The NCAA announced an updated set of football safety guidelines Monday afternoon, recommending that schools limit the amount of hitting done in practice and reform part of their medical care and concussion programs.
The guidelines were crafted through a collaborative process that began in January and included input from numerous sources.
Per the official release:
The seeds for these guidelines were planted in January when the College Athletic Trainers' Society and the NCAA Sport Science Institute jointly hosted the Safety in College Football Summit in Atlanta. Attendees included athletic trainers, neurologists, team physicians, university sports medicine program directors, the American Football Coaches Association and representatives from the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, SEC, Ivy League and Conference USA, among other conferences. Together, through two days of discussion, the group laid the foundation upon which these guidelines ultimately were built. And while the summit focused on football, two of the resulting documents are germane to all contact sports.
"When you build inter-association consensus, I think it speaks much more powerfully because it's not simply the NCAA making a rule," said NCAA Chief Medical Officer Brian Hainline, whom ESPN's Tom Farrey said the guidelines were a brainchild of. "It's consensus from numerous well-respected medical organizations, from football coaches, from football associations, from all of us.
"In terms of changing the culture around health and safety," Hainline continued, "that's the best way to do it."
It's important to note that these are safety guidelines, not safety mandates. Programs are advised to adhere to them, but they are not required to by NCAA law. They are more of a forceful suggestion.
Still, this is a positive step in the right direction for safety reform in collegiate football—especially once you consider the specifics.
Here are five things you need to know.