The Big 12 will limit in-season live contact opportunities for the league’s football players to no more than two times per week, the conference announced Monday.
Previously, the conference allowed live contact three days per week.
The two-day limit includes game days, with the rule taking effect starting this upcoming season. The limit also applies to players who do not play in the game that week.
“The Big 12 conference continues to take the lead in the area of player safety as the first conference to enact more restrictive contact polices than currently permitted,” Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said in a release.
The Ivy League and Pac-12 were the first leagues to institute a limited in-season, full-contact practice rule, with both conferences also limiting contact to two days per week.
The NCAA passed its two live contact practices per week rule for in-season, postseason and bowl games before the 2014 season.
The NCAA defines a live contact practice as “any practice that involves live tackling to the ground and/or full-speed blocking,” which can occur in full-pad or half-pad where the player wears shoulder pads and shorts, with or without thigh pads.
Live contact excludes “thud” drills and drills where a player wraps up another player but does not take him to the ground.
“Our policy is a 33-percent reduction in the number of contact opportunities allowed under NCAA guidelines,” Bowlsby said. “Limiting the number of live contact practices and giving medical practitioners unchallengeable authority on return to play decisions unequivocally demonstrates the commitment of our membership to the health and safety of Big 12 student-athletes."
- Scooby Axson