Director of Athletics Mario Moccia
June 17, 2014
By Tom Weber
CARBONDALE, Ill. - Southern Illinois University Director of Athletics Mario Moccia was one of four panelists who led a discussion on the current state of college football, during last week's annual convention of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA).
Some of the key issues discussed were the safety and welfare of student-athletes, particularly regarding concussions, and the enhancements that have been made to the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). The other ADs on the panel were Rob Mullens (University of Oregon), Debbie Yow (North Carolina State) and Tim Leonard (Towson State).
Moccia said the NCAA has instituted a series of rules changes that will benefit the health of football players, including longer recovery and acclimation periods during preseason camps, the allowance of meals and snacks that are incidental to participation, mandatory specific certification of strength coaches, and better sickle cell trait identification.
"One of the biggest concerns is concussions, and you've seen entities from the Presidential level to the National Football League to the NCAA take this issue of concussions very seriously," Moccia said.
He noted that the NCAA and the Department of Defense each put forward $15 million for a research study on helmet safety. The NCAA is also conducting studies to determine the safety of kickoffs to better protect athletes from high-speed collisions.
Speaking on NCAA governance matters, Moccia said the Salukis are benefitting from some of the improvements he has long advocated for the FCS level. Interest in the expanded FCS Playoffs is at an all-time high as evidenced by an increase in TV coverage and a sold-out 2013 championship game. In terms of finances, the Playoffs ranked among the top 10 in revenue out of 89 NCAA-sponsored postseason events.
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