Multi-year scholarship override fails

by Andrew Krammer


Only one Big Ten member opposed a new policy allowing major-college institutions to offer multi-year scholarships to student-athletes, according to an NCAA document obtained by The Chronicle of Higher Education. The attempted override of the provision failed by two votes.

The University of Wisconsin, despite reportedly giving out multi-year scholarships to recruits on National Signing Day on Feb. 1, voted in support of an override by Division I colleges last week to nix multi-year scholarships.

The University of Minnesota, which did not award multi-year scholarships on signing day, voted in line with the rest of the Big Ten and supported the additional security to its scholarship student-athletes.

The NCAA membership fell two votes short last week of the necessary five-eighths majority needed to overturn the measure. With 330 institutions and conferences voting, they needed 207 votes. They got 205.

Since 1973, schools have only been able to offer one-year renewable scholarships.

In an override effort dominated by colleges concerned about the cost of locking in players for multiple years, four out of the 10 wealthiest athletic departments surprisingly voted in favor of the override.

Along with Texas, Tennessee, LSU and Oklahoma, 30 Bowl Championship Series schools — including all of the Big 12 membership — voted against the scholarship proposal.

With the rest of the NCAA membership voting over fear of budget constraints, the wealthy Big 12 made it clear: it’s not that the schools can’t offer them; it’s that they don’t want to.

However, multi-year scholarships will remain optional for schools. In turn, they will serve as a recruiting advantage for those who can afford it.