This past year the NCAA decided to grant every student-athlete an extra year of eligibility due to covid restrictions. While this sounded like a good idea at the time, they did not consider how the extra year was going to be funded.
Seniors who receive an extra year of eligibility will be scholarshipped by schools using 5th year aid. This does not count against the scholarship limitations, but only schools with large budgets can afford this.
We recently surveyed D-I and D-II coaches asking how they are going to handle scholarships for underclassmen who want to take the extra year of eligibility. We received nearly a 50% response rate.
The dilemma they face is deciding if they are going to keep a current swimmer on scholarship an extra year or use the money to recruit a new swimmer.
“Do you scholarship a conference finalist for an extra year or use the money to sign a recruit who might be able to be a conference finalist for 4 years.”
Most of the upper level D-I programs tell me they are going to reduce their roster size and not take as many walk-ons who have potential to develop.
How will this affect recruits?
- The competition for scholarships just greatly increased
- The need to sell their potential became even more important
- Much fewer roster spots available
How will this affect college swimming?
- Talent will be spread out
- Swimmers who were going to walk-on at an upper level school will have to look at other options
- Top programs can no longer hoard talent
- Schools outside of the top 30 will greatly benefit as they will have a chance at faster swimmers.
- Swimmers will have a much better chance of making a travel team, being able to contribute to a team sooner and have a better chance at scholarships.
- Swimmers will benefit from being coached by a head coach rather than assistant coaches who tend to bounce from team to team. There are many assistant coaches who are outstanding and who stay with the same program.
- There are a lot of great coaches whose team are not always in the top 30
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