University of Wisconsin football coach Bret Bielema doesn't expect any academic issues prior to the Rose Bowl, although it's always an issue in the back of a coach's mind this time of year.
The players finished finals on Thursday and also had their last practice early in the afternoon before flying out on Christmas Day for Pasadena, Calif. The players were given the rest of Thursday off, as well as Christmas Eve. They are scheduled to report back for conditioning Saturday morning, prior to a 1 p.m. departure.
"I think we'll know on the 29th (of December)," Bielema said of any academic issues. "It kind of has to do with when the last final is done ... but it definitely will affect the game if guys are ineligible."
However, Bielema said he does not expect that to be an issue. The last time it was a problem was prior to the 2008 Champs Sports Bowl, when redshirt freshman cornerback Mario Goins was sent home after being declared academically ineligible three days before the 42-13 loss to Florida State.
"Obviously, you can get surprises but it only has been an issue one year and that year I kind of knew it was going to happen," Bielema said.
Bielema said the players' focus has been good through exam week. About four or five players were missing from Thursday's test due to exams.
"I thought Monday's practice was as good as we've had," Bielema said. "We talked about it right there, leaving the field, when we meet together (next time), it's going to be a week out from game day and the focus needs to be there.
"When (former) coach (Barry) Alvarez talked to the team before the season even started, one of his main points was great teams he was around had great focus. They've maintained that for the season. There's no reason to get off track now."