|Patriot League approves football scholarships
On February 13, the Patriot League Council of Presidents endorsed a policy allowing merit aid to be offered to football players at member schools, beginning with the class entering school in the fall of 2013. In its announcement, the league said the decision will strengthen the competitiveness of member schools and possibly make way for a future expansion of the league. Under the agreement, each school will be permitted to award no more than the equivalent of 15 athletic financial awards each year (a maximum of 60 over four years) to incoming football players, including transfer students. We spoke with athletics director David Roach to find out more about the potential impact of the change on Colgate.
Haven’t Colgate and other Patriot League schools already been offering scholarships to some football players? How does this change things?
Everyone in the Patriot League was offering need-based–only scholarships to football players. This change allows us to convert scholarships to merit aid as needed. It allows us to recruit more broadly from a national field and to recruit individuals with even higher academic and athletic credentials. For both the Patriot League as an organization and for its individual member schools, the decision to adopt scholarships for football makes a great deal of sense.
Will this take away from available financial aid money for other students who don’t take part in athletics?
No, it will not affect other financial aid candidates. We will have the same-sized pool of financial aid funds that we’re cur-
rently allocating for football. So, this change in Patriot League policy really has more of an effect on where and how we find prospective scholar-athletes.
How will this affect Colgate’s academic profile among incoming students overall?
It should have a positive effect. As we are able to become more competitive in recruiting from a larger pool, we will more aggressively seek out better students and better athletes. Year after year, Colgate leads the NCAA and Patriot League in graduation rates and academic performance, and we have every confidence that this will allow us to continue, and even improve upon, this distinction.
Does this have the capacity to make Colgate more competitive in football? And how long do you expect it will take to see results?
We certainly think so, and it shouldn’t take that long to have an effect. The impact may be seen as early as the 2013 season, and it will build each year from there.
Will this make Colgate a “football school”?
No. But in addition to expanding our pool of recruitable student-athletes, it will allow us to play a more attractive schedule. As an example, we hope to play one Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS, which includes schools like the U.S. Air Force and Naval Academies, and Syracuse) per season. Overall, each Patriot League school should become more competitive in NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) football and have a better chance for an at-large berth in the NCAA FCS Championship.
Are there any other ways you expect this change to impact Colgate?
Overall, it should have a positive effect on diversity. We will now be able to recruit more nationally and reach certain parts of the country from which we did not recruit in past years.
— Debra Townsend