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NCAA Proposal Would Cut Football Scholarships to 80

Saturday, the NCAA Board of Directors will vote on several sweeping rules changes, including cutting the total of football scholarships from 85 to 80.

The Board of Directors will also vote on a proposal to reduce women's basketball scholarships from 15 to 13.

University of Nebraska Chancellor Harvey Perlman led the opponents of the football cuts.

"There's public concern about universities generating all these resources and not giving it to student-athletes," said Perlman. So the response is we're going to cut scholarships and other kinds of things? It doesn't make sense to me."

Coaches are already on record as opposing the proposal, but it is expected to be an uphill battle to prevent the Board of Directors from voting it out, which means it will probably end up going in front of the entire 355 University membership for a vote.

The scholarship reduction is one of several sweeping proposals that could be put into place sometime in the near future. Among them are:

$2,000 "Full Cost of Scholarship" stipend

The proposal was passed last October, but was suspended after 161 of 355 schools signed an override petition. Among the complaints about the stipend were worries over recruiting bidding wars as well as the cost of additional monitoring to make sure teams don’t over-promise aid.

Others argue that the stipend will make it more difficult to meet Title IX compliance. The stipend is also only available to athletes on full scholarships, which means "equivalency" sports such as baseball, track and ice hockey — where scholarships are divided up — would not be eligible for the financial relief.

Odds are that there will be no final resolution to the suspension of the proposal, and it will head to a vote before the full membership.

Multi-Year Scholarships

The proposal would allow, but not require, Universities to award multi-year athletic scholarships. Eighty two member schools have signed an override petition for this measure. Some opponents say that athletic scholarships should face annual renewal, just like academic scholarships. Others fear a "recruiting disaster," that would lead to a bidding war.


The NCAA Board of Directors will also hear a report on proposed changes to the enforcement code. NCAA President Mark Emmert wants a three-tiered penalty structure that imposes sliding scale of sanctions against programs with the most serious rules violations as well as making the penalty phase more predictable.

Emmert also wants to speed up the investigation and enforcement timetable as well as streamline the 500-page NCAA rule book. It is expected that the Board will not make any movement in this area until later in the year.

As for the other proposals, the NCAA Board of Directors has three options:

It can either leave the legislation as is, sending it to a full membership vote.

Agree with the override and eliminate the proposal.

Or change the proposal in some way, which would then result in another 60-day override period for the new legislation and eventually lead to a vote in front of the full membership.

In his Thursday State of the NCAA address, Director Emmert gave the Association's first public blessing for a "Plus 1" addition to the BCS.

Such a change seems bound to happen, sooner or later. While some have called it a "Final Four" format for D-1 football, that is not necessarily how it will eventually work out. Later this weekend we will have a post on why the change is gaining momentum and how it may -- or may not -- look.