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Gophers gave few multiyear scholarships

Minnesota handed out nine multiyear scholarships in their inaugural year, compared to Michigan State’s 30, Ohio State’s 47 and Illinois’ 192.

NCAA legislation to approve the use of multiyear student-athlete scholarships happened so fast that very few schools took the first step to distribute them.

The University of Minnesota athletics department awarded only nine multiyear scholarships in 2012-13, the first year the NCAA has allowed them.

Gophers officials were not made available to comment but released a statement.

“The University of Minnesota has a long history of honoring annual scholarships and ensuring student-athletes maintain their aid as long as they maintain required academic, team and university behavioral standards,” the statement read.

Big Ten programs Illinois, Ohio State and Michigan State offered many more multiyear scholarships than Minnesota, according to a report by the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Illinois mostly replaced single-year offers with multiyear offers.

Illini associate athletics director for compliance Ryan Squire told the Minnesota Daily that the timing of the legislation, combined with Illinois’ philosophy, led to the decision.

“We had to make some quick decisions,” he said. “We had a signing day like the following week [in October 2011, when the legislation was approved].”

Illinois awarded 192 multiyear scholarships, dwarfing the next school on the list — Florida, which awarded 60.

Communication from the Big Ten offices also led Squire and Illinois to believe that most Big Ten schools would act as they did and award many multiyear offers.

“Given the slow adoption of it, it seems like we might be an outlier,” Squire said.

For the Gophers, three athletes in women’s track and field led the pack in multiyear scholarships.

No athletes in Gophers revenue sports received the extended offers, with women’s soccer, men’s tennis, men’s golf and women’s hockey each nabbing one or two of them.

“The University has offered multiyear scholarships in the past when appropriate to the specific student-athlete situation,” the Gophers’ statement read.

Inside the conference, the Buckeyes handed out 47 multiyear scholarships while the Spartans awarded 30, according to the Chronicle.

Illinois’ decision to offer so many more was about helping change the perception that student-athletes are taken advantage of, Squire said.

“It hopefully provides a little bit more security for them,” Squire said.

He said multiyear scholarships are part of a larger image issue the NCAA is currently battling.

“I think it’s wise for us to continue the route we’re going,” Squire said. “But who knows where we’ll be in five years.”

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