Stuart McNair

Alabama and other SEC schools will abide by new football safety rules

Nick Saban doesn’t like idea of making college football season longer

The old guys will be polishing off their stories of the tough times of college football. The practices of yore will have been longer and bloodier, participants barely able to drag themselves from the practice field to the training room, only to have to go it again – only harder – the next day. For months on end.

That’s because Alabama and its fellow members of the Southeastern Confeerence will adopt erecent practice recommendations set forth by the NCAA Sports Science Institute in the sport of football.

The recommendations outline parameters specific to practices conducted during the pre-season, in-season, post-season, and spring segments.

And while the old boys of college football describe with great imagination the horrors of days gone by on rock-hard, grassless practice fields, there is no question that the recommendations result in practices more suited to a game made more violent by bigger, faster, stronger players.

The SEC’s athletics directors, presidents, and chancellors were unanimous in supporting the recommendations.

The recommendations set forth by the NCAA Sports Science Institute established parameters for planning year-round football practice sessions, including the reduction of live-contact practices during the preseason and regular season.

In a related development, the NCAA Division I Council recently voted to restrict schools nationwide from conducting multiple contact practices a day in the preseason, eliminating two-a-day practices for student-athletes.  This was a recommendation of the NCAA Sports Science Institute and will be implemented nationwide, with schools able to begin preseason practice one week early to replace the two-a-day practices.

“We believe these measures will enhance the health and safety procedures SEC universities have already established to support their football programs,” SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said.  “Student-athlete well-being will always be a priority for SEC member institutions and, as the NCAA Sports Science Institute has developed and provided guidance on the structure for football practice, everyone associated with this great sport must continue to adapt to keep the game safe while played at the highest competitive level.”

Although Alabama Coach Nick Saban supports the steps taken in the interest of player safety, he expressed some skepticism about lengthening a college football season that already stretches from early August through early January.

Each SEC institution will be responsible for the implementation and adherence to the recommendations.


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