NCAA surveys student-athletes about time demands

Dr. Saturday
(AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)
(AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)

As NCAA decision-makers continue to discuss time demands for student-athletes, it appears those student-athletes will have a say in the matter.

According to ESPN.com, the NCAA distributed a survey, which was created by the Power 5 conferences, NCAA Division I council and Division I student-athlete advisory committee, to athletes in every Division I sport earlier this week. Athletes have until March 21 to complete the survey, and the results will be consulted when the D-I council meets in April.

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Athletes are expected to complete the surveys online without involvement from coaches.

From ESPN:

According to a survey sent to a Football Bowl Subdivision player and obtained Friday by ESPN, respondents complete sections on in-season countable athletic-related activities (CARA), out-of-season time demands and travel.

A "massive legislative package" regarding time demands will be introduced by September, according to Northwestern athletic director Jim Phillips, chair of the council. After several months of review, a proposed policy will go to a vote at the NCAA convention in January 2017.

"We could have passed legislation at the [2016] NCAA convention around time demands, but that wasn't the right thing to do because each sport has its own ebb and flow and their own calendar where they play and practice," Phillips told ESPN on Friday. "As much angst as there is about specific rules out there that people are using that are legal, the right approach has been to take this in a comprehensive review.

"We want to hear what the student-athletes have to say."

The survey covers many areas including in-season breaks, decreasing the number of scheduled games, lengthening the season (calendar-wise) while keeping the same number of games, off-season conditioning, and weekly “rest” hours.

The NCAA has been discussing time demands for college athletes for months, but with Jim Harbaugh bringing his Michigan team to Florida for a portion of spring practice (during the school’s spring break), it has received increased attention in recent weeks. NCAA president Mark Emmert, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey and ACC commissioner John Swofford are among those who have spoken out against the Wolverines’ trip, but with UM’s first Florida practice scheduled for Monday, there’s no way the NCAA could act in time to prevent it. Plus, as the rules currently stand, the practices are legal.

Phillips told ESPN that making a rash decision based on what Michigan is doing would be ill advised.

"Even though some things burn inside of us deeply and we're sensitive to some people taking advantage of rules, having one-off legislation is not the right approach," Phillips said. "What Michigan is doing is permissible. If the student-athletes come back and tell us across the board we don't want to interrupt our spring break, we'd be hypocritical not to listen to them.

"They may also say there's a period of time after the completion of a season, two to three weeks where they don't do anything: no film, no weights, nothing. So you can't restrict legislation or propose legislation when you're dealing with a comprehensive, holistic review."

As it currently stands, the NCAA forbids student-athletes from spending more than 20 hours per week on his or her sport.

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Sam Cooper is a contributor for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!

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