Frequency of Play: Types of Competitions

Article I, Section H Frequency of Play defined as:

The maximum number of varsity games, contests or playing dates an institution may schedule is listed below. The number of junior varsity or freshman games, contests or playing dates scheduled during the academic year cannot exceed the number of varsity games, contests or playing dates scheduled during that academic year. Further, no student may compete in a sport in an academic year in more than the number of games, contests or playing dates listed below (this includes varsity, junior varsity, freshman, etc.), excluding NAIA-approved postseason participation.

Types of Competitions

* Note – has a specific definition to these contests found in definition section of the bylaws.

Countable Opponent
  • Defined under NAC Policy
  • If an opponent is not considered countable, it does not mean the competition cannot occur. The competition can occur and will count towards a team’s frequency of play limit. It will just be considered a non-countable opponent and will not count towards a team’s postseason standings, rankings, and statistics.
  • Follow this link for updates of non-countable opponents:
    • Note this is not an exhaustive list.
  • Two other types of competitions have specific definitions: Scrimmages and Exhibitions.

Definition of a Scrimmage
  • V.B.19 Scrimmage: A competition against competitors not identified with the institution when:
    • The competition is not listed or is noted as a scrimmage on the institutional schedule; and
    • No scores or statistics are reported by the NAIA institution(s).

Students must be certified as eligible prior to participating in a scrimmage. Seasons of competition will not be charged to students who participate only in scrimmages. Transfer students shall be governed by the association under which they competed. As noted in the bylaws, Scrimmage results cannot be reported online or in any social media posts. Doing so will result in the scrimmage being considered a non-countable game or exhibition.

Definition of an Exhibition
  • V.B. 6: A competition against competitors not identified with the institution when:
    • The competition does not meet the definition of a scrimmage pursuant to Article V, Section B, Item 19 of the NAIA Bylaws;
    • The competition is noted as an Exhibition on the institutional schedule; and
    • The competition is against a Non-NAIA opponent.
  • If the competition meets this definition then it shall not be included in individual and team statistics, won-loss records or coaching records.
  • The competition shall count against frequency of play limits pursuant to Article I, Section H, Item 1 of the NAIA Bylaws, and as such, the competition will count towards a student’s 20% limit per Article V, Section B, Item 20.
  • An NAIA institution will be limited to one exhibition per season.

3+2 + FOP Limits
  • Soccer, baseball, lacrosse, softball, and volleyball have the option to have an additional three scrimmage dates in their “off-season”.
  • The two additional scrimmage dates, can be used at any time during a team’s 24-week season, and an additional 3 scrimmage dates that is allocated to a specific time of the academic year.
  • Unlike the frequency of play limits and the two scrimmage dates to be used at any time throughout the 24-week season, the wording describing the three additional scrimmage dates is drawing the distinction that these dates are limited to a particular time-frame ( i.e., “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).

FAQ for the “additional three contests to be held on weekends or non-class dates.”

  • Q: Regarding the bylaw that dictates the scrimmages can only occur on non-scheduled class days and weekends, is it permissible to scrimmage on a Friday after classes have concluded at our school?
  • A: No. The bylaw requires that these additional scrimmages can only be used on non-scheduled class days. If classes were scheduled on Friday, you would not be permitted to use one of the spring scrimmage dates that day. You could use it on Saturday or Sunday, or another Friday in which no institutional classes are scheduled.