NCAA Adopts New Time Management Plan for Student Athletes

Molly C. Richman

Author: Molly C. Richman

POST DATE: 7.6.17
Ccha  Sports Law

Beginning August 1, 2017, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (“NCAA”) will put legislation in place with regard to a new time management plan (“TMP”) for student-athletes. TMP is designed to create a more balanced athletic, academic and social experience for the student-athlete and help them to enhance their experience while on campus by allowing them to spend more time participating in non-athletic activities. This legislation was voted on by the Division I Council members and representatives from the schools in the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12 and Southeastern conferences, including athletic administrators, faculty members and student-athletes from NCAA member schools. The NCAA studied this issue throughout the previous year. Players in the Football Bowl Subdivision (“FBS”) reported spending 42 hours per week on their sport during the season. Nearly one in three FBS football players stated that their sport prevented them from enrolling in courses they wanted to take. Two-thirds of Division I athletes reported spending as much, if not more, time on athletics during the off-season as they did during the season.

The TMP was designed to give student-athletes more flexibility with their schedule of activities that are not currently being tracked. In addition to tracking what the NCAA calls Countable Athletically Related Activity (“CARA”), the new TMP will help to monitor additional Required Athletically Related Activity (“RARA”) that currently has no limit. Some examples of CARA and RARA are as follows:


  • Practice
  • Strength and conditioning
  • Competitions
  • Film study
  • Skill instruction


  • Compliance meetings
  • Student-athlete host activities
  • Recruiting activities
  • Fundraising and promotional activities
  • Community service
  • Team travel (to and from competition)
  • Media activities
  • Team building

The new legislation is as follows:

  • Require the creation of a TMP for each sport and an annual review of that plan
  • Prohibit athletically related activities during a continuous eight-hour period between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.
  • Require a seven-day break immediately after the season and 14 additional days off during the regular academic year when classes are in session or during breaks that occur within the playing season (The group approved some activities that can occur on those days off — return travel in limited circumstances and life skills activities that involve multiple sports.)
  • Require one day off per week during the playing season
  • Require two days off per week outside of the playing season
  • Require one day off per week during preseason and vacation periods

Student-athletes spoke out in support of the new TMP saying that it was common practice for coaches to give them just 30 minutes notice before an unscheduled athletically related activity. This legislation is intended to help those student-athletes avoid last minute unexpected practices and other athletically related activities as well as maximize their time away from athletics.

To implement the new TMP, head coaches and athletic directors, along with the student-athletes, will be required to develop a TMP that would provide adequate notice of all scheduled athletic activities, as well as any subsequent changes to that schedule. Schools will be required to develop a student-athlete TMP for each varsity team. The TMPs should be developed through a collaborative process that includes input from athletes. Each team’s plan would have to be reviewed at the end of the year by the athletic director, the Faculty Athletic Representative, the team’s head coach and at least one member of the team. A school’s president or chancellor would be required to go over each of these reviews.

Contact us if you have questions regarding the new TMP. CCHA sports law attorneys have experience and expertise representing institutions and coaches involved in infractions matters, as well as working with NCAA institutions and coaches to educate them and their staff on NCAA rules compliance. We have helped several schools implement a plan to keep their head coaches compliant with NCAA regulations while still remaining competitive within their respective sport.

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