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The Daily Wildcat

 

UA head coach Rich Rodriguez ignites college football scheduling debate

The+Ghosts+exhibition+is+on+display+at+the+University+of+Arizonas+Joseph+Gross+Gallery.+The+exhibition+features+the+work+of+Ralph+Ziman%2C+a+South+African+artist+working+to+bring+the+realities+of+the+African+arms+trade+to+light.
Sally Lynx / The Daily Wildcat
The Ghosts exhibition is on display at the University of Arizona’s Joseph Gross Gallery. The exhibition features the work of Ralph Ziman, a South African artist working to bring the realities of the African arms trade to light.

Pac-12 after hours

Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez made national headlines Monday when he suggested late kickoffs, like the Wildcats’ 8 p.m. start time at Washington later this month, hurt the welfare of student-athletes.

Rodriguez specifically blamed the Pac-12 Conference and TV networks for agreeing to schedule late games.

“If the conference is really concerned about student-athlete welfare, I think someone should step in,” Rodriguez said. “Because when do guys get a chance to get healthy? They are not getting treatments on the plane. They can try to sleep, but they are not getting a whole lot of rest when they are traveling.”

The Wildcats’ flight home from Washington, for example, likely won’t leave until well after midnight. On top of that, Arizona loses an additional hour due to daylight saving time.

By the time the Wildcats’ team bus arrives back to campus on the morning of Nov. 1, it may already be 4 or 5 a.m., if not later.

That doesn’t give players nearly enough time to decompress, according to Rodriguez.

“There’s got to be a time after the game for them to catch their breath and just get a day where you don’t have to think about football all the time,” he said.

Rodriguez is not the only Pac-12 head coach upset with the scheduling.

Earlier in October, as UCLA readied to play back-to-back Thursday night games, Bruins’ head coach Jim Mora offered similar complaints regarding conference scheduling.

“It’s unbelievable,” Mora told local reporters. “We’re calling these kids student-athletes and yet we’re going to force them to miss six days of school so they can play two football games on Thursday nights in a row. I think it’s truly an injustice.”

More coaches offered their opinions on a conference call Tuesday morning.

Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre told reporters the Pac-12 needs to “look at the situation for the kids.” Stanford coach David Shaw also agreed late games “take a lot out of you.”

Pac-12 gives athletes a say

The Pac-12 may be under heat for its football scheduling, but the conference is ahead of the curve in another area: giving student-athletes a voice.

The Pac-12 introduced a plan Tuesday to incorporate athletes into conference policy discussions. The conference is the first of the Power Five conferences to include athletes in decision making.

The Student Athlete Leadership Team, which consists of two athletes from each university, will join athletic directors, senior woman administrations and faculty representatives in voting on conference legislation.

Arizona football’s Casey Skowron and sand volleyball’s McKenna Witt will represent the UA.

“We are proud to welcome these exceptional student-athletes as important representatives for our 7,000 Pac-12 student-athletes,” said Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott in a statement. “We’ve made significant progress in many important areas facing college sports over the past 18 months, but there is more work to do.”

The 24 members of SALT will meet at conference headquarters in San Francisco on Wednesday. A day later, they will take part in the Pac-12 Council Meeting.


Follow Ezra Amacher on Twitter.


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