Power conferences propose giving athletes more time off

Ohio State coach Urban Meyer talks to his team after the spring game at Ohio Stadium on Saturday, April 16, 2016, in Columbus. David Jablonski/Staff
Ohio State coach Urban Meyer talks to his team after the spring game at Ohio Stadium on Saturday, April 16, 2016, in Columbus. David Jablonski/Staff

The five power conferences in college sports — the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, PAC-12 and SEC — announced Thursday they want to give student-athletes more time off to “to rebalance the student experience between athletics and campus life.” The proposals will be considered at the January 2017 NCAA convention.

One of the proposed changes is titled Flex 21. Athletes will get 21 additional days off (14 during the academic year and seven at the conclusion of a season) free of athletic activities. Coaches, athletes and administrators in different sports would decide when to use those days.

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“We believe we have found the right balance between helping students participate in sports while also providing them with more down time,” the commissioners of the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, PAC-12 and SEC said in a joint statement. “Different sports have different demands and we think the concepts we’ve agreed to will help tens of thousands of students achieve more balance as they pursue their academic and athletic commitments.”

Other proposed changes include:

• Students would have at least one day a week free from sports, including travel, during the season. Unlike the current rules, a travel day would not count as a day off.

• Students would get an eight-hour block of time free between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. The current rule prohibits athletic activities between midnight and 5 a.m.