Rules FAQ: Recertification for Carryover Sports

This interpretation focuses on the recertification of carryover sports (basketball, swimming and diving, wrestling, and indoor track & field) at the end of the Fall Semester, Fall Quarter, or Winter Quarter.

The controlling NAIA Bylaw for recertification is Article V, Section J, item 2. This language and its corresponding casebook examples are listed below. The casebook also speaks to the effect of inter-terms on the recertification process.

ARTICLE V, SECTION J, ITEM 2 - NAIA BYLAWS
2. Institutions which sponsor sports that carry over from one term to another (basketball, swimming and diving, wrestling, etc.) must certify that students participating in these sports are eligible for all terms in which the competition takes place. A statement signed by the registrar, athletics director, and faculty athletics representative noting that the students have been re-evaluated and are eligible may be submitted in lieu of the official eligibility certificate to the eligibility chair within 21 days after the close of the term or prior to the first competition after the close of a term, whichever is later.

In any case, institutions must recertify [submit an updated certificate] students by February 1 for second semester carryover sports or by April 8 for third quarter carryover sports, as appropriate. Should the 21-day extension period be later than February 1/April 8 due to the attachment of the interterm to the first term, the later date is acceptable for filing.

ARTICLE V, SECTION J, ITEM 2 - NAIA CASEBOOK
21 Days of Extension of Eligibility (Recertification)
Approved Ruling:
After the end of a term, an institution has 21 calendar days or until the first contest after the end of the term (whichever is later) to re-check the eligibility of all students who were certified as eligible for the term just ending. This applies only to students being re-certified. Students establishing eligibility for the second term must be certified prior to participation. During this 21-day period, all students who were eligible during the term just ended may continue to represent their institution in intercollegiate athletics. Should a student continue to represent an institution after this 21 day period and not be re-certified, it shall be considered a violation. Further, students declared ineligible by the institution or conference shall lose eligibility immediately upon such declaration.

Attachment of Inter-term to First Term, Ineligible Student
Approved Ruling: A student who is academically ineligible at the start of the fall term cannot become eligible until the end of the inter-term. The institution has extended the first term through the inter-term by taking this option.

Even though a student may have passed enough hours at the end of the first academic term, that student would not be eligible for participation until the end of the extended term, which would be the end of the inter-term. Conversely, a student who is eligible at the beginning of the fall academic term could not lose academic eligibility until the close of the inter-term.

Attachment of Inter-term to First Term, Ineligible Student
Question:
Our institution has declared its inter-term part of the first term. We have a student who was not eligible during the fall term due to the 24/36 credit hour rule. At the close of our normal fall term, the student earned 14 credit hours and combined with the credit hours earned last spring the student now has 24 hours earned during the past two terms. Is this student eligible?

Approved Ruling: No. By institutional choice your institution elected to attach the first term to the inter-term. For athletic eligibility certification, your institution's fall term does not end until the close of the inter-term. In that your fall term does not close until four more weeks and in that students cannot re-establish eligibility during a term, the student will not be certified as eligible until the completion of the inter-term and the recording of the grades on the transcript.

Attachment of Inter-term to First Term, Eligible Student
Approved Ruling:
A student who would appear not to be academically eligible at the end of the "regular" term would still remain eligible until the end of the inter-term because the inter-term is part of the extended first term. Eligibility would not be determined until the end of the inter-term. A first-term freshman enrolled in 12 credit hours would still remain eligible through the inter-term. At the end of the inter-term, eligibility would be checked, and at that time the student would have to have passed 9 hours to remain eligible for the spring term.

INTERPRETATION
All NAIA institutions should speak with the registrar or designated curriculum director on campus to determine the official date for the end of the respective fall/winter term. 21 days after this date or prior to the first competition after this date, WHICHEVER IS LATER, recertification must take place. In lieu of a completed eligibility certificate an NAIA institution may send a statement to the eligibility chair signed by the registrar, athletics director, and faculty athletics representative declaring that all students within the carryover sports have been re-evaluated and found to be eligible. You must, though, send a completed Official Eligibility Certificate to the eligibility chair by February 1st for second semester carryover sports and April 8th for third quarter carryover sports.

An inter-term or "J-term" as it may be called at many NAIA institutions creates different scenarios for recertification. The inter-term may stand separate or be attached to the fall term. The status of the inter-term must have been declared to the eligibility chair prior to September 1st. If the status is not declared then the inter-term is automatically considered as standing separate.

If the inter-term stands separate then you have 21 days from the end of the fall term for recertification and February 1st or April 8th for filing an official eligibility certificate. If students take inter-term hours then you will need to certify their eligibility again incorporating those hours earned during the inter-term (in this case a non-term). Students who were ineligible during the fall term can reestablish eligibility upon their grades being posted to their transcript in the normal manner after the fall term and being certified eligible along with the students being recertified.

If the inter-term is attached to the fall term then you have 21 days from the end of the inter-term for recertification. A student will not be able to reestablish eligibility until after the inter-term, and a student who loses eligibility will not be declared ineligible until after the inter-term. An Official Eligibility Certificate will not be required on February 1st or April 8th if the 21 day period extends beyond those dates due to an attached inter-term. On the 21st day after the inter-term, though, the eligibility chair should have received the eligibility certificate.