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Dismissals and Suspensions: Part 1

September 12, 2017

A student athlete could be dismissed/expelled or suspended for a number of reasons and the seriousness and subjectiveness of each suspension can vary across each higher education institution. To this extent, the NAIA has two bylaws in regards to suspensions and dismissals (or its equivalent) that allows for a transfer student to either serve the terms of their suspension from their original institution or serve a residency at their new NAIA institution. As a note, we will use the term ‘suspension’ as the general term to encompass suspensions, dismissals, and expulsions (or the equivalent) throughout this brief.

Suspensions are discussed in Article V, Section D, Item 6 and Article V, Section F, Item 6. This week we will discuss athletic department and team suspensions and what it means if a student wishes to transfer to another institution. Next week we will dive into academic suspensions provided by an institution.

The primary bylaw on suspensions (Article V, Section D, Item 6) requires that a student who has been dismissed/expelled or suspended for any reason, including athletic department policy, must serve two semesters or three quarter terms of attendance (or equivalent) or the length of the original suspension; whichever is shorter. In regards to athletic department suspensions, generally athletic department policy is something that is applied to all of the student-athletes on campus, regardless of team. If a student is removed for violating an athletic department policy then the terms of that suspension will “travel with” the student to the next school. Common examples of this would be suspensions due to failing a drug test, missing a class/study hall, or any specific athletic department policies established at that institution .

Conversely, if a student was dismissed or suspended from a team for that particular team rules or per a coach’s roster decision, the student will not have to serve the suspension at the next NAIA institution. Per the casebook example found under Article V, Section F, Item 6, “violation of team/coach’s rules is not considered the same as violating institutional athletic department policies." Each head coach has their own rules and expectations of their student athletes that is unique to that coach. The NAIA allows autonomy for each coach to make decisions they deem best for the team. If a coach decides to remove an athlete from their team for a violation of these team rules, then that suspension will not “travel with” the athlete to their next school. The violation of a team rule is specific to that team.

Another bylaw that speaks to suspensions is Article V, Section F, Item 6. This bylaw deals with the suspension requirements that comes from “misconduct while representing an institution in competition.” For example, if a student is ejected for a technical foul in a men’s basketball game, per NAIA bylaws, he must sit out the next game before he is allowed to compete. If the student decides to transfer before he can sit the next game, the student must sit out the first regularly scheduled game at the next institution. This carries over between leagues and seasons.

Sometimes, a suspension might carry with it additional requirements before that suspension can be lifted at the original institution; such as counseling or evaluation by the student services at that institution. Legislative Services should be contacted if you have any questions regarding a suspension at a past institution. We can help clarify what type of suspension is at issue and how to resolve the terms.

Tune in this week to our Facebook Live broadcast as we are going to go in-depth to give you specific examples of all of these dismissals and their implications. Please join us, live at noon central standard time for the video. If you miss the live version, the video will live on at the bottom of this brief and on our Facebook page!

Next week we will discuss suspensions related to a violation of a school wide rule and failure to meet academic standards. We will direct you to the proper bylaws and provide examples in the Facebook Live video. If you have any questions about this topic please reach out to us and we will try to answer them in the brief!

Feel free to answer the question at the bottom of the page to give us feedback on what you learned from today's brief.

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