The Fisher Law Firm Friday Q&A: The Experience Edge

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Virginia Tech Fisher Law Firm Friday Q&A

Virginia Tech
What would happen to Virginia Tech seniors like Emmanuel Belmar if there is no 2020 season? (Ivan Morozov)

1) If VT doesn’t play a full season (either this fall and/or next spring), say no more than four games, do we redshirt everyone that we can (i.e., Nester, Hudson, Turner, etc.)? Also, of the 16+/- scholarship seniors, who would we bring back for the 2021 season (assuming that: a) VT does let seniors come back for another season; b) VT has the $$$ to pay for those seniors who want to come back for another season; and c) the NCAA would approve something like that)? – Big Sexxxy

Chris Coleman: If seniors are allowed to return for the 2021 season, Whit Babcock noted on his Zoom interview with the media on Wednesday that coaches would have to get really good at roster management.

The NCAA set a precedent this past spring when they allowed seniors for the cancelled spring sports to return for 2021.  It is up to each school whether or not they can return, but the NCAA gave the go-ahead.  The problem, of course, is that some schools can afford to take on the added cost and some can’t.  UVA, for example, will not increase funding for spring 2020 seniors who wish to return for the 2021 season.  Coaches will have to provide for those athletes out of their existing budget, which means some student-athletes who were perhaps on a 25% scholarship are now reduced to a one-eighth scholarship, or something like that.

Of course, that’s for the Olympic Sports.  Football is an entirely different animal.  Football scholarships are full scholarships.  They aren’t allowed to be split up into partial scholarships to be shared among the players.  For the 2020 seniors to return for the 2021 season, either the NCAA would have to allow football teams to go well above the 85-man scholarship limit, or the Hokies would have to make some hard decisions.  Do I let this senior return, or do I pull a promised scholarship offer from a committed or signed high school senior?  That doesn’t sound like a fun decision to make.

I expect that the NCAA would allow football programs to go above the minimum for one year.  Of course, that would cost the schools a lot of money.  Some would be able to afford it, and some wouldn’t, and those who could afford it would have a big depth advantage over those who could not.

The Hokies are going to sign a full recruiting class in 2021.  Let’s say for the sake of argument that Tech signs 25 players in December or February, or whenever the heck Signing Day actually happens.  Let’s also say that all 16 scholarship seniors want to return for 2021.  The cost is $23,033 per in-state student, and $42,177 per out-of-state student. 

My rough math estimates