New regulations passed by the Ivy League over the summer and set to go into effect this season will add new limits to the time demanded from student-athletes by their sports.
One new rule will require a 10-hour window without any athletic activity after athletes return from road trips, while the other institutes a two-week recovery period for athletes at the end of their seasons. Athletic directors from all eight Ivy League schools approved the two proposals at their May athletic directors’ meeting, and Ivy League Executive Director Robin Harris announced the decision in early June.
Yale student-athletes interviewed and Director of Compliance Christian Bray said the new rules will not require any significant change in the activities of Yale teams, but all highlighted the importance of balancing a student-athlete’s athletic and academic time commitments.
“For these particular pieces of legislation, the conversation was happening prior to the May athletic director’s meetings, and our coaches were not surprised some type of time-demand legislation passed,” Bray said in an email to the News. “Student-athlete time demands have been a centerpiece of a national discussion on collegiate athletics for years.”
In a June press release, Harris highlighted that the Ivy League already has time demand limits that are more “protective” of student-athletes than the general NCAA rules. These Ivy League measures help to balance the academic and athletic lives of student-athletes in the conference, Harris said.
“Being a student-athlete at Yale is challenging because it makes for a very difficult schedule that can be tough to balance,” women’s tennis player Elizabeth Zordani ’18 said. “The time demand of our sport is tough and comes with some setbacks, but that’s what we signed on for.”
Zordani said she did not expect the new rules to significantly impact her team or her schedule, as the women’s tennis team already typically gets one day off after returning from a match as well as two weeks off at the end of their season. Women’s squash player Celine Yeap ’19 agreed, and said her team had already been following these guidelines before it became an official rule.
Speaking for the department as a whole, Bray said some teams may need to make some adjustments to their schedules, but that nothing specific has come up so far this season.
The new rule requiring a two-week recovery period is nearly identical to one proposed at the last NCAA Convention in January 2016; there, three proposals on time-demand limits failed to pass, and were instead deferred to the upcoming convention in January 2017.
The second NCAA proposal would prohibit all athletic activity for an eight-hour overnight period, and the third would require a full day off during the week to address the “impact of travel time,” somewhat similar to the Ivy League’s new 10-hour post-travel restriction.
The NCAA restricts in-season practice hours to 20 per week, or four hours on any given day for all student-athletes.