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Case Study: Summer Competition

Even though we had to shovel a path to the office this morning, we promise summer is on the way, and with summer comes summer competition. This is a nerve wracking time for coaches and administrators as a lot of the students are away from campus and their watchful eye. Today we are going to try to help you sleep a little better at night by illustrating some potential issues that could arise in the summer, particularly with your athletes playing for outside teams. We have discussed this a little in the past and below are some of those past briefs.

  • This brief was from past May and outlined the new unattached criteria and provided examples to illustrate possible implications.
  • The second article is from almost five-years ago but is an excellent brief that provides a ton of information regarding summer competition, post-secondary amateur year, breaks, elite level competition, and charged seasons.

Case Studies

*Assume all schools are NAIA institutions unless otherwise noted.

Scenario 1a:

Alisha is a softball player at Boston Tech who was granted a medical hardship in the spring of 2016. Alisha went on to play in a summer league in summer 2016 that was chargeable per the directory of competition and the league started on July 1. Alisha went part time in the fall of 2016 at Boston Tech. Unfortunately Alisha was injured for the spring of 2017 and didn’t play at all for Boston Tech.

  • Spring 2016: Competed but was granted a medical hardship.
  • Summer 2016: Competed in chargeable league.
  • Fall 2016: Went part time at Boston Tech.
  • Spring 2017: Was injured and did not compete.
  • Summer 2017: No competition.
  • Fall 2017: Identified at Boston Tech.
  • Spring 2018: Is being certified to compete.

 

If Alisha had used two seasons of competition prior to spring 2016, and is back at Boston Tech to get certified for the spring of 2018, how many seasons would she have used?

Answer 1a:

Three. Alisha would have been charged her third season of competition in the spring of 2016 for competing for her team, but she was granted a medical hardship. However, since she competed in the summer and did not identify with Boston Tech in the fall, this competition would not be considered unattached. Thus the next step is to see if there is another season of competition within a 12 month window. Here there is not another season of competition within the 12 month window and thus she would be charged with her third season for her participation in the chargeable league in the summer of 2016. Remember, medical hardships are just for intercollegiate competition.

Scenario 1b:

Imagine Alisha had actually identified at Boston Tech in the fall of 2016. Thus her timeline looks like the following.

  • Spring 2016: Competed but was granted a medical hardship.
  • Summer 2016: Competed in chargeable league.
  • Fall 2016: Went FULL time at Boston Tech.
  • Spring 2017: Was injured and did not compete.
  • Summer 2017: No competition.
  • Fall 2017: Identified at Boston Tech.
  • Spring 2018: Is being certified to compete.

 

Now when you are certifying her on campus in the spring of 2018, how many seasons would she have used?

Answer 1b:

Two. This is illustrated in Article V, Section, B, Item 18, the definition of seasons of competition. This specific scenario is in the first casebook example and states that summer competition is considered unattached if the student is identified in the spring and fall, on either side of the competition, at the same NAIA institution.

Scenario 2a:

Sawyer is a baseball player who just completed his third season of competition at Fern University in the spring of 2017. In the summer of 2017, Sawyer is not playing anywhere but is contacted by a local professional independent team that is chargeable per the directory of competition. They would like for Sawyer to come workout for the team as they have been decimated by injuries. Sawyer goes to the tryout and the team divides all prospective players into two groups and has them play against each other. There are umpires, score is kept, but the game will not count towards any stats or records. If Sawyer pitches in this contest has he lost his amateur standing?

Answer 2a:

No, the casebook example in Article VII, Section B, Item 1, states that a student would not violate their amateur standing by trying out for a professional sports team. Even though this seems close to a game and this league would certainly be chargeable, this would still be considered a tryout and thus allowed. Also, Sawyer would not be charged a season for this tryout.

Scenario 2b:

Sawyer impresses at the tryout and the independent team offers him a contract. Sawyer signs the contract and goes home. The next day, Sawyer gets cold feet and tells the team that he doesn’t want to play for them and wants to go back to school. The team releases him from his contract before he ever plays for them. Has Sawyer violated his amateur standing now?

Answer 2b:

Yes. Sawyer signed a contract with a professional organization and per Article VII, Section D, Item 2, signing a contract by itself violates his amateur standing. Therefore, Sawyer would be considered a professional and he would be charged a season for signing the contract. Professionals are charged a season of competition for every year they are under contract.

Applicable Bylaws:

The bylaws/policies that mention or discuss the summer 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 V, Section B, Item 18

Season of Competition:
a. Participation in one or more intercollegiate contests whether in a varsity, junior varsity or freshman program. The NAIA shall count seasons of competition based on intercollegiate participation charged by another intercollegiate athletic association.
b. Participation in any elite-level competition on or after the first day of the thirteenth month following high school graduation. The NAIA shall count seasons of competition based on non-collegiate participation charged by another intercollegiate athletic association. Additional seasons of competition, based on non-collegiate participation, will be charged when the student is not enrolled in a collegiate institution, or is enrolled but does not represent the institution in intercollegiate competition.

CASEBOOK EXAMPLES
Summer Competition – Continuing Identification at Same NAIA Instiution
Approved Ruling: Summer competition may be considered unattached, and is not subject to a competitive experience review, when a student is identified with an NAIA institution in the spring and is identified with the same NAIA institution the subsequent fall.
Summer Competition – Transfers and Students with Break in Enrollment
Approved Ruling: Competition after May 15 by a student who transfers institutions or has a break in enrollment is subject to a competitive experience review if the student was not charged with a season of intercollegiate participation during the preceding academic year. Summer competition by a student charged with a season of intercollegiate competition during the preceding academic year is not subject to a competitive experience review.

Article VII, Section B, Item 1

The following acts will NOT cause an athlete to lose amateur standing.

Playing with an amateur team against a professional team or player if competing under the sponsorship or approval of NAIA or the governing body of the sport concerned.

Article VII, Section D, Item 2

The following acts will cause a student to lose amateur standing for participation in intercollegiate competition recognized by the NAIA in the sport in which any or all such acts occur

Signing a contract with any professional team

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

CHECK OUT MORE LEGISLATIVE BRIEFS: Archives