TarHeelIllustrated - Brown Wants NCAA To Look At Scholarship Concerns
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Brown Wants NCAA To Look At Scholarship Concerns

CHAPEL HILL – The NCAA's decision nearly a year ago to give all college athletes back a year of eligibility from this past athletic year might work out very well for some, but the impact could affect current high school juniors while also forcing coaches to run off current players in attempts to manage their rosters.

North Carolina Coach Mack Brown has voiced concern about this impending problem multiple times over the last six months or so, and once again brought it up during a zoom session with the media following UNC’s football practice Tuesday morning, its ninth of the spring.

Brown and the staff build out their rosters thinking two years ahead, but it is a challenge when they aren’t sure exactly what the NCAA will allow as far as scholarship limits beyond this next season. As it stands, teams can go over the 85 limit for 2021 by adding the super seniors, which means UNC will have 91 players on scholarship because it has six super seniors taking asvantage of the rule. But what about 2022?

“I am concerned after the NCAA gave guys a year of eligibility after last year, everybody across sports in college sports period, not just football,” Brown said. “We’ll have (91) in scholarship next year (2021 season), and what’s going to happen because the NCAA made the decision to let people have an extra year of eligibility, which we played 12 games, so I don’t think that was needed at all.

Mack Brown is cocerned about high school athletes in the class of 2022 losing out on scholarships.
Mack Brown is cocerned about high school athletes in the class of 2022 losing out on scholarships. (ACC Media)

“We could have had our same rules, we could have had the same redshirt rules. Now. They’re taking opportunities away from hundreds to thousands of young people for scholarships this year in the 22 class.”

What if a significant number of players on last year's roster decide they want the year back, and they are from different football classes, thus throwing off the recruiting charts looking ahead? How will the NCAA allow programs to compensate for that?

Do they go back to 85, which would put coaching staffs in binds with their numbers? That would affect players currently enrolled who could get jettisoned as well as class of 2022 high school players. Suddenly, there won’t be nearly as many scholarships available. This concerns Brown a great deal.

“If they cap us at 85 for next year (2022), they’re either going to force people to run off some players, which some will do across the country, or they’re taking scholarships away from young people, who have worked hard all their whole life and deserve the opportunity,” said Brown, a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.

“This is about kids. This is about young people. We’ll all be okay, everybody will be okay because you get your players back, but it’s not fair to the kids.”

As it stands, UNC plans on bringing in a small recruiting class for 2022. The Tar Heels could max out at around 14 signees and currently have four prospects committed, meaning it may bring in only 10 more prospects. Other programs are cutting their classes short, and there’s a trickle down affect.

Mack Brown made a passjonate pela to the NCAA on Tuesday.
Mack Brown made a passjonate pela to the NCAA on Tuesday. (Orange Bowl)

The North Carolinas, Clemsons, and Ohio States of the football landscape will be okay, as Brown noted. They will fill their rosters with talented players, many of whom will one day end up in the NFL. But the effect will be felt at the lower levels, and many of those young athletes need their scholarship to be able to attend college.

Brown’s passionate pleas Tuesday indicated a deep concern, as he sees the fallout and it isn’t ideal.

“I beg the NCAA and the oversight committee and the council to take a hard look at what’s best for these young people,” he said. “Because they fight their guts out their whole year to earn a scholarship, now they’re in a position to earn it and we’re taking it away from them because of a decision that was made last year. That’s very, very unfair to the class of 2022.”

And the effect isn’t just for the class of 2022 or that it will impact college teams over the next year, it could last beyond that.

“Four years from now, you may have 10 or less players in a senior class, so you could just lose an entire senior class,” Brown said. “So, I really think that we need to look at that.”