Clemson is No. 1 in the College Football Playoff rankings, but the Tigers could've been at a disadvantage against Alabama in the National Championship. Because of differing academic schedules, NCAA rules were set to allow the Crimson Tide unlimited practice time, but would've forced Clemson to adhere to 20 "countable" hours per week, according to ESPN's Brett McMurphy.
This is because Alabama's spring semester starts Jan. 13 -- two days after the CFB Playoff title game on Jan. 11 (ESPN, 8:30 p.m. ET) -- while Clemson's spring semester begins on Wednesday.
The Tigers are not restricted by the length of any practices/team meetings until Tuesday, but are limited to a maximum of four hours a day beginning Wednesday, according to NCAA rules.
Those hours include anything involved with the coaching staff, including practice, film study and lifting.
Clemson gets permission from NCAA to exceed daily time limitations for practice for CFP title game against Alabama. pic.twitter.com/1jDU1VoE62— Ralph D. Russo (@ralphDrussoAP) January 7, 2016
Most bowl games are unaffected, since they take place during winter break for all schools. However, these issues aren't new in an era when title games have been pushed back on the calendar. Last year, Oregon got less practice time than Ohio State before the Buckeyes' title game win.
Clemson's head coach, before the exception was announced:
On @MikeAndMike Dabo Swinney on Clemson having less practice time than UA:"This ain’t rocket science. We’re either good enough or we’re not"— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) January 5, 2016