Jim Delany

Big Ten going to multi-year scholarship model


For those football players who sign National Letters of Intent with Big Ten schools Wednesday, that signature will afford them a lot more scholarship security than their predecessors ever had.

According to Doug Lesmerises of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, most of the Big Ten schools as well as some other schools across the collegiate landscape are signing the members of their Class of 2012 — football only — to four-year scholarships instead of the previous standard of one-year renewable deals.

The move comes a few months after the NCAA approved the use of the multi-year scholarship initiative, although it’s not yet a requirement.  A full vote of the NCAA membership will take place later this month before the legislation is put into place across the board.

As the Plain Dealer writes, however, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany “encouraged” his membership to offer its football recruits the multi-year scholarships.  “Most — if not all — Big Ten schools” have taken Delany’s “encouragement” to heart.

“Some may look at it and say it’s symbolic,” Chad Hawley, the Big Ten’s associate commissioner for compliance, told Lesmerises. “In the vast majority of cases with a one-year grant, if student-athletes came in and did what they needed to do, it was renewed. But at the same time, I think there’s a peace of mind that goes beyond symbolism.”

The four-year scholarship is not an ironclad guarantee that recruits will have a scholarship during that time period regardless, though; Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith noted that the scholarships can be pulled due to academic or off-field issues.

While the Big Ten is going all in on the four-year renewables, their conference heavyweight counterpart is taking a wait-and-see approach. “We took the less regulatory approach to see how this is implemented across the country,” SEC associate commissioner for compliance Greg Sankey said, adding that commissioner Mike Slive continues to support the multi-year initiative.

For this signing period, however, it will be up to the individual SEC schools to determine the scholarship course it will take.  While Slive favors the multi-year scholarship approach, don’t look for any SEC school to voluntarily implement that approach.

South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier was the most vocal of the conference coaches who are against anything beyond the current one-year renewable model, and the schools in that league are expected to sign off on that tack for this signing class.  Of course, most view the multi-year scholarship model as a direct response to oversigning, specifically as that issue relates to the SEC.

Smith, the OSU AD, wants to make sure that people realize this is not a Big Ten issue, that “other places” in “need of a cultural change” need to take the same step his conference is taking.

“For those places that really need the cultural change, this is big,” Smith said. “There were some schools that ran players off because of their athletic ability, and so this helps. Now, those schools may not offer multi-year scholarships. But you would hope they would. And you would hope there’s pressure that would cause them to do it, because this isn’t how we should treat kids.

“But this is not a Big Ten issue, frankly. It’s in other places.”

The irony of Smith talking about institutions really needing a cultural change is too rich for me this early in the morning…

Dalvin Cook remains day-to-day for FSU vs. Miami

Dalvin Cook
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One of the more underrated storylines heading into Week 6 continued its tack of uncertainty Tuesday.

During the first quarter of Florida State’s win over Wake Forest this past Saturday, Dalvin Cook tweaked his hamstring and didn’t return to the contest.  The sophomore running back was initially labeled as day-to-day for this weekend’s game against Miami, and that hasn’t changed as Jimbo Fisher reaffirmed that Cook’s status for the in-state rivalry game remains up in the air.

We’ll keep waiting,” the head coach said, adding that, because of Cook’s knowledge of the offense, he could sit out of practice the entire week and still take the field against the Hurricanes.

“He knows what to do, you can keep him healthy and do that there’s no doubt about that,” Fisher said.

Cook is far and away FSU’s leading rusher, with his 142.5 yards per game good for eight in the country and his six rushing touchdowns tied for 20th. The Seminoles’ No. 2 rusher, Mario Pender, is still dealing with the aftereffects of a collapsed lung that will sideline him for at least another week.

Ryan Simmons, one of Okla. St.’s ‘unquestioned leaders,’ out for rest of 2015

AUSTIN, TX - NOVEMBER 16:  Ryan Simmons #52 of the Oklahoma State Cowboys brings down Jaxon Shipley #8 of the Texas Longhorns during a game at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on November 16, 2013 in Austin, Texas.  Oklahoma State won the game 38-13.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
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Oklahoma State’s defense has taken what will likely prove to be a very significant and impactful blow.

On Twitter as well as Instagram late Tuesday night, Ryan Simmons announced that he “recently tore my MCL & PCL which will require surgery.” As a result, Simmons, who was injured in the Week 5 win over Kansas State, will miss the remainder of the 2015 season, even as OSU has yet to officially confirm the linebacker’s status moving forward.

Because Simmons is a senior, and this is his final season of eligibility, the end of his 2015 season would also mean the end of his collegiate career.

Simmons has started the last 31 games for the Cowboys. He was second on the team in tackles last season, and his 26 career tackles for loss makes him OSU’s active leader in that category as well.

On his official bio, it’s written that Simmons is “[o]ne of the unquestioned leaders of the team, both on and off the field.”