The NCAA has granted Clemson a waiver allowing the Tigers unlimited practice time this week, eliminating a potential advantage Alabama would have entering Monday’s national championship game.
Before this waiver, Clemson was subject to the “20-hour rule,” which limits the amount of time a team can practice while school is in session. Clemson students returned to class Wednesday, while Alabama remains on break until next week.
Via CBS Sports, here’s a statement from Clemson athletic director Dan Radakovich:
“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-welfare,” said Clemson AD Dan Radakovich in a statement. “As Coach 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.”
This is a nice, sensible move by the NCAA. It’s not like the Clemson players were going to be too focused on schoolwork this week anyway.
Really, this waiver probably won’t even have too much practical impact. The Tigers would presumably squeeze every last minute out of the famously manipulable 20-hour rule regardless. But it’s obviously good to maintain the appearance of fairness.
Last year, Ohio State enjoyed a similar advantage over Oregon, according to CBS Sports, and beat the Ducks 42-20 in the title game.
The Tigers and Crimson Tide will face off Monday night in Glendale, Arizona.