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NAIA Membership Adopts Legislation

April 14, 2014

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The NAIA membership adopted several important pieces of legislation at its 73rd Annual Meeting during  the NAIA Convention, April 10-14, in Kansas City, Mo. Discussion of legislation occurred in caucuses held Sunday, with voting on Monday.

A key piece of legislation that was adopted allows institutions to join an affiliated conference on a per-sport basis if the institution’s current conference does not have six institutions declaring intent to participate in NAIA postseason competition in the given sport.

“The per sport membership legislation is good for the NAIA,” said Rob Cashell, Commissioner of the Cascade Collegiate Conference, which co-sponsored the amendment. “It allows individual institutions and conferences another avenue to stabilize, and potentially grow sport offerings and opportunities for student athletes. It also is in concert with the overall mission of the NAIA of fostering strong conferences. While football is a sport that has had this ability for years, moving forward all of our other sports can now benefit.”

In other action, the membership approved a bylaw change regarding amateur standing. The bylaw previously restricted receipt of compensation for any use of a student-athlete’s likeness or name.  Effective April 14, 2014, student-athletes will be able to retain amateur standing in the NAIA if they receive compensation for use of their picture or for a public or media appearance if no reference is made to the student’s collegiate institution or participation in intercollegiate athletics.

“The change to the amateurism bylaw is another way that the membership is making sure student athletes are considered in legislation,” said Cashell. “A student who receives normal remuneration for use of name or likeness that in no way is based on athletic participation or identifies their institution does not damage amateurism. It allows our NAIA student-athletes the opportunity to hold part time jobs, pursue career tracts and explore their passions without being penalized.”

The membership also voted two new at-large members to the National Coordinating Committee. Gary Picone, Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) Athletics Director, received a majority of votes in the first round of voting. A run-off was then held and Tim Curry, Union (Ky.) Athletics Director, was elected.

In other legislative highlights, the membership:
• Approved a constitution change that makes the president of the Athletic Trainers Association a voting member of the National Administrative Council (NAC).
• Withdrew a Constitutional Amendment and corresponding bylaw that would have required co-sponsorship of amendments for NAIA associations organized under Article IX of the NAIA Bylaws, except the Conference Commissioners Association. The NAC would like further study of the proposals that looks at whether to exclude the Athletic Directors Association.
• Approved a bylaw change that allows associate NAIA members to count toward declaration of intent totals for affiliated conferences.
• Approved a bylaw change that observes Monday through Sunday as the official NAIA week.
• Approved a bylaw change pertaining to declaration of intent totals. The declaration totals for an affiliated conference will not be impacted if a conference declares its intent to participate in NAIA postseason, but later rescinds or fails to abide by this declaration.
• Approved a bylaw change that defines identification for entering freshmen by participation or enrollment in 12 credits, regardless of whether the credit would otherwise be considered an institutional credit.
• Approved a bylaw change that establishes a student’s 18th birthday as the date of high school graduation when the student obtains high school equivalency through a GED or similar means.
• Approved a bylaw change pertaining to use of an ineligible student. If the Eligibility Center determines a student-athlete to be eligible for participation, then the institution shall be held harmless if it is later discovered that the student-athlete is not eligible due to an Eligibility Center mistake or the student or a third party’s failure to provide accurate information.