JENNIFER FIERRO • STAFF WRITER
DALLAS — The Big 12 conference will limit hitting to two days a week, Commissioner Bob Bowlsby announced to kick off media days July 20.
Safety is the primary reason, he said.
“We believe it’s the right step, and we hope it will become the national rule,” he said.
The NCAA rule is three incidents of helmet-to-helmet full contact with live tackling, including a game or a scrimmage. Simply, he said, the conference’s athletic directors didn’t feel that was enough of a limitation. So they wanted the rule, and the league’s coaches have supported it, the commissioner added.
Half of the Big 12 coaches spoke on the first day and shared their thoughts on the rule.
TCU coach Gary Patterson said it won’t impact the Horned Frogs.
His players are in full pads on Tuesdays only during the season, shorts two other days and shells on Wednesdays.
“It’s easy for us,” he said. “You have to be able to pull up because of the bodies.”
Kansas head coach David Beatty said he doesn’t see the change impacting the Jayhawks much.
“It’s not going to change our approach a whole lot,” he said. “We adjust to the landscape pretty good. I don’t think it’ll change the way we do business. We only control what we can control.”
West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen said he had already limited the number of full-contact days before the conference implemented the rule.
“It’s not going to restrict our practice times whatsoever,” he said. “We haven’t had back-to-back full-contact days in awhile. This model is something I’ve supported.”
Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder said his team won’t be affected by the change either.
“You have to have something,” he said. “We’ve discussed it in conference meetings. It doesn’t alter us.”
Bowlsby noted that participation in youth football leagues has dropped 15 percent In each of the past four years. And he believes it’s because of safety concerns.
Holgorsen summed up the thoughts of many when it comes to player safety.
“You have to protect kids as much as you can,” he said. “You can’t lose sight it’s a physical game. They can curb it from practice time a little bit, but if you curb it out there on the game field, you’re not going to be successful. I just think you have to be able find that balance, and you’ve got to be able to do as much contact and as much teaching these guys the proper techniques and the proper mentality, which is being tough. If you don’t do that, you’re not going to win.”