Sparing 20

By Adam Caparell - November 15, 2007


Think you never have enough time in the week to get what you need to done? Welcome to the world of a college football head coach. Mandated by the NCAA, coaches have exactly 20 hours each week with their team to prepare for Saturday's opponent - including the game - and for all it's a rule they've adjusted to, but a rule many wouldn't mind seeing tweaked.

"It's okay, as long as everybody has the same number of hours," Arkansas coach Houston Nutt said.

The NCAA allows no more than 20 hours per week of athletic related activity for student-athletes - practice, weight-lifting and meetings - and a maximum of four hours per day. Game days count for three hours, regardless of how long they actually last.

"When it was first implemented you thought you would need more time. Of course when the coaches were playing we used a whole lot more time than that, but we've adjusted to it," Nutt said.

The rule was implemented in 1991, but questions about abuses have been raised, most notably in 1999 and the NCAA has looked to close loopholes in the rules over the past seven years. But for a man who just returned from duty in the NFL where time limits are scoffed at, Nick Saban, surprisingly, doesn't have a problem with the rule.

"We're all doing the same things and we have the same time to do it," the Alabama coach said. "Sometimes I wish there was more flexibility to do it. You'd like to have your team watch the film at a different time and you have to give them a day off and you can't really do it - but I'm sure people would take advantage of meeting time if they didn't have to have a day off - but I think it's fair and equitable."

"It's probably pretty close to being right. I think we all could live with 21," Georgia coach Mark Richt joked. "We're making it work the way it is."

Richt would like to see an change to the rule, but not a conventional one. He would like discipline hand down to an athlete not count against their 20 hours.

"We need to maintain control of our team and some things guys do deserve something and some things guys do deserve more when it comes to discipline," Richt said. "Discipline for us is an early morning run and if we could do that without it counting against our 20-hour rule I'd be thrilled."

Posted by Adam Caparell at 05:54 PM on November 15, 2007
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