Four Year Grant is the Right Thing

Posted: February 17, 2012 in NCAA
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The push for NCAA athletic scholarships to be four-year commitments will be successful. Some schools already have said they’re going to do it and others will follow.

What choice do they really have?

Imagine a rival school making a four-year commitment and your school not. Who do you think will have the advantage in recruiting?

It is, of course, the right thing to do, but you can be certain the coaches don’t like it even though you’ll seldom, if ever, hear them complain publicly.

Coaches like the current one-year scholarship for obvious if not honorable reasons. As it stands now it is a one-way street that favors the coaches. If an athlete is unhappy, he or she can transfer, but they must sit out one year. The coaches can correct their “mistakes” after one year by simply not renewing the scholarship. It is one of college athletics’ dirty little secrets about how many scholarship athletes are run off for not being as talented as they were evaluated or because of a change in coaches.

Major college football coaches will whine publicly about how four-year commitments can impact their 85-scholarship limit. They’ll tell you it puts them at a disadvantage if that number includes a handful of athletes who simply don’t measure up. Indeed, the coaches like a system where they aren’t punished for their mistakes. My advice is the coaches should be held accountable if they recruit athletes who prove to lack the talent, the motivation or the discipline to be all they can be. And schools should be accountable even if they change coaches.

It always has amazed me how coaches are convinced they need 85 players to be able to have a successful program. Think about it: 85 players means being four deep at nearly every position. Teams are more than four deep when you include “preferred walk-ons”.

Yes, I know injuries take a toll, but 85 is still a big number.

The best argument for 85 scholarships is it provides for young people with a free education, but we all know far too many of the football scholarships go to young men who have little interest in reading, writing and arithmetic.



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