International Travel and Mission Trips – FAQs

International competition and mission trips offer valuable experiences for institutions and student-athletes, expanding exposure and providing new perspectives. Here are answers to common questions about international travel and mission trips.

Team Travel:

Q: Does the NAIA restrict when a team can travel and compete internationally?
A: No. Teams can compete internationally anytime during the calendar year. However, rules and regulations may vary depending on the timing of the competition.

Q: Does international competition count toward frequency of play limits?
A: No. Contests held in a foreign country (except Canada and Mexico) do not count toward the playing limitation.

Q: Does practice for foreign competition and the actual contest conducted over the summer count as part of a team’s 24-week season?
A: No. The NAIA does not regulate summer participation, international practice, or competitions between May 16th and July 31st. These events do not count toward a team’s scheduling limits or its 24-week season. International practice and/or competition between August 1st and May 15th will count toward a team’s 24-week season.

Q: Do statistics for games held overseas count?
A: No. Overseas competition does not count toward playing limits and therefore will not count toward win-loss records or personal player statistics.

Q: Do student-athletes need to be certified eligible to participate in international competition?
A: Yes. Student-athletes must be certified as eligible before any competition between August 1st and May 15th. Non-certified students can travel and practice with a team regardless of eligibility status.

Q: Can incoming freshmen or transfer students participate in international competition over the summer (between May 16th and July 31st)?
A: Yes, if they have graduated from high school (or the equivalent), have an eligibility center determination of eligible, are enrolled in a full course load in the summer or enrolled in 12 institutional credit hours in the fall, and are certified as eligible through the ECP.

Q: What expenses can the institution cover for international travel?
A: The institution can cover the cost of food, transportation, housing, and other expenses related to the competition. The cost of visiting attractions, tours, or souvenirs must be paid for by the student-athletes. All expenses should be documented and itemized.

Q: Can student-athletes and the team fundraise to cover some of the costs of travel?
A: Yes, as long as all funds are given to the institution or a third-party organizer who then distributes the funds. No funds can be given directly to students unless it is from their immediate family or guardian.

Q: Does the NAIA national office need to be notified of international competition?
A: Yes. The NAIA national office needs to be notified in advance of the trip. A coach can submit the International Competition Notification form on the NAIA website as notification.

Individual Travel:

Q: How would a student-athlete participating in athletic contests as part of a mission trip, not as part of the institution’s team, affect the eligibility of the student-athlete?
A: The student will be considered as not representing their institution in competition. Therefore, the student will not be reviewed for outside competitive experience unless the team, league, or event the student competes in is associated as a semi-professional or professional event.

Q: Can an individual student fundraise to cover the cost of a mission trip or individual international competition?
A: Yes, as long as the donations are given to a third-party organization. The student-athlete can accept funds from the organization that coordinates the trip as long as the funds are available to everyone traveling in the group. No donations can be given directly to the student-athlete unless it is from their immediate family or guardian.

Q: Do NAIA amateur rules still apply to international competition?
A: Yes. Regardless of when or where a competition takes place, amateur rules always apply. A student-athlete cannot accept a cash or cash-redeemable prize or award at any time. The student-athlete can only have food, housing, and transportation paid for from the immediately previous city to the competition site. All expenses must be itemized and documented.

Q: Does the NAIA national office need to be notified of individual international competition?
A: Yes, if the student is representing the institution in the international competition. The NAIA national office needs to be notified in advance of the trip through the submission of the International Competition Notification on the NAIA website.

International Competition Notification form