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College football: NCAA changes rules to allow mandatory summer workouts

by Jason Kersey Modified: April 24, 2014 at 2:30 pm •  Published: April 24, 2014
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Defensive coordinator Mike Stoops talks with Ahmad Thomas during the Spring College Football Game of the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Okla., on Saturday, April 12, 2014.  Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman
Defensive coordinator Mike Stoops talks with Ahmad Thomas during the Spring College Football Game of the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Okla., on Saturday, April 12, 2014. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman

Major college football coaches can now require their players to participate in up to eight hours per week of summer activities.

The NCAA amended its bylaws in late December to allow such mandatory activity, which can include conditioning, weight training and up to two hours of film study per week. In the past, any organized team workouts in the summer were supposed to be entirely voluntary.

How “voluntary” those workouts really were, though, has long been a subject of controversy. The coaching staff wasn’t allowed to have any contact with the players during the summer months, and any lack of participation by players wasn’t supposed to be punishable.

Now, Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops and his staff will be able to monitor — and require — the workouts.

Two years ago, the NCAA began allowing men’s basketball coaches to have similar access to their players during the summer, and the women’s game followed suit in 2013.

Basketball coaches are allowed eight hours per week with their players during the summer, with a maximum of two hours for on-court, basketball skills training. The football amendment replaces the sport-specific physical activities with film study.

In the final proposal for the new football summer rules, there is a “rationale” given, which states that it “recognizes the importance of the accrued academic benefits of summer school attendance … Student-athletes who enroll in summer school, particularly early in their academic careers, tend to experience enhanced academic success during their collegiate enrollment.”

The proposal goes on to state that the “relationship between coach and student-athlete” will be enhanced by these new rules.

The new rules also allow coaches to require summer activity of players who aren’t enrolled in summer school, as long as those players have achieved a minimum, cumulative 2.20 grade point average.

In the summer of 2012, when men’s basketball coaches were first allowed summer access to their players, Stoops said he wanted to be able to work with his players during those months, too.

“You get a chance to see them everyday, encourage them to do the right things, make sure they’re going to class,” Stoops said. “I can’t even run a guy for missing class. I’m not allowed to.

“That doesn’t seem to make much sense.”

by Jason Kersey
OU Sports Reporter
Jason Kersey became The Oklahoman's OU football beat writer in May 2012 after a year covering high school sports and OSU recruiting. Before joining the newspaper in November 2006 as a part-time results clerk, he covered high school football for...
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