Q: A transfer student that is currently at an NAIA school for the fall term and was on the women’s basketball team is looking to transfer to a new NAIA institution for the spring term. The Student-Athlete played in 4 games this fall for the previous NAIA institution. Can the student transfer and compete in the spring term at the next NAIA institution? Would she be able to play in any games that happen prior to our spring semester starting if she was on our spring eligibility certificate? What about her seasons of competition?
A: A few angles to consider for mid-year transfer student-athletes.
- Per the bylaw amendment that was passed Spring 2023, all transfer students within the NAIA may transfer and compete immediately at the next NAIA institution without serving residency. (Exception made for conference residency rules if the conference requires transfer students to sit residency).
- All first-time NAIA participants must receive an eligible decision from the Eligibility Center. Remember to check the situational analysis to ensure NAIA transfer students do not need to go back through the Eligibility Center for an updated decision. In this situation, the student would not need to go back through the Eligibility Center as she “used” her Eligibility Center decision in competition.
- Upon the student transferring to the next NAIA institution, the student will be able to compete immediately if the following conditions are met:
- The student must be identified for the following term; and
- The student is certified as eligible on the spring certificate.
The student will be eligible to compete on the first day following the official “end of term” date for the fall term at the next NAIA institution. The student can be the first (and possibly only) student on the first spring certificate in ECP while the remaining team members are utilizing the 30-day window to be recertified from the fall certificate.
Note the number of contests the student competed in at the first NAIA institution during the fall term. Article V, Section B, Item 20 (Seasons of Competition bylaw) states that a student-athlete will not be charged a season of competition until the student competes in more than 20% of the sport’s frequency of play and/or competes in postseason at the NAIA institution. The 20% limit is specific to the student’s competition at each institution. So in this example, the student will not be charged a season of competition for the four games she competed at the first NAIA institution during the fall term. If the student competes in seven or more competitions (20% limit for the sport of basketball) and/or competes in NAIA approved postseason, then she will be subjected to being charged only one season of competition for the academic year.
Alternatively, had the student competed in seven competitions during the fall term (exceeding the 20% limit for the sport of basketball), transferred to the next NAIA institution in the spring and competed in seven or more competitions and/or postseason competition, then the student will be subject to being charged two seasons of competition in one academic year.