NAIA Transfer Rules- how the transfer release aids student-athletes.

Recently, the college sports news has been dominated with transfer notices of NCAA athletes. But many viewers may not be aware that college athletics is made up of more than just the NCAA. College athletes also includes the NAIA and NJCAA. While these organizations share similarities in processes there are some distinct differences in certain procedures. Today, lets look at the transfer rules of the NAIA. 

To begin, the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) is comprised of 65,000 student athletes, 250 member colleges,  with21 conferences and over $600 million in scholarship money. In total NAIA athletics compete for 26 different championships. Having 65,000 student athletes naturally assures that there will be transfers.  And the reason for transfers varies. An athlete can transfer from one school to another such as JC to NAIA, NAIA to NAIA or NCAA to NAIA. The reasons also vary as athletes often decide to transfer because of competitive, academic, or even personal preference.  So what is the process for transferring in the NAIA? 

The change to the NAIA transfer rules seems to have shifted more control over the academic and athletic experience to the student athlete. 

According to the NAIA a transfer is defined as, “A student who becomes identified with an NAIA institution after having previously been identified with a two- or four-year institution of higher learning.”  So then, for an athlete to transfer the student much complete the official NAIA Transfer Player Eligibility Statement prior to their first participation at the NAIA institution no matter how long ago the transfer occurred. The athlete must also request a written release from the previous college before being able to compete at the subsequent college.

Additionally, the NAIA also has residency regulations for transfer. The Play NAIA websites states residency requirements for transfers determine how soon an athlete can compete once transferring from a four-year college or two year college. Assuming that the athete meets the academic requirements including minimum GPA of 2.0, an athete transferring from a 4 year college must wait 16 weeks to participate unless a waiver is granted. However, an athlete transferring from a 2-year college to an NAIA college is does not have a waiting penalty. 

Similar to the NCAA, new legislation regarding approving the release of a student athlete took shape in August 2018. The change stated that if the written release request had not warranted a response within 30 days the written release would be automatically approved.  This new change comes to the aid of the student athlete by prohibiting colleges from blocking or delaying the transfer of student-athletes wanting to move on to compete at another college. The August 2018 change to the NAIA transfer rules seems to shift more control over the academic and athletic experience to the student athlete. 

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