|« Evaluation, repetition key to Princeton’s summer||South River roots have stayed close to Bucknell coach »|
ODU's Wilder backs CAA eligibility plan
Old Dominion coach Bobby Wilder said he is in favor of proposed legislation that would give players in the Football Championship Subdivision five years of eligibility.
The Colonial Athletic Association, which ODU’s football program is joining this fall, is prepared to sponsor the legislation. CAA commissioner Tom Yeager spent part of Tuesday floating the idea at the Collegiate Commissioners Association meetings in Washington, D.C.
CAA senior associate commissioner Kathleen Batterson said the league has until July 15 to submit the proposal to the NCAA. The proposal then would come under review by an NCAA subcommittee, probably would be reviewed at an NCAA legislative council meeting Oct. 17-18, would be presented to the NCAA’s annual convention Jan. 11-12 and could be adopted by the NCAA board of directors Jan. 14.
The five-year rule, which the CAA would like to see put into effect on Aug. 1, 2012, would not include the Football Bowl Subdivision. The belief is that with FBS teams having 85 scholarships as opposed to the FCS’s limit of 63 spread among 85 players, there is no need for the five-year rule at the FBS level.
Wilder said that the current system, in which players have five years to play four seasons, creates an unhealthy environment in the FCS. Coaches spend too much time trying to protect a freshman’s red-shirt season, thus assuring four years of eligibility starting in their second season. Meanwhile, injuries that occur to upperclassmen often leave teams thin at certain positions and place added pressure on the healthy players to play more.
“And that can lead to even more injuries,” Wilder said.
The Monarchs played six true freshmen last season - safety Paul Morant, running back Colby Goodwyn, lineman Michael Justice, linebacker Rodney Hunter, defensive back Aaron Evans and quarterback Rashad Manley.
While Morant and Goodwyn were productive, the other four were pressed into duty because of injuries when red-shirt seasons might have been more prudent.
“This new rule would allow freshmen to play and balance the rosters and depth charts,” Wilder said.
William and Mary athletic director Terry Driscoll is also in favor of the rule.
“There are some aspects to playing football that make this maybe something that would make sense,” Driscoll said. “Currently the vast majority of programs red-shirt basically the whole freshman class. With scholarships at 63, that can mean 12 or 15 players who are out.
“With the nature of the sport, injuries, attrition, you can get pretty thin. If you have a spate of injuries, now a kid loses a whole year because you have to do what’s best for the team.
“How it’ll be received, it’s a little difficult for me to speculate. It’s very specific to the sport of football at our level with the scholarship limitations.”
By Rich Radford, The Virginian-Pilot