A 14-week college football season with two byes? It’s a possibility

bowl season begins saturday

The NCAA Division I Football Oversight Committee is looking at the possibility of making the season 14 weeks long. The current season is 13 weeks and allows for one bye week; a 14-week season would mean two byes.

The NCAA release on the issue noted that “the elimination of two-a-day practices beginning with the 2017 season is playing a role in those discussion.” Currently, a waiver is in place to permit schools to start their preseason practices up to seven days earlier than the rule allows. For some schools, that means opening preseason practice in late July.

A 14-week college football season, though, could mean every school opens fall camp in late July, as it seems doubtful the extra week would be added on at the end of the regular season — right before finals and cutting into bowl-prep time. The NCAA release said the committee agreed with “feedback from the membership that a new playing-season model that returns the start of preseason practice to August is preferred.”

One reason for possibly adding an extra bye week is player health, with the thought being the extra week off would be good for the student-athlete.

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The committee also is looking into the size of support staffs and a possible change to the redshirt rule. A proposal from the American Football Coaches Association would allow a player to compete in a limited number of games in a season without technically using a season of eligibility.

“We are going to look at it. There could be other implications that we need to take into consideration,” said Bob Bowlsby, the committee chair and commissioner of the Big 12.

(You can follow Dan Mathews on Twitter @DanMathewsATL)

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