The Scholarship of Sports

If you haven’t yet received an expected a scholarship offer from school, be it Iowa or Tennesse, you shouldn’t worry – you’ve got plenty of time to receive one. Scholarships, as it turns out, are not as rare as most people would imagine: quite often a school with a reputation to uphold when it comes to sports (particularly football) will hand out scholarships to the tune of hundreds in order to find a perfectly-numbered team of players.

Herosports.com – a popular sporting site – collated a ranking system based on the data which was gathered by another site, 247sports.com. This data suggests that out of the various schools known for their sporting teams, Tennessee had made over three hundred offers already for the incoming class of 2018, while other classes have nearly reached four hundred scholarship offers (Cyclones). Other schools are all around the same mark, with Northwestern University being the clear outlier by only offering seventy two offers of scholarship.

While scholarships are supposed to be highly limited in number, and only allocated to a few select students, the higher numbers in this case do make a lot of sense. While most scholarships are kept for those students who (it is thought) will show deep commitment to the school and their education, possibly in return for the scholarship. Football and other sports do not need this type of commitment, so they can be more free and easy with their emphasis on commitment, and thus send out more scholarships. This can leave a lot of people wondering what a scholarship really means, and if it means anything special. But inside sources have said that sometimes it really just says that people at the school want to recruit the potential player they have found.

Northwestern, the school which gives out the least amount of scholarships, still recruits in the way we normally think of recruiting as happening – a player has to send a tape for inspection, the coaches also scrutinise his academic abilities, they try and get to know via interview, and only if they are satisfied do they then offer him a scholarship. It is worth a lot of money, after all.

This method not only helps the school to better understand whether or not they would be making an investment or not, but can also help them to discover whether or not a student is dedicated, or whether he makes use of some custom writing company and similar things in his/her educational career.

The recruiting system at other schools is essentially flipped over, simply because a verbal contract is not legally binding in any way. Rather than lose a potential player because they didn’t offer a scholarship and another school did, the scholarships are just handed out to everyone who might be an asset.

The way in which scholarships work is sometimes stigmatised, due to the logical conclusions which people come to. If the practise is to simply give scholarships to as many people as possible, then logically not all of them will be good, or be a credit to the team which has them. Brian Ferentz from Iowa was unsure what an offer was, in the context of the way in which scholarship was now handled in different schools around the country. If scholarships are given to everybody and anybody who might want to come to the school, what sets them apart from the people who didn’t get a scholarship?

In this case, Iowa is confirming these words by following Northwestern in offering the lowest number of scholarships for the entry class of 2018. On the other side of this is Indiana, but their coach has equally valid reasons for the move, since to his mind, if an offer wasn’t made by one school it would be made by another sooner or later. A scholarship may not be accepted, but sending it out does give a possible in for the school. Additionally, sending out scholarships is something is done on a national level, so the whole nation is aware of the way in which IU is approaching the team.

So far, in giving out three hundred and eighteen potential scholarships, Indiana only have fourteen commitments (verbal ones at that), with two of them being offensive linemen. The key, according to Indiana, is to communicate freely with everyone involved.

According to 247sports.com, Northwestern extended offers to five different quarterbacks, and after one of them responded, the school went to the next stage in the process. When the positions on the various teams are filled up, then the process is complete, and others are contacted to be made aware that they are not looking for anybody else in that position. The school does still have an offer extended to one particular student, but his offer list ranges into over forty one schools, because of a type of recruitment which is commonly known as Costco-recruitment in certain circles.

The problem with this style of recruiting (at least from the school’s perspective), of course, is that so many schools are handing out scholarships that it is no longer about true talent.

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