Defining Countable Athletically Related Activities

What are the daily and weekly time limitations on countable athletically related activities?

Student-athletes may not participate in countable athletically related activities for more than:


Out-of-Season (during the academic year)

4 hours per day

2 hours per day

20 hours per week

8 hours per week

The daily and weekly hour limitations DO NOT apply to the following time periods:

  • During preseason practice prior to the first day of classes or the first scheduled contest, which ever is earlier.
  • During an institution's term-time official vacation (e.g., Thanksgiving, spring break), as listed in the institution's official calendar, and during the academic year between terms when classes are not in session (winter break).

Below are partial lists of common activities that count and do not count against your daily and weekly time limits:



Athletically Related Activities

Athletically Related Activities

Practices (not more than 4 hours per day)

Compliance meetings

Athletics meetings initiated by a coach or required by a coach (e.g. end of season individual meetings).

Meetings with a coach initiated by the student-athlete.

Competition (and associated activities), regardless of their length, count as 3 hours. However, no countable athletically related activities may occur after the competition.

Drug/Alcohol educational meetings, Academic Meetings (with coach or advisor), Compliance meetings, sport psychology or CHAMPS/Life Skills meetings.

On-court or on-field activities called by any member of the team and confined primarily to members of that team.

Voluntary weight training not conducted by a coach or staff member.

Required weight-training and conditioning activities.

Voluntary sport-related activities (e.g., initiated by student-athlete, no attendance taken, no coach present).

Participation outside the regular season in individual skill-related instructional activities with a member of the coaching staff.

Recruiting activities (e.g., student host).

Discussion or review of game films.

Training table meals.

* There may be additional rules that are applicable only to certain sports. Also, conferences and institutions may adopt more restrictive rules. Please feel free to contact the Compliance Office via email at or via telephone at (336) 750-2146 if you have questions or would like additional information.



Participation in Countable Athletically Related Activities Out of Season

What is the difference between in-season and out-of-season?

In-season (20 Hours)

  • Time between the team's first officially recognized practice session and the last practice session or competition, which ever occurs later.
  • Sports other than football and basketball may have their seasons separated into two distinct segments: non-championship and championship segment.
  • During the in-season period (i.e., championship and non-championship segments), a student-athlete may participate in a maximum of 20 hours per week of countable athletically related activities.

Out-of-season (Eight Hours)

  • The remaining days during the academic year not included in the in-season period.
  • A student-athlete may participate in a maximum of eight hours per week of countable athletically related activities.

Outside the playing season (during the academic year), student-athletes are limited to not more than eight (8) hours per week of certain countable athletically related activities. Those activities are shown below:

Permissible Countable Athletically Related

Non-permissible Activities

Activities During the Out-of-Season Period

During the Out-of-Season Period

Required weight training and conditioning activities supervised by an athletics department staff member.

Conditioning drills per Bylaw that may simulate game activities are permissible, provided no offensive or defensive alignments are set up and no equipment related to the sport is used. In ice hockey, a student-athlete may be involved in on-ice conditioning activities, provided no equipment other than skates is used. In swimming and diving, a student-athlete may be involved in in-pool conditioning activities and swim-specific equipment (e.g., starting blocks, kickboards, pull buoys) may be used.

In sports other than football, as of August 1, 2006, for sports other than football, more than four student-athletes from the team may be involved in skill-related instruction with their coaches from September 15 through April 15. Prior to September 15 and after April 15, no more than four student-athletes from the same team may be involved in skill-related instruction with their coach (es) at any one time in any facility. (8/2 hr. rule above still applies)

Bylaw prohibits an institution from using equipment related to the sport when conducting conditioning activities outside the playing season. In July 2003, Hot Topic #11 clarified that blocking sleds were football-related equipment and could not be used for out-of-season conditioning drills. It further explained that, regardless of how a blocking sled is promoted, it is an apparatus that is intended to teach blocking and tackling technique. After further review of different types of conditioning equipment, the membership services staff agreed that each institution is in the best position to determine if an apparatus being used for conditioning drills is related to the particular sport in question. However, it remains impermissible to use equipment clearly related to a sport (e.g., blocking sled in football), even if the apparatus is not used during the conditioning drills to teach technique.

In sports other than football, within the 8 hour allotment, no more than 6 hours may consist of strength and conditioning and no more than 2 hours may consist of individual skill instruction. In football, participation in up to 2 hours per week of watching and reviewing films.

Required participation in any countable athletically related activities during any institutional vacation period (e.g., winter break, summer) that occur outside the declared playing and practice season (i.e., in-season).

Participation in a physical fitness class conducted by a member of the athletics department staff.

Any other countable athletically related activity that may have been permissible during the in-season period.

The NCAA Division I Management Council determined that an ergometer (i.e., a rowing machine) is not considered equipment related to the sport of rowing. Therefore, in the sport of rowing, any use of an ergometer during required conditioning activities that may occur during the academic year outside the playing and practice season is not limited to the two hours of permissible skill-instruction activities.


Any voluntary athletically related activity in which the student-athlete chooses to participate (does not count in the 8 hours) (e.g., initiated by student-athlete, no attendance taken, and no coach present).


NOTE: Student-athletes may be involved in any non-countable athletically related activity during the off-season period (e.g., workouts using the safety exception, voluntary workouts, other non-countable activities permitted during the in-season period).

Voluntary Activities

What is a "voluntary" activity?
To be considered a "voluntary" activity, all of the following must be met:

  • The student-athlete must not be required to report back to a coach or other athletics department staff member (e.g., strength coach, trainer, manager) any information related to the activity. In addition, non-coaching athletics department staff members who observe the activity (e.g., strength coach, trainer, manager) may not report back to the student-athlete's coach any information related to the activity. [NOTE: Coaches may not observe voluntary activities. However, coaching staff members must be present during permissible skill-related instruction requested by the student-athlete pursuant to NCAA Bylaw]
  • The activity must be initiated and requested solely by the student-athlete. Neither the institution nor any athletics department staff members may require the student-athlete to participate in the activity at any time. However, it is permissible for an athletics department staff member to provide information to student-athletes related to available opportunities for participating in voluntary activities (e.g. times when the strength and conditioning coach will be on duty in the weight room or on the track). In addition, for students who have initiated a request to engage in voluntary activities, the institution or an athletics department staff member may assign specific times for student-athletes to use institutional facilities for such purposes and inform the student-athletes of the time in advance;
  • The student-athlete's attendance and participation in the activity (or lack thereof) may not be recorded for the purposes of reporting such information to coaching staff members or other student-athletes; and
  • The student-athlete may not be subjected to penalty if he or she elects not to participate in the activity. In addition, neither the institution nor any athletics department staff member may provide recognition or incentives (e.g., awards) to a student-athlete based on his or her attendance or performance in the activity.