Scholarships and the Spring Game

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Multiyear Scholarships: Bad for Virginia Tech

Back in the fall, the NCAA passed a new rule that gave schools the option to offer multiyear scholarships and $2,000 stipends to recruits.  They basically shoved it down the collective throats of the college football world and quickly heard protests from many schools.

In case you aren’t familiar with the issue, athletic scholarships as we know them are basically one-year contract agreements.  At the end of the year, the scholarship is either renewed by the school, or not renewed.  The rule passed last fall gave schools the chance to offer recruits a four or five year guaranteed scholarship, along with that $2,000 stipend.

Some schools are in favor of the multiyear scholarship, and others are not.  Virginia Tech is not in favor of it.  Neither am I, in case you are curious.  On paper, I know it seems like a meat market.  A defensive lineman can’t crack the two-deep in his first two years because he’s just not good enough?  Boom, no more scholarship.  That’s how it works at some programs.  Indeed, that does stink for that player.

Schools that choose to offer the multiyear scholarship (along with the $2,000 stipend) have a major recruiting advantage over those who don’t.  The coaches of those schools that offer the multiyear deals can tell recruits that even if they are busts on the football field, as long as they are academically eligible, their scholarship can’t be taken away.

That recruiting disadvantage would eventually force all schools to start offering multiyear scholarships.  On paper, that seems fair to the student athlete.  It would hurt guys like Nick Saban, who abuse the system by running multiple players in and out of his program.  I don’t like it however, because of the problems it could lead to within a program.

Each program is free to choose its own requirements for players who accept a multiyear scholarship, but for most schools it would be something generic such as requiring the player to attend all practices, meetings, weight room sessions and film sessions, as well as staying out of trouble with the law and maintaining the required GPA.  If you don’t go to jail, if you pass your classes and you show up to team functions, it’s all good.

Let’s say for the sake of argument that Virginia Tech starts offering recruits guaranteed four year scholarships.