The NCAA Division I Football Oversight Committee passed a six-week practice plan Thursday in order to kick off the season on time.
The plan now heads to the NCAA Division I Council for approval at its meeting Wednesday.
“This is the culmination of a significant amount of collaboration in our effort to find the best solution for Division I football institutions,” oversight committee chairman Shane Lyons said.
The color-coded plan, first obtained by ESPN earlier this week, remains nearly the same after the committee received feedback from member schools. The only change is to the period between July 24 and Aug. 6 that is for summer access with walk-throughs and meetings.
During this period, schools are allowed eight hours per week of strength and conditioning, six hours per week of team meetings and six hours per week of walk-throughs, which gets to 20 hours per week. The committee clarified that schools can have flexibility in determining how to split up that time, provided they do not exceed four hours per day.
The oversight committee looked at various return-to-practice models, including seven- and eight-week models, since the coronavirus pandemic upended spring practices and offseason workouts. The six-week model is the one that gained the most support.
Voluntary workouts under enhanced safety protocols have begun across the country, but the committee needed to get a uniform plan together for required participation and eventually practice. For teams that begin the season on Labor Day weekend, the required workouts would begin July 13, followed by an enhanced training that begins July 24, and a normal preseason camp start date of Aug. 7.
Those schools that open the season on Aug. 29 would begin required workouts July 6.
The transition from voluntary workouts to required participation in “summer access” is a normal part of the sport’s calendar, but the recommendation of an additional two weeks specifically for coach-supervised walk-throughs and meetings was added with the hope of giving coaches extra time to evaluate players’ conditioning and playbook knowledge.
With spring practices either canceled outright or left incomplete when the sports world shut down in March, that extra two-week period gained added importance.