NCAA should put dent in college football superpowers by reducing scholarship limits

NCAA should put dent in college football superpowers by reducing scholarship limits

December 20, 2018

Another National Signing Day for college football is underway and you’ll be shocked — just shocked — to learn that the big winners are, well, the teams who win every year. 

Alabama’s dominance over the entire sport is in no peril of waning. After shaking up his coaching staff to get younger and more aggressive in recruiting, Nick Saban has landed a class that some experts believe may contend for his best ever. 

Clemson ended up with another top-five ,class including blue-chip players from as far away as Los Angeles, a clear signal that Dabo Swinney’s talent pipeline is expanding rather than narrowing. 

Other perennial College Football Playoff contenders could all trumpet elite classes as Georgia, Ohio State, Notre Dame and Oklahoma were all expected to land in the top 10. 

In other words, the college football world order doesn’t seem to be changing much. If anything, the bluebloods are strengthening their grip on the best talent, and thus, the championships for the foreseeable future. 

But the NCAA, if it had the willpower and the mandate from its masses, could start to create more parity with the snap of its fingers. All it would take is cutting scholarships down to 70.

Though many coaches would disagree, the 85-scholarship limit has not only become outdated but also allowed for the kind of extreme roster bloat that lets superpowers stockpile talent with minimal consequence for mistakes in how they evaluate talent and which players they choose to spend time recruiting in the first place. 

Essentially, it’s become pretty easy for the programs on top to stay there. And if that’s something that potentially threatens general interest in the sport — we’ll see how the TV ratings look with Alabama, Clemson and Oklahoma all in the playoff bracket for the third time in the last four years — the powers that be should take a serious look at how to shake things up. 

Changing scholarship numbers, of course, isn’t new. The NCAA first put in a 105-scholarship limit for football in 1973 after Congress passed Title IX and has reduced it periodically to 95 and then the current 85 in 1992.

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