Sack: Multi-Year Scholarships a Historic NCAA Change

Allen Sack, professor and interim dean in the College of Business at the University of New Haven, has been a leading advocate for student-athletes’ rights.  Sack provided important testimony in support of the Student-Athletes’ Right to Know Act which was adopted by the Connecticut General Assembly and became effective this past January

In his testimony, Sack pointed out that the NCAA prohibited scholarships in excess of one year.  Last fall, the NCAA changed its rules to allow for multi-year scholarships at the option of the school.  The rule change survived a strong challenge mounted by NCAA member schools

In a recent article published in, Sack asserts that “the revival of multi-year scholarships represents one of the most significant educational reforms in recent NCAA history.”  Sack writes as follows:

…In the wake of one of the most tumultuous years in college sports, which included conference realignment motivated by greed, several lawsuits that challenged the NCAA on antitrust grounds, and a massive scandal at Penn State that raised questions about the role of big-time college sports in university governance, multiyear scholarships made a Rocky Balboa-like comeback.

The fact that the NCAA’s scholarship proposal barely survived an override vote lends credence to the argument that the NCAA has finally done something significant.  For decades, universities have denied canceling scholarships for  injury or poor performance.  If they were telling the truth, why did so many oppose this new policy?  The large number of  dissenting votes suggests that in many schools, scholarship athletes have become expendable commodities.

Changes in pay-for-play, revenue sharing and acknowledging a student-athlete’s right to publicity will only change with a court order and the exhaustion of the NCAA’s appeal rights.  Multi-year scholarships, however, are a step in the right direction by the NCAA and its president, Mark Emmert.  If Mr. Emmert is looking for another way to improve the NCAA bylaws, revision of the transfer rules should be considered next.

Thanks to Warren K. Zola (@StudAthAdvocate) for sharing the link to Allen Sack’s article via Twitter.


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