NCPA convinces PAC-12 to reduce contact in football practices

The PAC-12 is answering the NCPA's call to help minimize the risk of brain trauma.

June 4, 2013

Riverside, CA— NCPA Executive Director Ramogi Huma met with PAC-12 representatives in the fall of 2012 to encourage the PAC-12 to adopt the NCPA’s Concussion Awareness and Reduction Emergency (CARE) Plan, a set of reforms proposed by the NCPA Players Council intended to minimize brain trauma among college athletes in contact sports.  Among other things, the CARE Plan calls for a reduction in contact during football practices.  According to the results of a yearlong study conducted by the IVY League, reducing contact during football practices is the most effective and practical way to reduce brain trauma among football players.  While the NFL, Pop Warner, and the Ivy League moved to reduce contact in football practices, the rest of NCAA football did nothing.

Last year, Huma requested meetings with every FBS conference commissioner to discuss its CARE Plan and college football’s lack of movement on reducing its athletes’ risk of brain trauma. The PAC-12 was the only conference to grant him a meeting.  While initially expressing some reservations about reducing contact in practices unilaterally, the PAC-12 announced yesterday its commitment to do just that.  The reductions are expected to be in effect for the 2013 football season.

In contrast to the PAC-12’s move to take the initiative to protect its players, the SEC spent a year studying the issue only to pass the buck to the NCAA.  

Huma stated, “America witnessed college conference commissioners voluntarily create a college football playoff that will generate over $300 million in new revenue every year because it was a priority.  They didn’t defer to the NCAA to create a playoff and they shouldn’t defer to the NCAA on something that is both urgent and critical to the short and long-term health of college football players.  Protecting the health of the players putting their bodies on the line to generate that revenue is clearly a lesser concern for the other conferences.  This is unacceptable.”

The NCPA is pressing the NCAA to make reforms in this area as well, but the PAC-12 is demonstrating that conferences have the ability to protect their players without waiting to find out whether or not the NCAA membership will block such reforms as it did with the $2000 dollar player stipend proposal.  

The NCPA also applauded the PAC-12’s commitment of answering the NCPA’s call to use new TV revenue to fund much-needed research.  The PAC-12 has committed $3.5 million to this end.

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Launched by a group of UCLA football players in 2001, the National College Players Association serves as the only independent voice for college athletes across the nation. Since its first press conference on Jan. 18, 2001, the NCPA has worked to achieve a voice for the athlete and an equitable balance power and value between the schools, the sanctioning bodies, and the heart of sport - the athlete.  NCPA does so by advocating for players’ rights, due process, improved player safety, increased graduation and degree completion rates, additional employment opportunities, and the closure of the so-called “scholarship shortfall.” The NCPA has been featured in countless media outlets, including CBS 60 Minutes, ESPN, CNN, ABC News, Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, USA Today, and the Wall Street Journal. Today the NCPA has over 17,000 members from over 150 Division I campuses nationwide.