CHICAGO – College football will never be a part-time job.
One of Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany’s points of emphasis this week was stricter enforcement of 20-hour-a-week practice rules, allowing student-athletes to devote more hours to their studies.
But several players said Thursday at the Big Ten media days that they typically work overtime.
“All things total, it’s probably 40 to 60 hours (devoted to football) during the season,” Iowa linebacker James Morris said. “And that’s conservative with travel, because you figure all day Friday, all day Saturday, you’re not doing homework.”
Purdue tight end Gabe Holmes keeps a similar schedule.
“A lot of people do things on their own (outside of practice),” Holmes said. “If you’re in the facility or in your own room, you’re watching film.
“You can always do things to get better.”
Michigan State lineman Blake Treadwell echoed those thoughts.
“You have to put hours and hours in, to prepare as a champion,” Treadwell said. “It’s hard for me, because I never really count the hours I put in.”
Morris, who is on pace to graduate next spring, felt Delany had good intentions, but there’s little hope of putting limits on a player’s ambition.
“Not with how much is invested, because of the will to win from coaches and players,” Morris said. “There is so much at stake, people are going to push that.
“So I think it would be an exercise in futility.”
Part of the problem is, players arrive on campus with lofty goals – and perhaps paying less attention to their grade-point averages.
“I feel like you have to do things on your own to be the best,” Holmes said. “There’s really no limit on what you can do by yourself. You can put another 20 hours in, by yourself.”
Some players juggle school and sports, while slicing other areas of their lives.
“One of the things I learned is, cut the social life out,” Treadwell said. “To save you some more time for football and academics.”
Reducing the amount of class time required could make things easier for athletes, but it would also create a directional dilemma.
“I think it’s a slippery slope when you want to lower the minimum (class) hours,” Morris said. “At what point are you no longer a student-athlete?”