It’s nice that Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo thinks the grind of a 14-week college football schedule is pushing it for student-athletes.
“I feel for these guys right now,” Niumatalolo told the Sentinel of his Midshipmen players. “These guys don’t get any breaks … they go year-round.”
Niumatalolo, 52, points out that unlike when he played in the late 1980s, being a college football player nowadays requires a year-round commitment. Most freshmen enroll early and many players spend much of their offseason in the weight rooms with strength coaches or at camps instead of working out by themselves.
“When do these kids get a break?” he asks.
Niumatalolo has his own unique perspective on the situation.
As a parent of two sons currently playing college football at the Football Bowl Subdivision level, he’s witnessed firsthand the impact of being a football player in the modern era.
“It never ends for them,” Niumatalolo adds.
In the wake of the NCAA recently eliminating two-a-day practices, some coaches have pushed up the start of fall practices a week earlier than normal in order to get the maximum 29 practices in before the start of the football season. In Navy’s case, for instance, fall practice begins on July 31.
I just wish he wasn’t finding something of an equivalence between their situation and that of his assistant coaches, who get paid for their time.
Both Niumatalolo and Leipold expressed concern for the wear-and-tear a prolonged season would have on their assistant coaches.
“We continue to shorten the calendar on time for our assistant coaches ….” Leipold said of the possible impact on his staff. “You start doing this and we’ve got to really be concerned about the life of an assistant football coach at the FBS level.”
“You go from the season to recruiting, to spring ball and during spring recruiting you’re going to have official visits …” adds Niumatalolo, who points to changes to the recruiting calendar with an early signing period in December and open recruiting in the months of April, May, and June. “It’s just becoming such a vicious cycle. I don’t see where it ends.
Yeah, that’s a shame. Too bad all they get is a scholarship and free food… oh, wait.