NCAA makes another rule change

In a move that some may call the NCAA out on being hypocritical, it has taken away the student-athletes guaranteed day off during their regular season.

The NCAA has put forth maximum effort to make it known that the student-athletes are sure to have one day off during the week in-season, but the NCAA is instituting a rule change that will allow Division I member schools to require their athletes to work up to 24 days in a row with receiving one day off.

The rule goes into effect August 1.

The rule change was proposed last August by the Sun Belt Conference and allows the schools to take away the athletes guaranteed one day off per week if a school both (a) schedules three-regular season games in a given week and (b) provides the athletes with two days off in either the previous week or the following week.

The rule changes does not reduce the total number of off-days for student athletes over the length of the season, but it allows an NCAA Division I member school to develop a 28-day cycle in which student-athletes could technically be given off the first and second days of the cycle or the 27th and 28th days of the period.

This would mean that the student-athletes would have to work, in the hypothetical case, 24 straight days from the second day to the 27th.

How are the student-athletes supposed to have time to focus on academics?

Twenty-four straight days of practice, games, team meetings, etc., mean that the student-athletes may not have a full day of studying for any number of exams, projects, etc.

And how about recovery time for the student-athletes?

If coaches put their players through “x” amount of days in a row of games and practices, they will not be receiving the time needed to recovery physically because of workouts, games and traveling.

A pair of local student-athletes are competing at the Division I level. Geibel Catholic grad and Smock native Emily Zimcosky, who recently transferred to Liberty University from Ohio University, swims and Belle Vernon Area grad Kaitlyn Slagus plays basketball at Bucknell.

“I can see this topic is a bit of a double-edged sword with both pros and cons,” Zimcosky said. “In one sense, you are making a promise as a student-athletes to the team to do whatever is best to lead to success and it gives us an extra day to get ahead and to really dedicate ourselves to the sports we love.”

“Some may view this rule as negatively taking away the balance that collegiate sports need, diminishing focus on both sport and athletics and making it too much like professional sports,” continued Zimcosky. “Our contract, or our National Letter of Intent, shows commitment to both education and sport.

“However, most college coaches know how to run their programs, have studied the sport for many years, and know what it takes to be successful.

“When rules like this comes up, collegiate athletes must trust their coaches will balance out their training and rest in order to lead the team to overall success.”

“Although the rule change that the NCAA made will make it harder on us athletes, it will ultimately be up to the coaches if they decide to implement it,” said Slagus. “I think coaches should be smart enough to measure how their team is doing academically and how the team’s health is.

“Coaches will now have to decide whether the extra day of practice and no day off will help or hurt the team in the long run.”

“For us, we use our off day to get into the training room and work with our athletic trainer in making sure that we were properly taking care of our bodies,” Slagus said of the Bucknell women’s basketball program. “Hopefully, coaches will understand that these recovery days were just as important as practicing.”

One thing coaches could do is schedule an extra film day along with extra study time so it would not be an issue in terms of physical activity.

A feel good moment

Speaking of players being on scholarship and putting in an inordinate amount of time to work on their craft while having to worry about their grades, a video was released Tuesday showing Penn State football coach James Franklin rewarding long snapper Kyle Vasey with a scholarship.

The video can be found all over the internet, including at, and it shows Franklin calling the team in for a brief meeting.

As you will see in the video, Franklin tells the team that he has a few things to cover, and then asks the players who on the team has jobs.

Several players raised their hands, and then Franklin asked Vasey how many hours a week he works.

I won’t spoil the details, but the video, much like ones provided by other schools all over the country, gave me chills.

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This article was selected for educational purposes only.




Jennifer M. Condaras
Deputy Commissioner, NCAA Relations & Administration
Colonial Athletic Association
Categories: Compliance

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