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Pac-12 instituting a league-wide policy to limit contact in football practice

The Pac-12 announced a league-wide, overarching "Student-Athlete Health and Well-Being Inititaive" on Monday. While each of the conference's sports will be affected, the new initiative's impact could be felt the hardest in football. 

The conference will create a task force of doctors and researchers from the Pac-12 schools, who will then share their respective research and findings at a Pac-12 summit in early 2014. Part of that research will be devoted to the league's new head trauma task force, led by the Pac-12's General Counsel and Director of Football. On top of that, the conference will commit $3.5 million in grants to "improve student-athlete health and well-being."

“The health and well-being of our more than 7,000 student-athletes competing within the Pac-12 each year is of paramount importance,” said Pac-12 CEO Group Chair Ed Ray. “This new initiative is a great step towards taking advantage of the full resources of our research institutions for the benefit of our student-athletes.”

For football, by far the biggest change is that the conference is working towards a formal limitation of contact in football practices. As the Pac-12 put it: "Going forward, the Pac-12 will look at guidelines around contact in practice to ensure that student-athlete well-being is being closely monitored, both in the amount of contact and in providing our student-athletes and coaches with ample opportunity to teach and learn the correct tackling methods during the spring and preseason." The conference will announce its official policy at Pac-12 Media Day on July 26.

“Pac-12 institutions house the leading medical trainers, doctors, and scientists working to enhance student-athlete health and well being,” said Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott. “Our athletic departments and coaches have been very progressive in this area and are deeply committed to advancing these efforts,” he added. “This initiative seizes on our opportunity to embrace, support, and coordinate all these efforts and build a framework to advance them with new resources, expertise and funding.”

While contact limitations have long been in place in the NFL, this could be uncharted water in the college ranks. Can anyone else name a college football conference with a formal contact limitation policy in place? 

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