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Case Study: International Competition

Each year Legislative Services gets many questions about international competition, how it works, what are the implications, and what can a school do to ensure everything is above board. With the summer quickly approaching, we thought it was an excellent time to dive into this topic in our case-study style. International competitions are an incredible opportunity for our student-athletes to broaden their horizons and explore new parts of the world. Below is a quick synopsis of an older article related to international travel as well as a link to where you can submit notifications of international competition.

  • The article comes from June 5, 2014, and goes through a litany of frequently asked questions related to international travel, competition, and mission trips. The article also does a nice job providing a little bit of insight into what is allowable during the summer months as well.
  • The second link is to our NAIA International Competition Notification page. This is an online form that must be completed and submitted prior to any international competition. This form is only required when students are representing their NAIA institution in competition. It is not required when students are competing as individuals.

Case Studies

*Assume all schools are NAIA institutions unless otherwise noted.

Scenario 1a:

Waldo University’s baseball team has the awesome opportunity to travel to Puerto Rico and play in a round-robin tournament against teams from Venezuela, Panama, and the Dominican Republic. WU will play each country once for a total of three games on October 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. Will these games count against WU’s frequency of play limits?

Answer 1a:

Article I, Section F, Item 4, states a school can compete twice against teams from foreign countries in the United States, Canada, or Mexico without having the games count against their frequency of play limits. In this scenario, WU is playing in Puerto Rico, which is an American Territory against foreign teams. Therefore, only one of these games would count towards their frequency of play limits.  

Scenario 1b:

Assume the same scenario as above, except this time WU was playing on St. Maarten and not in Puerto Rico. How many games would count towards the frequency of play limits?

Answer 1b:

None! The same article of our bylaws allows teams to play foreign opponents in foreign countries without affecting the frequency of play limits.

Scenario 2a:

Sly is a track athlete at Westport College and has been chosen to represent his institution at a race in Greece. Sly will be running in a race against foreign competitors on July 4, 2018. Sly was eligible during the spring 2018 season and competed, however he failed all of his classes in that same term. Sly will not be eligible for the fall 2018 semester. Can Sly compete in this international competition?

Answer 2a:

No! Article II, Section E, clearly states that a student competing in international competition while representing his/her institution must be eligible. Here, Sly would be representing his institution in this race but he would not be eligible for the fall of 2018. In order for him to be able to compete in this race, his school would have to certify him as eligible. Since he is not eligible, he would not be able to compete.

Scenario 2b:

Assume the same facts as Scenario 3, but this time Sly is not going to represent his institution. Would Sly be able to run in this international race?

Answer 2b:

Yes. The student only must be eligible for international competition if they are representing their NAIA institution.

Applicable Bylaws:

The bylaws/policies that mention or discuss the international competition are listed below. 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 I, Section F, Item 4

A maximum of two contests against teams from foreign countries (excluding Canada and Mexico) played in the United States and/or Canada/Mexico will be permitted without counting against the frequency of play limits. Contests held in a foreign country (except Canada and Mexico) will not apply to the limitation. Conditions set forth in Article II, Section E of the NAIA Bylaws must be met.

Casebook Example - American Territories

Approved Ruling: American territories are not considered international for the purposes of Article I, Section F, Item 4. American territories are not exempt from counting towards a team’s frequency of play limits. American territories such as Puerto Rico, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, United States Virgin Islands, and American Samoa, are considered U.S. soil and would not be considered competing internationally

Article II, Section E

International amateur competition for individuals representing an institution or institution teams shall be permitted, providing individual students representing their institutions are eligible according to NAIA rules and standards (and conference, if applicable). The NAIA President/Chief Executive Officer shall be notified prior to such participation. Such international play shall not affect seasons of participation.

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