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NCAA recommends reduced practice contact for D-I football

(Photo: www.theverge.com

The NCAA Division I Football Oversight Committee formally recommended Thursday that Division I programs reduce the number of “live-contact” practices from two to one per week during the season. The recommendation comes as the NCAA continues to find ways to make college football safer.

The practice guidelines take effect six days before each team’s 2016 regular-season opening game and run through the final regular-season game or conference championship game.

The Oversight Committee defines live-contact as only those practice sessions where players are taken to the ground. “Thud” sessions would not count toward the recommendation. “Thud” drills involve tacklers “wrapping up” ball carriers but not taking the player to the ground.

Live-contact practices are defined as any practice that involves live tackling to the ground and/or full-speed blocking. A live-contact practice may occur in full pad or half pad (also known as “shell,” in which the player wears shoulder pads and shorts, with or without thigh pads).

Players who do not compete in a game in a particular week will be allowed to participate in an additional live-contact practice to work on skill development and master proper techniques.

In anticipation of these guidelines, most Division I programs have changed their schedules to meet the recommendation. Ivy League coaches voted unanimously to eliminate full-contact practices during the regular season.

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