Mark Emmert wants school presidents to support 4-year scholarships

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NCAA president Mark Emmert knows where he stands on two important — and polarizing — pieces of legislation. Now, he’s reached out to school presidents to make sure they share the same enthusiasm.

Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports reports, through a document obtained by CBS, that Emmert has asked Division 1 school presidents to defeat a possible override against NCAA legislation that allows schools to give out four-year scholarships for athletes.

Some programs from around college football have already begun signing players to four-year scholarships.

An official vote on the legislation, which is currently deemed permissible but not required, will take place next week from Feb. 13-17 and will require 222 schools to vote in favor of the override for it to become effective. Multi-year scholarships were pushed forward last October and was coupled with the $2,000 stipend added to value of an athletic scholarship. As we’ve seen already, the latter was suspended and will be reconsidered in April because of a similar override.

Emmert wants to make sure that doesn’t happen with multi-year scholarships.

“It [override] will take away the opportunity for multi-year support for thousands of student-athletes,” Emmert wrote in the letter. “As we are a presidentially led Association, it is important that you direct what the vote of your institution will be. I encourage you to defeat the override of this proposal.”

The problem for both of these items continues to be the divide among the 1-A programs. Below is a snapshot from the rest of Dodd’s blog, which is definitely worth a read, that breaks down the feelings:

The rest of the 120 schools in Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) are split at best on the issue based on an informal canvassing of the division’s 11 conferences.  SEC commissioner Mike Slive supported the measure as early as July as part of a national reform agenda. Auburn went on record last week as saying it awarded four-year scholarships to its latest recruiting class.

If FBS is split, that suggests that approximately 70 percent of the remaining 235 Division I schools (approximately 162) are going to vote for the override in order to defeat the measure.

If the proposal survives, four-year scholarships would still be optional only for each school. The one-year renewable scholarship has been in effect since 1973. Since then coaches have been able to “cut” athletes for sub-standard performance on the field. The existing proposal would still allow scholarships to be revoked year-to-year due to academic or off-field issues.

Emmert has made no secret that he supports both the multi-year scholarships and the additional stipend. That support has led Emmert to inquire about a change in governing style in the not-too-distant future for Division 1 athletics. Emmert has denied that the purpose of such a change is to further split D1 athletics beyond 1-A and 1-AA status, although sources told the USA Today that Emmert is indeed interested in the idea.