Big 10 supports eliminating freshman eligibility

Submitted by wresler120 on July 29th, 2011 at 6:25 PM

Apparently an idea is coming back, that was a rule up until the early 1970's, which would apply to freshman eligibility. A few Big 10 coaches, along with Jim Delaney support the idea of making all incoming freshman ineligible to play. They feel this would even out recruiting, and give each team a more even chance at landing a recruit by elimintating the "you can come in and play right away" tactic used on many high profile recruits. I am not sure how I feel about this. I enjoy seeing young freshmen come in and make an immediate impact. I don't like the idea of being forced to start a sophomore or junior when you have a true freshman behind them that is a much better fit. That's just my opinion. I also find it funny that this comes up as soon as Michigan tears the recruiting trail up. I'm not saying that's the case ... I'm just sayin .. you know.


Anyhow, what are your thoughts on this?



July 29th, 2011 at 6:32 PM ^

get the best players on the field. period.  why would you hanicap yourself?  this policy would also drive some players away from the B1G if the other conferences don't follow suit.

if this could be NCAA-wide policy, i could support the idea.


July 29th, 2011 at 7:13 PM ^

I think it's the one-and-done kids who are destroying basketball, by abandoning even the pretense of getting an education. If instituting freshmen ineligibility serves to weed out the kids who have no interest in getting an education because they don't want to sit for a year while they go to class, it will greatly reduce the problems overall in all sports. Whenever you have a kid taking money, cheating on tests, or getting booted off the team for assaultive crimes, you virtually never find out that they're doing well academically.


July 29th, 2011 at 10:15 PM ^

What if they have no interest in an education? I mean it sucks but it's the truth.  Without a real farm system/minor leagues, like in the NBA/NHL, you're going to run into these problems in football and basketball.  A lot of athletes who have dreams of making it to the pros have no interest in getting an education. 

Blue boy johnson

July 29th, 2011 at 10:30 PM ^

Firstly Donny boy, there is no evidence of one and doners "destroying" college basketball.

With the amount of pressure and scrutiny college coaches are subjected to, it makes no sense to deprive them of their best players. Take last season as an example, many dummies where calling for John Belien head, even though the guy is a brilliant coach. Well, without Hardaway, M does not make the NCAA Tourney and the season would have been considered a failure by many. Now, move on to this season, if M is to make the Tourney (I think they will), they are most likely going to need big contributions from Burke and or Brundidge.

Also, Burke and Brundidge and many kids like them, have spent the last 3 or 4 years playing basketball year round at great sacrifice to ready themselves to step in a compete immediately. It is a dumb idea to deprive these kids who have worked so hard the opportunity to play, especially when they are in many cases amongst the best players on the team. It was dumb when Lew Alcindor had sit out his freshman season at UCLA, and it would even be dumber now to revisit the ridiculous rule.


July 29th, 2011 at 6:40 PM ^

even out recruiting? Isn't it the lower-tier teams telling higher-level recruits that they can step in and play as freshmen because even their older players are inferior due to a lack of talent? I'm sure they don't phrase it like that but you get what I mean.


Not trying to make any statement here, just don't understand the logic.


July 29th, 2011 at 6:45 PM ^

I wouldn't be opposed to this if they were doing it on academic grounds, like if kids who are starters since the day they step on campus were having trouble finishing their degree in four years; or if a lot of freshmen were flunking out due to adjustment problems.

If the motivation is recruiting balance, though, I don't see the point. Wouldn't it just make it harder for the weaker programs to improve, if they can't even sell early playing time to recruits?


July 29th, 2011 at 6:52 PM ^

I'm not gonna lie, I'm totally and completely in favor of it.

With the loss of freshman eligibility, you lose the 18-year-old kids who are getting full of themselves (a lá Pryor, Tate) and allow them to, you know, actually focus on their academics. I feel like this could actually lead to a distinct lack of egos, and then indirectly cut down on the number of scandals you run into because there's less motivation to even recruit players illegally when they can't even play for you right away.

