How would "Free" College affect Recruiting and CFB?

Submitted by amir_6 on March 5th, 2016 at 6:53 PM

Assuming that a certain candidate is elected and free college becomes law, how do you guys think that would affect college recruiting and performance of teams? Would teams be able to stockpile talent again like Nebraska and the different walk ons getting academic scholarships? Please let's not turn this into a political debate thread, just curious to how you guys think it would affect CFB!



March 5th, 2016 at 7:56 PM ^

It might get good in that sense, but let's hope that it doesn't - it is an interesting enough question and doesn't require someone to go on about particular candidates. To that end, the thread can definitely stay unless someone ruins it beyond any sort of repair (and this interface does make repairs difficult - I will say that right here in the event someone who would say something unnecessary is reading). 


March 5th, 2016 at 8:11 PM ^

I don't think it would affect anyone too much.  It would allow teams from more presitgious programs to stockpile more players as freshmen, but they all transfer out nowadays if they aren't getting the playing time they want.  I think we would just see more transfers as players who don't do well figure out they are just "meat" for the guys who are going to play.

carolina blue

March 5th, 2016 at 7:08 PM ^

Without scholarships, the ncaa would have to change rules. This of course assumes that scholarships would go away, which they probably wouldn't. The school still wants the best talent to get the best team to make the most money which means it will still offer athletes a free ride (I.e. Not on the taxpayer dime)

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March 5th, 2016 at 7:09 PM ^

Could we not have taken more players than we did in recruiting?  Would we not be able to avoid firm handshakes to some 5th year players?

I think that it would benefit some of the larger programs - however slightly.


March 5th, 2016 at 7:24 PM ^

I don't think the effect would be very significant. Even if "free" college happened, it would probably only be free tuition and at public institutions only--so scholarships would still be needed for room & board, tuition at private schools, etc.


March 5th, 2016 at 7:26 PM ^

First of all, "free college" will not become a law. Second, even if we had a situation with heavily subsidized tuition for public schools (even Bernie can't make ND or USC free), you still have room and board which is quite expensive at many schools. Third, you'd still have the same things limiting the amount of players who come, depth chart, play time, etc.

But yeah, this is an incredibly pointless discussion.


March 5th, 2016 at 7:44 PM ^

See, it's comments like this that turn these discussions political. You say "free college isn't feasible," and then I have to say, "well then, how is it that we can provide free K-12 education but we can't do K-16?" And then you probably find some estimate showing the cost would be astronomical, and I retort with some other study showing the cost is within reason, and the next thing you know we are in Bolivia...


March 6th, 2016 at 10:27 AM ^

Yeah, I kind of see this issue as being similar to healthcare. If you want to cover everybody, then you can't just go on paying whatever the service providers want to charge. Of course, academia is notorious for underpaying its workers (not tenured professors, but lecturers, adjuncts, etc.) so I am not sure how much of a discount the gov't could squeeze out of that scene.

Sanders says he thinks we can do publicly-funded college for $78 billion. I don't know if that is realistic or not, or what the parameters of that plan exactly are. I do like that he is talking about this issue and hopefully some good will come of it, but I tend to think the best solutions are probably going to be a lot more complex than just having Congress write a check.


March 5th, 2016 at 8:03 PM ^

Bigger point lost here -imo - is that by making a college degree "free" all you would be doing is raising the requirements for job entry. You see this already with the (out of control) college loans today - how could Enterprise Rent a Car afford to be the largest hirer of college grads if there wasn't a glut of them on the market?


March 6th, 2016 at 10:14 AM ^

I mean, as things are today most jobs that pay a decent wage are either going to require a college diploma or are going to require skills that can only be obtained through college education. There are exceptions, such as skilled trades and so forth where the entry requirements probably wouldn't change much, but we really don't have many of the highly-compensated manufacturing jobs or other types of employment where an unskilled worker with a high school diploma can live comfortably and maybe even support a family. So, I would say that a college education is already enough of an access barrier to the job market that we need to make sure a college education is attainable to everyone if we are to have true social mobility in this country.

Of course, we have traditionally made college broadly accessible through student loans. But tuition rates have climbed steadily over the past three decades and are now at levels where students funding their educations with loans are graduating with obscene amounts of debt. Student loan default rates are over 15% and climbing, and even those who are paying back their loans are having to defer or forego important financial priorities such as purchasing homes, starting families, or saving for retirement. This has already started to drag the economy and will only become a greater factor as more students finish college with even more debt.

So, I think some kind of major reform with education funding is going to be necessary. Having the government fund free "K-16" education is one possible solution--though maybe not the only one. Simply making student loans dischargeable in bankruptcy might be simpler and more cost-effective, though fraught with moral hazard. A deep subsidy program that makes college affordable, but not free, might be less expensive but could have its own issues, etc. But whatever the solution is, the present state of education finance is unsustainable.

It is also deeply offensive to American values. We pride ourselves on being a society in which individuals can go as far as their talents and hard work will take them, rather than have their life outcomes largely dictated by parental wealth and social class. We don't have that when access to a basic college degree--and, thus, living wage employment--requires working- and middle-class youth to borrow and pay back the equivalent of a home mortgage. And that's why today I am announcing my candidacy for president of mgoblog. Vote for me, and all your wildest dreams will come true.

Winchester Wolverine

March 5th, 2016 at 9:02 PM ^

I'm pretty sure large schools on the D1 level wont ever be "free". I think this would only apply to smaller community schools, cause well, you get what you pay for. It would ensure that a degree from the Michigans of the world would hold more weight (as they should).


March 5th, 2016 at 9:41 PM ^

Although the OP seems to misunderstand a "certain candidate's" plan, this isn't a totally pointless thread. When Harvard initiated effectively free tuition for most families several years ago, and the rest of the Ivies followed suit, it changed the competitive nature of Ivy League sports. More lower income athletes have been able to consider passing up a full ride elsewhere for a tuition waiver at an Ivy. Not a huge change, as there is still a competitive gap, but it has made a difference. It's not unreasonable to suppose that something similar could happen at other public D1 colleges.