Big Ten schools offering more security

Updated: February 1, 2012, 6:49 PM ET
By Brian Bennett | ESPN.com

Players who signed letters of intent Wednesday at many Big Ten schools received more security in their scholarships than in years past.

The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer reported that Ohio State is one of several league schools that awarded this year's recruits guaranteed four-year scholarships instead of the renewable one-year grants that have been the norm in college sports.

In October, the NCAA allowed schools to offer multiyear scholarships as part of a package of reforms. The full NCAA body is expected to approve multiyear scholarships later this month. Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany has voiced his support for four-year scholarships.

Penn State, Michigan, Michigan State, Iowa, Wisconsin, Northwestern and Illinois confirmed to ESPN.com that they have given out four-year scholarships to this class. Ohio State and Nebraska also confirmed on signing day that they are giving out scholarships that no longer have to be renewed annually. Purdue, Indiana and Minnesota are still awarding one-year renewable grants.

"We went and made them four-year scholarships and we'll see where that all goes with the NCAA and some addendums with how you'd lose a scholarship," Michigan coach Brady Hoke said. "Obviously you quit football, you're not going to be on scholarship."

Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith told The Plain Dealer that players could still lose their scholarships if they don't fulfill academic or off-the-field requirements. But the multiyear scholarship prevents coaches from running off players if better talent has been recruited at their positions or who no longer fit the team's style of play.

"You had to kind of figure it out," Hoke said of the scholarships. "You didn't know what everybody else was going to do. I think some time, they are either going to go and make it two-year deals and not four. They were four a long time ago and you decided you didn't want to play anymore, you were still on scholarship. That's not fair to the school.

"I always thought the one-year renewables were fine because in my tenure as a head coach or being an assistant coach, I don't remember guys that their scholarship was taken because of athletic performance. It was something socially. It was something academically."

Brian Bennett covers Big Ten football for ESPN.com. Information from Michael Rothstein of WolverineNation and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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