Playing and Practice Season

Countable Athletically Related Activities:

Countable athletically related activities (CARA) are any required activities with an athletics purpose that involves student-athletes and occurs at the direction of, or is supervised by, one or more of an institution's coaching staff, including strength and conditioning coaches. Below are several examples of what is countable and not countable toward a student-athlete's CARA limits.

CountableNot Countable
PracticeCompliance and SASSO Meetings
Competition (always counts as three hours)Study Table, Academic Tutoring
Setting Up Offensive/Defensive AlignmentsTraining Room/Medical Treatment/Rehabilitation Activities
Athletic Meetings w/Coach Initiated or
Required by Coach
Traveling To/From Competition
Required Weight Training/ConditioningRecruiting Activities (e.g., student host)
Discussion or Review of Game FilmVoluntary Sport-Related Activities
Visiting Competition Site
(Golf & Cross Country Only)
Fundraising, Community Service, or Promotional Activities

NCAA regulations limit the amount of time that coaches can require a student-athlete to be involved in CARA each week. These limitations are different depending on whether a team is in-season or out-of-season. The distinctions between what is permissible in-season versus out-of-season is as follows:

In-SeasonOut-of-Season (During Academic Year)
No more than 4 hours per day and 20 hours per weekNo more than 8 hours per week (up to 2 hours may be skill instruction [or film review for football])
One day off per weekTwo days off per week
No CARA after a competitionThe only permissible activities are conditioning, weight training, and, for sports other than football, skill instruction.
Unlimited CARA during institutional vacation periodsNo CARA during institutional vacation periods
Unlimited CARA during pre-season prior to the first day of class or first contest (whichever is earlier)No CARA beginning the week prior to finals through the end of finals.
No CARA activity may occur between 12 a.m. and 5 a.m.No CARA activity may occur between 12 a.m. and 5 a.m.
Competition always counts as 3 hoursNo competition permitted out-of-season

Voluntary Activities:
Student-athletes are permitted to participate in voluntary activities as much as they would like. For an activity to be considered voluntary, the following must be satisfied:

  • The student-athlete must not be required to report back to a coach or other athletics department staff member any information related to the activity;
  • Staff members who observe the activity (i.e., strength coaches) may not report back to the student-athletes' coach any information related to the activity - coaches may not observe voluntary activities (except for safety exception sports);
  • The activity must be initiated and requested solely by the student-athlete;
  • Attendance and participation (or lack thereof) may not be recorded for the purposes of reporting such information to coaching staff members; and
  • Student-athletes may not be subjected to a penalty if they choose not to participate in the activity or rewarded if they do choose to participate.

Safety Exception: Please note that in the sports of fencing, gymnastics, rifle, pistol, rowing, swimming, diving, track (field events only), and wrestling, a coach may be present during voluntary workouts (without the workouts being considered as CARA) while student-athletes are using equipment related to their sport and the coach provides safety or skill instruction only.

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