There was a small news story last week about a high school football player, named Matt Beyer, being recruited by
. Beyer was offered a football scholarship by Oklahoma , only to have it yanked away after he was diagnosed with a spinal chord condition. When you hear of something like this, your first instinct may be to recoil in disgust at the actions of a football coach who would do such a thing. It’s one thing to renege on a scholarship offer to a player who has been arrested, or had other character issues. But is it acceptable for a coach to backtrack on a scholarship offer to a player suffering from an injury or illness? Oklahoma
Let’s be clear, this is not a question of legality. An offer is only verbal, and neither the school nor the player is legally obligated until the player signs on the dotted line in February. But a coach’s decision to take back a scholarship offer because of an injury or illness may not be as evil as it sounds. A school is only allowed to grant 25 scholarships for each incoming freshman class (and only 85 scholarships for all players on the team). So it’s hard to blame a coach for not wanting to use one on a player that will be unable to contribute. After all, this is a team sport, and the other players are trusting that their coach will find the best players to fill those scholarship spots, in order to put a championship team together.
However, there may be an even better reason for a coach to pull an offer in this case. For every Matt Beyer out there, suffering from an injury or illness, there is another high school player waiting in the wings that would give (and maybe has given) everything he has to try to earn a scholarship. For that player, an offer from
Alabama, Auburn, or could change his life or perhaps even his family tree. While you feel for Beyer who has been hit with the double whammy of his diagnosis and missing out on his dream of collegiate football, you have to be happy for that next kid in line that just got the break of his life – a newly available scholarship offer from Oklahoma . Oklahoma