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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

MIAC officially votes to expand non-traditional season

< months of discussion, deliberation and revision between MIAC institutions, the conference has officially voted to expand the non-traditional season. Through a series of meetings and votes that occurred last May, a new regulation was approved by all levels of the administration. Carleton’s Head Athletic Director, Gerald Young, was heavily involved throughout the entire process. At the initial conference meeting between MIAC schools, the original proposal was to adapt to the standard NCAA D3 regulation of 16 days of non-traditional practices with up to four hours per day for training during that timeframe.

This proposal, as Young stated, was a regulation that Carleton adamantly opposed. “It is just too much time for our student-athletes in a non-traditional setting,” Young said. A unique aspect about the Midwest conference is that it holds an hour rule for practice times, not a day rule. The MIAC’s regulation prior to the recent vote allowed for seven days, but schools began to realize that they were permitted to have up to four hours of non-traditional training during the seven-day period, equaling the potential for 28 hours of training if fully maximized. Going into the vote, Carleton strongly believed that the proposal of 16 days with up to four hours per day of training was too high for the school’s student-athletes.

The new rule on which the MIAC has officially come to an agreement includes an hour rule, allowing for a total of 30 hours in the non-traditional season. “So in reality, we have only actually increased the non-traditional season by two hours,” Young explained.

Now, coaches are able to spread the 30 hours over the course of the new 16 allowable days for training. This ability to stretch out the available hours in the given timeframe means teams can avoid feeling pressure to compress all their hours into a short seven-day window. For example, many administrators at different institutions were failing to realize that certain coaches were deciding to use the whole four hours available during the seven-day period, requiring athletes to participate in two full practices per day during the non-traditional season. While no rules were being broken, this was undoubtedly a strenuous requirement for student-athletes in a single day.

With the new regulation of 16 days and a restriction of 30 hours, Carleton feels more comfortable knowing coaches can schedule training over a lengthened period, avoiding the increased pressure on student-athletes to manage acompressed timeframe. Furthermore, this regulation does not mean the available hours must be spent strictly practicing. The 30 hours can be spent on team film, runs, pool workouts, yoga or any activity that each individual team feels necessary to develop their program.

The regulation initially passed through each institution’s athletic directors. As it made its way up to the Faculty Athletic Representatives and finally to the MIAC presidents, there were still lingering concerns. “It was decided that this new rule is actually only going to be a two-year pilot,” Young
explained. “After two years, we will have to reevaluate the rule and decide if it is something we want to continue to do.”

For the first vote, which proposed the standard NCAA 16 day and four-hour rule, Carleton was a definite “no” vote. For the newly proposed 30-hour total rule that has now been instated, Carleton was a “yes” vote. All MIAC schools were present at this vote, and while the vote was not unanimous, a large majority believed this new regulation was a fair compromise for the conference.

At Carleton, we are fortunate to have access to many facilities,so field space should not be a problem. However, conflicts regarding the availability of athletic trainers may arise, requiring teams to be more flexible toward the support staff. The greatest worry of all, from coaches to administration, is the affect regulation change will have directly on the players. “My biggest concern is always the amount of time we take away from our student athletes”, Young expressed. “We must make sure that we are maintaining a balance between academics and athletics.” At an institution like Carleton, supporting well-rounded student-athletes has historically been the accepted view and practice.

Once the two-year pilot is complete, the entire regulation for the non-traditional seasonwill be reassessed. There are many possibilities that could occur after reevaluation: this new regulation could be fully instituted, the MIAC could return to the previous seven-day regulation, the non-traditional season could be eliminated entirely, or a new regulation may be introduced. The reevaluation will include all MIAC institutions reconnecting to deliberate the effectiveness of the two-year pilot, which will likely include the perspectives of each school’s student-athlete body.

This new regulation is at each coach’s discretion, teams may use as little or as many of the 30 hours available participating in the type of activity they deem most beneficial. Young has confidence in the Carleton coaching staff and believes that the well-being of student-athletes will always be viewed as a top priority. In the most recent survey conducted last spring, student athletes did express interest in expanding the non-traditional season, so the climate among athletes has begun to shift over the years.

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