Limitations on practice time for Clemson lifted

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Thursday, January 7, 2016

No. 1 Clemson won't be as limited in its preparation for Monday's College Football Playoff championship against No. 2 Alabama as originally believed.

The NCAA on Wednesday granted the Tigers relief in regard to limits on practice time and rules about players missing classes, the school announced Thursday.

Clemson would have been restrained by NCAA rules preventing in-session schools from practicing or holding team meetings for more than four hours per day or 20 hours per week. Clemson's spring semester began Wednesday.

The school had said it would still adhere to the 20-hour weekly maximum and that players would miss class only with professor approval.

"We're appreciative of the NCAA working with us in granting this waiver to assist in our preparations for next Monday's game while maintaining our commitment to student-athlete welfare," athletic director Dan Radakovich said in a statement. "As Coach [Dabo] Swinney pointed out, this was not going to be a big difference maker in our team's schedule, but it's great they've reached a solution that prioritizes the well-being of our student-athletes while allowing them to adequately prepare for the National Championship."

Alabama's spring semester starts Jan. 13, two days after the CFP title game.

This is the second consecutive season of the College Football Playoff where one team had the option of holding unlimited practices and team meetings while the other had to adhere to the 20-hour limit.In the week leading up to last season's title game, No. 4 Ohio Statehad no restrictions on practices and team meetings while No. 2 Oregon had to adhere to the NCAA rule because of the schools' different academic schedules.

Oregon coach Mark Helfrich said it was a "bit of an annoyance for competing teams to have different parameters" but said he didn't focus on it.

Ohio State linebacker Joshua Perry said it might have been an advantage for the Buckeyes.

"I would say the one thing that was advantageous to us was we weren't worried about getting a new syllabus or shaking a professor's hand and trying to figure things out for a semester," Perry said. "Is that a huge advantage? No, because you go the whole season doing the same thing anyway. You're in class, and you've got to game plan."

During the bowl season, the NCAA's 20-hour limit is usually not a concern because teams are on holiday break.

Practices, weightlifting and any film sessions or meetings required by coaches count toward the 20-hour limit. The game also counts as three hours, no matter how long it lasts.

ESPN's Brett McMurphy and Ted Miller contributed to this report.

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