OT: Ivy League to Limit Practice Time

Submitted by Zone Left on July 19th, 2011 at 11:54 PM

The new rules will be introduced as a growing amount of research suggests that limiting full-contact practices may be among the most practical ways of reducing brain trauma among football players. According to a study of three Division I college teams published last year in the Journal of Athletic Training, college players sustain more total hits to the head in practices than in games.

Really interesting stuff. Teams will only be able to hold one full-contact practice per week during the season. Hopefully it helps.

“I’m not sure there will be any dramatic changes, because the changes over the last few years for dealing with head hits have changed dramatically,” said Tim Murphy, the football coach at Harvard. “If we want young people to continue to fall in love with this great sport, we have to protect the athletes.”

Ed: Link (Sorry, I'm drunk)


Real Tackles Wear 77

July 20th, 2011 at 12:13 AM ^

Interesting how they exist almost completely separate from, but still within, the FCS. They don't allow scholarships, don't participate in postseason and generally play only amongst themselves and Patriot League schools...now they will be practicing less as well, setting them even further apart.


July 20th, 2011 at 2:09 AM ^

Who says you have to have five days of contact to get the job done?  What if players who only do a day of contact during the week end up fresher, especially at the end of the season?  Wayne Fontes didn't do a lot of contact toward the end of the season, and was ridiculed for it. Funny how Barry Sanders quit after one year of Booby Ross because of concerns for his physical health.  

I'm not so sure they need more than a day of contact.  If everybody did this, the product would look the same because everyone would be at the same level relative to other teams.  And it might prevent a lot of injuries and bring fresher bodies to the NFL.  Who would turn around and destroy them as they usually do.


July 20th, 2011 at 7:38 AM ^

It's precisely the fact that they are college athletes and need practice, particularly tackling/blocking practice, that requires hitting more. The NFL can get away with it more because of the elite nature of the athlete, and the fact that supposedly they already are good at it. If you want to see tackling in college become even worse (and we know about bad tackling around here lately don't we?) just implement these rules. And the whole "fresher" argument is silly, although I grant you many believe that. And please don't use any Wayne Fontes practices as support for your point.

Now, player safety is one thing, and if it wee proved that this would help it then it would be worth doing. But it can't be justified as a benefit to better football--because football will get worse. They almost never hit during the week in the NFL because of the philosophy you discussed, and the tackling, as any coach will tell you, has never been worse in the NFL than it is right now.


July 20th, 2011 at 1:24 PM ^

I don't disagree with you, but coaches have been complaining about the quality of tackling at every level of the game since the first time some meat packers and longshoremen lined up without helmets and ran into each other for a mushy ball.  I tend to think tackling has gotten worse in part because of a reduction in overall instruction/training, but also because the offensive players today are more athletic and, coupled with the increasingly-limited rules regarding acceptable tackling by defensive players, harder to take down.


July 20th, 2011 at 7:54 AM ^

Obviously the less you get hit the better so this kind of falls in the no shit department. Practice during the week in season really isn't a lot of hitting anyway. Usually film, 2 days of full practice in pads, and then gearing down into shorts and helmets for the walk through on Friday.In the two full pad practices, no one gets tackled usually and the front 7 and O-line are the only thing going live.


July 20th, 2011 at 8:12 AM ^

Strictly penalize players for leading with the helmet and you eliminate many concussions. I love football and want it to stay hard hitting, but there are too many unnecessary hits at the college and pro levels. Taking out the receiver after the ball has already gone past them is done to intimidate for the next play. I feel this type of play is unsporting and should be penalized heavily. Instead it is encouraged by the coaches and ignored by the referees. I believe that players often make plays that are disrespectful to their competitors and it is hurting the game. The helmet should never be used as a weapon and all unnecessary hits should be avoided.


July 20th, 2011 at 9:33 AM ^

Why don't they change the outer layer of helmets and shoulder pads to a more impact absorbent material - something like gel?  They would have to be replaced more frequently than hard plastic but it would reduce the number of injuries from using helmets and shoulder pads as weapons and force players to use better techniques in their play.


July 20th, 2011 at 11:27 AM ^

We should do what we can to protect athletes. Football is still fun and they aren't these guys:

Uri, vinciri, verberari, ferroque necari!


July 20th, 2011 at 1:36 PM ^

My understanding from the (limited) reports I've read on the topic say that most of the damage done to players as it relates to permanent brain damage arises from all of the "micro-hits" you receive throughout the game, not necessarily the one or two "Jacked-up" hits you see in the highlights.  So every time the ball is snapped and linemen hit each other, those collisions can lead to damage down the line (not surprisingly, linemen tend to show the worst effects after playing).  Same go for RBs and LBs if they tend to take a large number of hits.  So if a reduction in the number of contact practices both before and during the seasons actually takes place, I wouldn't be surprised if guys lasted longer in the NFL and had fewer debilitating injuries and brain trauma down the line, or at least the effects took longer to manifest.

And while it might be popular to knock the Ivies for barely being "college" football, I am inclined to give credence to whole schools full of pretty smart people coming to this conclusion, based on studies and concrete data and with fewer financial pressures, over the tried-and-true "walk it off" mentality you see displayed by big-conference teams where football is king.