Starting Early: Illini football gets jump start on season

NCAA waiver allows Illinois to start a week earlier than normal

URBANA -- An NCAA waiver is giving Illinois football a jump start on the 2017 season. The Illini wrapped up their seventh training camp practice on Monday, on what would normally be the first day of fall workouts.

The NCAA adopted several new rules regarding student-athlete well being earlier this year, including taking away the traditional two-a-day contact practices. Illinois didn't practice two times in one day last year under first year head coach Lovie Smith. Another big change mandates student-athletes must receive one day off every week, even during training camp. Since these changes, among others, were introduced so late (in April), the NCAA issued an open waiver to allow football teams to start practices a week early.

"It's a good thing," Smith said. "I say every team in college football is probably taking advantage of that extra week, but you know after you practice a week, you should look like you have been out here for a week. Today (Monday) it looked like it was our first practice, unfortunately. But, we need all the reps that we can get, because we talk about so many young players."

Illinois returns to the practice field Tuesday from 2:30-5 p.m. at the Campus Rec Fields in Urbana.


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