SCROLL DOWN FOR UPDATE.
During a 25-minute press conference yesterday, Auburn coach Gene Chizik discussed his 2012 signing class. During the Q&A he was asked if the recruits were offered one- or multi-year scholarships.
On if Auburn signed anyone to a multi-year scholarship...
"We signed everybody to the exact same scholarship."
Which is the one-year?
The university later said this was not true; that Auburn had followed the Southeastern Conference lead of Florida and had signed everyone to four year scholarships:
A tweet from Jay Tate from the Montgomery Advertiser:
Auburn now says it offered 4-year scholarships to today's signees -- sign one time and cannot have it revoked due to athletic performance.
— HABOTN (@HABOTN) February 1, 2012
How does the head coach of Auburn University not know what kind of scholarship his incoming class signed up for? Were his statements accurate? Did the university change the scholarship offer without his knowledge? More importantly, how might this have affected Auburn’s recruiting class?
Chizik lost out on several highly coveted athletes yesterday. Kwon Alexander, Ronald Darby, Eddie Goldman, Cordarrelle Patterson and Leonard Williams were all high on Auburn’s board but chose to sign elsewhere. Instead of closing with a bang yesterday, Chizik closed with a whimper. If Chizik didn’t know he could have been offering them cushy four-year deals to play with the Tigers, how many of those top recruits swing his way?
Recruiting is the lifeblood of college football. How and who you recruit to your program almost always translates to success on the field. Any advantage that could be used in the living rooms of top prospects is ruthlessly exploited.
There is a raging debate over whether offering four-year scholarships is a good idea or a bust. There are valid points on both sides and that’s a debate for another day.
But to have the head coach stand before the media during such a high profile press conference and flatly state that he and his staff recruited with one-year scholarship offers, only to have the university “clarify” his statement and claim that all were signed to four year deals is mind-boggling.
What’s going on over there? Surely the head coach isn’t this clueless.
UPDATE: Reader JDiddly23 has a valid question in the comment section: “won't this apply to ALL sports under Title IX and NCAA regulations?” It would seem like it would, and if I were a member of the 2011 signing class, I’d be more than a little interested in why the 2012 signees are so special. As mentioned above, there is a raging debate over the impacts of offering multi-year scholarships and the Title IX and equal treatment issues are two of the most important aspects of the debate.
UPDATE II: Via Jon Solomon of the Birmingham News: “Auburn coach Gene Chizik initially indicated he offered all one-year renewable scholarships this year. An athletics department spokesman later clarified that Auburn provided five-year scholarships.”
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