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  1. #1
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    Should the NCAA Remove the Limit on Football Scholarships?

    Interesting topic. Whatever the NCAA decides to do, they need to stick with it so that coaches can tinker with it and find out what works best for them. To change the rules every year puts everyone at risk IMO.

    http://bamahammer.com/2013/01/27/sho...-scholarships/

    Last off-season, several big changes were voted on and are still being discussed. The most notable proposals were the reduction of total scholarships from 85 to 80, the addition of a four-team playoff, and the proposal of multi-year scholarships for all incoming football players. I could talk about the pros and cons of a playoff system all day, so letís save that for another time. Letís focus on what could potentially change the face of college football: Scholarship reductions and multi-year scholarships.In 1994, the NCAA was hell-bent on expanding the gameís popularity. The goal was to appeal to a wider audience, and to help facilitate this, the NCAA attempted to level the playing field. They wanted the Akrons of the world to have the same number of players on scholarship as the Nebraskas of the world. Parity equals popularity. It was the NCAAís hope that if each team fielded fewer players, talent would be spread more evenly across the board, and every team would have a better chance at a National Championship. So in 1994, the NCAA voted to limit scholarships from 105 to 85.
    Fast-forward 19 years. The teams who were dominating the college football landscape in 1994 are the same teams who are winning championships now. Since 1994, Nebraska, Florida, Michigan, Tennessee, Florida State, Oklahoma, Miami, Ohio State, LSU, USC, Texas, Auburn and Alabama have all won national championships. Those were the same teams who were winning in the 50ís, 60ís, 70ís and 80ís. The playing field hasnít been leveled. The only real noticeable change is fewer kids are getting scholarships.


    A reduction in scholarships does nothing but hurt the fringe athletes who are counting on their athletic prowess to give them the opportunity to go to college. But as an Alabama fan, Iíve seen first hand that itís much easier for people to say that Nick Saban is taking away a young manís opportunity than it is to admit that forced parity in college athletics does more harm than good.

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    Re: Should the NCAA Remove the Limit on Football Scholarships?

    I know the scholarship limitations are there to promote fairness, but It's hard to reconcile the number of kids who don't make it to college thanks to it. Bottom line is today it's beyond everyone's ability to pay, it's either schollly, massive debt, or McDonald. If it were up to me I'd keep a cap on it, but raise the cap to like 100 with no 25 limit. Just let the 100 be a hard cap and over time it will equal out.
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    Re: Should the NCAA Remove the Limit on Football Scholarships?

    I think the scholarship limit had a somewhat positive effect on the mid-major conferences. They got more access to fringe power conference level athletes and it enhanced their better team's competitiveness with the power conferences. TCU, Utah, Fresno State, Boise State, etc have made a living off swooping into regions where the power conferences don't have enough slots for all their capable athletes. I don't think it had an overall benefit though. All it did was push guys who were near power conference quality and only needed a shot to develop in a real S&C program down to the next tier while the fringe D-1A guys - who mid-majors were taking on more often before - got pushed into an entirely different subdivision.

    I think it is unlikely we'll see expansion of scholarship limits. Too many people will fly in the face of evidence because it "FEELS LIKE" it makes the sport more balanced. I think it is far more likely that it dips even further down to 80 then 75 over the next decade or so.

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    Re: Should the NCAA Remove the Limit on Football Scholarships?

    Quote Originally Posted by rgw View Post
    I think the scholarship limit had a somewhat positive effect on the mid-major conferences. They got more access to fringe power conference level athletes and it enhanced their better team's competitiveness with the power conferences. TCU, Utah, Fresno State, Boise State, etc have made a living off swooping into regions where the power conferences don't have enough slots for all their capable athletes. I don't think it had an overall benefit though. All it did was push guys who were near power conference quality and only needed a shot to develop in a real S&C program down to the next tier while the fringe D-1A guys - who mid-majors were taking on more often before - got pushed into an entirely different subdivision.

    I think it is unlikely we'll see expansion of scholarship limits. Too many people will fly in the face of evidence because it "FEELS LIKE" it makes the sport more balanced. I think it is far more likely that it dips even further down to 80 then 75 over the next decade or so.
    Did it though? Now those mid-major teams are going into debt each year in an attempt to keep up with the BCS schools. They'd be better served in FCS rather than FBS, a league in which they have no real shot at ever winning a title.
    Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice? Congratulations, you'd probably make a pretty good con-man.

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    Re: Should the NCAA Remove the Limit on Football Scholarships?

    That's a good point and I agree. I was merely talking about on the competitive plane but when you look at it holistically I do believe you're correct. It seems like every year we have some team that didn't even exist a decade ago entering the subdivision. No offense to South Alabama, but it's absurd that a team can go from no players to FBS in half a decade. I believe nearly half of this subdivision ought to be in the championship subdivision.

