COLUMN: It’s a dumb rule, NCAA


Kyle Kelly, Sports Editor

The NCAA needs to rethink a lot of rules, but there is one in particular that keeps me scratching my noggin (pun intended — as you will see.)

As John Carroll University’s football team and other Division III schools around the country start spring practice, they will not be wearing helmets. Why? Because it is not permitted under current NCAA regulations.

This has been festering inside of me for quite some time and it’s about time I expressed myself with some words.

For a sport that continues to face plenty of heat for concussions, post-playing career Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy and other traumatic head injuries, you would think the NCAA would have the common sense to permit the use of helmets during spring practice. It does not take a flaming genius to protect players from sustaining head injuries.

News flash: Even though the players are not practicing in pads during “spring ball,” they are still physical with each other — such is the physicality of football. Clashing heads is common, and so is a player coming down with a catch from midair and banging his head against the turf.

There is no explanation nor excuse for the NCAA not to allow its football athletes to wear a helmet at all times during practice. As a result of practicing without head protection, players are busting their noses, walking around with bumps the size of baseballs on their head and playing with concussions that go undiagnosed before the season even begins.

The NCAA needs to begin practicing what they preach, and that starts with protecting their athletes in the simplest way: allowing them to wear a helmet during spring practice.

The resources are there, the University supplies helmets and they practice with them all season long. Football is a contact sport, no matter the circumstance, and playing without a helmet is unsafe.

It is seriously not rocket science, it is common sense. If Division I schools can practice in full pads during “spring ball”, Division III should be able to protect their players from injury. Instead, the NCAA is going to do what it wants for an unspecified reason.