Additional Scrimmage Dates & New Bylaw Amendment

Bylaw: Article I, Section H, Item 2

“The following number of scrimmage dates per sport will be allowed in addition to the maximum number of varsity games, contests, or playing dates which an institution may schedule or in/on which a student may compete.”

Additional Scrimmage Dates Effective Fall 2024:

SportNumber of Scrimmage Dates
Baseball2 (Plus 3 additional scrimmage dates to be conducted before the end of the fall term. Student-athletes are not permitted to miss class for any reason related to these three additional scrimmages.)
Basketball (men’s and women’s)2
Bowling (men’s and women’s)0
Competitive cheer1
Competitive dance1
Cross country (men’s and women’s)0
Football1
Golf (men’s and women’s)0
Lacrosse (men’s and women’s)2 (plus 3 additional scrimmage dates to be conducted before the end of the fall term. Student-athletes are not permitted to miss class for any reason related to these three additional scrimmages.)
Soccer (men’s and women’s)2 (*note the three additional soccer scrimmage dates are listed under their frequency of play limits)
Softball2 (plus 3 additional scrimmage dates to be conducted before the end of the fall term. Student-athletes are not permitted to miss class for any reason related to these three additional scrimmages.)
Swimming and diving (men’s and women’s)0
Tennis (men’s and women’s)1
Indoor and outdoor track and field (men’s and women’s)0
Volleyball (men’s)2 (plus 3 additional scrimmage dates to be conducted before the end of the fall term. Student-athletes are not permitted to miss class for any reason related to these three additional scrimmages.)
Volleyball (women’s)2 (plus 3 additional scrimmage dates to be conducted after the end of the fall term. Student-athletes are not permitted to miss class for any reason related to these three additional scrimmages.)
Wrestling (men’s and women’s)0

New Bylaw Amendment Effective August 2024

The new bylaw amendment removes the existing limitation that additional scrimmages (or dates, in the sport of soccer) can only be played on weekends or other non-scheduled class dates. This amendment will now provide more opportunities for when such scrimmages/dates can be played by allowing them to be conducted on any day of the week as long as no student-athlete will miss class to participate.

Interpretation

In addition to the frequency of play limits listed in Article I, Section H, Item 1, some sports are allotted two additional scrimmage dates, all of which can be used at any time during a team’s 24-week season, and an additional 3 scrimmage dates that are allocated to a specific time of the academic year.

Unlike the frequency of play limits and the two scrimmage dates that can be used at any time throughout the 24-week season, the wording describing the three additional scrimmage dates specifies that these dates are limited to a particular time frame (for example, “to be played only after the fall term has concluded”).

This equates to game, contest, or date limits + 2 additional varsity scrimmages (to be conducted at any time during the 24-week season) + 3 dates (to be conducted specific to the time frame listed in the scrimmage dates).

Example

A women’s volleyball team has scheduled two scrimmages to take place on two separate dates before the fall season starts. During the fall season, the women’s volleyball team competes in 26 dates. In the following spring academic term, the team competes in five matches on three separate dates. Did this team exceed their frequency of play limits?

No. Per the frequency of play bylaws, a limitation expressed as a “date” does not limit the number or type of contests that can occur on that date. The three additional dates that the women’s volleyball team is allowed to have do not limit the number of games that can be held on each date. Therefore, the women’s volleyball team is within the frequency of play limits with 2 scrimmages + 26 dates + three additional spring dates.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What happens if some student-athletes on the team have class, but the majority of the team does not have class on a date that the scrimmage was scheduled?

A: Only the student-athletes that will not miss class to travel, prepare, or compete will be permitted to participate in the additional scrimmages.

Q: What happens if the team must leave early to travel to the contest and consequently causes a student to miss class?

A: The intent of the bylaw is that a student-athlete cannot miss class for any reason to participate in the scrimmage. This includes any type of game preparation, training room obligations, and possible travel.

Q: Will this bylaw exclusively apply to scrimmages? Why is this listed in a different section for soccer?

A: This bylaw primarily concerns teams with additional scrimmage dates during the “out of season” period (as outlined in Article I, Section H, Item 2). Soccer differs in that its additional contests are categorized within its total frequency of play limits and are not necessarily labeled as scrimmages. Unlike other sports, soccer isn’t required to consider these additional contests as scrimmages.

Q: What if a team does not schedule the full number of contests listed under their frequency of play limits? Are they allowed more scrimmages and are they held to these parameters?

A: NAIA bylaws state that in those sports where scrimmages are allowed, an institution that does not schedule or participate in the maximum number of allowable varsity games, meets, or playing dates may conduct additional scrimmages up to the NAIA limits. In no case can the combined number of scheduled contests and scrimmages exceed the maximum number listed in Article I, Section H of the NAIA Bylaws.

Therefore, a team is allowed to conduct more scrimmages at any point during their 24-week season. The bylaw amendment aimed at the “out of season” scrimmages specifically allows for additional scrimmages to occur, but not for a student to miss class to compete.

Q: Can our men’s volleyball team or baseball team have more than three scrimmage dates scheduled in the fall if we do not intend to use all of our scrimmages in the spring?

A: Yes. The three specific fall scrimmage dates are new and additional scrimmage opportunities that could be scheduled and played during the fall term only. It would not restrict you from using either of your other two available scrimmage opportunities at any point in your 24-week season, including the fall term.

Q: Can we schedule more than one scrimmage on a Saturday?

A: Yes. The bylaw is specific to scrimmage “dates.” Therefore, multiple scrimmages may be held on one date but will only count as one date out of the “three additional dates” allotted.

Q: Can we play scrimmages in the fall before the start date of competition in the spring?

A: Yes, each sport’s practice start date also applies to scrimmages, meaning scrimmages may be initiated at the same time. For the sports of men’s volleyball and baseball, the fall start date for practice, scrimmages, and exhibitions is on September 1 of each year.

Q: Can we hold regular season games during the week and host scrimmages during the weekend?

A: It is perfectly allowable to conduct regular competitions during the week and host the additional scrimmage dates on the weekends, assuming the start dates have been met. Each sport is held to a specific start date for practices/scrimmages/exhibitions, as well as for their regular competitions. The current start date for men’s volleyball and baseball’s practices, scrimmages, and exhibitions begins on or after September 1. Additionally, fall competitions for these particular sports can also start on or after September 1. Note that any competition that does not meet the definition of scrimmage or exhibition that occurs during the fall will count towards a team’s frequency of play limits.

Q: How does this bylaw work for quarter or trimester schools?

A: The bylaw dictates that the additional scrimmage dates must be used during the fall term. This applies to any school’s fall term, regardless of whether it’s a semester, quarter, or trimester institution. There is not a separate calendar or interpretation for non-semester terms.

Q: Can these scrimmages be played before classes start in the fall term?

A: The dates between May 16 – July 31 are not regulated by the 24-week season or frequency of play limits and your institution is free to practice or compete with returning students and eligible incoming students. Therefore, you may conduct scrimmages during these specific dates that will not count towards a team’s 24-week season or frequency of play. However, beginning August 1, baseball and men’s volleyball teams must cease to practice or compete until their official practice, scrimmage, and exhibition start date of September 1.