Last year, Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh ruffled many feathers when he took the Wolverines to Florida to hold practices during spring break. Michigan’s practices went on at Bradenton’s IMG Academy, a hotbed of elite recruits, and became a spectacle and a marketing opportunity for the school.
That’s not allowed anymore. The NCAA’s Power 5 conferences voted on Friday to ban off-campus practices during spring and summer breaks.
Autonomy conferences pass, 58 to 22, prohibition of off-campus practice during a vacation period outside the championship season. #NCAAConv— Inside the NCAA (@InsidetheNCAA) January 20, 2017
Teams can still hold off-campus practices during their universities’ winter breaks, which happen to coincide with the sport’s bowl season. Schools also take a fall break around Thanksgiving, but it’d be rare for a team to practice off campus then, anyway.
The change reportedly won’t go into effect until this summer, leaving the possibility of one more spring break trip open.
The rule change is a direct response to Harbaugh’s move last spring, which coaches and administrators at other schools saw as a blatant recruiting ploy. Eleven of 14 programs in the Big Ten voted in favor of the ban. The holdouts were Michigan, Illinois, and Northwestern, according to a tally distributed by the NCAA.
A 58-22 overall margin suggests there was far more consensus on the off-campus practices than there was on last year’s brief banning of off-campus “satellite camps.” That ban, which was overturned a few weeks after it was announced, came from the NCAA’s Division I council, not the Power 5 conferences. Many in them opposed it.
The Power 5 leagues also voted Friday to ban 5 a.m. practices and to mandate players get one day off per week during the preseason and vacation periods. As part of a serious of “time balance reforms,” the conferences expect student-athletes will mostly get three full extra weeks away from sports. They also voted to guarantee that teams can’t cancel players’ scholarship because of poor on-field performance.