In a move designed to lessen the risk of concussion, football players in NCAA Division I programs will no longer have two-a-day contact practices during the preseason.
That was one of a number of proposals approved Friday by the NCAA Division I Council during meetings in Indianapolis, the group also approved a number of changes in the recruiting model and signed off on allowing Division I programs to add a 10th assistant coach beginning next January.
The changes in the practice structure endorse a plan created by the NCAA Sport Science Institute that eliminates multiple contact practices on the same day.
Instead, a single day may include a single, three-hour on-field practice session and a walk-through. During the walk-through session, contact work is prohibited as is wearing helmets and pads.
The walk-through sessions also cannot include conditioning work and in the Football Championship Subdivision are limited to two hours in the length.
The change also requires three continuous hours of recovery time between the on-field practice and the walk-through session although meetings, film review, medical treatment and meals are allowed during the recovery time period.
Those changes are designed to lessen the risk of concussions, heat illness and overuse injuries and create appropriate recovery time between practice sessions.
The recruiting rules changes have been sought by a number of coaches as recruits commit earlier and earlier to college programs.
The new legislation, which is still subject to the approval of the NCAA Division I Board of Directors, creates a December early signing period and allows recruits to take paid official visits between April and June during their junior year of high school.
It also limits programs to signing 25 players in a single recruiting class and prohibits schools from hiring an individual who has been working as a coach of a recruit’s high school program.
Bob Bowlsby, Big 12 commissioner and former Iowa director of athletics, chairs the NCAA Football Oversight Committee and he called the recruiting changes a significant step forward.
“The entire package of rule changes is friendly for students, their families and their coaches,’’ Bowlsby said in a statement announcing the changes. “We will continue to monitor the recruiting environment to make sure the rules work as intended and we will suggest adjustments when necessary.’’