Courtesy of the American Football Coaches Association
NASHVILLE, TENN. (Jan. 11, 2017) – At the conclusion of the 2017 American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Convention, and after having met with all the different levels of college football coaches, AFCA Executive Director Todd Berry released the following proposals that the AFCA supports.
“The first thing is the stance of the coaches, regardless of level, of what has been forwarded by the NCAA Division I Football Oversight Committee to the NCAA Division I Council for next week’s NCAA Convention, which is the recruiting model. The AFCA is not in support of the current model. The AFCA is proposing that the NCAA consider the third Wednesday in December as another signing date without any caveats attached. The coaches feel like this would give them time to evaluate what a multiple signing date would do to football, especially in terms of recruiting and the impact on student-athletes.
Knowing that many of these proposals are intertwined, the camp model is one our Board of Trustees supported in May 2016 and then forwarded on to the Division I Oversight Committee. We appreciate the Oversight Committee listening to our coaches, and especially our Board. The coaches at the convention also supported the camp model because it gives prospective student-athletes the exposures they are looking for, and it also returns some quality of life to those student-athletes by adding an extra week to the dead period. This also creates opportunities to our coaches in the sense that they will be able to actively engage in the recruiting process during that time frame.
The next proposal of the Oversight Committee is the IAWP legislation. All the coaches were in agreement that the Individual Associated With a Prospect needed to be defined and that the basketball model was a good model for football as well.
The last proposal from the Oversight Committee revolved around the 10th coach. The coaches were in unanimous support of this proposal. We are appreciative of our lower division coaches in recognizing that adding a 10th coach is good for the student-athletes and the game. While this proposal might create some problems off of its implementation, the coaches want to move forward with this proposal very quickly. What makes this legislation important is that football has the lowest coach to student ratio of any NCAA sport, so this would be very beneficial to the football student-athlete.
It was unanimous among all levels of coaches that the AFCA is in support of protecting Friday night for our high schools. We recognize the impact of having college football games on Friday night for our spectators, along with those viewing on television, can be significant. The AFCA feels very strongly that Friday night should be protected, not just for football, because the revenues generated by those high school football game ticket sales impact everything at those high schools such as other sports and organizations. Anything that college football does to interfere with that is not in the best interest of our nation’s high schools. The AFCA is in strong condemnation of college football games being played on Friday night. We appreciate the NFL because they have protected Saturdays for college football. We all have our own space, and Friday nights are for high school football.
The AFCA further proposes, at all levels, that we look at a new model in relation to our current student-athletes in terms of eligibility. The current model is archaic in the sense that when it was adopted, there were more scholarship players and less games. We need to look at things from where we are now, and the current legislation is unfair to our student-athletes. The game has changed, and the number of games has changed, and to have a student-athlete have to play late in the season and burn a year of eligibility or to have a student-athlete play lots of extra snaps to protect the red-shirt of another player because of a lack of depth at the end of a season doesn’t make much sense. The coaches are anxious for the NCAA to review this antiquated rule so that student-athletes will have the best possible college experience.
We applaud the efforts of many groups on the targeting penalty. We believe that this rule is protecting our student-athletes and changing how they play the game, but at the same time, we are concerned about the consistency of the current targeting rule. The coaches are anxious to work with the various groups moving forward to refine the targeting rule to allow for more consistency.
The coaches at all levels want the student-athletes to be students. We understand that other sports have year-round opportunities to work with their student-athletes, and there has been proposals in the past where football coaches can have walk-throughs and skill enhancements during the summer months. The coaches would like to protect the summer months and give those student-athletes that respite away from the game, so we are against walk-throughs during the summer to keep football from turning into a year-round game.
The AFCA proposes that there should be a review at the FBS level of the number of student-athletes allowed to participate in preseason practices. The current rule regulates that you have 85 scholarship student-athletes and 20 walk-ons that can participate in preseason camp. We feel that for the health of our student-athletes, that those numbers should be increased. We are excited to work with other groups to see what that number should be. This limitation creates health risks to our student-athletes within the preseason camp model, and it eliminates opportunities for other student-athletes who want to participate in football.
We are in discussion about the duration of games at the FBS and FCS levels. Division II and Division III coaches have not been impacted by the length of their games because they are averaging two hours and 46 minutes to play a game, while our FBS and FCS games are not. Changing our playing format as a group creates problems for our lower division programs to the point that it would shorten their games. We need to work with the NCAA model and our television partners about the length of FBS and FCS games.
The coaches are still looking at the kickoff with potential modifications. We want sound data about kickoffs. The coaches are concerned about some of the full-speed collisions that are happening in that play. While we recognize that the kickoff is critical component of the game, we want to have good medical data and research on the play as it relates to the health of our student-athletes.
Our coaches are also opposed to technology on the sideline, other than the opportunity to investigate the ability of a coach to communicate with a quarterback, such as you see in the NFL. We want to work with the NFL to find out the policies and rules on that communication, as well as the expense.”
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