NCAA sets six-week practice plan for football

Georgia defensive players run through drills on the first day of spring football practice Tuesday, March 21, 2017, in Athens.

Credit: Curtis Compton

Credit: Curtis Compton

Georgia defensive players run through drills on the first day of spring football practice Tuesday, March 21, 2017, in Athens.

Georgia football coach Kirby Smart will be back supervising his players July 15 after the NCAA Division I Council approved a six-week practice plan Wednesday.

The Bulldogs open the season Sept. 7, which is Labor Day, against Virginia at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

UGA’s start date for the six-week plan is two days later than for most schools. That is because the Bulldogs and Cavaliers play on a Monday night — two days later than the traditional Saturday game day.

Georgia players have been back on campus since early June, beginning their voluntary workouts in lockstep with other SEC schools June 8.

The Bulldogs’ strength-and-conditioning staff has overseen the workouts. The football coaching staffs are not allowed to supervise voluntary workouts or monitor results.

The six-week practice plan was designed and approved by the NCAA Football Oversight Committee last week.

The plan, approved Wednesday, begins with a “Summer Access” period for the football coaching staff July 15-25 (for Georgia).

The players can have eight hours of weight training, conditioning and film review (not more than two hours per week of film).

The second part of the new plan involves an “Enhanced Summer Access” period of two weeks. The coaches can have 20 hours of countable athletically related activities per week.

The activities beginning July 26 for UGA include:

  • Up to eight hours per week for weight training, conditioning and film review.
  • No more than one hour per day for walk-through, which may include the use of a football.
  • Up to one hour per day for meetings.

“It’s really just more of an opportunity from an evaluation standpoint in terms of their conditioning, so we have this ramp-up going into preseason,” Todd Berry, executive director of the American Football Coaches Association, told ESPN.

“And then secondarily, student-athletes and coaches are anxious to start talking some football, and we thought even from a psychological standpoint it would be very beneficial. The walk-throughs give an opportunity not to just get a visual but actually participate.”

The third period reflects the traditional timeline for preseason practices, which may begin 29 days before the respective team’s first contest. In Georgia’s case, that would be Aug. 9.

There is a five-day acclimation period (no pads), before the teams can be in full equipment working out.

Basketball plan 

The Division I Council also was expected to approve a plan for men’s and women’s basketball. This plan would allow for “voluntary virtual nonphysical activities, enhanced in-person nonphysical activities, weight training and conditioning from July 1-19.”

The on-court activity would begin July 20 and can last eight weeks until the first day of classes, or Sept. 15 —whichever comes first.

The skill instruction on the court can’t exceed more than four of the allowed eight hours of work per week, per the release detailing the NCAA oversight committee plans.