The Challenge of Olympic Sports at Virginia Tech

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Jacob Emert sat down with Virginia Tech pitching coach Rob Woodard towards the end of the season to discuss recruiting. At one point during the interview, he asked Woodard how college baseball’s scholarship system works, and he got a long and interesting answer. This is a pretty long quote, so bear with me.

“There are other programs out there that have more need-based financial aid that they can supplement in terms of a family filling out a FASFA form, and basically certain schools that are out there, I’m not going to name any, but you can look at the top 10-15 schools in the rankings, and those schools, the families can fill out a federal aid form and qualify for 55, 60, 75, 80 percent need based money from the institution. Then that baseball program can add that on to their 11.7 and those players won’t count on a roster.

So, when we offer a scholarship it comes out of our 11.7 and it counts toward our 27 players that can count on our roster. We can’t have more than 27 players on scholarship. So that means of our 35-man, we have to have at least 8 players that have no aid whatsoever, or no athletic aid. So, there are other schools that can tap into more of a, when the player is on financial aid, those eight players can be on like 80 percent scholarship, need-based financial aid. So you have players that are turning down 60 percent for Virginia Tech to go to an 80 percent financial-aid package from SEC, ACC school A, B and C. So now they’re preferred walk-ons are 80 percent scholarship, 60 percent scholarship players.

Supplemental financial aid varies from school to school and it’s kind of the loophole in financial aid and college baseball. It is what it is. Everyone kind of in our profession knows it. That’s one of the first things when guys out there are looking at taking a head coaching job, when a certain school opens up, one of the first things they want to know is ‘what are my options for supplemental aid to add to my 11.7.’ And if there isn’t some, that’s going to be a challenge. There is a certain school down south that I know of, that if a player comes from a state that doesn’t offer marine biology in his state school, then he can qualify for in-state tuition. So