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TCU Looking into New Era of Scholarships

TCU's Athletic Director, Chris Del Conte, is looking into switching the current one-year scholarships offered to student athletes, to a four-year commitment.

Tom Pennington

Out with the old and in with the new...

Young athletes that receive and accept an athletic scholarship is quite an honor. With all the duties that come with that commitment, there is also room for concern. There is a short length guarantee for these student athletes when a scholarship is given to them. Currently, when a high school or college transfer student is offered an athletic scholarship, it is a almost always a one-year commitment. After that, universities and athletic coaches get to decide if they want to offer the recipient another year or offer the scholarship to someone else.

That is a scary thought for the parents of these athletes. An injury, violation of team rules or a coach believing you're not good enough could result in the discontinuing of a scholarship. While taking away a scholarship is not common, winning is placed on a very high pedestal in Division I athletics. I'm not talking about your Devonte Fields or Jadeveon Clowney type players, I am talking about the talented athletes that weren't four or five star recruits out of high school. These players were given scholarships, but they are not given the "Johnny Manziel treatment" (do whatever you want in college, as long as you are on the field before kickoff). The harsh reality is that some of these players are forced out of schools in one way or another. Coaches tell players they will never see the playing field again or they will be placed on a "medical scholarship" to open up room for another player. This mentality can affect all families, and especially those with lower incomes. Without the financial aid, their son or daughter might not be able to attend such expensive universities.

For these reasons University of Southern California (USC) is making a change and TCU is looking to follow. USC Athletic Director, Pat Haden, has decided to honor scholarships given to athletes for football, men's basketball and women's basketball with four-year commitments. USC chose these three sports because they are viewed as revenue sports for the university.

Making the four year commitment, I believe, will make a positive impact in a lot of ways. Families will be guaranteed that their student athlete has the opportunity to finish their education and have more career options. Hopefully students will then want to stay in school longer and not leap to the NFL or NBA as soon as possible. Overall, if TCU and other universities decide to move forward with this approach, their mindset when recruiting will change. Ideally students will want to treat college as a place to get an education and not a minor league training facility.

There will be a large increase with the financial guarantees for these players, but this change could bring a lot of upside for Chris Del Conte and TCU.