Along with about 62 percent of all Division 1 institutions, Alabama voted in February to rescind a proposal that would allow for a significant change in how scholarships for student-athletes are handled, moving from the current one-year renewable model to four-year grants.
That majority wasn’t enough to override the proposal, however, and the multiyear scholarship option remains in place. And, in fact, it’s an option the Tide intends to utilize.
Speaking to Cecil Hurt of TideSports.com, head coach Nick Saban confirmed that the football program will offer four-year scholarships beginning in 2013. Saban said, in essence, that the uncertainty swirling around the issue forced the school’s hand into not speaking on the subject publicly.
“Last year, it was something that was tabled,” Saban said. “Then there was the vote to rescind. We just wanted to know exactly what the rule would be before we made a comment. What if we had started offering four-year scholarships and then the rule had been changed back?”
One thing Saban stressed, and probably hasn’t been stressed enough, is the fact that, while the sport is moving away from one-year scholarships to multiyear ones, a player can still have his scholarship stripped if he fails to meet his obligations off the field and in the classroom.
“Most of the conditions are still the same,” he says. “The player will still have to be academically eligible. He will still have to obey team rules and regulations. And the player is still going to have the same rights and the same appeals process that he has now.”
Saban added that he thinks all of the members of the SEC will offer four-year scholarships beginning next year. Along with the Tide, LSU, Tennessee and Texas A&M voted earlier this month to rescind the proposal.
The reality is, though, Saban and the other coaches had no choice but to go along with the multiyear scholarships after the override failed. Being a holdout, especially in the hyper-competitive SEC, would have put a school at a disadvantage on the recruiting front as it would’ve certainly been used against them.