At the 2022 NAIA National Convention, the National Eligibility Committee (NEC) reviewed the continuing eligibility requirements for graduate students and made the ruling that graduate students who have completed at least one term of attendance in graduate school will not be required to meet the 24/36-Hour Rule.
Article V, Section D, Item 5, Exception 2 states:
EXCEPTION 2: A student who has completed all academic requirements for graduation and who is enrolled in a graduate program, professional school or fifth-year, post-baccalaureate degree teacher education program or post-baccalaureate certification program may participate in intercollegiate athletics provided the student has athletic eligibility remaining and the following conditions are satisfied:
- The graduate must be enrolled in a full-time class load as defined by the school in lieu of 12 institutional credits at the time of participation.
- To maintain eligibility status, the student must successfully complete the full-time class load as defined by the institution.
- The registrar must verify that the above conditions have been met prior to participation of the student.
The NEC determined that the second condition that requires a student to successfully complete the full-time class load as defined by the institution in order to maintain eligibility will hold the student to a stronger standard than the 24/36-Hour Rule.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: A student completes nine hours as required by the graduate program, but three hours were finished with a D. The graduate program requires the student pass all courses with a C. Will the student maintain eligibility for the next term?
A: No. The bylaw states that the student must successfully complete the full-time class load and three credits were not successfully completed per the requirements of the graduate program. The student will not be eligible for the following term.
Q: Can a student use summer school in this situation to gain eligibility for the following term?
A: No. The student must earn all credit within the academic term. Summer is not considered a term of attendance. Therefore, credit earned outside of the graduate term will not meet the requirements of “successfully complet(ing) the full-time class load”.
A quick note on the Progress Rule – The NEC affirmed the application that all credit hours previously accumulated will count towards the Progress Rule. Many graduate programs will not recognize undergraduate credit earned under a graduate school transcript. If that is the case, the NAIA institution can still certify based on the total number of undergraduate accumulated credit earned.