Rules FAQ: 24 Week Practice/Competition Rule
Bylaws Amendment #4 was passed by the membership and became effective April 1, 2004. It creates a new first paragraph under Article I, Section E, item 5 which states the following:
Each sport shall have a maximum 24-week practice and competition season established by each member institution. Frequency of play, practice, and scheduling policies shall be applied only to the academic year (beginning of fall term through end of spring term) extended for pre-season practice. Frequency of play, practice, and scheduling outside of the academic year will not be regulated by the NAIA.
NOTE:: The NEC has interpreted that practice and competition not regulated by the NAIA may not begin until the end of the spring term or until the spring sports postseason has ended whichever is later for each NAIA institution. Therfore, if an institution has postseason competition after the end of the spring term, the time between the end of the term and the beginning of the postseason is regulated under Article I, Section E, item 5 of the NAIA bylaws.
The language is very self-explanatory in that each institution establishes a 24 week practice and competition season for each sport during the academic year. The academic year is defined as the first day of the fall term through the last day of the spring term, regardless of whether an institution is on a semester, quarter, or trimester system. The beginning of the 24 weeks can be extended to occur prior to the beginning of the fall term. The most important change implemented by this legislation is that the NAIA will not regulate any play or practice during the summer months. Coaches may have practice and enter competitions with student athletes in any sport throughout the summer and not be in violation of this bylaw. An institution will not have to file eligibility in the summer. Institutions, though, must ensure that the 24 week season is strictly adhered to within the academic year.