The Wisconsin Badgers on’t make the rules, but Bo Ryan sure knows how to use them for his gain. In what seems like just another offseason transaction, Wisconsin announced a few days ago that Aaron Moesch would be joining the team as a walk-on. Good for Moesch, assuming his dream was to play for the Badgers sans a scholarship.
Division II allows for players to receive athletic scholarships just like the top-tier of college sports. If Moesch has the ability to be recruited to walk-on (meaning he has a spot on the team, but won’t be given a free ride) to Wisconsin, he surely has the talents to have been recruited by a lower-level program and offered free schooling.
Moesch, although, probably wants to play at the highest level and is just okay with being some guy on the bench rather than a D-2 star.
The NCAA, through their infinite wisdom, allows Division I schools to recruit walk-ons — really taking away the meaning of the term “walk-on”.
Now, somehow, schools (Not just Wisconsin) are recruiting their walk-ons. These players are generally borderline D-I talent, but add either great depth to the practice team or, more diabolically, are decent enough players but whose grades are so swell, it alters a program’s team grade average — keeping them safe from any potential NCAA sanctions.
That is an NCAA problem, not a Wisconsin issue. For all we know, the Badgers legitimately wanted Moesch to join the team, but had no scholarships open for him at the moment.
The underlying problem rests with the NCAA’s inability to close loopholes such as this. You know, just in case a school is trying to take advantage of a kid and his dream to play college hoops at the highest level? The idea of having a walk-on is one of the most romanticized parts of college hoops. I do not think the intention of having walk-ons were to save scholarships, help with a team-grade average or some other form of evilness.
But hey, this is the NCAA and their rules. Would any of us expect them to not have gaping loopholes or for some of the schools to take advantage of them?