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Year-Round Football Practice Contact Recommendations

The NCAA Sport Science Institute and leading scientific and sports medicine organizations have developed recommendations for athletics departments and coaches to use as they plan their year-round football practice sessions. These recommendations serve as an update from 2014 guidance and include additional recommendations for pre-season, inseason, postseason and spring practice.

To download the full Year-Round Football Practice Contact Recommendations interassociation consensus document, click here.

Recommendations

Preseason practice recommendations

Two-a-day practices are not recommended.  A second session of no helmet/pad activity may include walk-throughs or meetings; conditioning in the second session of activity is not allowed.

The preseason may be extended by one week in the calendar year to accommodate the lost practice time from elimination of two-a-days, and to help ensure that players obtain the necessary skill set for competitive play.

In any given seven days following the five-day acclimation period:

  • Up to three days of practice can be live contact (tackling or thud).
  • There should be a minimum of three non-contact/minimal contact practices in a given week.
  • A non-contact/minimal contact practice should follow a scrimmage.
  • One day should be no football practice.

Difference from the 2014 guidelines:

  1. Recommendation to discontinue two-a-day practices.
  2. Recommendation to allow an extension of the preseason by one week. This requires a legislative change if the pre-season begins one week earlier.
  3. Recommendation to reduce weekly live contact practices from four to three.
  4. Non-contact/minimal contact practice recommendations have been added.
  5. Non-contact/minimal contact practice recommendation the day following a scrimmage has been added.
  6. One day of no football practice recommendation has been added.
  7. Legislation 17.10.2.1. would need to be updated if the pre-season practice time begins one week earlier.
Inseason practice recommendations

Inseason is defined as the period between six days prior to the first regular-season game and the final regular-season game or conference championship game (for participating institutions).  In any given week:

  • Three days of practice should be non-contact/minimal contact.
  • One day of live contact/tackling should be allowed.
  • One day of live contact/thud should be allowed.

Difference from the 2014 guidelines:

  1. Recommendation to no longer allow two live contact/tackling days per week.
  2. Non-contactminimal contact recommendations have been added.
Postseason practice recommendations

NCAA Championships (Football Championship Subdivision/Division II/Division III), owl (Football Bowl Subdivision)

  • If there is a two week or less period of time between the final regular season game or conference championship game (for participating institutions) and the next bowl or postseason game, then inseason practice recommendations should remain in place.
  • If there is greater than two weeks between the final regular season game or conference championship game (for participating institutions) and the next bowl or postseason game, then:
    • Up to three days may be live-contact (two of which should be live contact/thud).
    • There must be three non-contact/minimal contact practices in a given week.
    • The day preceding and following live contact/tackling should be non-contact/minimal contact or no football practice. 
    • One day must be no football practice.

Difference from the 2014 guidelines:

  1. Current guidelines do not differentiate postseason/bowl practice from inseason practice.
Spring practice recommendations

(Divisions I and II)

Of the 15 allowable sessions that may occur during the spring practice season, eight practices may involve live contact (tackling or thud); three of these live contact practices may include greater than 50 percent live contact (scrimmages).  Live contact practices should be limited to two in a given week and should not occur on consecutive days.  The day following live scrimmage should be non-contact/minimal contact.

Difference from the 2014 guidelines:

  1. Non-contact/minimal contact practice recommendation the day following live scrimmage.
Year-Round Football Practice Contact Recommendations

These recommendations for NCAA football coaches include year-round football practice guidance that addresses student-athlete safety and head impact exposure.

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