Definition of a Practice

Bylaw: Article I, Section H, Item 6

“Practice will be defined as follows: An activity organized and/or directed by an identified member of the coaching staff of that sport in which appropriate equipment is used or instruction and/or evaluation of the athlete takes place.”


The definition of practice has two components: an activity organized or directed by a coach; and involving equipment or evaluation in that sport.

The bylaw itself does not articulate the entire spectrum of events that could occur that would be incorporated in what is considered “organized” or “directed,” and how they should be treated. For those activities that possibly implicate the practice definition but are not entirely obvious, we rely on the standard Webster definition of the particular words used and past interpretations.

Organize:  to arrange and plan; to create an administrative structure; to arrange by systematic planning and united effort

Direct: to regulate the activities or course; to carry out the organizing and supervising of; to determine the course of


Coaches are allowed to give guidance relating to drills or conditioning as requested by players as long as it is voluntary and they are not held accountable to the activity. This is not considered a practice and should not count towards the 24-week season. A coach can provide this type of informal guidance, as long as the coach is not leading, directing, or organizing, regardless of the coaching staff being present.

If the students’ participation was completely voluntary and participation was unstructured (meaning could occur or not occur, could happen at any point rather than at a set point, did not require any organization or participation by anyone else), this event would not be organized or directed by the coaching staff and would not be considered a practice under NAIA rules.

Related Bylaws

Article I, Section H, Item 1: Frequency of Play

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

Related Interpretations

Joint Practice

Open Gym

NEC Interp – Creation date unknown. Current as of: August 2015