Amend Article I, Section G, Item 1 as follows:

  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.

. . .

  1. Each sport shall have a maximum 24-week practice and competition season established by each member institution. Frequency of play, practice and scheduling policies shall be applied only during the period of August 1 to May 15, pursuant to the following specifications. The start date specified is the earliest possible date on which any activity meeting the definition of a practice or competition may occur, though teams are free to choose a later date. Scrimmages and exhibitions are excluded and not subject to the start date for competitions.

Frequency of play, practice, and scheduling outside of this period is governed by each member institution and will not be regulated by the NAIA.

There shall be no more than three break periods during the 24 weeks. NAIA-approved postseason participation shall not be counted as part of the 24-week period. A week is defined as Monday (12:00 a.m.) through Sunday (11:59 p.m.). Any practice or competition during this period shall constitute one of the 24 weeks permitted.

As an exception, a team participating in NAIA-approved postseason shall not count practice activities towards the team’s 24-week season, as described below:

. . .


Amend Bylaws Article V, Section B, Item 18 as follows:

  1. Season of Competition:

a. Participation in more than 20% of the maximum allowable number of intercollegiate contests or dates (excluding scrimmages) at an NAIA institution, whether in a varsity, junior varsity or freshman program, during the 24-week season. Any participation in NAIA-approved postseason shall result in a season of competition. The NAIA shall count seasons of competition based on intercollegiate participation charged by another intercollegiate athletic association.

A student who participates in the following number of contests or dates during the 24-week season will be charged a season of competition.


Intent: To reduce maximum allowable contest limits in the sports of baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, softball, volleyball and wrestling; to institute start dates for practices in the sports of basketball, cross country, football, soccer, women’s volleyball and wrestling; and to institute start date for competition in the sports of baseball, basketball, cross country, football, soccer, softball, volleyball and wrestling.

Effective date: August 1, 2022

Submitted by: Athletic Directors Association

Co-sponsored by: Conference Commissioners Association, Council for Student-Athletes, Association of Student-Athletes


18 Responses to “21-B-03: Frequency of Play: Start Dates and Contest Limits”

  1. I once again welcome the opportunity to express my thoughts on reducing the number of baseball games from 55 to 50.
    I have been a head baseball coach in the NAIA for 33 years at 2 northern universities that were and are enrollment driven. I have never been able to play all 55 games due to weather so my perspective may mean little or a lot.
    i feel each institution should be allowed to decide how many baseball games they want to play. It helps in recruiting and retaining students and each institution knows what best for them.
    we hear about missed class time and budgets and i agree that can be an issue but that is an issue each each individual institution should monitor and decide.
    If i am over budget or my players are missing to much class time it is up to my AD or president to let me know to change things not the national association or leaders of other institutions.
    Each of our universities is different. let each determine what is the right number of baseball games for their university to play

  2. My thoughts on reducing baseball from 55 to 50 games:
    I personally do not like reducing the number of games as it is a selling point to potential recruits when comparing us (NAIA) colleges to the NCAA who are capped at 50 games. This gives us a slight advantage with recruits who see the importance of playing games and getting more opportunities. Five games doesn’t sound like a lot but to some potential recruits it could be the difference. If we reduce to 50 games, we lose out on the opportunites to play more and then we look too similar to NCAA.

  3. This decreases opportunity to develop a pitching staff and get arms ready before conference play starts. Decreases opportunity for non-league games to develop a roster and get back ups additional playing time. I completely disagree and would like to hear the rationale?

    • Chesney Sallee says:

      This proposal is the result of a broader study on NAIA regular season formats. For more information on the study and findings as a whole, please visit:

      Specific to baseball and the proposal to reduce the maximum amount of games available, this recommendation was due to a variety of factors. An analysis of games played over the last several years shows that the majority of baseball teams are consistently playing fewer than 50 games. It is also widely accepted that baseball teams in many areas of the country struggle with weather challenges as they try to begin seasons early in January or February to fit in a full schedule of 55 games, often leading to canceled games and a push to make-up games in March and April. Numerous challenges were associated with the high number of make-ups in March and April, including significant burden on both conference and campus staffs. Additional make-up games in April also coincides with the end of the semester and additional missed class time at that point in the term impacts student academic performance.

  4. R Pegg says:

    Really don’t see a valid rationale for these proposals. Individual schools can make decisions that best suite their circumstances financially and logistically. Reductions are never a win for student athletes. We need to keep every advantage we can over D2 and D3 programs. Let’s keep NAIA distinct and advantages.

