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Power Five Schools Push For Student-Athletes to Have More Time Off

Power 5 schools are pushing for more time off for student-athletes.

Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

Power 5 athletes have taxing schedules, that's a fact.  Although most are on scholarship at their university, they still have strenuous, stressful schedules and they face the difficulty of managing their sport with school, extra-curricular activities, and their future. The Power Five conferences have recently approached this issue of balance with their student athletes and last week they reached a solution.  The end result is that the conferences are going to change student-athlete schedules and commitments to allow them more time off throughout the year.  The hope is that with the additional time off and time away from their sport, students will be able to experience more activities and events on campus and become more engaged with their respective communities.

The rule changes include a section titled Flex 21 and they target four different areas: post season, overnight, academic year, and in season.

Flex 21

Student-athletes will be given an additional 21 days off throughout the academic year.  These 21 days that will be given off are in addition to the current mandated days off. These 21 days can be taken off at any point during the academic year and they do not have to be consecutive days off.

Postseason

In the postseason, athletes will be given seven consecutive recovery days that will allow them to rest after the season ends. There is an exception to this rule for athletes who will finish in the spring when school is finishing.  If their summer break follows immediately after the season ends, their school will not be required to give them seven days off because they will be on summer break.

Academic Year

Over the course of the academic year, student-athletes will be given an additional 14 days off where no team meetings, team practices or team events will take place. The 14 days can be taken at any point in the year.  They do not have to be consecutive and they do not have to fall when the sport is in season.  The purpose of the 14 days off is to give student-athletes the opportunity to engage more with the school community.  Student-athletes are encouraged to join extra-curricular activities and utilize the 14 days to become more involved in the community.  These days are in addition to the proposed days from Flex 21.

Overnight

Along with the changes to Flex 21 and the academic year, students will be granted eight consecutive hours off between 9:00pm and 6:00 am.

These changes advocate for the student athletes and will allow them more time and flexibility in their schedules outside of athletic commitments.

In the report released by BTN, the Power Five commissioners acknowledged that student-athlete's schedules are taxing, and more time off for them is important.

"We heard from our students that they would like more certainty in their schedules in order to engage in other activities," the commissioners said.  "We recognize there will need to be a level of flexibility and reasonableness in carrying out these changes, especially with regard to travel, but students deserve time off and we want athletic departments to work in a sensible and appropriate way to provide it.  We want administrators to have some degree of flexibility in implementing these rules, but they must be mindful that rest is important to a student's health, in addition to their athletic and academic performance."

BTN.com also provided a chart that explains what the current rules are and their proposed changes.  The chart from BTN is below.

Segment

Current Rule

Proposed Changes

In Season

  • No countable athletically related activities during one calendar day per week
  • Travel day related to athletics participation may be considered a day off
  • Travel days may not count as days off

Academic Year

  • No countable athletically related activities during two calendar days per week outside the season.
  • 14 Additional Days off.  Can be used during or outside the season

Overnight

  • No countable athletically related activities between midnight and 5 a.m.
  • 8-hour block of free time, any time between 9:00pm to 6:00am.

Post Season

  • Varies by sport
  • 7-day recovery time

Student-athletes are valued by universities and they do face extremely strenuous schedules.  These changes should allow them more flexibility and the opportunity to continue to exceed in both athletics and academics.