NCAA Updates Football Safety Rules

The NCAA recently made legislation changes that affect student-athletes looking to play collegiate football. These changes go into effect immediately. Here’s what you need to know about the changes being made at each division level.

Division I

The Division I football committee approved changes to their preseason rules to improve safety.

This changes the preseason practice period for Division I in two ways:

  1. Full contact (tackling to the ground) is limited to no more than 75 minutes in one practice period. This does not include scrimmages.
  2. Full contact practices are prohibited from occurring on consecutive days.

The remaining rules for spring football remain unchanged and can be found on the NCAA website.

Division II

The Division II council now prohibits certain football drills that may increase the probability of head impact exposure and do not simulate game-like scenarios. The prohibited activities include drills that encourage straight-line contact. The Division II council is considering additional changes to its preseason model. These decisions are based off of data which shows that preseason football could lead to more concussions and head impact exposure.

This changes the preseason practice period for Division II in three ways:

  1. The acclimatization period has been moved from five days to seven, with one required day off.
  2. The number of full contact practices has been reduced from 17 to nine to establish limits on the amount of contact.
  3. The restriction on the number of football student-athletes that may engage in skill instruction has been eliminated.
Division III

 Division III passed similar legislation to improve football safety. The council addressed concerns regarding head impact exposure in football by reducing overall contact in both the preseason and traditional season while increasing opportunities to teach appropriate blocking and tackling techniques. 

This changes the preseason practice period for Division III in three ways

  1.  The acclimatization period has been extended from five to six days. 
  2. A maximum of eight practices in full pads is allowed.
  3.  There are contact limitations of no more than 75 minutes of contact per day and no more than two consecutive days of full contact. 

This legislation allows student-athletes to wear helmets on all 16 days of the spring period.

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