NCAA aims for less contact in preseason football practice

FILE - Washington quarterback Sam Huard, right, drops to pass next to quarterback Dylan Morris, left, during the first day of NCAA college football practice in Seattle, in this Wednesday, April 7, 2021, file photo. The NCAA football oversight committee is preparing to recommend changes to preseason camp that will include fewer fully padded practices and the elimination of some old-school collision drills. The football oversight committee 's initial proposal called for at least nine of a team's 25 preseason practices to be run with players wearing helmets but no other pads, and no more than eight fully-padded, full-contact practices. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
FILE - Washington quarterback Sam Huard, right, drops to pass next to quarterback Dylan Morris, left, during the first day of NCAA college football practice in Seattle, in this Wednesday, April 7, 2021, file photo. The NCAA football oversight committee is preparing to recommend changes to preseason camp that will include fewer fully padded practices and the elimination of some old-school collision drills. The football oversight committee 's initial proposal called for at least nine of a team's 25 preseason practices to be run with players wearing helmets but no other pads, and no more than eight fully-padded, full-contact practices. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

The NCAA football oversight committee is preparing to recommend changes to preseason camp that will include fewer fully padded practices and the elimination of some old-school collision drills.

The latest move to scale back contact in practice comes in response to a five-year study involving six major college football teams that found more head impact exposure and concussions happened in preseason practice than during games.

The committee's initial proposal called for at least nine of a team's 25 preseason practices to be run with players wearing helmets but no other pads, and no more than eight fully-padded, full-contact practices. That proposal went out to NCAA membership for feedback two weeks ago.

The committee is scheduled to meet again Thursday. West Virginia athletic director Shane Lyons, the chairman of the committee, said the plan is to hand over a final recommendation for a new preseason model for the Division I Council to consider at its May 19 meeting.

If passed, the new model would go into effect this year.

Lyons refers to the model as 9-8-8: eight days of players practicing in helmets and shoulder pads with no live tackling to the ground, nine days in just helmets and no more than eight full-contact days. The current proposal would also limit full-contact practices to no more than two consecutive days.

“We're trying to provide as much flexibility within the model as possible and not dictate what days they get to do what, and give each coach the ability to coach how they want to,” Lyons said. “But then also limit the number of contacts that we currently have from a direct hit, head-to-head contacts that you currently have in practices.”

During live-tackling practices, no more than 90 minutes of full contact will be permitted under the initial proposal.