Athletic Eligibility

NAIA Eligibility Requirements

All incoming freshman must register with the NAIA eligibility center. The eligibility center can be found at


This handbook contains three sections. The first section is taken from the NAIA's homepage. This section presents the eligibility standards for any student athlete at an NAIA institution. Violation of these standards involves serious consequences for the individual student athlete and for the entire institution and its athletic program.

The second section of this handbook are the eligibility standards for student athletes at St. Ambrose University. The standards for participation in intercollegiate athletics at St. Ambrose University are, in general, higher than the NAIA standards. This is particularly true for the first two years of college attendance.

The third section of this handbook repeats the standards for Satisfactory Progress which are in the St. Ambrose University catalog. Satisfactory Progress is related to the eligibility of students at St. Ambrose for financial aid and not directly related to athletic eligibility.




The first section of this handbook is a statement of the NAIA Eligibility Regulations. This material is taken from the home page of the NAIA.


1. A STUDENT-ATHLETE MUST, if an entering freshman*, meet two of three entry level requirements.

* An entering freshman is defined as a student who upon becoming identified with an institution has not been previously identified with an institution(s) of higher learning for two semesters or three quarters (or equivalent).

a. Achieve a minimum of 18 on the ACT or 860 on the SAT. The ACT/SAT test must be taken on a national testing date and certified to the institution prior to the beginning of the term in which the student initially participates. Tests must be taken on a national testing date (residual tests are not acceptable). Scores must be achieved on a single test.

b. Achieve a minimum overall high school grade point average of 2.000 on a 4.000 scale.

c. Graduate in the top half of their high school graduating class.

2. A STUDENT-ATHLETE MUST be making normal progress toward a recognized baccalaureate degree and maintain the grade points required to remain a student in good standing, as defined by the institution the student-athlete is attending.

3. A STUDENT-ATHLETE MUST be enrolled in 12 institutionally approved or required credit hours at the time of participation. Should participation take place between terms, the student-athlete must have been identified the term immediately preceding the date of participation.

4. A STUDENT-ATHLETE MUST, if a second term freshman, have accumulated nine degree or required credit hours BEFORE identification for the second term of attendance.

5. A STUDENT-ATHLETE MUST have accumulated a minimum total of 24 institutional, or required, credit hours the two immediately previous terms of attendance. Up to 12 institutional credit hours earned during the summer and/or non-term may be applied to meet the 24-hour rule, provided such credit is earned AFTER one of the two immediately previous terms of attendance. However, if you are transferring from a two-year institution, and if you have not been identified with an institution of higher learning for more than five semesters or seven quarters, have never been identified with a four-year institution, and have met graduation requirements for an associate degree from a junior college, you may be exempt from the 24-hour rule for the first term you are at a NAIA member institution. You must have passed all hours required for graduation in the term in which graduation occurred, and in the last two terms of attendance you must have needed fewer than 24 hours to complete graduation requirements.

6. A STUDENT-ATHLETE MAY NOT count repeat courses previously passed in ANY term toward the 24-hour rule.

7. A STUDENT-ATHLETE MUST be eligible in their own conference.

8. A STUDENT-ATHLETE MUST, if a transfer student from a four-year institution, have eligibility remaining at the institution from which the student-athlete is transferring to be eligible for further intercollegiate competition.

9. A STUDENT-ATHLETE MUST, if a transfer student having ever participated in intercollegiate athletics at a four-year institution, reside for 16 consecutive calendar weeks (112 calendar days), not including summer sessions, at the transferred institution before becoming eligible for intercollegiate competition in any sport in which the student-athlete participated while attending the previous four-year institution. Exceptions to the 16 calendar weeks' residency will be explained by the institution's faculty athletics representative.

10. A STUDENT-ATHLETE MUST be within their first 10 semesters, 12 trimesters, or 15 quarters of attendance as a regularly enrolled student. A term of attendance is any semester, trimester or quarter in which the student-athlete enrolls for twelve or more institutional credit hours and attend any class. (Summer sessions are not included, but night school, extension or correspondence courses are applicable to this ruling.)

11. A STUDENT-ATHLETE MUST, upon reaching junior academic standing as defined by the identified institution, have a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.000 on a 4.000 scale as certified by the institutional registrar.

12. A STUDENT-ATHLETE MUST, to participate the second season in a sport, have accumulated at least 24 semester/36 quarter institutional credit hours.

13. A STUDENT-ATHLETE MUST, to participate the third season in a sport, have accumulated at least 48 semester/72 quarter institutional credit hours.

14. A STUDENT-ATHLETE MUST, to participate the fourth season in a sport, have accumulated at least 72 semester/108 quarter institutional credit hours. These hours must include at least 48 semester/72 quarter hours in general education and/or their major field of study.

15. A STUDENT-ATHLETE MUST, to participate the third and/or fourth season in a sport, have and maintain a total cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0 on a 4.0 scale.

16. A STUDENT-ATHLETE MAY NOT participate for more than four seasons in any one sport. A season of competition is defined as participation in one or more intercollegiate contests, whether a freshman, junior varsity or varsity participant or in any other athletic competition in which the institution, as such, is represented during a sport season.

17. Should the student-athlete participate for two different institutions in the same sport, in the same academic year (example-basketball or fall golf at a junior college and then transfer to an NAIA school and participate in basketball or spring golf), the student-athlete shall be charged with a second season of competition in that sport unless the student-athlete earned an associate degree at a junior college in the term immediately preceding the transfer.

