Countable Opponents and Scheduling
Legislative Services is aware that scheduling, although appearing to be simple, can be a challenging task for coaches and athletic directors. With this in mind, we thought a brief on scheduling, countable opponents, and the updated scrimmage rules would be helpful as you plan for the coming year.
The requirements for what makes a game countable is located in National Administrative Council (NAC) Policy at Article XXV, Section A, Part 12. If a game is countable then it can be used for your win-loss records, coaching records, and statistics. For a quick overview of what constitutes a countable opponent please refer to two of our past briefs, here and here. The NAC determined the countable opponent criteria in order to ensure that each school is being ranked and seeded based on proper competition. The NAC wanted to prevent a school from scheduling all club teams and receiving a higher seed than another team that played opponents that meet the criteria set out by the NAC. NAIA schools are more than welcome to play non-countable opponents but need to be aware that these games will count toward the frequency of play limits but cannot be used for statistics or win/loss record.
A common question is if an NAIA school is going to play a non-NAIA member, do both schools have to consider the game countable? The answer is no. The NAIA institution may move forward and count it as a game even though the non-NAIA school would count it as an exhibition. As long as the game adheres to the proper rules of the sport and all three of the countable contest requirements are met then this would work from an NAIA perspective.
If a coach or an athletic director is concerned about a potential non-countable opponent then they can refer to this link that lists all non-countable opponents, as it is updated frequently . Another way to double check is to contact the NAIA Sports Information Department.
As you are making your schedule for the upcoming season, you should note that scrimmages should not be included in your schedule or should be clearly identified as such. At our most recent convention the bylaw was changed to state that the NAIA institution cannot report any of the scores or statistics or the scrimmage will count as a game. Reporting includes social media accounts controlled by the institution. This is a slight change from years past where if either school reported the game it would move out of the scrimmage classification. For example, if an NAIA baseball team scrimmages a junior college team and the JUCO reported the games stats on their twitter page, the NAIA school would not be required to count the game as a regular season game or exhibition. The scrimmage determination is an important one as it could affect your frequency of play limits and/or a student athlete’s seasons of competition.
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