Pat Haden, USC's athletic director, made the announcement on Monday that the football team as well as the men's and women's basketball teams will have 4-year scholarships beginning on July 1 for all current and future student-athletes.
NOT THE NORM
Scholarships are normally on a one-year basis and can be renewed annually, but several schools have already started offering four-year scholarships for some of their athletes.
Several schools in the Big Ten--Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan, Michigan State, Iowa, Wisconsin, Northwestern and Illinois--are already granting four-year scholarships to their football recruits and team members. Northwestern has been offering four-year scholarships to all of its student-athletes in 19 sports since 2012.
Four-year scholarships were initially given to athletes until 1973, when the NCAA instituted its policy of limiting scholarships to one-year to give schools and coaches the flexibility to dismiss a student-athlete who wasn't performing up to expectations.
That was reversed in 2011, and four-year scholarships came back as an option for schools if certain criteria was met by the student-athletes.
USC LEADING THE WAY
USC will be the first team in the Pac-12 to offer four-year scholarships, so it will be interesting to see if other schools in the conference follow the Trojans' lead.
A four-year scholarship guarantee will be an enticing option for incoming recruits and should make USC stand out among the other schools in the league.
"In taking this action, USC hopes to help lead the effort to refocus on student-athlete welfare on and off the field," Haden said in a press release.
The announcement also comes on the heels of the end of USC's four-year NCAA sanctions for the football and men's basketball teams, which both lost scholarships during the penalty phase.
The lifting of the NCAA sanctions and the four-year scholarships now available should be a step in the right direction in attracting elite student-athletes back to the school.
This decision should also make first-year football coach Steve Sarkisian very happy.
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