NAIA won't charge fall, winter athletes with competition season

Nebraska City News-Press

The NAIA's Council of Presidents (COP) Executive Committee met Wednesday, Nov. 4, and voted not to charge fall and winter student-athletes a season of competition for the 2020-21 academic year.

This decision was based on a survey of conferences and reflects the majority feedback. Of the 19 conferences that responded, 12 were in favor of removing the 50% rule, four were in favor of keeping the 50% rule, and three were divided in their position.

"Due to the constraints that COVID-19 has imposed on collegiate athletics, most of our conferences believed it was in the best interest of our fall and winter student-athletes to not charge a season of competition this year," said NAIA President and CEO Jim Carr. "Many factors were taken into account, but the underlying consideration was relieving pressure on both student-athletes, as well as institutions, as they continue to navigate the fall and winter seasons."

This was a similar decision made by the NAIA last spring after the initial battle with the coronavirus as the spring sport student-athletes were given an additional year of competition.

Peru State men's basketball head coach Bob Ludwig lauded the decision. Ludwig tweeted, "Huge!! Hats off to the NAIA on making the right decision here. Our student-athletes are dealing with unprecedented circumstances."

Wayne Albury, Peru State's athletic director and also head baseball coach, was pleased with the decision. Albury commented, "I believe the NAIA made the correct decision given the circumstances. Having had our spring sport season basically wiped out last year and now seeing how Covid-19 has impacted our fall sports, I commend the association for making this decision."

Recently, the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) voted to not charge a season of competition for its student-athletes for the entire year. A similar decision was made by NCAA earlier this summer/fall with certain variables based on each level.

The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., is a governing body of small athletics programs that are dedicated to character-driven intercollegiate athletics. NAIA members provide more than 77,000 student-athletes with opportunities to play college sports, earn $800 million in scholarships and compete in 27 national championships.