  5. Chesney Sallee says:

    This proposal is coming from a two-year long study led by a task force of ADs and commissioners, working in collaboration with the Council of Faculty Athletics Representatives and Council for Student-Athletes. The study was designed to study the format and structure of NAIA regular seasons across all sports and focus on identified concerns like travel/hosting costs, student-athlete health and safety, student-athlete experience, academic performance and missed class time, and burden on campus support staff/faculty. You can see much more of the research and rationale here:

    • R Pegg says:

      Another major concern is opportunity for fall games that don’t count. Fall games use normal practice time and resources so no additional class time or budget is used. Has the study looked at moving the 5 games to the fall to be used as potential scrimmages. This could be a happy medium and potentially a win for all. Currently what the study doesn’t look at is the amount of scrimmages used to help get to that 55 games. Many times we have played about 50 games in the spring but used the other 5 in the fall. With the current format, the opportunity in the fall is eliminated without harming the spring season. A big big loss for all. Again, these fall scrimmages use NO RESOURCES outside of regular practice time. It adds a ton to the student athlete experience as well. Practicing against yourself for 4 months gets old. I highly encourage the folks who put this together to consider this.

      • Chesney Sallee says:

        This proposal specifically allows spring sports (like baseball and softball) to continue to conduct fall events as they do right now. It does not restrict those. The fall terms would be exempt from start date for spring practices/games (start date restricts when you could practice play once the winter/spring term has begun).

  6. As a former NAIA baseball player and a current NAIA Head Coach I would like to express my opinion on reducing the number of games from 55 to 50.

    As a baseball player coming out of high school one, if not the main reason, I chose NAIA baseball over all levels was because the amount of baseball I would have the chance to participate in (games and practices). I was recruited by all collegiate levels but in the end I chose NAIA baseball because the amount of baseball it offered. I compared it to Division 1 baseball but chose NAIA over D1 because it also gave me a better chance to play right away (in my opinion). In the end an opportunity to play as much baseball as D1 and a chance to play right away, it was an easy decision for me.

    The amount of baseball/athletics we are able to have at the NAIA level is an huge advantage in recruiting and attracting young men and women. Universities are a business and the best businesses have attributes and assets better than their competition. Why would we want to lose one of our assets?

    Student-athletes love their sports. Have these student-athletes been asked/polled if they would like the amount of games reduced? If they haven’t why not? I believe their answer would be a hard no.

  7. Chris McKim - Head Men's Volleyball Coach - Siena Heights University says:

    Curious as to why the start date in January for men’s volleyball would be changed? The season is already condensed in the spring to largely two months. I think most programs like competing on Saturday to avoid disrupting class. Eliminating two Saturdays in January seems counter productive. Unless there is a serious reason to make this change, please do not do this!

    Again, on the number of contest dates…why reduce at the national level? Allow individual institutions to make this decision. (that is generally why schools choose NAIA over NCAA- freedom)

  8. Mike Teague - Chair of ACAA, Associate AD, Compliance - Vanguard University says:

    One thing that I would like to understand is why this was not broken up into two separate proposals? It seems to make more sense to have one proposal focused on the contest limits, and a completely different proposal for the start dates, as these warrant differing conversations.

    In regards to the start dates, I believe that there are a few problems with this, but I will focus on one example. If I am reading this correctly then my Men’s Volleyball program, a Spring sport, would be allowed to start their practices, August 1st, before my Women’s Volleyball program (a Fall sport) is allowed to practice, 17 days prior to first allowable competition date, which is the 4th Thursday in August, so August 9, 2021.

    I believe that setting these arbitrary dates confuses more than it helps. Why not just set a specific date for the first date of competition for each season? I feel as though this has been overcomplicated, but I would love to understand the rationale behind it for more context.

    • Chesney Sallee says:

      That’s a great question, and one that was discussed by the Constitution & Bylaws Committee. Often we would separate a topic into multiple proposals if a voter might want to vote in favor of some parts but against others. Here, the entirety of the proposal works together, and the application would be skewed if part was adopted and part was denied. In other words, the sponsors created start dates, which then necessitated a reduction in contests in some sports to allow for enough opportunity to get the schedule in. To separate this into multiple proposals would have distorted the intention of what the sponsors were trying to achieve.

      One of the key responses received from presidents and ADs was that a significant burden is caused by teams returning to campus early in the fall, thus leading to start dates for practices/games in the fall. Throughout the study, the study group tried to balance addressing articulated pain points with providing for institutional autonomy. Here, that led the study group to create start dates for those sports where pain points exist, but not restrict all sports where pain points have not been voiced. In men’s volleyball, it wasn’t raised as an issue or even a common practice that an institution would bring a men’s volleyball team back early in the fall to practice, so the study group chose to leave this alone.

      You can hear more specific rationale discussed during the January Q&A on this topic here:

  9. Chase Teichmann - Head Men's Basketball Coach / Athletic Director - Florida College says:

    I do not support the reduced max competition for any sport, particularly basketball. If schools want to play fewer games, they can. But we should not mandate that they play less. Playing more games than division II is one of the things that separates us and is a recruiting tool we can use. Also I do not support the changes proposed to the practice timeline, I do not see anything wrong with the current legislation as is. Do not copy Division II, we are different and that is okay.

