CENTER VALLEY, Pa. - The Patriot League Council of Presidents endorsed a policy that will allow athletic merit aid for the sport of football, beginning with the class entering school in the fall of 2013, it was announced Monday.
"The Council of Presidents' decision to adjust the current need-based model of financial aid in football, which has been in effect since the founding of the League in 1986, comes after extensive study and discussion of alternative models and a thorough evaluation of the benefits and potential costs associated with athletic merit aid in the sport. 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," said Daniel H. Weiss, Chair of the Patriot League Council of Presidents and President of Lafayette College.
"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," said Patriot League Executive Director Carolyn Schlie Femovich. "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."
Starting with the class entering school in the fall of 2013, each school 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 total amount of all countable financial aid awarded to all football student-athletes may not exceed 60 equivalencies in any year.
Currently, it is permissible for Patriot League institutions to offer athletic and academic merit aid to student-athletes in the League's other 22 sports. However, it is an institutional decision regarding the amount and sports for which athletic aid is made available. Since its inception in 1986, Patriot League football was considered a separate entity and had maintained a need-limited approach with financial aid. With the permissive aid approach, institutions will now be able to determine the most effective way to award financial aid in football.
The recently completed 2011 football season marked the 25th anniversary campaign for Patriot League football and its programs have successfully competed in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). The Patriot League has held an automatic qualifying berth into the NCAA tournament since 1997 and continues to meet the standards to be eligible.
Bucknell University, Colgate University, College of the Holy Cross, Lafayette College and Lehigh University are founding members of the Patriot League that sponsor football, while Fordham University and Georgetown University compete in football as associate members. The other full members of the League are American University, U.S. Military Academy and U.S. Naval Academy. These institutions are among the oldest and most prestigious academic institutions in the nation.
The Patriot League's member institutions consistently rank among the top Division I programs in the NCAA Graduation Rates Report and are recognized nationally for the effective integration of Division I athletics into the educational mission of the institution.