We are going to continue to try to raise awareness to our Interpretation Library this week by addressing one of the most misunderstood rules in the NAIA, the 21-day withdrawal caveat in our definition of term of attendance. Often times this rule is interpreted as allowing students to withdraw within 21 days of the start of a term with no repercussions. As you will see that is not the case and hopefully after this brief you will find that it is an easy rule to understand.
As always, we want to bring you some briefs in the past that have touched on this topic.
- Our first brief comes from way back in 2013 and does a nice job of illustrating how withdrawing is handled in general.
- This second brief expertly explains the difference between Terms of Attendance, Non-terms, and inter-terms.
Every student gets 10 terms of attendance to compete in four seasons of competition in their given sport. Terms of attendance and seasons of competition are two different ideas and are handled differently. The definition of term of attendance is below and you will notice that it has a caveat about withdrawing from your institution within 21 calendar days of the start of the term. This is also addressed in Article V, Section F, Item 3. This withdraw nuance can only be applied when a student withdraws from institution A and returns to institution A without identifying at another institution. We often get calls from people trying to use this rule in situations where it does not fit. We are going to explain to you when this rule can be used and the implications of such usage in the case studies below.
Bylaw: Article V, Section F, Item 3.
If a student identified with an institution officially withdraws from that institution within 21 calendar days following the start of term and returns and becomes identified with the same institution (without becoming identified at another institution), the student shall not be charged with a term of attendance for the term in which the student withdrew.
Bylaw: Article V, Section B, Item 20.
Term of Attendance: A term of attendance is any quarter, semester, or trimester (excluding summer sessions) in which the student becomes identified at a single institution.
The word “term” as used throughout the bylaws refers to quarter, semester, or trimester, whichever applies as the official unit of class attendance at any college or university.
If a student identified with an institution officially totally withdraws from that institution within 21 calendar days following the official opening date of classes as stated in the institutional catalog and returns and again becomes identified with the same institution (without becoming identified at another institution), the student shall not be charged with a term of attendance for the term in which the student withdrew. (Emphasis added)
The student’s eligibility will not be hindered by officially withdrawing within 21 days and without a stop at another institution. It is important to note, though, that if this student participates in a contest during this time the student will be charged with a season of competition and the Progress Rule will be applied in the future.
This interpretation has the following implications on these other eligibility rules:
- Identification / Term of Attendance: The student will not be identified or charged a term of attendance if the student returns directly to the original institution in which the student withdrew within 21 days.
- 24/36-Hour Rule: The W’s that may be registered on the official transcript will not negatively impact the student’s 24/36-Hour Rule if the student returns directly to the original institution without identifying anywhere else.
This exception depends greatly on identification, so we have provided that definition below. The definition is found in Article V, Section B, Item 8.
Identification: Representing an institution in an intercollegiate contest or enrolling in 12 or more institutional credit hours with a minimum of nine institutional credit hours at the NAIA member institution in any given term (excluding summer session) as reported by the institution’s registrar on an official transcript based on the institution’s official census date.
EXCEPTION: An entering freshman shall identify with an institution during the student’s first two semester terms or first three quarter terms by representing an institution in an intercollegiate contest or enrolling in 12 or more credit hours with a minimum of nine credit hours at the NAIA member institution as reported by the institution’s registrar on an official transcript based on the institution’s official census date.
*Assume all schools are NAIA institutions unless otherwise noted. Also, assume that all students have an eligible determination from the Eligibility Center unless otherwise noted.
Midtown University’s classes officially start on September 1, 2018. Ewing enrolls in 12 institutional credit hours on August 1, 2018, and withdraws completely on September 15, 2018. Ewing decides to take the 2018-2019 academic year off and re-enrolls at Midtown University for the 2019-2020 academic year. Ewing took no classes anywhere after withdrawing. If Ewing’s fall 2018 transcript shows all Ws would that be a term of attendance?
NO! This is the exact scenario that the rule allows. Ewing withdrew within 21 days of the start of classes (it does not matter that he was enrolled for longer than 21 days), then re-enrolled at Midtown without identifying at any other institution, thus this would not be a term of attendance per Article V, Section F, Item 3.
Sherman enrolls in 12 institutional credit hours at Mesta Park College on July 1, 2017. Sherman began practicing with the team and competed in a soccer match on August 29, 2017, before the official start of classes on September 1, 2017. After the game, Sherman had a falling out with the coach and officially withdrew from Mesta Park on September 10, 2017. Sherman took three hours at a local junior college in the spring of 2018 and after a coaching change at Mesta Park, decided to re-enroll for the fall of 2018. How many terms would Sherman have remaining?
Sherman would have all 10 of his terms left since he withdrew within 21 days of the start of classes and did not identify someplace else before re-enrolling at Mesta Park. This means that since he met Article V, Section F, Item 3, that he would not be charged a term of attendance for the fall of 2017. It does not matter that he played.
Scenario 3, Continuation of Scenario 2:
How many seasons of competition would Sherman have remaining?
Three! Sherman competed for Mesta Park in the fall of 2017 and thus that charged season would stand. Sherman would have to meet the progress rule to compete in his second season. The 21-day caveat ONLY applies to terms of attendance!
Patty enrolled in 12-institutional credit hours for the fall of 2018 at Martin City College. On the first day of classes (September 1, 2018), Patty got cold feet and left Martin City College. Patty was administratively withdrawn by the Registrar on October 21, 2018, and received all Ws on his fall 2018 transcript. Patty is now back for the spring 2019 season without identifying at another institution. How many terms would Patty have left?
He would only have 9 terms of attendance left since he would be charged for the fall 2018 semester. The reason being that he did not officially withdraw within 21 days from the start of classes. To meet Article V, Section F, Item 3, he had to have officially withdrawn within the 21 days. It is not good enough that he stopped going to classes.
Please join Lendsey Thomson and Taryn Burks at noon central on Tuesday for Facebook live, where Legislative Services will discuss this topic in more detail.
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