The 85 Scholar Question

Submitted by Chrisgocomment on July 28th, 2008 at 11:51 AM

I found an interesting write up on that "Bryant Scholarship" thing at the Bama Sports Report, which I don't think was shown here. 

Quick note: I'm not trying to rehash this stupid blog war with Bama about the Scholarship thing, I just don't think this particular aspect of it was ever detailed.  After reading the author's post I found it compelling and wanted to share it:…

In brief, the Bryant Scholarship is awarded to the children of any former player or coach of Bear Bryant.  It is not football related, it isn't even an athletic scholarship.   Also, it’s really, really confusing....

What that boils down to is that a recruited player, as Scott Deaton was, only counts towards the football scholarship numbers when he plays in a game. If he never plays in a game, regardless of practice participation, he never counts towards the scholarship numbers. If he ever plays, even 1 snap, then he counts. Because Scott has not played, he does not count against Bama’s 85 limit.

If a player is not recruited, he does not count, regardless of game action.

Is this the same as other scholarship players?  I see plenty of Michigan players on the sidelines that I've never heard of, I assume they are on scholarship but never play.  If we have a guy on scholarship that never plays a down, does he go against our 85 limit or not?  I assumed that that player counts, but with this wacky scholarship you can basically have a guy suit up as an insurance policy.  Weird.

I find it strange that you can recruit one of these kids, give them a scholarship, but then not have that scholarship count against the limit.  This basically gives the coach the ability to maneuver around the 85 limit based on this rule.  If the player doesn't play, well then you can have one more player on scholarship to take his place.

Now here's the interesting part, incoming freshman Wesley Neighbors is the son of a former Bryant player.  In short, if Saban needs to knock his incoming class down by one, all he has to do is not play this kid for two years.......Bama Sports Report:

If the decision is made to do that by having Wesley Neighbors take advantage of the Bryant Scholarship, then the coaches have to be absolutely certain that he will not play for his first 2 years on campus. They also have to be prepared to have room to count him towards the 85 limit if he plays at any point in time after 2009.

They could give Neighbors a regular scholarship and count him as part of the 85, or they could put him on Bryant Scholarship and sit him for two years, at which point he will then count against the previously signed class...uhhh... my brain hurts....

If the Bryant Scholarship recipient plays during his 1st two years on campus, then he counts towards the recruiting class that he enrolled with. If he does not play during those 2 years, then he does not count as an initial scholarship - again, only counting towards the 85 when he plays, if he is classified as a recruited player.

So there you go.  With this Bryant thing Saban can play around with the numbers a little more than the average coach.

So.....why doesn't Michigan do this?  Why not have a “Schembechler Scholarship”?  Braylon could have been on that.  Woolfolk too.  If the NCAA is ok with this where is Michigan on this one?  It’s a really interesting loop hole in the scholarship talk.  

Not that it needs to be brought up again, and I’m not saying this is bad or good, I just thought it was an interesting subject.



July 28th, 2008 at 12:00 PM ^

Yeah, I thought about that when Pat Fitzgerald rattled off guys he was hoping would start in the secondary and listed not one but two defensive backs whose dads played for Michigan but couldn't swing a scholarship. Neighbors himself had a Georgia Tech offer. These are useful players that Alabama can spend half a scholarship on, and one of two things should happen: 1) the NCAA should ban the practice or 2) we need to get ourselves a Bo/Mo/Llo scholarship.


July 30th, 2008 at 2:45 PM ^

If the NCAA doesn't ban it, every school that has the need should get one of these scholarships. Think about it, you can bring in a 2/3 star who is not expected to make an immediate impact, let them train and practice for 2 years, then re-evaluate and see if they can hack it on the 85 man roster. If they can't, coaches can say they were given a legitamite shot, and nobody has to go around fudging medical disabilites, and nobody loses their scholarship. If they want to transfer, its all on them, theres no pressure to get under the 85 limit. For the players, it gives them a shot at a Michigan legacy that they may not have gotten. As long as they/their parents understand this it should be fine. For the school/coaches, it gives them a backup they can use if they need if they're approaching the 25/85 limit, a free 2 year evaluation period on a player, and insurance in case a member of their class sticks up Blue Front or something. It's a win-win for big schools, not so much for little schools. And when other big schools implement it, expect it to be banned immediately.