IOWA CITY, Iowa - A proposed preseason practice model for college football is something Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz doesn’t like.
The new model would allow for just eight practices of full contact during the 25-day practice schedule in August.
The proposal is designed to limit injuries, but in the long run it could be more detrimental to players, Ferentz said after last Saturday’s final spring practice at Kinnick Stadium.
“Part of playing football, you have to learn how to deliver a hit and take a hit safely,” Ferentz said. “There’s technique involved in all of that.”
The proposal from the NCAA football oversight committee would call for nine days of practices with players in helmets only, eight days of players in helmets and shoulder pads with no live tackling to the ground, and eight full-contact days. During live-tackling practices, there will be a limit of 90 minutes of full contact.
The committee plans to send the proposal to the NCAA Division I Council on May 19. The change could be implemented this season.
A five-year study by the committee of the programs at Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Wisconsin, UCLA, Air Force and Army found that 48.5 percent of the concussions recorded happened during August training camp.
Ferentz said Iowa had averaged 1.5 concussions in the last five years during August camp — “We had three in one year, two in one year, and one, one, and one in the other years,” he said.
Ferentz said there were no concussions during the Hawkeyes’ 15 practices in April.
Ferentz said the advancement in the quality of equipment, as well as the NCAA’s concussion protocol, has helped make the game safer.
“The whole world has changed so much,” Ferentz said.
Ferentz said he would rather see something like a proposal from the Southeastern Conference, which would allow for 25 practices over 35 days.
“The single biggest thing you can do to make camps safer is create more space,”
Ferentz said. “It’s a good idea to give guys more time away, and recover.
“We have to develop players. We have to do that. And you have to practice to develop players.”
Ferentz said he understands the physical challenges of preseason camp.
“Football is a risky game,” he said. “Anybody who plays it finds that out pretty fast. My feeling is it seems we’re trying to create a story here.”