Practice and Competition Breaks During Natural Disasters

Bylaw: Article I, Section H, Item 5

“There shall be no more than three break periods during the 24 weeks. NAIA-approved postseason participation shall not be counted as part of the 24-week period. A week is defined as Monday (12:00 a.m.) through Sunday (11:59 p.m.). Any practice or competition during this period shall constitute one of the 24 weeks permitted.”


If a school is required to close due to a natural disaster (e.g. hurricane, tornado, wild fire), the ensuing time off from practice and competition that comes from the school closing will not count towards one of the three allotted breaks provided in Article I, Section H, Item 5. This assumes that the school closing prevents the school from practicing or competing for at least one calendar week, as any practice or competition that has already occurred during the calendar week will continue to count towards the 24-week season. However, once the school reopens for operation any further delay in resuming practice or competition will count towards one of the three breaks of the 24-week season, as it will be assumed this is now at the team’s discretion. If the school cannot use its facilities after the school has reopend (e.g. the soccer field is damaged and cannot be used), the institution must request an exception to Article I, Section H, Item 5 to request that any further breaks will not count towards the team’s three breaks.


During the hurricanes of 2016, many schools were forced to close due to the effects from the natural disasters. The NEC provided an interpretation for schools that had to unexpectedly close during this time.


NAIA soccer team had to cease practice and competition while its school closed due to a hurricane. Once the school was able to reopen, the soccer field was too damaged by the storm to allow for students to practice and compete. The NAIA soccer season was further postponed until the students were able to utilize the field safely.

In this instance, the time off that occurred while the school was closed due to the hurricane will not count towards one of the three allotted break periods during the 24-week season. However, once the school reopened, the presumption is that any additional time off would constitute a break period. After the school reopened, if the soccer team was still unable to use the field, the NAIA institution would need to request an exception for any further time off to occur without counting towards the three break periods.

Related Bylaws

Article I, Section H, Item 1

Article I, Section H, Item 6

Related Interpretations

NEC Interp – creation date: September 2016