NAIA Day-Off Policy for Student-Athletes

Article I, Section H, Item 7

Each institution must establish a written policy providing every student-athlete with one day off per week from athletic participation. Institutions have the autonomy to determine how such policies are defined, implemented and enforced. Each institution’s policy must be published in its student-athlete handbook and on its athletics webpage, and shall also be provided to the conference. Each institution’s policy must include an identified process or point of contact at the institution or conference for student-athletes or other individuals who believe their institutional policy is being violated.

Introduction:

Each NAIA institution must establish a written policy that ensures every student-athlete receives one day off per week from athletic participation. This policy aims to promote student-athlete health and wellness by providing them with necessary rest and recovery time. Institutions have the flexibility to define, implement, and enforce this policy. Below are key points and frequently asked questions regarding the day-off policy.

Policy Requirements:

  1. Definition and Implementation:
    • Institutions have the autonomy to define what constitutes a “day off.” This may include being free from all athletic-related activities or allowing certain activities like travel or study hall.
    • The policy must be included in the student-athlete handbook, published on the athletics webpage, and provided to the conference.
  2. Week Definition:
    • A week is defined as Monday (12:00 a.m.) through Sunday (11:59 p.m.). Any practice or competition during this period counts towards the 24-week season.
  3. Consistency of Day Off:
    • Institutions can decide whether the day off remains consistent each week or fluctuates. The policy should specify these requirements.
  4. Monitoring and Compliance:
    • Institutions are responsible for monitoring compliance with the day-off policy and self-reporting any violations to the national office or conference eligibility chair.
    • A designated point of contact or process must be included in the policy for reporting concerns about non-compliance.
  5. Creation of the Policy:
    • It is recommended that student-athletes, athletic trainers, Faculty Athletics Representatives (FAR), and athletics department staff be involved in creating the day-off policy to ensure it addresses student-athlete health and wellness.
  6. Point of Contact:
    • Each institution must name a point person responsible for addressing questions and concerns about the policy and ensuring its implementation across all athletic teams.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. What must be included in the day-off policy?
    • Institutions can define what activities are allowed on the day off. This flexibility allows them to tailor the policy to their specific needs.
  2. How is a week defined?
    • A week is from Monday (12:00 a.m.) to Sunday (11:59 p.m.). Any practice or competition during this period counts towards the 24-week season.
  3. Does the day off have to be consistent week-to-week, or can it fluctuate?
    • The institution can decide whether the day off is consistent or fluctuates each week. This should be detailed in the policy.
  4. Who monitors this policy if approved?
    • Institutions are responsible for ensuring compliance and self-reporting violations. They must track this information and have a process for addressing non-compliance.
  5. Who should be involved in creating the day-off policy?
    • It is recommended to involve student-athletes, athletic trainers, FAR, and athletics department staff in the creation of the policy.
  6. Who will be the point person for monitoring this policy?
    • Each institution can name the point person responsible for handling questions and ensuring policy implementation.
  7. Are there any violations the NAIA would review, and who would review them?
    • The NAIA requires each institution to have a published policy. A violation occurs if there is no published policy. Such violations must be self-reported and will be reviewed by the National Conduct and Ethics Committee.
  8. How does this apply to dual sport athletes?
    • Institutions must determine if the policy applies to each team or ensures every student receives a day off. The policy should address how to accommodate dual sport athletes.
  9. What if someone has a concern about policy enforcement?
    • Concerns should be directed to the institution’s designated point of contact. It is the institution’s responsibility to address non-compliance issues.

Conclusion:

By establishing a clear and comprehensive day-off policy, NAIA institutions can help ensure the well-being of their student-athletes. Institutions must carefully define, implement, and monitor this policy, providing transparency and a clear process for addressing any concerns.