After 18 months of deliberation and extensive study, the Patriot League Presidents’ Council decided in a meeting today to permit league members and associate members to offer athletic merit-aid scholarships in football. This policy change will take effect in the Fall 2013 semester.
This decision will apply to founding members (Bucknell University, Colgate University, College of the Holy Cross, Lafayette College, and Lehigh University), associate members (Fordham University and Georgetown University), and other full members (American University, U.S. Military Academy, and U.S. Naval Academy) of the Patriot League.
Each will be permitted to award no more than the equivalent of 15 athletic financial aid awards each year to incoming football student-athletes, including transfer student-athletes. The institutions that choose to accept this decision will be given four years after this point to build up to the full scholarship allowance.
“This approach for awarding athletic merit aid to football student-athletes will allow our member schools flexibility to determine the most effective use of their financial aid resources to attract highly-qualified Division I scholar-athletes in a very competitive academic and athletic marketplace,” Carolyn Schlie Femovich, Patriot League Executive Director, said. “The introduction of this financial aid model for football will strengthen the Patriot League’s ability to compete for outstanding student-athletes while continuing to uphold the high academic standards of the League and its member institutions.”
While athletic and academic merit aid is available to student-athletes in the League’s other 22 sports, the University and Patriot League are currently under a need-based model of financial aid in football. This has been in effect since the founding of the League in 1986. With today’s decision to begin a permissive aid approach, there is now greater autonomy to award financial aid in football in a way that is most effective for each respective institution.
Although many have expressed concern about the effect that such a policy could have on lowering academic standards at the University, President Bravman assured faculty and staff otherwise in an e-mail today.
“As with student-athletes in all Patriot League programs, all scholarship recipients in football will only be admitted if they meet the Patriot League Academic Index, the most stringent admissions standards in Division I athletics,” Bravman said.
While President Bravman only revealed the basic logistics of the recent decision in this e-mail, it appears as though more information and reflection will be shared in the coming days.
“The decision reflects the Presidents’ shared vision and shared commitment to the stability and long-term positioning of the League and to its strength, competitiveness and quality,” Daniel H. Weiss, Chair of the Patriot League Council of Presidents and President of Lafayette College, said.