Players off month of July under new NCAA governance?

AMELIA ISLAND, Fla. -- The looming NCAA rule changes to give larger conferences more legislative power aims to lessen the time demands on players.

That might mean players do whatever they want for a full month – away from athletics.

There’s buzz among a few AD at this week’s ACC meetings that new rules would make July an official ‘dead period’ for current athletes. In theory, this would eliminate any team activities, late-July starts to training camp or even conference media day appearances during that month.

I ran this by Sun Belt commissioner Karl Benson, who said there's a conceptual push to "shut things down" for part of the summer to free up athletes for chance to, say, study abroad.

"I think the idea would prohibit (team activities) and shut it down -- but this is all still premature," Benson said.

An FBS head coach said his staff during July is allowed to work with players for two hours of film work per week in classrooms. That would be gone.

In an 82-page autonomy draft – which will be up for approval in August and outlined as a definitive plan at the NCAA convention in January – the Big Five Conferences would be granted autonomy to “reconstruct the time boundaries associated with student-athletes' commitment to intercollegiate athletics.”

“In addition, design and implementation of "athletic dead periods" for student-athletes would be intended to foster their participation in educational opportunities outside of intercollegiate athletics,” the draft states.

The ACC, SEC, Pac-12, Big 12 and Big Ten want the power to do certain things with their money, such as pay for the full cost of attendance or cover expenses for families on postseason travel or recruiting trips.

The conferences are constructing this plan while litigation chases them – the O’Bannon case over player likeness, mounting concussion suits and the potential unionization of football players at Northwestern.

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