Wisconsin was one of nine Big Ten programs to award multiyear scholarships to its most recent football recruits who signed Feb. 1, but weeks later the school was the lone Big Ten institution to oppose a plan to award such grants.
As many of you know, the Big Ten has spearheaded the petition to begin awarding multiyear scholarships to athletes. The plan received approval from NCAA's board of directors in October and survived an override attempt last week.
The override drew the support of 205 of the 330 Division I institutions that voted, which equated to 62.1 percent, just shy of the 62.5 percent majority needed to overturn the petition. The Chronicle of Higher Education obtained the voting record, which shows Wisconsin as the only Big Ten school to support the override, or oppose multiyear grants.
Minnesota, Indiana and Purdue, the three Big Ten football programs that didn't award multiyear scholarships in February, voted against the override, or in favor of the multiyear grants. The Big Ten's official vote also opposed the override.
From The Capital Times:
UW associate athletic director Justin Doherty says the university can understand why student-athletes might like the idea of a multi-year scholarship, but notes the one-year deal offers the institution more flexibility.
Doherty stresses that UW doesn't have a history of treating student-athletes poorly.
"We have operated where we don't just randomly or haphazardly pull a scholarship from somebody," says Doherty. "There has never been a threat where a student-athlete goes into a year thinking, 'If I don't perform to a certain level I'm going to lose my scholarship next year.' That’s not the way we've operated. So from our standpoint, there was a feeling of, 'Why do we need this multi-year lock-in?'"
It's notable when a Big Ten school drifts from the pack on a policy, especially after seemingly falling in line. But Wisconsin isn't the only institution a bit torn on this issue. While Michigan offered multiyear scholarships to recruits in February, head coach Brady Hoke has some reservations about giving four-year grants. "I've got a feeling they'll revisit those things," he told me earlier this month. "I never saw a problem with the one-year, renewables. Maybe [the solution] is somewhere in the middle and they become two-year deals."
Other institutions opposing multiyear grants included Florida State, LSU and the entire Big 12 conference.