I'd say more, although I'm pressed for time. Thoughts?


July 29th, 2011 at 7:01 PM ^

You would just have a lot more sophomores with big egos. Taters gonna Tate, and Pryors gonna sell loot, say stupid crap, and doom their coaches.

I think banning freshmen from the field will just hurt competitive balance by allowing top programs to hoard talent.


July 29th, 2011 at 7:58 PM ^

This is incredibly incredibly stupid. 

In other words, it's an idea expected of Jim Delany.

What's next? Requiring Big Ten athletes to be in grad school?


July 29th, 2011 at 8:06 PM ^

this is one of the dumbest ideas I've ever heard of.  I am very familiar with the antiquated rule. I have always looked at it with scorn in the same way I look at 1970's: nutrition, television shows, porn and fragrances/cologne.  


July 29th, 2011 at 8:07 PM ^

It couldn't be less stupid, unless you're only interested in what's best for you as a football fan. What's best for the players is to spend a year getting acclimated to college and concentrating on academics; many or most of these kids don't come from the best high schools (academically), so they could use the time, believe me. Also, the year off gives them time to grow into their bodies a bit more. That's why coaches end up redshirting most freshmen anyway.


July 29th, 2011 at 8:25 PM ^

this is actually an interesting perspective, i.e. forced red shirts for all freshmen. the OP makes it seem like kids will basically lose a year of eligibility. but if all freshman are auto red shirted, but still can apply for medical red shirts, the idea MIGHT make a smidgen of sense.

but I still don't think its gonna happen.


July 29th, 2011 at 9:49 PM ^

  1. The athlete and his/her family.
  2. The coach and support staff.
  3. The admissions office.

If a coach is recruiting a bunch of kids who cannot handle college life, they need to go. If a student can't make the grades, they need to go. And especially, if the admissions department is letting in a bunch of students incapable of handling the coursework, they need new guidelines or need to be replaced with a body that can competently handle the work of selecting students.


July 29th, 2011 at 10:46 PM ^

I don’t recall the B1G saying anything about giving freshmen students anymore time to acclimate. Unless you mean freeing up the travel time to away games? I see no prof free time is what get’s most college students into trouble, I think maybe the opposite is more likely to be true.

Mr. Yost

July 29th, 2011 at 8:33 PM ^

...I'm not against it. However, it would KILL teams that have coaching changes, especially those teams that switch to a completely new system.

You'd eliminate that coach being able to recruit for his system. Rich Rod would've been ever WORSE off.

Also, it'd eliminate academic borderline kids. Again, not a shot a Rich Rod, but all those guys wouldn't have even SNIFFED campus if we had to expect them to come in, not play, a go to school at the University of Michigan for a year. They were coming, because they thought they could play, and play early, particularly due to the system.


July 29th, 2011 at 9:33 PM ^

Those arguments make little sense. New coaches would just have to work with the players on the roster - which would be better for those players. And I don't think any coach should recruit players he doesn't think can handle the school just in hopes of getting a good year out of them beore they flunk out.

As others have said, if it were NCAA-wide, if all players got 4 years eligibility after the first year, and if you raised the scholly limit by 10 or 15, this would be good for the players.


July 29th, 2011 at 9:34 PM ^

I'm in favor of it, provided ALL schools abide by the same rule.  And if this rule were implemented, I wouldn't mind seeing Freshman football, too (a JV squad, if you will). 


July 29th, 2011 at 9:40 PM ^

What about the 99% of student ath-o-letes who don't go on to the pros? I know several D1 athletes who just want to play their four years, get their degree and get on with living the rest of their life. Now they need to spend five years in school to have the oppertunity to play as a senior for their team? Are MAC volleyball/ softball teams going to give out graduate scholarships now to at least attempt to make up for killing a year for absolutely no reason?


