NCAA puts the kibosh on Eli Drinkwitz's plan to award scholarships to walk-ons after several opt-outs
It’s been a year of adjusting for eligibility and scholarship numbers across college sports. The most notable is that this year will not cost a player a year of eligibility. But one move that Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz has supported was rejected by the NCAA.
Missouri this week is dealing with rising COVID numbers because of quarantining and contact tracing, injuries and player opt outs, and is perilously close to the minimum 53 number of scholarship players available for this week’s game against South Carolina. But awarding scholarships to walk-ons in hopes of boosting that number of available players was not allowed.
“Yeah, in August we have to certify our roster and once you certify the scholarship players, that number is taken until the semester of their graduation or the semester of their transferring, something like that,” Drinkwitz said on the SEC coaches media teleconference. “The soonest we would be able to reward anybody with a scholarship would be in January. Which is kind of sad. I think some of us had petitioned for opt-outs to try to replace some of these guys, some of these walk-ons and give those guys scholarships.
“That wasn’t something the NCAA was willing to do, which obviously leads to where you are with your 53 numbers and all that stuff. Not anything that anybody could foresee but now we’re in the middle of it and it’s just what you’re dealing with.”
This issue became top of mind this week because Dominic Gicinto told Drinkwitz on Tuesday that he wanted to transfer. He became the seventh Tigers player to enter the transfer portal since August.
H/T Football Scoop.