In 2004, several members of the Drake Group carried picket signs on the sidewalk in front of the Hyatt Hotel in San Antonio where the basketball coaches were staying during the Final Four. Liz Clarke from the Washington Post described the Drake members as “graying university professors trying to sell something radical. The product they’re pushing? Education.” The sign carried by one Drake member supported multi-year scholarships. Most coaches assured the marchers that the revival of multi-year scholarships could never happen.
Yet, in the fall of 2012, the NCAA, under the leadership of Mark Emmert, did the unthinkable when he proposed a return to multi-year scholarships and marshaled enough support to hold off an override. In an article in Inside Higher Education, Drake Group President, Allen Sack, one of the Drake Group members carrying signs in 2004 called the revival of multi-year scholarships one of the most significant educational reforms in recent NCAA history.”
“In the wake of one of the most tumultuous years in college sports, which included conference realignment motivated by greed, several lawsuits that challenged the NCAA on antitrust grounds, and a massive scandal at Penn State that raised questions about the role of big-time college sports in university governance, multiyear scholarships made a Rocky Balboa-like comeback.”
“The fact that the NCAA’s scholarship proposal barely survived an override vote,” said Sack “lends credence to the argument that the NCAA has finally done something significant. For decades, universities have denied canceling scholarships for injury or poor performance. If they were telling the truth, why did so many oppose this new policy? The large number of dissenting votes suggests that in many schools, scholarship athletes have become expendable commodities.”
The Drake Group is committed to state legislation that requires universities to openly disclose if they award multi-year scholarships. The NCAA decision leaves it up to individual schools to decide if they want to opt for multi-year grants. Open disclosure would allow prospective college athletes and their families to make informed choices about which schools to attend, and perhaps put those that routinely “run-off” athletes at a competitive disadvantage..