July 29th, 2011 at 10:06 PM ^

Um, I don't think anyone would be forced to stay for that fifth year, but how much can anyone object to the prospect of a free year of college? If I had known I could have gone to college for five years for free, I think I would have glady taken that extra year and put it to good use.


July 29th, 2011 at 10:15 PM ^

And get what to show for it? Going into my senior year this year, I want to get out and join the real world. Also, remember that probably less than a third of scholarship athletes have a full ride. My girlfriend got a bump to $9,000 this year at a school with OOS COA at around $36,000. At a school like Michigan or Northwestern the difference is even greater.


July 29th, 2011 at 10:39 PM ^

Well, we're talkng about football players who get a full-ride. Maybe they could add a minor, a second major, graduate credits, or just take classes they like, or just worry about playing and nailing co-eds. I don't see how anyone could object to having the option of a free year of college.


July 29th, 2011 at 10:57 PM ^


It wasn't specified that they were only discussing football, there was a discussion farther up the thread about its implications on basketball.

As to objecting, what about a player getting injured at an inoppertune time for the NFL scouts? It isn't hard to imagine even a great RB being beat up after a year on the scout team even though he was good enough to start followed by four punishing years in the big time. What if his fifth year (when he would normally go to the NFL after four) is the year his knee goes? Instead of a fat paycheck he's left with just his degree.


July 29th, 2011 at 11:26 PM ^

I see. I was thinking of this in the context of the various ideas out there to sweeten the deal for D-1 football players. I'm not sure it's a good idea for all sports.

The scenario you describe could occur under the current system - lots of players play for five years (if there's a red-shirt in there). The "great RB" would be no less great, since he would develop physically as much or more without playing his freshman year. Players with exceptional ability would no doubt jump to the NFL after three or four years with just about the same frequency as they do now. Playing more football always means more risk. There's also a certain kind of risk for players in the current system who forego the red-shirt because they want to get to the NFL asap, but don't develop pro potential; then they only have 4 years of school to get a degree.

Maybe the simplest thing is just to say that everyone gets five years of eligibility - junk the red-shirt concept, except perhaps for serious injury.



July 29th, 2011 at 10:53 PM ^

As I recall, the debate in the late 60s about this was that fielding a freshman football team was expensive, and favored the big schools with money. Like Michigan and Ohio State.

The idea to make freshmen eligible was to reduce the cost of a football operation. By reducing the number of scholarships, eliminating the freshman team, etc., more schools became competitive.

Academics wasn't the issue.

In fact, Michigan and other B1G schools would probably benefit from returning to the old rules, as opposed to smaller schools like those in the WAC, Mountain West, etc.

This, provided that their competitors did as well.


July 30th, 2011 at 12:43 AM ^

IIRC there was no redshirting at the time - it was freshman year in school and maybe on the freshman team, three years of eligibility and you were done.  If you want to look at one of the last of the great college athletes under that system check one Lew Alcindor at UCLA.  Imagine a player of that stature today not varsity-eligible.

If you think I'm exaggerating this guy caused them to ban the dunk for 7-8 years.  He mattered.

[email protected]

July 30th, 2011 at 1:42 AM ^

As a member from that earlier era from the 1970's, I remember that when I rowed crew, which is no less physically demanding than football, we had and still do have freshman crews for the first year and then varsity crews thereafter. Football also had a freshman team and varsity/JV teams but only the varsity played on saturday.  Often the freshman teams would scrimmage unofficially, but that was held elsewhere.  

I think having a freshman year of ineligibility would be good, if done consistently throughout the NCAA, not just within select conferences.  For lineman and defensive players, the freshman year allows the player's body to mature and develop with weight training.  The respective squad can begin to learn the playbooks, so they can be effective the next year, and  no make so many rookie mistakes.  I don't think you need to increase the number of scholarships, so long as things are done consistently.  

Also, watching the freshman games might be extra source of minor revenue, especially for major rivalries, as a sign of what is to come in the future.