A year of extra eligibility for college football players isn’t a bad thing, unless you’re trying to bring in new recruits. As Virginia coach Bronco Mendenhall relayed, this can make the roster a little more difficult to manage.
“In terms of the roster management, there is uncertainty in trying to project which players will come back,” Mendenhall said during an appearance on Packer and Durham. “What I don’t like right now is this thought that I might have to choose between players that are committed to the University of Virginia and current players on our team that might want to stay for their extra year which was granted by the NCAA.
“I don’t know if they’re going to or not. So, trying to protect ourselves through recruiting. Also trying to give our current players, who I love and admire so much, their best chance of playing another year if possible with us, which is my first priority.”
The NCAA recently offered relief against the 85-man scholarship limit for 2021, but no further relief for what could be another four years of players wanting to use an extra year of eligibility.
This is a dilemma for everyone, and Mendenhall said it’s a topic that’s been discussed by the American Football Coaches Association.
“We don’t know for sure what’s going to happen there,” he said. “So, there could come a time where I have to say no to a recruit who has committed or no to an existing player on my team, who I love and admire and want to stay because we’re not quite sure who’s coming and who’s not. Without 85 relief for more than one year, that’s the situation that we’re being placed in.”
Mendenhall added that concerns brought forward by the coaches association haven’t been tackled by the NCAA as of yet.
“The NCAA gave every player an extra year. That’s a five-year cycle, but then we got one year of relief. And so it’s simple supply and demand,” he said. “And we’ve proposed so many different measures, knowing that we’re not going to get five years of the cycle to match the five years of eligibility.
“We’ve been really creative presenting things that would mitigate some of the challenges short term, maybe for one more year or a partial half of a year. Really, it hasn’t been acknowledged or embraced to any level.”