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Case Study: 24-Week Season

With the new academic year and the return of students fast approaching Legislative Services thought that now would be a great time to discuss scheduling and the 24-week season. We have written about this topic several times in the past but it is always a point of contention every year around this time. First we will provide you with the links and brief synopsizes of the past briefs. Then we will publish the rule in its entirety. Lastly, we will walk you through some scenarios and give you examples of the rule in action.

Past Briefs:

  • The last time we talked about this topic was in April of 2017, and that brief can be found here. This brief does a nice job of illustrating the newest exception to the 24-week rule regarding conference postseason play.
  • In September of 2016, Legislative Services drafted a brief outlining what will and will not count towards your 24-week season.
  • Way back in 2013, Legislative Services put out a nice brief that will give you a good basic understanding of the 24-week season. It illustrated the differences between the summer and academic year as well as defining practice.

Article I, Section G, Item 5:

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 during the period of August 1 to May 15. Frequency of play, practice, and scheduling outside of this period is governed by each member institution and will not be regulated by the NAIA.

There shall be no more than three break periods during the 24 weeks. NAIA-approved postseason participation shall not be countedas part of the 24-week period. A week is defined as Monday (12:00 a.m.) through Sunday (11:59 p.m.). Any practice or competition during this period shall constitute one of the 24 weeks permitted.


As an exception, a team participating in NAIA-approved postseason shall not count practice activities towards the team’s 24-week season, as described below:

EXCEPTION 1: When a conference, A.I.I., or unaffiliated grouping qualifying competition occurs, any practice activities occurring during the week(s) of the competition will be exempt. Once teams are selected for NAIA national championship competition, institutions not selected must cease practice activities or comply thereafter with the restrictions of the 24-week rule.

Any regular season or non-qualifying events occurring during this time must be counted towards the team’s frequency of play limits, even if the week is exempt from the 24-week season due to this exception.

EXCEPTION 2: Practice activities for teams selected to participate in NAIA national championship competition will continue to be exempt. The team may continue to utilize the exception through its final contest in national championship competition.

EXCEPTION 3: For all other forms of NAIA-approved postseason, practice activities occurring between the deadline for the sport’s completion of conference, A.I.I. or unaffiliated grouping qualifying competition and the team’s participation in its final contest in NAIA-approved postseason shall not count towards the team’s 24-week season. Once teams are selected for NAIAapproved postseason, institutions not selected for the NAIA-approved postseason must cease practice activities or comply thereafter with the restrictions of the 24-week rule.

Teams selected to participate in NAIA-approved postseason must count all activities at the conclusion of its postseason
participation.

 

Case Studies

*Assume all schools are NAIA institutions unless otherwise noted.

Scenario 1:

The Samson University soccer team wants to have training camp that will run from July 20 to July 30. Will this training camp count against their 24-week season?

Answer 1:

No, because it is during the “summer,” the period between May 16th and July 31st. The 24-week season only applies between August 1st and May 15th. Also any prospective students who wish to participate must meet exception 1 under Article V, Section B, Item 15. Learn more about this exception in this brief.

Scenario 2:

Grand College’s classes do not start until September 15th. Grand’s bowling team wants to start practicing on September 1st. If they practice on September 1st, will that start one of their 24 weeks?

Answer 2:

Yes! Remember, it does not matter whether classes are in session. It matters if it is during the academic year, which this practice would be. Therefore, this would be the beginning of one of their 24 weeks.

Scenario 3:

Gasconade University (GU) is in the Winding River Conference (WRC). The WRC wants to hold a conference baseball tournament before the NAIA national tournament begins. The winner of the conference tournament will not get an automatic bid to the national tournament, but the conference is instead holding the tournament to help bolster its team’s postseason resume. Would this tournament count towards the team’s 24-week season?

Answer 3:

Yes! Conference tournaments that are non-qualifying will still count towards the team’s 24-week season. If the WRC was going to award an automatic bid based on the tournament’s results then it would qualify for the postseason exception to the 24-week rule.

 

Please join us at noon central on Tuesday for Facebook live, where Legislative Services will discuss this topic in more detail.

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