Ivy League Limits Contact in Football Practices

Last May, the College announced that Memorial Field would be getting stadium lights allowing night games for the first time in nearly 120 years of Indian football. Head coach Buddy Teevens would also have an opportunity to carry grueling practices long into the night. Or so it seemed.

The College approved the stadium lights under a number of conditions in the operations plan submitted to the Planning Board. First, a sound system would be implemented that reduces the overall noise coming from the field. There will also be no more than five games per year under the lights, none of which may start after 7p.m. And finally, the football program must lower the intensity level of practices and promptly end them before 9p.m.

To further limit the intensity level of practices, the Ivy League announced last Wednesday that teams may only hold two full-contact practices per week during the season. Previously, teams could have a maximum of five full-contact practices under NCAA guidelines. This change came in an effort to reduce head injuries among football players. Research suggested this is the most practical way to reduce brain trauma and concussions in the sport. Similar rules may soon reach men’s and women’s hockey, lacrosse, and soccer.

The new stadium lights will allow Indian practices to extend later into the evening, but they will most likely not include contact or live tackles, and no player will be “taken to the ground.”

–David Rufful