ESPN reported on Wednesday, January 7, 2015, NCAA rules permit Ohio State University to practice longer than the University of Oregon prior to the schools’ participation in the January 12, 2014, College Football Playoff National Championship. ESPN explains: “Because Ohio State’s spring semester doesn’t start until Monday, the Buckeyes are not required to adhere to the NCAA’s 20-hour rule, limiting countable athletic activities to four hours a day and 20 hours a week. Oregon’s academic term began this week, so the Ducks cannot exceed 20 hours, according to NCAA rules.” The full ESPN report can be found here.
Well, what are the specific rules pertaining to this issue? I will list two to satisfy your curiosity.
NCAA Division I Bylaw 126.96.36.199 (Daily and Weekly Hour Limitations — Playing Season) states: “A student-athlete’s participation in countable athletically related activities (see Bylaw 17.02.1) shall be limited to a maximum of four hours per day and 20 hours per week.” Countable athletically related activities are defined by NCAA rules to include any required activity with an athletics purpose involving student-athletes and are conducted at the direction of, or supervised by, one or more members of a school’s coaching staff or strength and conditioning coaches. However, “administrative activities”, including academic meetings, compliance meetings, are not deemed countable athletically related activities.
However, the NCAA has exceptions to the 4-hour/20-hour limitation. One exception can be found in Division I Bylaw 188.8.131.52.6 (Vacation Periods and Between Terms), which states: “Daily and weekly hour limitations do not apply to countable athletically related activities occurring during an institution’s term-time official vacation period, as listed in the institution’s official calendar, and during the academic year between terms when classes are not in session. If such vacation periods occur during any part of a week in which classes are in session, the institution is subject to the daily and weekly hour limitations during the portion of the week when classes are in session and must provide the student-athletes with a day off (see Bylaw 184.108.40.206), which may be a vacation day.”
Bylaw 220.127.116.11.6 is the rule applied to the OSU-Oregon practice issue.