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Case Study: Residency

When students, parents, coaches, and administrators call Legislative Services about transfers the conversation invariably leads to questions about residency. Our last brief was about mid-year transfers and the impact on seasons of competition. This week we will be discussing the residency period that comes with transferring and also one bonus residency period you might not know existed. Stay tuned!

Here are some past briefs that you might find beneficial or informative and are similar to today’s topic.

  • The first brief comes from October of 2015 and is titled Transfer Residency Requirements. This brief is an excellent appetizer to this current brief. It does a nice job of explaining the exception to the residency requirement and answers some frequently asked questions.
  • The next brief we would like to bring to your attention comes from way back in June of 2013. It is titled Transfer Releases and really dives into the release process and who does and doesn’t need a release. If you have any questions on how releases work and the National Office’s role, this is an excellent brief.
  • The next two briefs that would be of interest are titled Dismissals and Suspensions: Part 1 and Part 2. Here we discussed how disciplinary action from a prior institution is treated when a student-athlete transfers to an NAIA institution. We would highly recommend that you watch the Facebook Live video for both of these briefs as we provided specific examples of the different types of suspensions and dismissals.


*Assume the students in the following scenarios do not meet the residency exception of above a 2.0 GPA and a release from the athletic director at their previous school.

*Assume all schools are NAIA institutions unless otherwise noted.

Scenario 1:

Slater wrestled at Bayside University in 2015-2016 school year but suffered an unfortunate season ending injury in his fourth match. He applied and was granted a medical hardship by the NAIA. Slater decides he is unhappy and wants to transfer to a different NAIA institution after the spring of 2016. Will he have to serve residency?


YES! Slater would still have to serve residency despite the fact that he was not charged a season of competition for the previous season. This is addressed on page 62 of out handbook and in a casebook example in Article V, Section M, Item 1. In this scenario Slater did actually compete for Bayside therefore he must serve residency.

Scenario 2:

Morris is a baseball player who transferred to Belding University for the Spring of 2017. Morris must serve the standard 16 weeks of residency because he competed in 2016 at another four year institution. However, the 112 days expires on May 25, 2017. Belding has made an improbable run to the national championship game and will compete for the red banner on May 28, 2017. Can Morris compete?


NO! Morris cannot compete in the national championship despite serving his residency. This is specifically outlawed in Article V, Section G, Item 3. A student cannot participate in post-season play in the same term in which they served 16 weeks of residency.

Scenario 3:

Kelly competed at Maxx University in basketball in the 2012-2013 season. After the season, Kelly entered the marines and was discharged on July 1, 2017. For the fall of 2017 Kelly enrolls in 12 institutional credit hours at a different NAIA institution. Can she compete immediately?


YES! Kelly meets the military service exception to the residency requirement and would be able to compete immediately. Normally, Kelly would have to serve the 16 week residency requirement, but since her college career was interrupted for at least a year, she is enrolled in 12 institutional credit hours, and enrolled within the first two semesters after her release from active duty, then she meets the military service exception. This exception is outlined in the casebook example in Article V, Section I, Item 2.

Scenario 4:

Lisa competed in softball only for Burberry College in the spring of 2017 but now wants to transfer to Gucci University for the fall of 2017. She was busy shopping in Europe and forgot to enroll by the date set by the institution for enrollment of regular full time students. The school decides to make an exception and allows her to enroll late. Lisa wants to compete in football as the kicker after playing soccer over the summer while across the pond. Lisa attends her first class on September 1, 2017. Can she compete for the football team on Saturday September 2, 2017?


NO! Lisa would have to serve two weeks of residency since she enrolled late. She would be eligible to compete on the 14th day after attending class for the first time. This rule is in Article V, Section C, Item 15. If Lisa had enrolled on time, she would have been able to compete immediately for the Gucci football team because transfer residency is sport specific and would have applied for softball.

Applicable Bylaws:

The bylaws that are mention or discuss residency are located at the bottom. Please note that there are could be more bylaws relevant to specific situations, but they are not listed here. Please refer to our Official Handbook for a complete listing of all NAIA Bylaws and Policies.

Article V, Section M, Item 1 (Casebook Example: Hardship Request - Residency Requirement)

Case: A student receives an NAIA hardship. May that student transfer and receive an automatic waiver of the 16-week residency requirement?

Approved Ruling: No. The student in this case did represent the previous four-year institution. While the hardship approval does waive the contests for the previous season with regard to applying the season as one of the four seasons of competition allotted, the student is still considered to have competed.

Article V, Section G, Item 3

The residency requirement shall be satisfied at the beginning of the day following the end of the 16 calendar weeks (at the beginning of the 113th calendar day) from the first day of class. Should the 16-week period be satisfied after the institution’s regular season has been completed, the student has established eligibility for the following season in that sport but is not eligible for postseason athletic competition in that sport which is held during an extended period of the term just completed.

Article V, Section I, Item 2 (Casebook Example: Military Service)

Approved Ruling: This exception automatically excuses a veteran from the application of all entrance requirements (i.e. entering freshman requirements, transfer residency requirements, 24/36-Hour Rule, Progress Rule) and makes the veteran eligible immediately upon registration as a regular student carrying 12 or more credit hours.

Article V, Section C, Item 15

A student enrolling in college after the date set by the institution for enrollment of regular full time students will not be eligible to compete in intercollegiate athletics until two full calendar weeks of residency have been completed.

Please tune in at noon central time on Tuesday, as Lendsey Thomson and Jared Shafer will dive into this scenario even further.