Article I, Section G, Item 1 – Extended Games & Frequency of Play Limits

Bylaw: Article I, Section G, Item 1

“The maximum number of varsity games, contests or playing dates an institution may schedule is listed in Article I, Section G, Item 1… Further, no student may compete in a sport in an academic year in more than the number of games, contests or playing dates listed below (this includes varsity, junior varsity, freshman, etc.), excluding NAIA-approved postseason participation.”

SportNumber of Games/Contests/Playing Dates
Baseball55 contests
Basketball (men’s & women’s)30 games. EXCEPTION: A student who participates in a varsity contest and a junior varsity contest on the same day and at the same location is considered to have participated only in one game. A student may invoke this exception a maximum of 10 times during an academic year.
Bowling (men’s & women’s)14 contests
Competitive cheer10 cheerleading contests. A student may not participate in more than 10 total dates between competitive cheer and competitive dance.
Competitive dance10 dance contests. A student may not participate in more than 10 total dates between competitive cheer and competitive dance.
Cross country (men’s & women’s)8 meets
Football11 games, with a student limited to participating in no more than 15 contests. (This includes varsity, junior varsity, freshman games and scrimmages.)
Golf (men’s & women’s)14 matches/tournaments
Lacrosse (men’s & women’s)18 games
Soccer (men’s & women’s)18 games played at any time during the sport season. Three additional dates to be played only after the fall term has concluded. The three additional dates may be played only during weekends and other nonscheduled class dates, according to the academic calendar.
Softball28 dates
Swimming and diving (men’s & women’s)12 meets
Tennis (men’s & women’s)24 dates/tournaments and/or scrimmages (except for the ITA exception listed below).
Indoor track and field (men’s & women’s)10 meets counted on the basis of an individual student’s participation in the meet
Outdoor track and field (men’s & women’s)10 meets or (12 meets if indoor track is not sponsored) counted on the basis of an individual student’s participation in the meet
Volleyball (men’s & women’s)28 dates
Wrestling (men’s & women’s)20 dates
FOP Limits as of May 2020 – limits subject to change with bylaw amendments.

Interp

If two teams who are set to compete in a competition have an “extended game”, how will this count toward’s each team’s frequency of play limits?

The NAIA bylaws does not recognize the term “extended game”. If an NAIA team were to continue playing an opponent for additional time, sets, matches, etc., after the normal sport rule conclusion, the implications to the frequency of play limits will depend on how the sport’s frequency of play is determined (e.g. by date or by competition).

Examples

Competition after the conclusion of a competition.

A Volleyball team wins in three sets then goes on to play addition sets against same team. Since Volleyball’s frequency of play limits are determined based on date of competition and the continued competition occures on the same date, volleyball (and similar sports who determine frequency of play by dates) have the ability/ flexibility to continue competing that same day without the concern for the additional competition to count towards their limits. Each competition would be classified based on how it meets the definition of a scrimmage, exhibition, countable game, or non-countable game.

Following an individuals tennis match, two individual athletes decide to continue to play. Since Tennis’s frequency of play limits are also determined based on the date of competition and the continued competition occurs on the same date, tennis has the ability and flexibility to continue competing that same day without the concern for the additional competition to count towards their limits. Similar to the volleyball scenario above, each competition would be classified based on how it meets the definition of a scrimmage, exhibition, countable game, or non-countable game.

Sports such as soccer that are held to actual events, not dates of competition (with the exception of scrimmages). Teams that continue to compete after the conclusion of a contest per sport regulations are essentially having a double header after one game has concluded (according to sport rules) and the next game has started. There is not a problem to conduct additional competition as long as each NAIA team documents the additional contest appropriately in their frequency of play limits.

Additionally, an NAIA team may hold a scrimmage on the same day as a countable game as long as the scrimmage meets the definition per Article V, Section B, Item 17.

Engaging in sport related activity prior to the start of a competition.

What if an NAIA team and an opposing teams engage in sport related activity jointly before a game during warmups (both shoot on the same goal, do any kind of combined drill, etc.), would we have to count that as a separate scrimmage? If the joint exercise is actual warm-up to a game, this will not be considered a separate scrimmage, etc. if the warm-ups are conducted in manner that is keeping with the sport-rule book. For example, basketball gets 20 minutes to warm-up before a game. If two teams are on the court conducting a warm-up in keeping with the sport rulebook, this will not count as a separate scrimmage or contest.

However, if a two teams come together and engage in sport related activity that goes well beyond the designated warm-up time as defined in the sport rule book, then it would have to require that the team(s) count it as a game of some sort. For example, if two NAIA football teams come together and run plays for an hour before the actual game starts, they have then used both a contest or scrimmage and then a contest towards their frequency of play limits.

Related Bylaws

Article I, Section G, Item 5: 24-Week Season

Related Interpretations

Joint Practice

Interp – Creation: September 2018