Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez has never been afraid to speak his mind.
He was one of the loudest protestors or the proposed “10-second rule” and has also criticized the NCAA for its previous policies on meals for players and coaches working with players during the summer. Both of those rules changed, and the 10-second rule was never instituted, so Rodriguez has moved on to another NCAA rule.
Per the Arizona Daily Star, Rodriguez spoke out against a rule that concerns walk-on players being awarded with scholarships. Rodriguez began his career at West Virginia without a scholarship.
If a walk-on is awarded with a scholarship, it obviously counts against the 85 scholarships allotted to each program. But if a walk-on is awarded with a scholarship in his first two years, it counts against the 85 scholarships and the incoming class of 25 allotted to the recruiting class.
In Arizona’s case, Rodriguez wants to give a scholarship to sophomore linebacker Jake Matthews, but since the 25 slots in the 2014 recruiting class are filled, Matthews’ potential scholarship would count against the team’s 2015 recruiting class. If he had been with the program for more than two seasons, his scholarship would only count against the overall 85.
Rodriguez isn’t a fan.
“If a guy walked on for a year, you should be able to give him a scholarship and it not count against the initial number,” said Rodriguez. “It’s ridiculous — the NCAA and all its infinite wisdom of being out for the welfare for the student-athlete. If a guy pays his own way for a year, and he’s a walk-on, you should be able to give him a scholarship in his second year.”
The 6-foot-3, 221-pound Matthews, a Tucson, Ariz., native, played in eight games as a reserve linebacker and on special teams for the Wildcats in his true freshman season, enough to earn a scholarship in Rodriguez’s eyes.
“It’s a joke,” Rodriguez said. “Jake Matthews is earning a scholarship right now. But because of the silly rules by the NCAA, we have to get a waiver for it or something. I’m talking as a former walk-on who was able to get (a scholarship) my second year. I don’t know who is making that decision.”
Rodriguez certainly has a point, and it looks like Matthews will have to pay his way through school again in 2014.
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