Case Study: Evaluative Criteria Change for 2019-2020

Case Study: Evaluative Criteria Change for 2019-2020

TITLE: Case-Study: Evaluative Criteria Change for 2019-2020

Keywords: Elite-Level Competition, Competitive Experience, Seasons of Competition, Outside Competition.

The NAIA Competitive Experience Committee (CEC) has made a small, but potentially impactful change beginning May 1, 2019. The CEC is the committee tasked with determining what outside, non-intercollegiate leagues are chargeable with respect to seasons of competition. The CEC has voted to remove “transfer restrictions” from the evaluative criteria’s definition of “contracts.” This change will take effect on May 1, 2019. This new definition will be applicable to students seeking a decision for fall 2019 and beyond. This change is NOT retroactive if the student has already been charged a season by the eligibility center prior to this change. However, if a student is seeking their first determination after May 1, 2019, then the new criteria will cover all of their previous outside competitive experience. We will examine this in more detail below in the case studies. Stay tuned!

What is the evaluative criteria? The evaluative criteria is designed by the CEC as parameters for determining if a student competed in elite-level competition. As a reminder, the evaluative criteria is only used for non-intercollegiate competition. One of the things that is assessed when determining if a league is chargeable is if, “Contracts are used to outline an exchange of commitment between participants and the league/team.” The evaluative criteria goes on to define these commitments in a footnote that states the following:

“Commitments may include, but are not limited to, the following: financial/reimbursement obligations to the player, practice and/or game participation requirements, transfer restrictions, penalties upon breach of contract, etc. Waivers, basic registration forms and insurance liability forms are not considered contracts for the purpose of this criterion.” (Emphasis added).

Beginning on May 1, 2019, the language “transfer restrictions” will be removed from this definition, but everything else will remain the same. The reason behind this change is that the committee saw a lot of leagues that were only chargeable because of this language, which they felt was not an accurate indication of an experience’s competitiveness. They wanted to clarify the language and get back to the original intent of the criteria.

Below, we will attempt to clarify this change through case studies.

Case Studies

*Assume all schools are NAIA institutions unless otherwise noted.

Scenario 1:

Travis received an ineligible decision from the eligibility center in the fall of 2018. He was charged a season for outside competition in a league called Ozark Mountain Baseball League (OMBL) where he competed in the summer of 2018. The league was chargeable because participation was selective based on performance and because each player signed an agreement that disallowed transferring teams mid-season. Travis plays in the OMBL again in the summer of 2019 and is coming back through the eligibility center for an updated decision. How many seasons would Travis be charged?

Answer 1:

Travis would be charged one season of competition for his participation in the OMBL in 2018 and would not be charged for his 2019 summer participation. The reason being that the eligibility center already charged him for the 2018 summer competition because the league met the definition of elite-level at the time of evaluation. When the eligibility center reviews his participation for the summer of 2019, the league would not meet the criteria due to the change mentioned above.

To reiterate, previous seasons charged will not be changed retroactively. The eligibility center will review each league based on the criteria at the time of the initial review. So his first season charged when he received his ineligible decision in the fall of 2018 will stand.

Scenario 2 (continuation of the facts from scenario 1):

Now imagine that Travis did NOT come through the eligibility center in the fall of 2018 and his initial review is for the fall of 2019. Now how many seasons would he be charged for his outside league?

Answer 2:

NONE! As mentioned above, the eligibility center reviews the participation based on the criteria at the time of review. Since Travis had not been reviewed before the fall of 2019, the eligibility center would review all previous outside competition on the criteria at the time of review. Here the fact that there were transfer restrictions would not meet the definition of contract since the review is after May 1, 2019, and he would not be charged for the two seasons he played in the OMBL.

Scenario 3 (continuation of facts from scenario 1 and 2):

Myles also competed in the OMBL with Travis but only in the 2018 summer. Myles went through the eligibility center for a fall 2018 decision. The eligibility center issued an eligible determination for the fall of 2018 and charged him for his participation in the OMBL. Myles got hurt before he played a game for his NAIA school in the 2018-2019 academic year and thus his participation in the OMBL would be a stand-alone season of competition as there was not an intercollegiate season for it to attach. Myles requests an exception to get the summer of 2018 back based on the new evaluative criteria. Would he be successful?

Answer 3:

No. The eligibility center applied the correct evaluative criteria at the time of the initial review and thus the season of competition charged for Myles’ participation in the summer of 2018 in the OMBL would remain.


Please join us at noon central on Tuesday for Facebook live, where Legislative Services will discuss this topic in more detail.