Why Texas opposes multiyear scholarships

AUSTIN, Texas -- The NCAA Division I Board of Directors approved a measure last October that allowed programs to sign athletes to multiyear contracts. That was opposed to one-year renewable scholarships that were all that had been previously allowed.

Last month, the Chronicle of Higher Education reported that 30 institutions opposed the change, including the Big 12, which was the only AQ conference to vote against the measure.

Texas and Oklahoma both voted against the policy, and Longhorns coach Mack Brown shed some light Tuesday on why Texas opposed the rule.

"We're doing it right now. We don't cut kids off scholarships. And we can't give them a five-year scholarship. It's very clear they have to work," Brown said. "And a lot of the players we talk to said 'What would keep somebody from not trying? If I've got a five-year deal and I'm third team?'

"Right now our guys have to compete. They have to try. But I think we need to be more careful with the schools that are running kids off."

That's a not-so-subtle shot aimed in the general direction of schools that practice oversigning and nudge players out the door under the guise of "natural attrition."

"That's what this is about," Brown said.

Texas doesn't offer multiyear scholarships, but Brown is very clear with his players' parents when explaining how the scholarship renewal decisions are made.

"We explain to the parents it is a one‑year scholarship that's renewed every June. But if your son, if he has a felony or flunks out of school or doesn't try at all, he'll be gone for the first two and the third one we're going to try to help you get us make him try," Brown said. "Other than that he'll have his scholarship."

There's no penalty for schools, but mandated multiyear scholarships could change that.

"I don't think a five‑year scholarship's the answer. That's what I had as a player. And I know we had some players that took advantage of it and didn't play and didn't care and wanted to stay the five years just to get the money and went on a scout team," Brown said. "I don't really see the purpose of the rule. And I think that's kind of where Texas was -- is we're not going to run a kid off that's trying and going to school and staying out of trouble off the field."

The only real penalty for schools come when victims' cases find a high profile.

"[Late SMU and Oklahoma State coach] Dave Smith, he told me he thought the best thing the media does for the people that do it right is they watch very closely the ones that don't. And so I think you all really helped that," Brown said. "And the fact now that people know they can go public, if they feel like they've got the bum deal they can get some attention. So I think that's better now probably than it used to be."