  10. Paul Knight - Head Baseball Coach - Middle Georgia State University says:

    I wanted to take this opportunity to share my thoughts on the reduction in allowable contests being proposed. From my understanding, this proposal is coming from a survey that was sent out to all NAIA schools regarding common practices, missed class time, academics, etc.

    I stand strong in my belief that an across the board, national reduction in games/dates is wrong and unnecessary. If an individual school wants to play less games, I believe that decision should be up to the individual school. It does not need to be a decision that is forced upon the entire NAIA. If the reasoning is budget, missed class time, or academic performance, again I believe that decision should be made by that individual school. Once the number of games is reduced, it will never be increased again. All our athletes work hard for the opportunity to compete in games, those opportunities should not be reduced. It is common that many schools are already playing less than the allowable limit. If the allowable limit is reduced, you should expect that many teams will be asked to play less than the new allowable limit. I also found it curious the study compares the NAIA proposed reduction to the NCAA Division II number of games. We are not the NCAA, nor should we try to be.

    Our athletes have worked extremely hard over this last year to play. It is very upsetting to me, that during the times of COVID and so many struggles, that a solution is to reduce the actual number of games athletes can play in. The games are the reward, the competitions are what athletes work so hard for, and to reduce that is wrong.

    I absolutely understand that every games costs money. Every game may affect a student’s time to study or be in class. I understand that enrollment and fees drives our budgets. So let’s find a way to make it work with the constraints that we have. In my opinion, supporting a reduction in allowable games shows reduced support of the student athletes desires. We should always speak out against the reduction of games. That is why students play their sport, to actually play.

    Unfortunately, as this proposal has gotten this far and may be voted on in the near future, I fear many will take this opportunity to support this reduction. If a school wants to, or has to play less games, let them make that decision. Athletes want to play.

  11. denney crabaugh - head baseball coach - oklahoma city university says:

    I must agree with the others in my opposition to reducing the number of baseball games. At a time when NAIA institutions are fighting for every student they can get, why would we want to take away an advantage in recruiting those students? Most NAIA institutions are enrollment driven, and many coaches have roster quotas set by their institutions that they must meet. More games translates into more opportunities for those players to play. The more opportunities to play also gives institutions a better chance of retaining their recruits. i totally agree that it is up to each institution to determine how many games they want their athletics programs to play, and missed class policies. i also believe that the number of games played, and classes missed is not automatically connected to academic performance. in 2004 we played 80 games on the year, 65 in the regular season, and had a team GPA of 3.37 with many business and science students. Athletic participation should never be used as an excuse for poor performance in the classroom. it’s up to coaches to establish a culture of academic expectations. I understand that one of the primary goals for athletes is to graduate, but i get tired of hearing the line that student-athletes are at their institution to get an education first and athletics come 2nd. i would love to see a survey of all athletes to see what their primary reason for choosing where they attended. i bet an overwhelming response would be because of the athletic program over the academic programs. academia should come to the understanding that a good percentage of their student population would not be there without the athletic programs. The NAIA should be doing things to enhance our chances of recruiting students, not take them away as the game limit proposal does.

  12. Matt Stepan - Athletic Director - Montana Technological University says:

    Men’s Volleyball can start August 1st but Women’s can’t start until later? I understand the “pain points” but this seems like an obvious potential Title IX issue to me.

    Additionally, this proposal seems to have a punitive negative affect on women’s volleyball. Not allowing games until late August takes the opportunity to play many contests before classes start. in order to continue to play close to the maximum number of games, schools will need to add many contests during the school year and will result in MANY more missed classes. This (in my opinion) is a greater issue than the financial implications.

    • Chesney Sallee says:

      Regarding the difference between men’s and women’s volleyball, the initial intention there was that as a spring sport men’s volleyball typically does not practice in August. While August 1 practice is currently allowable for all sports, is it highly uncommon for men’s VB (along with all other spring sports and some winter sports). So the thinking was that it isn’t a pain point that needs to be curbed and therefore we don’t need to adjust that limit as it seems to take care of itself naturally, whereas in women’s VB it is common to see those teams report to campus in early August and play immediately and that does cause pain points, so women’s volleyball was adjusted.

      That said, the sponsors have just introduced a friendly amendment to the proposal that would adjust the initial start dates for practices and games for all spring sports – including men’s VB – and the remaining winter sports to September 1.

      The friendly amendment also includes an adjustment in start dates for games for the sports of women’s VB and soccer to now permit games to occur on the 3rd Thursday in August, making that date 1 week earlier that originally proposed.

      These friendly amendments can be viewed on the convention legislation webpage now, and will be announced next week during the convention.

Leave a Reply