18. A STUDENT-ATHLETE MUST be an amateur, as defined by the NAIA, in the sport(s) in which the student-athlete participates. They should see the athletics director or faculty athletics representative for all amateur regulations as printed in the NAIA Bylaws.

HARDSHIPS deal only with seasons of competition. A hardship request is a request for an exception to the season of competition regulation. The NAIA does not recognize a hardship granted by the NJCAA. If the student-athlete were granted a hardship at a previous (non-NAIA) institution, the request must be resubmitted by an NAIA institution. Hardship requests will be considered only if the following criteria are met.

1. The injury or illness is beyond the control of the student-athlete and/or coach, and incapacitates the student-athlete from competing further during the season. Verification by an M.D. or D.O. is required.

2. The athlete shall not have participated in more contests or dates than the Association's allowable number in any sport recognized by the NAIA during the school year. Contact a member institution for the number per sport.

3. Participation after being examined by a physician and before receiving written medical clearance shall nullify hardship consideration.

Remember, athletes, as well as member institutions, are responsible for knowing and abiding by NAIA rules and regulations as outlined in the NAIA OFFICIAL HANDBOOK. Violations of any eligibility regulations by them, as an athletes, shall:

1. make the student-athlete ineligible, resulting in their immediate withdrawal from intercollegiate competition in that sport for that season;

2. find the student-athlete charged with a season of competition and a term of attendance for participating;

3. cause an investigation by the NAIA National Eligibility Committee that could charge the student-athlete with a second season of participation or the loss of all future eligibility for playing while ineligible;

4. disallow any honors, or consideration of such honors, awarded by the NAIA; and

5. cause their institution to forfeit all contests in which the student-athlete participated.



The second part of this handbook specifies the eligibility policy as set forth by the Athletic Board of St. Ambrose University.

For the purpose of insuring proper academic focus and success within the athletic program, the following participation parameter is placed upon all student athletes over and above the minimum standards of the national organization with which the University is affiliated.

1. Any athlete admitted with a high school or transfer GPA of less than 2.00 will not be allowed to participate until they have achieved a 2.00 cumulative GPA.

2. The student athlete will maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.00 in order to participate in game competition.

3. Freshman athletes that achieve a 1.75 to 1.99 GPA at the completion of their first semester at St. Ambrose University must sign a learning contract with the Student Success Center. Such student will be allowed one semester to achieve a cumulative 2.00 GPA and may participate in sports during that semester.

4. The second semester that a student athlete would fall below the minimum GPA required for participation would place that student in jeopardy of losing his/her athletic scholarship aid, if any is involved.

5. Failure to achieve a 2.00 semester GPA in consecutive terms will result in a loss of eligibility unless an appeal is approved by the Athletic Board committee.

6. The Athletic Board will serve as a Board of Appeal for the exceptional cases that bear unusual circumstances or hardship regarding SAU athletic eligibility criteria. Such a case may be sponsored by the Athletic Director, Coach, or individual student. To pursue an appeal, a student athlete needs to complete the following Petition Form.

12 Hour Course Load: Please also remember a student athlete needs to be carrying at least 12 hours a semester in order to be eligible for play. If they drop below this course load, they are no longer eligible for play. Should they continue to participate in their sport, then their team is also no longer eligible for tournament play and they forfeit all games won while the player was ineligible.

This part of the handbook specifies the form for a St. Ambrose University student-athlete in applying to the Athletic Board to appeal eligibility. The Athletic Board cannot waive any eligibility standard of the NAIA. The form for the agreement in granting the appeal is also given.



The last section of this eligibility handbook specifies Satisfactory Progress as set forth by the Board of Studies. The current St. Ambrose University catalog contains this material. Satisfactory Progress determines the ability of the student to receive institutional financial aid and to remain a student enrolled at St. Ambrose University. Satisfactory Progress does not necessarily allow a student to participate in intercollegiate athletics during their freshman and sophomore years.

All undergraduate students are expected to maintain satisfactory progress toward a degree. Satisfactory progress is defined by the following scale:

Students whose academic performance falls below these standards will be reviewed at the end of each semester by the Board of Studies, which may recommend probation or dismissal. Probation is a proving period during which a student's continuance at St. Ambrose is in jeopardy. While on probation, students are limited to 13 credits per semester, with allowances made to take as many as 15 credits with the support of the student's academic advisor. Generally, a full time student will only be allowed to remain on probation for two consecutive semesters, and will either have the designation removed ( if they have made satisfactory progress toward their degree ) or will be dismissed. Students who progress is notably poor may be dismissed without being placed on probation.

A student who has been academically dismissed may be considered for readmission after one full semester has passed. A summer session does not constitute a full semester.

New students who are accepted in with "Provisional Admission" are considered to be on probation during their first semester at St. Ambrose.

Students may appeal an action by the Board of Studies. The student has the right to represent themselves and their petition, though may choose to make their case through written petition only. In either case, a completed petition must be submitted. Appeals must be initiated through consultation with the Registrar and follow the procedure outlined below:

Step 1. Obtain a petition from the Registrar.  (Click here to get the online petition)

Step 2. Fill out the petition completely.

Step 3. Submit petition online to the Registrar for scheduling at the next meeting of the Board of Studies.