Tag:multiple-year scholarships
Posted on: February 29, 2012 12:45 pm
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Saban says Tide will offer four-year scholarships

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Alabama was one of 30 BCS conference schools to recently vote against NCAA legislation that would allow -- though not mandate -- schools to offer multiple-year scholarships over the previous system of annual scholarship renewals. And the Tide football program had declined to offer them this past February, with Nick Saban citing lawsuits issued during the previous era of multiple-year scholarships as reason for the program's opposition.

Despite that stance, Saban told the Tuscaloosa News in a Tuesday story that the Tide would join Auburn and Florida (and, with the legislation's survival of the override vote, likely the rest of the SEC) in offering four-year scholarships starting with the 2013 class.

"We're going to offer four-year scholarships," Saban said. "Our whole conference is going to do it, all the schools, I think. And we're happy to do it."

Though we're skeptical a program truly "happy" to offer four-year scholarships would instead vote to prevent anyone from offering those scholarships, themselves included, Saban again referred to the legal ramifications when explaining the opposition of "some of the schools."

"We had the (four-year) rule years ago, and there were legal challenges to it," Saban said. "So we changed to the one-year scholarship then. I think that was why some of the schools had concerns." 

A four-year scholarship would conceivably make it more difficult for Saban to oversign in February and then "cut" players afterwards -- the Tide have seen widespread departures between spring practice and the start of fall camp each of the last several years under Saban -- but he forcefully denied either cutting players or that the new scholarships would have any impact on that issue at any school.

"We don't cut players," Saban said. "I don't know anyone who does. So I don't think that's an issue ... The player will still have to be academically eligible. He will still have to obey team rules and regulations. And the player is still going to have the same rights and the same appeals process that he has now."

Saban is entirely correct that just because School X has committed its four-year promise in writing doesn't mean Player Y is going to be able to skate through four years of school without worrying about the consequences. (He's also right that this could conceivably lead to some legal appeals here and there.) But given the ease with which schools have dismissed players on one-year scholarships in the past -- it's surprising to hear Saban say he "doesn't know anyone" who cuts players, given that SEC West rival Bobby Petrino declined to renew the scholarships of five different players just last year -- we disagree that nothing has changed.

Even if having a promise of four years' worth of education in writing is still just a promise, that's more commitment from their new schools than those players have gotten before.

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Posted on: February 22, 2012 5:08 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2012 5:10 pm
 

30 BCS schools vote against scholarship proposal

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The new NCAA legislation allowing schools to offer multiple-year scholarships to athletes only narrowly survived its recent override vote, with only two of the 330 votes cast needing to have swung the other way to have nixed the legislation, despite the support of NCAA president Mark Emmert. The overwhelming majority of support for the override came -- as expected -- from non-BCS or mid-major schools worried over the potential increase in costs.

But a report in the Chronicle of Higher Education shows that a healthy portion of BCS conference schools also voted for the override. According to this NCAA document obtained by the Chronicle, 30 different current and future BCS members supported the override, including the entire Big 12. The Big 12 was also the only BCS conference that exercised its institutional vote in favor of the override.

The Big Ten was the conference most solidly in opposition to the override, with only Wisconsin voting in favor. Among the other high-profile programs voting against multiple-year scholarships were Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, LSU, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Texas A&M and USC. After the Big 12, the conference with the most votes in favor of the overrides was the ACC, with five. (The Big East did have six override votes if future members Boise State, Navy and San Diego State are included.)

As for that 30 vote tally, the opinion here is that that's only slightly fewer than 30 too many. It's one thing for cash-strapped mid-majors or even BCS schools on a notably tight budget -- say, Rutgers or Colorado, both of whom supported to override -- to oppose a measure they would struggle to afford, giving more cash-flush schools an instant recruiting advantage. It's another for programs like the Longhorns, Bayou Bengals, Volunteers and Sooners -- all of whom the Chronicle names as four of the 10 wealthiest athletics departments in the country -- to attempt to vote it down when they have the kinds of budgets that will barely flinch under the new scholarship burden. The motivation in Austin, Baton Rouge, Knoxville and Norman isn't that they can't hand out four-year scholarships, it's that they simply don't want to. 

Of course, the legislation doesn't mean any school -- BCS, mid-major, or otherwise -- is required to offer multiple-year scholarships. But since that might put the schools that don't at a recruiting disadvantage against schools that do, the Texases (and USCs, and Alabamas) have tried to prevent anyone from offering them.

In short: because these schools don't want to promise their athletes a full four-year college education, they've decided the athletes at other schools shouldn't have the benefit of that promise, either. 

A full BCS conference-by-conference breakdown of votes in favor of the override:

ACC: Boston College, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Virginia

Big East: Boise State, Cincinnati, Louisville, Navy, Rutgers, San Diego State

Big 12: Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, TCU, Texas, West Virginia

Big Ten: Wisconsin

Pac-12: Arizona, Cal, Colorado, USC

SEC: Alabama, LSU, Tennessee, Texas A&M

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