall term for the inter-term and again at the end of inter-term for the spring term. Can the school certify Jared to compete in the inter-term, if he is not intending to enroll in any inter-term classes?


If Jared is enrolled in 12 institutional credit hours for the spring, then YES! According to the hypothetical, Jared will meet all eligibility requirements for the spring semester and thus he can be certified to compete on the day following the immediate previous term and then again for the spring semester, according to Article V, Section D, Item 2. Remember, an inter-term is not considered a term of attendance according to Article I, Section M, Item 2.

Scenario 1b:

What if Shafer University elected to have the inter-term attach to the fall term? Could Jared be certified to compete for the inter-term at the conclusion of the fall term?


In this scenario, Jared could not be certified until the end of the inter-term. This is due to Shafer University declaring the inter-term to be attached to the fall term. Remember, the purpose of the inter-term declaration is to determine when an intuition will be able to certify students for competition.


Scenario 2:

Charley is a softball player at Shawnee Mission University. SMU attaches the winter inter-term to the fall semester. Charley only has one term of attendance remaining and enrolled in 11 hours in the fall of 2017 to save her last term of attendance for spring 2018. Charley decides to take a three hour class in the inter-term. Does Charley’s three credits in the winter inter-term, in combination of the 11 credits enrolled in fall 2017, make the fall a term of attendance?


Charley will not be charged a term of attendance for enrolling in the three additional hours in the inter-term even though the inter-term attaches to the fall semester. Winter inter-terms are never considered a term of attendance. Declaring how an inter-term may attach to a semester only signals when a school can certify. It will not combine terms for the purposes calculating terms of attendance. Fall 2017 would be still be a non-term.


Scenario 3:

Joe is a multi-sport athlete who competes in basketball and indoor track. He is transferring to Manhattan College, an NAIA institution, after the conclusion of the fall term. MC has a stand-alone inter-term and Joe enrolls in a three credit class (which is considered full time) over the winter inter-term session. He cannot enroll in the spring term until the end of the winter-term.

Joe will be eligible for indoor track as it will be his first season of competition and he meets all initial and continuing eligibility requirements. However, Joe competed in basketball at his last school and was charged one season of competition. He is now one credit short to meet the progress rule for basketball. When can the school certify him as eligible to compete for each sport?


Manhattan College can certify Joe for indoor track at the end of the fall semester and he has the ability to compete since he is enrolled in a full time course load according to the institution for the winter session. The enrollment piece is important as he has not registered for the spring term. Article V, Section B, Item 15, states a prospective student is anyone that has not identified with the school. Article I, Section M, Item 2 allows prospective students to identify in the inter-term if they meet the requirements outlined in the note in the bylaw.

Joe is not certified as eligible for basketball at this time because he still has not met the progress rule. At the conclusion of the inter-term, if Joe has successfully passed the three-credit course and registers for spring, Joe can be certified to compete for the spring term.

Applicable Bylaws:

Article I, Section M

1.  Institutions having an inter-term that occurs between two regular terms may use the inter-term in one of three different ways in determining eligibility for students. The options are as follows:

a. The inter-term shall stand separate. Eligibility shall be determined at the end of the first term, again at the end of the interterm (if the inter-term falls between the terms), and again at the end of the spring term.

b. The inter-term (if it falls between the two regular terms) is attached to the first term for eligibility purposes. This would, in effect, make the 4-1-4 calendar into a 5-4 calendar in determining eligibility.

c. The inter-term (if it falls between or at the end of two regular terms) is attached to the spring term for eligibility purposes. This would, in effect, make the 4-1-4 or the 4-4-1 calendar into a 4-5 calendar in determining eligibility.

The institution must notify its eligibility chair, in writing, as to which option it chooses. This notification is to be signed by the athletics director, registrar and faculty athletics representative. The written notification must be received by the eligibility chair, prior to September 1 of the academic year. Once decided, the option cannot be changed for the school year.

If an institution uses an inter-term and does not notify its eligibility chair as to which option it selects, the school shall be treated as allowing the inter-term to stand separate as in option a (Article I, Section M, Item 1a of the NAIA Bylaws).

2.  The inter-term shall be treated as follows in determining eligibility:

a. Hours earned during the inter-term shall be applied toward eligibility.

b. A separate term of attendance shall not be charged for the inter-term.

c. Identification during an inter-term (unlike summer school) does identify the student with the institution provided the student is enrolled for at least three fourths (or two-thirds, if three-fourths is not appropriate) of the normal academic load and either participates in athletics or begins to establish residency. In this instance, the inter-term would not, however, be charged against the allotted 10 semesters of attendance but would count in meeting the institutional credit-hour rules of the NAIA.

NOTE: Two-thirds would be used if the normal inter-term load is divisible by three, otherwise the fraction three-fourths will be used.

d. Should a student previously identified with an institution then attend an inter-term at another institution and return the following term of attendance to the preceding institution, the inter-term shall be treated as a summer session.


Please tune in at noon central time on Tuesday, as Lendsey Thomson and Jared Shafer will dive into this scenario even further.