    Of course, we must bear some of the burden too. The power conferences regularly schedule these remoras with gifts of sizable pay days to come to our stadiums to put on exhibition games. It truly demonstrates that top-level collegiate football needs something more than what the NCAA can provide: selectiveness, a commissioner-like office that regulates scheduling balance, and basically something more akin to the NFL than the NCAA. Any Tom, Dick, or Harry who can build a 15-20k stadium, manufacture some crafty accounting on attendance figures, and hire a coach can play in the FBS in the hopes of being a part of the money grab.

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    Re: Should the NCAA Remove the Limit on Football Scholarships?

    They keep adding games, and over the years reduced the scholarships. If they really care about player safety, they wouldn't have done this. They are putting more and more pressure on a smaller group of players, and this means they have to participate in more plays, in more games.

    I wouldn't say no limit, simply because the college football world is so acclimated to the limit that chaos would ensue. It should no doubt be expanded, at least to address the fact that they added another game, and then added the potential for an additional one on top of that.

    If a potential 12 game schedule warranted 85 scholarships, shouldn't a potential 14 (or even 15 but conference champions are not universal) game schedule warrant about 100 scholarships?

    Having said that, I'd be argue more along the lines of going to 90 scholarships, with the annual limit moved to 26. I'd couple that with stipends for the players (a relatively small amount) and revised redshirt rules.
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    Re: Should the NCAA Remove the Limit on Football Scholarships?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rasputin View Post
    A reduction in scholarships does nothing but hurt the fringe athletes who are counting on their athletic prowess to give them the opportunity to go to college. But as an Alabama fan, Iíve seen first hand that itís much easier for people to say that Nick Saban is taking away a young manís opportunity than it is to admit that forced parity in college athletics does more harm than good.
    I wish they'd stop tinkering with the scholarship limits partially because of the reason you cited. The power teams are always going to be the power teams no matter how much they may want that not to be the case.

    In the early 80's I was having lunch in a hotel restaurant in SE Alabama when a stranger asked if he could join me. There were plenty of empty tables but I guess he wanted some conversation. Turns out he was an assistant coach from Southern Miss on a recruiting trip.

    The programs like Bama tend to recruit the bigger HS programs and he said they'd had good luck recruiting from some of the smaller schools that the Alabama's paid little attention to.

    Considering how tight some of our games were over the years with Southern Miss, I tend to think he was right. With scholarship limits where do these small school athletes go?

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    Re: Should the NCAA Remove the Limit on Football Scholarships?

    Something like this came up in a different thread, and it is certainly worth consideration. I think that any limit hurts potential student athletes, but if there must be a limit it should be at/near 100 with no annual limits. Hurting student athletes in an effort to prop up smaller schools is a horrible idea, and I just don't understand how it was ever implemented.

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    Re: Should the NCAA Remove the Limit on Football Scholarships?

    This thread reminds me of when I was going through my divorce. My lawyer told me to make the decisions with the childs best interest in mind. Do not make decisions for selfish reasons. Fight only if it benefits the child. I believe that the NCAA could benefit from my lawyers advise to me, and make decisions based soley on the needs of the student athlete. And, if they were to move the number back to 105. I believe thet would benefit the student athlete. Reason being that they might be able to go to the school of their choice. I think that 125, or 150 might make sense. I am sure that the University of Alabama could afford to grant 150 football scholorships. That would allow more student athletes a better opportunity to get an education.

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    Re: Should the NCAA Remove the Limit on Football Scholarships?

    Those who think the reduction in scholarships from 105 to 85 didn't make the playing field more level are not old enough to understand. Before the reduction, CPB used to sign people just so no one else could have them. Coaches were willing to take chances on kids and not have it come back to bite them. Even though the playing field is not level, and it never will be, the game scores are closer between the haves and have nots than it used to be back in the 70's. We don't beat people 77-0 any more, nor does Oklahoma, Nebraska, Miami, Texas. Michigan, etc. I believe this is largely due to the scholarship reductions.

    The other thing people don't realize is that scholarship money is a zero sum game. The more money allotted to football means that much less for basketball and certainly all the other non-revenue sports. If you add 5 more football scholarships that means you've got to add 5 more women's scholarships, due to Title IX, and that will almost certainly come at the expense of Men's Golf, Tennis, Swimming, Track, etc. I think 85 football scholarships is plenty.

    FWIW, I think the guy who wrote this blog must be in the first grade. Very little depth of thought in this article. It's so simplistic it's almost comical.
    Last edited by Im_on_dsp; January 28th, 2013 at 12:14 PM.

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    Re: Should the NCAA Remove the Limit on Football Scholarships?

