Arizona Wildcats head coach Rich Rodriguez has never been shy about expressing his feelings toward the NCAA‘s rules. The slightly controversial coach expressed his opinion again recently to the Arizona Daily Star, commenting about scholarships for players who are walk-ons to the football program
As it currently stands with the NCAA, when a walk-on is rewarded with a scholarship, it counts against the general 85 scholarships the football program is allowed. However, if a walk-on player is given the same benefit within their first two years, it not only counts against the general 85 scholarships, but against the 25 scholarships allowed for the following season’s recruiting class.
The NCAA has this rule poorly structured and Rodriguez should be upset. Taking away from a recruiting class that hasn’t been established isn’t fair and creates a systems that favors upper class men walk-on players. This rule, like many others the NCAA has established, should be abolished to create a better structure for all players.
In the case of Arizona, the focus of the rule is sophomore reserve linebacker Jake Matthews, who played eight games last season on special teams as a freshman. If the Wildcats give Matthews a well deserved scholarship that he’s earned this offseason, it would count against Arizona’s 2015 recruiting class.
“It’s a joke”, Rodriguez said. “It’s ridiculous. The NCAA and all its infinite wisdom of being out for the welfare for the student-athlete. If a guy pays his own way for a year, and he’s a walk-on, you should be able to give him a scholarship in his second year.”
Rodriguez enters his third season as Arizona’s head coach, after stints with the Michigan Wolverines and West Virginia Mountaineers. The Wildcats open the season at home on Aug. 29 against the UNLV Rebels.