Scholarship Renewal Information and what can happen during the athletic recruiting process

Scholarship Renewal Information in athletic recruitingOne of the most interesting things about the scholarship process at the Division I and Division II levels that I think most people do not realize is that when you sign your Letter of Intent, it is not something that will certainly last four or five years. These scholarships are a contract that last year to year and the college actually has no obligation to renew them if they think that you can’t play.

Obviously most people feel that when you sign a Letter of Intent with the big State University in the fall, winter, or spring, that this can last for a very long time. But if you get on campus and decide to slack off and not work hard on the field and in the class room, your stay at the school may end up being a lot shorter than people realize.

While this happens often, here is an older story about an athlete that received a lot of attention because he was taking custody of his brother at Clemson. He was playing Division I football in the ACC, going to classes, and taking care of his brother at the same time. Few have the ability to get that done at such a young age.

But despite what Ray Ray McElrathbey has done over the past few years, an injury to him and the coaching staff over signing the Class of 2008 has cost him a chance to compete on the football team. While the coaching staff at Clemson has offered him a chance to help out as a graduate assistant, his football career there is done. Here is what the article says (Click here for the entire article):

Clemson running back Ray Ray McElrathbey, who gained national attention two years ago for taking custody of his young brother, will not play for the Tigers next season. Clemson coach Tommy Bowden said in a news release Saturday that McElrathbey, 21, will graduate in August. McElrathbey has two years’ eligibility left and could play for another school or remain at Clemson to pursue a master’s degree.

“Graduating in three years with all of his responsibilities will be an outstanding accomplishment,” Bowden said in the release. “Our staff will help him in his future endeavors whether it be from a football career or business career standpoint.” McElrathbey missed all of last season after knee surgery in September to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament. He has not said what plans to do.

This is a perfect example a program that brings in more recruits than they should on Signing Day. Once their backs are against the wall, they have to make a decision and that was a tough one because many people reached out to help McElrathbey. He was in a difficult situation that made it tough for him.

Another story came out a few years back when Bob Huggins took over at West Virginia. When a coach takes over a program, that sometimes does not bode well for their current players. And with a coach like Huggins who has been around the business for a long time, he will be brutally honest for a player.

That played, Devan Bawinkel, eventually transferred to a Junior College because he wanted out of the program. Here is what he said about the situation: I really liked Coach Beilen. I wanted to stay there, but Coach Huggins came in and basically told me he was looking for something else at my position. He was looking for a stronger, lockdown defender and a longer, more athletic player.

College coaches make it pretty clear that they want a player gone. They will tell the player that they see them not fitting into the system or possibly not being able to play in their entire career. At the Division I level, it is very important to be brutally honest if an athlete is on scholarship. If you are able to bring in another kid who can play, you may burn some bridges by doing it but that is the way that Division I athletics work.

And for my final quick story regarding this, I know a Division I assistant coach well who signed a few basketball players in the fall. With the number situation that they had, there would be no open scholarships for the spring signing period. And although no players left during the season, this coach was still making many visits to see prospects in the Class of 2010.

As a recruit or a parent of a recruit, you need to know that college coaches have to find the best players they can to keep their job and be successful. If your son or daughter does not fit into the system, the college coaches are going to make it hard for them to enjoy their time in athletics. Unfortunately, it does happen and that is why a scholarship is good on a year to year basis. It may not be fair but it does happen very often.

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