24-Week Season Exception

24-Week Rule and Postseason Participation

Overview: The 24-week rule allows each sport 24 weeks between August 1st and May 15th for practice and competition. Each team can have up to three break periods within this 24-week season. Postseason participation, under certain conditions, does not count against these 24 weeks.

Key Definitions:

  • Deadline: The date by which all conference/A.I.I./unaffiliated grouping competitions must be completed for postseason preparation.
  • NAIA-Approved Postseason: Includes NAIA National Championship competitions and qualifying events.

24-Week Rule Exception: Practices and competitions after the deadline for conference or unaffiliated grouping competitions do not count toward the 24-week season or frequency of play limits. This allows teams preparing for national championships to practice without counting these activities in their 24-week season. Teams not selected for further competition must cease activities or comply with the 24-week season rules.

Examples:

  1. NAIA University Men’s Basketball Team: If their conference tournament begins on a Tuesday and they practice on Monday, Monday’s practice counts in their 24-week season because the postseason has not yet begun.
  2. Volleyball Team: If a team’s regular season ends on October 29th and their qualifying event starts on November 7th, practices from October 29th through November 6th count against the 24-week season.

Important Points:

  • Practices leading up to a qualifying event count against the 24-week season.
  • Practices and competitions during NAIA-approved postseason do not count toward the 24-week season.
  • Once eliminated from postseason, all further activities count toward the 24-week season.
  • Conference tournaments that do not qualify teams for national championships are not exempt from the 24-week season.

Clarifications:

  • Individual Conference Championships: Only certified conference team championships that provide automatic bids to NAIA-approved postseason are exempt from the 24-week season.
  • Non-Qualifying Events: Regular season or non-qualifying events during the exemption period must be counted toward the team’s frequency of play limits and the 24-week season.
  • Practice Exemptions: Practices immediately preceding a qualifying event are exempt if they occur during the week of the event.

Scenarios:

  1. Volleyball Team Post-Conference Tournament: If a team practices between the end of a conference tournament and the announcement of national tournament selections, these practices are exempt from the 24-week season.
  2. Regular Season Contest During Exemption Week: If a team practices and competes in a regular season contest during the week of their conference tournament, both the practice and contest count toward the 24-week season and frequency of play limits.