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Case Study: Hardship Request from time at a Non-NAIA Institution

October 16, 2017
By Alan Grosbach, NAIA Associate Director of Athletic Communication

New Brief Style

Legislative Services is going with a new approach to our briefs wherein we take a unique scenario that we have seen and fully break it down for our readers. We are looking forward to this approach as it will allow us to dive deeper into the bylaws and give you real world examples of these bylaws in action. We need your help with this though! If you have a unique or interesting situation that you think would make a good brief then please share it with us!


Bronson graduated from high school in the spring of 2014 and went to work for the next two years. He started to get the itch to play baseball again in the summer of 2016 and was able to secure a spot in a competitive collegiate summer league. Bronson pitched in three games during the summer before getting injured. He enrolled in the fall of 2016 to East West College, a junior college. Bronson pitched in three more games in the spring of 2017 before suffering a season ending injury halfway through the season.

Bronson has now transferred to Steeple University, an NAIA institution. Bronson seeks a medical hardship for his 2016 season at East West College. Would he be granted this hardship and if he could get a hardship, what would it cover?

Time Line:

  • Fall 2014-Spring 2016: Work
  • Summer 2016: Competed in a chargeable league
  • Fall 2016-Spring 2017: Competed for East West College
  • Fall 2017: Transferred to NAIA School


Yes, the NAIA can grant a medical hardship for a season of competition at a non-NAIA school. If we assume Bronson’s FAR or AD submitted a correct hardship request with a current transcript, then this hardship would be granted. When the NAIA receives hardship requests for non-NAIA intercollegiate competitions, we will apply our NAIA hardship requirements. In this case, Bronson competed in less than the allowable 11 contests for baseball. We will assume he was seen by an M.D. or D.O. during the season in question; his injury was considered a season-ending injury; and that he didn’t play again after the doctor evaluated the student.

What does the medical hardship cover? This only covers his season of competition that he was charged while in junior college. Hardship requests can only be granted for the season in which the injury occurred. Therefore, this hardship request would not cover his summer competition and he would potentially be charged a season of competition for competing. It is a long standing policy that the NAIA will only grant medical hardships for intercollegiate athletics, thus a hardship request for the summer season would be denied. Lastly, hardships ONLY grant another season of competition and will not give a student a term of attendance back. If a student is granted a medical hardship but they have already used all ten terms of attendance, then they are no longer eligible for intercollegiate competition in the NAIA.

Applicable Bylaws:

Article V, Section M, Hardship Requests:

*(Page 61 of our handbook contains the rule in its entirety, this is a condensed version below).

  1. A hardship request is a request for an exception to the season of competition regulation. Hardships only deal with seasons of competition.
  2. All hardship requests must meet the following criteria:
    1. They must involve an injury during the season that, in a doctor’s opinion, end the student’s season. The doctor must have seen the student during the season.
    2. The student must have not have exceeded the maximum games allowed for their sport.
    3. The student could not have been hurt in the last regular season game or in the postseason.
    4. The form must have been filled out correctly.
    5. If the student plays after the doctor said they were incapacitated then the hardship is null.
  3. The request must be submitted by the FAR or AD of the requesting institution with a current transcript.

Please tune in at noon central time on Facebook Live (@PlayNAIA), as Lendsey Thomson and Jared Shafer will dive into this scenario even further. They will also discuss the most common mistakes on hardship request forms and how to avoid them. Legislative Services has written about medical hardships in the past and those briefs can be found at the links below.

Q & A: Medical Hardships

Medical Hardship Requests

Medical Hardship Requests, Continued

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