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How to Stay Eligible in the NAIA

By Alaina Burris
On March 1, 2019

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Staying eligible for their sport is something many students struggle to do, especially freshman. High school eligibility rules are far different than the NAIA due to the different circumstances. However, no one competing at the collegiate level cares about high school eligibility, only what they need to do in order to compete.

To remain eligible within the NAIA, there are rules you must follow. It's not just making sure you're in the right amount of credit hours or maintain a certain GPA, but following a set of rules put in place to make sure everyone is treated fairly in their competition.

Here is what student athletes have to do to maintain eligibility:

  • They must be enrolled in at least 12 credit hours

  • They must maintain a 2.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale

  • They must maintain normal progress toward a baccalaureate degree

These are the rules put in place for ALL student athletes. Freshman athletes have their own set of rules. For freshman athletes, they are identified as students who have not been identified at any institution of higher learning for more than two semesters.

Freshmen must follow these rules to be eligible to compete:

  • They must have graduated from an accredited high school

  • Meet two of three requirements:

    • Minimum ACT score of 18 or SAT score of 860

    • Have a high school GPA at least at 2.000 on a 4.000 scale

    • Graduate in the top 50% of their class

Eligibility, however, doesn’t just stop at the freshman level. Every semester, they must maintain their eligibility. After the first semester, it follows as:

  • In the second semester, freshman must have passed 9 hours in the prior semester, but must have passed 12 hours to be able to compete

  • Be enrolled in a minimum of 12 credit hours

  • In the third semester, a student will have had to pass 24 credit hours

  • After the third semester, students must maintain a 2.0 GPA

Students are only allowed to compete in four seasons of competition in any sport. These four seasons can only be competed in the student’s first 10 semesters or 15 quarters. Students are charged with “competing” if they have any participation in an exhibition, including one pitch, play or second of competition.

Student athletes have to be recertified in eligibility each semester to be able to compete.

Some of these rules might be hard to follow, and if you’re struggling with any of them, speak with your coach to help get you on the right track.

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