2018-04-19 13:04:59.0
Ban on using former players in practice among rule changes
by Brandon Rink
Staff Writer

The NCAA announced a change Wednesday in its policy regarding former players returning to help in team practices.

A rule dating back to 2011 allowed former student-athletes to "participate in an organized practice session on an occasional basis" - provided that it wasn't publicized before the practice. Because of a perceived recruiting advantage, that rule has been overturned.

"The proposal is intended to negate competitive and recruiting advantages schools potentially could gain by allowing former student-athletes to practice with the current team," the NCAA news release said.

Alabama's use of the obscure NCAA policy came to the light during the 2016 season after news of the Crimson Tide using former players such as Trent Richardson, John Parker Wilson and Blake Sims was reported. At Clemson, Tajh Boyd notably practiced with the Tigers before the Fiesta Bowl matchup with Ohio State and the National Championship with Alabama in the 2016 season.

The look from Boyd in practice was useful in that 2016 run.

“He was terrific,” Venables told reporters before the Fiesta Bowl. “Again, quick release. Knows where he wants to throw with the ball. Good physical presence and running the quarterback powers and the read into the play and counters and draws and things of that nature. So it was an unbelievable look.”

The Division I Council announced the change among moves such as a new recruiting calendar in sports outside of football and basketball and a lift in a ban on alcohol sales at NCAA championships.

One measure still under review is a change in the redshirt rule in football to allow freshmen to play up to four games and still redshirt. The proposal for the move was from the ACC and could be voted on in June, per American Football Coaches Association executive director Todd Berry.

Brandon Rink can be reached at brandon.rink@tigernet.com