Last Thursday, the Power Five Conferences announced a proposal to allow Division I athletes more time off during the academic year. The proposal would allow student-athletes an additional 21 days off during the academic year.
“We believe we have found the right balance between helping students participate in sports while also providing them with more down time,” the commissioners of the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, PAC-12 and SEC said in a joint statement. “Different sports have different demands and we think the concepts we’ve agreed to will help tens of thousands of students achieve more balance as they pursue their academic and athletic commitments.”
According to ESPN, currently, athletes are generally limited during the school year to 20 “countable hours” toward their sports per week, with one day off. That would change if the new proposal is voted into law.
Under the new proposal, after the postseason is over, student athletes would be required to have a week off (seven consecutive days) without any sports activities to recover from the season.
During the academic year, this new rule would allow student-athletes an opportunity to participate in other collegiate activities. Each student would be provided with at least an additional 14 days off during the academic year. The off days could take place during the sports season or outside the season, but must be taken during the academic year.
During the sports season, the new proposal would ensure that every student athlete has at least one-day off per week free from sports activity, including travel time, during the sports season.
Student athletes would also need to have an eight-hour period overnight free of sports activities overnight.
How does this affect Division I college hockey? No one knows yet because the proposal has yet to be voted on. The proposal would still need to be submitted to the NCAA, so it can be voted on during the January 2017 NCAA meetings. If the agreement passes, it could take affect as early as the 2017-18 season.
Josh Fenton, Commissioner of the National College Hockey Conference believes that smaller conferences would adopt the new rules. It’s also possible that NCAA rules committee would approve these rules for all sports. As more information emerges about this proposal, updates will be provided.
Eric is a 1996, 1999 graduate of the University of North Dakota. Eric covers the University of North Dakota Hockey and Division I college hockey. Eric is the Contributing Editor for Inside Hockey.