On the eve of signing day, our minds are focused on high school seniors. We hope they will choose UB, then we watch them develop and hope again that they will be talented enough to lead our team to our next MAC championship. Thus it is counter-intuitive to take prospects who represent a 3-5 year investment in the future of our program, and only offer them a one-year scholarship.
Prior to 1973, scholarships were all four-year commitments. If a player did not pan out, or was chronically injured, he remained on scholarship. Coaches and administrators did not like that system, so in '73, they approved NCAA bylaw 15.3.3, which prohibited the offer of multi-year scholarships; mandating that all scholarships carried a term of 1 year.
This system has come under fire as coaches often verbally guarantee the scholarship will be renewed, but sometimes those coaches renege on their promises. To address the scholarship issue, the NCAA proposed a moderate solution between the two treatments of scholarships, allowing coaches to offer in writing, scholarships of any length.
UBeffect: I am leaning Positive, as a mid-major school, I think we would be more likely to offer the security of the long term scholarship. Multi-year scholarships could allow us to recruit players who would not otherwise sign with UB, but decide to come to Amherst because we offered financial security.
To play devil's advocate, Boise State feels this plan would destroy recruiting at the mid-major level, in the sense that keeping a bad recruit at the mid-major level is more of a liabilty than keeping a bad recruit at a major program, as the major programs have more depth at each position.
It may also deter some players from transferring to mid-major programs, although I cannot remember the last transfer student that made a major impact in the MAC conference.
Status: Opposed by many schools, the NCAA will meet in April to discuss changes and implementation.
Outlook: Will likely pass if the NCAA can iron out the details of the change.