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What: “True Commitment: College Football’s Other Season”

When: Today, 4 p.m.

Where: ESPN.

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College football, played in the fall, has become a year-round sport. There are winter workouts, spring practices and summer workouts. The winter and summer workouts are supposed to be voluntary, and only strength and conditioning coaches can be present.

ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” examines these so-called “voluntary” workouts in this one-hour program. Last year three players died during these workouts--Northwestern’s Rashidi Wheeler, Florida State’s DeVaughn Darling and Florida’s Eraste Autin.

The show’s first segment looks at Arizona’s “voluntary” workout program. Safety Clay Hardt says, “It’s voluntary to a point. It’s voluntary to where there are no rules anywhere that say, ‘You have to be here.’ But in my point, it’s mandatory. It’s just the unwritten law.”

Brad Arnett, Arizona’s strength coach, is shown warning players about not showing up on time. “If a teammate is late, you hold him accountable,” he says. “Get your ... out of bed and get here on time.”

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The strength coaches are not allowed to tell head coaches who is participating and who isn’t. Arnett says he abides by that rule, but at the start of fall practice he gives Coach John Mackovic a report.

Mackovic says such a report is permitted, but an NCAA official says it is not.

Another segment features Stanford junior defensive end Drew Caylor, a prospective starter. Caylor missed his summer workouts, opting instead to intern at Morgan Stanley in his hometown of Washington.

“Being a college football player is something you do; it’s not all you do,” Caylor says.

That attitude, as this show points out, is lost on most of those involved in college football.


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