NORMAN — College athletic departments have long footed the bill for football players’ tuition, room and board in the summer without demanding anything in return during those months.
That’s just one reason why Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops is pleased with recently amended NCAA bylaws that now allow coaches to require players to participate in eight hours per week of conditioning, weight training and film study during the summer. Coaches can also participate in those activities, whereas before, they were prohibited from contacting players in the summer.
“We won’t change much,” Stoops told The Oklahoman last week in an exclusive interview. “You know what the nice part is? If I’ve got a guy who continually skips class, I can go out and run them for it. A couple years ago, I went out there to grab a guy for missing so many classes, and they told me I wasn’t allowed to.
“So we’re paying his way here to go to summer school, and he can skip class all week? And I can’t do anything? And then it’s my fault if he gets an ‘F’?”
Previously, NCAA rules stipulated that summer workouts for major college football programs had to be voluntary, and that any lack of participation wasn’t punishable.
Stoops said he’s had several players over the years who didn’t participate in summer workouts, and the consequences came in the form of early season injuries and falling behind other players who used the summer to get bigger, stronger and faster.