NCAA Considers Less Contact in College Football Preseason

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The NCAA said it could be making changes to the college football preseason that include fewer fully-padded practices and eliminating “unneeded contact.”

The NCAA said on Thursday the proposed changes are intended to protect the health and safety of student-athletes while providing the opportunity to prepare them for the football season.

The recommended changes, per the NCAA, include:

  • Prohibiting drills that create unneeded contact, particularly straight-line contact that is not common to the game.
  • Reducing the maximum number of contact practices from 21 to 18, requiring at least seven helmet-only days (with optional spider pads) and restricting full-pads days to nine.
  • Increasing the acclimatization period from five to seven days.
  • Additional limits on full-contact practices, including no more than two consecutive full-contact practices, a total of no more than 75 minutes of full-contact within any practice session and no more than two scrimmages in the preseason.

The committee will also recommend an annual education requirement to help coaches and staff on campus understand the new requirements and the reasons for the changes.

Mark Harlan, Utah athletics director, led the subcommittee that developed the recommendations — the group had members from the Football Oversight Committee, Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports and the American Football Coaches Association board of directors, the NCAA said in a news release.

“The challenge in creating this model was to balance the need for a reduction in contact with preparing student-athletes properly to play a football season,” Harlan said. “The framework achieves this and allows coaches appropriate freedom and flexibility.”

The NCAA Division I Football Oversight Committee will ask the Division I Council to consider the recommendations at its May 19 meeting — if passed, the changes would go into effect this season.

Written by Megan Turner

Megan graduated from the University of Central Florida and writes and tweets about anything related to sports. She replies to comments she shouldn't reply to online and thinks the CFP Rankings are absolutely rigged. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

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  1. How is limiting preseason contact going to help prepare a player for the season? Apparently no one on the subcommittee watched the BYU-Navy game last year. In preseason the drills can at least be controlled contact. Once the live action starts there are no controls.

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