Four out of the 10 wealthiest athletic departments–Texas, Tennessee, LSU, and Oklahoma–as well as the national champion in football, Alabama, stood in opposition to a new policy allowing major-college programs to offer multiyear scholarships to athletes, according to an NCAA document obtained by The Chronicle.
The change, which was narrowly upheld last week, makes it possible for programs to provide more security to their scholarship athletes. Previously, athletic departments could only sign athletes to one-year renewable awards.
Much of the initial opposition to the measure, which was first approved by the NCAA Division I Board of Directors last October, came from colleges concerned with the cost of locking in players for multiple years (lest they get injured or not work into a new coach’s offense, for example).
Last week, an override vote by Division I colleges fell two votes short of the necessary five-eighths majority needed to overturn the measure, with 330 institutions and conferences voting.
The vast majority of institutions opposed to the multiyear awards came from the less-wealthy ranks. But a surprising number came from big programs and conferences.
The Big 12 was the only Bowl Championship Series conference to vote against the measure, but a smattering of colleges in other BCS leagues also opposed it, including Arizona, Cal, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Louisville, USC, and Virginia.