Athletics Risk Management and Compliance Services: Current Longhorns — Practice Hour Limitations
In order to ensure that student-athletes are able to balance the demands of school, athletics and personal obligations, the NCAA has established limits on the number of required hours of "countable athletically related activities" for student-athletes.
These limits vary based on whether a given sport is in-season or out-of-season during the academic year or in the summer vacation period. Each sport has a limited number of days that they can be in-season and the beginning and end of these in-season periods are established by the coaches before each academic year. In many cases, the in-season period is divided into two parts: one in the fall semester, and one in the spring. All competition must take place during an in-season period.
Countable Athletically Related Activities (CARA) include required practice, meetings, conditioning, weight training, competition, film review, or going over a course (in a sport such as cross country or golf). These are only some examples of CARA; it is not an exhaustive list.
Some examples of things that are not CARA: time spent in the training room, academic meetings, meetings with compliance, athletics activities done on a voluntary basis, traveling to a competition, participating in promotional or charitable activities, or serving as a student host.
In-Season Practice Hour Limitations
- No more than 4 hours per day of CARA
- No more than 20 hours per week of CARA
- One (1) off day per week
- No CARA after a competition
- A competition always counts as 3 hours of CARA
- No CARA activity may occur between 12 a.m. and 5 a.m.
- Multi-sport student-athletes are limited to 4 hours per day and 20 hours per week total
- These practice hour restrictions do not apply during pre-season (before school starts) or during vacation periods.
Out-of-Season Practice Hour Limitations (During the Academic Year)
- No more than 8 hours per week of CARA
- Two (2) off days per week
- The only permissible activities are conditioning, weight training and, for sports other than football, skill instruction. Football student-athletes may participate in film review instead of skill instruction.
- No more than 2 hours of skill instruction (or film review for football) with the coaches each week. NOTE: During certain times of the year, there are limits on how many student-athletes may participate in skill instruction with the coaches at any one time.
- No CARA beginning the week prior to finals through the end of finals.
Summer Vacation Period (if not in-season)
- All activities must be voluntary
-- The student-athlete must initiate the activity.
-- The coach may not suggest or require a student-athlete to participate.
-- Coaches may not observe these activities or require/suggest that student-athletes report to them or any other athletics department staff member regarding summer workouts.
-- The student-athlete may not be subject to penalty if they elect not to participate.
-- The coaches or other athletics department staff may designate times that student-athletes may use UT facilities if the student-athlete requests to do so.
- In certain sports a coach may be present during voluntary workouts to ensure the safety of student-athletes. The coach may not direct the workout, but can provide safety or skill instruction.
-- The only sports that this exception applies to at UT are swimming and diving, rowing and track and field (for field events only).
- In individual sports (golf, tennis, swimming and diving, track and field) a student-athlete may request that a coach participate in an individual workout session with the student-athlete.
- Strength and conditioning coaches may design and conduct workouts for student-athletes who request such assistance.
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