The NAIA membership adopted several important pieces of legislation at its 71st Annual Meeting during the NAIA Convention, April 13-16, in Newport Beach, Calif. Discussion of legislation occurred in caucuses held Sunday, with voting on Monday. (For a complete list of legislation that was adopted, click here.)
The proposed legislation that would have created an NAIA Letter of Intent was withdrawn by its sponsors for additional study. Discussion during convention included questions around the proposed signing period and whether institutions would have an accurate estimate of the amount of aid available at the time of the offer to the student-athlete.
"The Council of Presidents, Conference Commissioners Association, National Administrative Council and NAIA Letter of Intent Committee have withdrawn proposed bylaws amendments No. 8 and No. 9 intended to establish an NAIA Letter of Intent Program," said a statement read during the business meeting. "The NAIA Letter of Intent Committee will continue to address the concerns raised at this Convention and welcomes suggestions from the membership on this issue."
Prospective student-athletes still may sign institutional or conference letters, which would have been replaced by the NAIA Letter of Intent had it been adopted.
In other action, the membership approved a bylaw change regarding seasons of competition charged to transfer students. The bylaw previously required the NAIA to accept the number of seasons charged by the association under which the transfer student last competed. Under the existing bylaw, transfer students could enroll at a junior college, in effect "erasing" any previous seasons of competition. Effective April 16, 2012, seasons of competition for outside experience for transfer students will be evaluated using NAIA criteria. That will permit the NAIA to charge the student-athlete with all the appropriate seasons of competition that apply, even if the competition occurred prior to the transfer to the other institution.
In other legislative highlights, the membership:
- Approved a Constitutional Amendment and corresponding bylaw to require that future proposed legislation sponsored by an NAIA-affiliated conference, the Association of Independent Institutions or an NAIA coaches association have a minimum of one additional NAIA-affiliated conference, council or standing committee.
- Approved a bylaw change to allow first-year NAIA members institutions to count toward a conference's membership total for determining whether a conference champion earns an automatic berth in a national championship.
- Defeated a proposed bylaw change that would have moved the NAIA Cross Country Championships from a Saturday to a Monday of November. Proponents of the legislation were trying to permit competition by those whose religious beliefs do not allow them to participate during the day Saturday. Opponents were concerned about setting a precedent for other championships.
- Approved a bylaw change that expanded the existing NAIA military exception to include prospective student-athletes serving in the armed forces of any nation, not just of the United States or Canada.
- Approved a bylaw change to require coaches to complete the required NAIA Champions of Character online training within 60 days of their employment start date.
- Approved several bylaw changes pertaining to eligibility standards and post-secondary transcripts to provide uniformity in the evaluation of issues regarding student-athlete identification and institutional credit.