    I would argue that because of the popularity of college football that there are more D1 scholarship quality athletes not less. I think more kids are playing football and investing in their training to play the sport because 1) There is greater probability of earning a scholarship at any level that surpasses any other sport and 2) the value of participation even if not in the NFL has increased (more less playing college football now is the equivalent of military service back in the day when it comes to differentiating yourself for employment).

    While I think the schollie limitations did in fact help rise the competitiveness of some lower programs like BSU, TCU, and Louisville, I think equilibrium has been established with the 85 limit since it has been in place for almost 20 years. Its pretty evident that most programs are not profitable even in the wake of the 85 limit, you dont make them more profitable by cutting the limit to 75. All you do with that is invite more fledgling tadpoles into to division who will struggle with profitability and more specifically undermine the power structure of the larger schools (which is I why I think the NCAA continually allows new schools to obtain membership and one to reasons the Tier 1 schools continue to break away with the BCS, etc). By lowering the limit, you have done nothing to increase the supply of positions at the highest level when there is probably more interest in the sport in high school than ever before.

    Other than the intangibles, how does a kid playing FCS or DII football really benefit the kid? He rarely plays on TV, gets virtually no shot at the NFL, has virtually no shot to develop name recognition, has less opportunity to develop his body and skills, and likely increases his chance of injury due inadequate facilities and training. Based on these factors alone you could make the argument the schollie limit should be raised from 85 to something like 95 or 100.

    If they really wanted to create parity, then maybe they ought to consider increasing the limit for the lower third of the division based on some set criteria say for example give them a 100 limit instead an 85. They could pull kids from the lower divisions or even pull the marginal kid that's at a bigger school. This would help them build depth in their roster which increases their chances of winning. Obvious such a program would have to bear the additional expense associated with an expanded roster and Title IX issues but at least the school could view that as more of an investment in building a program rather than just trying to survive. Until a program wins consistently, ala TCU, then and only then will the program's economics change in the way of marketing appeal and booster contributions. But I would put a moratorium on future membership in D1 and agree to not further cut the schollie limit for the bigger programs in exchange for unequal rosters.
    Last edited by JDCrimson; January 28th, 2013 at 12:23 PM.

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    BamaNation All-SEC bamaslaw's Avatar
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    Re: Should the NCAA Remove the Limit on Football Scholarships?

    Quote Originally Posted by Im_on_dsp View Post
    Those who think the reduction in scholarships from 105 to 85 didn't make the playing field more level are not old enough to understand. Before the reduction, CPB used to sign people just so no one else could have them. Coaches were willing to take chances on kids and not have it come back to bite them. Even though the playing field is not level, and it never will be, the game scores are closer between the haves and have nots than it used to be back in the 70's. We don't beat people 77-0 any more, nor does Oklahoma, Nebraska, Miami, Texas. Michigan, etc. I believe this is largely due to the scholarship reductions.
    I agree with you, but you gave me an excuse to post this:


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    Re: Should the NCAA Remove the Limit on Football Scholarships?

    Quote Originally Posted by Im_on_dsp View Post
    Those who think the reduction in scholarships from 105 to 85 didn't make the playing field more level are not old enough to understand. Before the reduction, CPB used to sign people just so no one else could have them. Coaches were willing to take chances on kids and not have it come back to bite them. Even though the playing field is not level, and it never will be, the game scores are closer between the haves and have nots than it used to be back in the 70's. We don't beat people 77-0 any more, nor does Oklahoma, Nebraska, Miami, Texas. Michigan, etc. I believe this is largely due to the scholarship reductions.
    Sorry. I've heard that my whole life and I'm not buying it. That's an argument other fanbases use against us when they like to talk disparagingly about Coach Bryant. Your statement pretends that CPB went into kids homes and forced them to sign at gunpoint. You don't horde things you don't own. Recruits aren't a commodity you buy at a store. They've got the free will to choose where they want to go, and to pretend like anything else is the case makes zero sense. Bryant was powerful, but no one had the power to force a kid to sign a document against their will.


    Quote Originally Posted by Im_on_dsp View Post
    The other thing people don't realize is that scholarship money is a zero sum game. The more money allotted to football means that much less for basketball and certainly all the other non-revenue sports. If you add 5 more football scholarships that means you've got to add 5 more women's scholarships, due to Title IX, and that will almost certainly come at the expense of Men's Golf, Tennis, Swimming, Track, etc. I think 85 football scholarships is plenty.

    FWIW, I think the guy who wrote this blog must be in the first grade. Very little depth of thought in this article. It's so simplistic it's almost comical.
    Why should it be football's responsibility to carry the other sports? Why can't basketball take care of itself? Why can't soccer take care of itself? Not to veer into a political discussion, but that's exactly what your statements reeks of.
    Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice? Congratulations, you'd probably make a pretty good con-man.

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