1. 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.

For a contest of any kind (i.e. scrimmage, exhibition, game/meet, etc.), once the contest has commenced the designation of the type of contest will be officially recorded as such, and the designation cannot be changed retroactively.

In the sports of baseball, cross country, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, indoor track, outdoor track, volleyball and wrestling, an institution is allowed one exhibition competition per season. In the sport of competitive cheer and dance, an institution is allowed one cheer exhibition competition and one dance exhibition competition per season. The competition must meet the definition of an exhibition under Article V, Section B, item 6 of the NAIA bylaws. The exhibition competition will count as one varsity game, contest or playing date within the limits stated above.

Exhibition competition is not allowed in the sport of football.

For the sport of basketball, an institution is allowed one or more exhibition competitions per season so long as the total number of games, exhibitions and scrimmages does not exceed 32. For the sport of basketball, an exhibition competition will not count as a varsity game.

EXCEPTION 1: In the sport of tennis, the Fall ITA regional and national singles and doubles tournaments shall not count towards the student’s playing limits.

EXCEPTION 2: In the sport of wrestling, participation in any of the following shall not count towards the student’s playing limits: US Senior Nationals (or the international equivalent), any competition in which a student represents USA wrestling (or the international equivalent), or participation in national or Olympic team trials or competition as a member of a national or Olympic team. To qualify for this exception, the student must meet one of the following criteria:

1. Current conference champion title holder;

2. Place at the most recent NAIA national invitational/championship; or

3. Previously qualified for a national team.

A student who has qualified for any of these events may practice with his or her NAIA coach(es) and one teammate per session prior to and during the event without counting towards the NAIA program’s 24-week season per Article I, Section G, Item 5.


Intent: To create an exception to the frequency of play limits and 24-week season for wrestling student-athletes who qualify for US Senior Nationals, national or Olympic team trials or participation or to represent USA wrestling in competition (or the international equivalents), and to allow the student to practice with their coach(es) and one teammate from their NAIA institution per practice session in preparation for the event.

Effective date: August 1, 2020

Submitted by: Women’s Wrestling Coaches Association

Co-sponsored by: Mid-South Conference


4 Responses to “20-B-03: Wrestling Frequency of Play Exception”

  1. Jim Abbott says:

    I like the idea of this proposal. To be honest, I think we should allow any type of “National” or “International” competition as long as it is amateur in nature. This is one area that has suffered from the competitive experience legislation that was passed several years ago. We should celebrate students that play in the Olympics or participate with their National team…not charge them a season of competition for it.

    It’s unfortunate that this proposal has to include so many qualifiers related to past performance in my opinion.

  2. I’m confused as to why we would set a limit on how much prior success the student-athlete must have in order to qualify for the exception. All USA wrestling events should be looked at as exempt from the NAIA frequency of play limits.
    In comparison to NCAA D1, D2, and NJCAA, we will be the only division that eliminates the ability to compete unattached. That also means, for freshman who are not wishing to use their initial season of eligibility, they will be able to compete in many less events than they would if they were to attend any of these other three divisions.
    We will also be the ONLY division in college wrestling that will count USA Wrestling freestyle and Greco competitions against them if they don’t qualify for one of the exemptions.
    To say you must be a returning conference champion or all-American or national team member is not giving equality to all the athletes. It would make more sense to say if it is an event sponsored by USA wrestling, it should not count towards your frequency of play.
    The 20% rule is great for every sport except for wrestling, because we are one of the few that really utilizes the unattached criteria. We are now cutting back the amount of times a freshman wishing to save their eligibility can compete, and then by counting USA wrestling events against them, we are making that number even smaller.
    This will have a huge negative impact on recruiting against the other divisions in our sport.
    My solution: keep the 20% rule, but make the maximum number of competitions in wrestling 30.
    Make all USA Wrestling sponsored events exempt from the frequency of play numbers.
    Keep in mind that men’s and women’s wrestling are different and the men are not competing freestyle during the season. USA wrestling events are literally a different sport and different rule set. They should not be included in our regular season rules.

  3. KP says:

    Instead of all the exceptions and keeping track of the practice partner and the title holders (which hurts younger SA’s), it would be easier to have wrestling, especially women’s wrestling as a single semester sport. Many of the events are in the spring. Even with senior nationals being in December, this is all doable within the playing limits, the 24 weeks and you can give more SA’s opportunity to participate in these types of events. With other proposed legislation in regards to elite competition, students can have an opportunity to both represent their schools and countries.

  4. I like this idea and like Jim, feel our current rules punish student athletes who are good enough to represent the USA. I don’t see why the wrestlers have to have the 3 criteria.

    What if they are selected to represent but don’t meet one of the 3? Now your punshing them, and the institution.

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