Football coaches of Ivy League schools have prohibited full-contact during regular-season practices. The Ivy League is comprised of Brown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, and Yale University. All eight schools voted unanimously to enact the new policy.
Schools hope the elimination of full-contact practices will reduce the risk of brain trauma and other devastating injuries. Before this latest policy, Ivy League schools had already limited full-contact practices in the pre-season. Dartmouth eliminated full-contact practices in 2010 and was one of the leading forces in establishing this new policy. Most schools do not have such strict policies on full-contact practices, and it remains to be seen if other institutions will follow suit. Currently, the NCAA allows up to two full-contact practices per week during the regular season and up to four times per week during the preseason.
The NFL has already limited full-contact practices during the preseason after making several changes in 2012. Since that time, the number of concussions in the preseason has fallen. The reduction in preseason injuries, however, has not always resulted in a reduction in regular-season concussions. This past season, for example, the number of reported concussions was up.
Some have worried that safety-minded rule changes will render the game as pedestrian and uninteresting as flag football or playground tag. The NFL is considering banning all chop blocks in the wake of other safety-oriented rules changes. Robin Harris, the executive director of the Ivy League, explained via the New York Times, "We're not trying to change the nature of the game, we're just trying to make it safer."