Keith Dambrot took a step forward with the schedule that UA released today.
Unfortunately, it was a few years too late (but that's a dead horse). Anyhow, next season's schedule features home games against perennial RPI boosters Dayton and Winthrop. The team will have upset opportunities at Pitt and Virginia Commonwealth.
Every year, I look to see when the Zips play Kent State. The teams will play at Akron on Jan. 24, the final game before MAC West play begins. The Zips will travel to Kent State on March 8 to conclude the regular season.
UA's assistant athletic director for compliance Kevin Klotz came into my Sports Law class to talk about NCAA regulations.
He did a great job explaining what he does to keep Akron in good standing with the NCAA. Our class ate it up.
I took some notes and thought you might be interested. (Kevin, I apologize if I mess up some of these details.)
What's the deal with grayshirting? The word "grayshirt" is not an official term. It's one that has developed among fall sports, and primarily football. Basically, it's when a player who signs a National Letter of Intent (NLI) chooses not to take a full load of classes in order to delay the five-year clock from ticking.
What is the five-year clock? Once a student-athlete (that term is too cumbersome; I hate it) enrolls at a university in a full-time status, the player's clock begins to tick. He has five years to play four seasons.
Therefore, a player will grayshirt (take a lighter class load) in order to delay the clock. However, they must pay their own way (even the people who accepted scholarships) and they are persona non grata around team functions, per NCAA policy.
Why not just play from the get-go? Three reasons: First, the player might not have qualified. This keeps them within the program (sort of). A GPA of 1.8 and 24 credit hours is enough to qualify.
Second, the player might have been injured in preseason camp. This allows them to have five years to play four.
Third, the coach might ask the player to grayshirt before the player signs the NLI in order to get the scholarship numbers in order. A program can only give out 25 per season, and that 26th player might merit consideration for next February.
A player who voluntarily grayshirts is still locked into his NLI commitment of one year. The only way a grayshirt can play elsewhere is if
Mack Rhoades sends the player a letter saying that the team has expended its scholarship allowance for the second year that player is on campus. That releases the player from his commitment.
Who is grayshirting for the Zips? Well, I cross-referenced the 2008 signees and the current roster. I came up with
Kevin Funches and
Joe Pachuta as the only players missing on the roster. They could show up next season. That's purely speculation and did not come from Klotz.
He talked quite a bit about Academic Progress Rates, which you probably know about. One interesting tidbit: The Zips are cutting back on accepting "nonqualifiers" because of their tendency not to graduate. Cough.
David Harvey. Cough.
Chuck Amato's nose perked where I said "nonqualifiers." The NC State coach chided the Zips for accepting players who did not qualify for NCAA requirements after high school. Several conferences -- including the Big East, Big Ten, WAC and ACC -- don't allow nonqualifiers, no matter what they do after high school.
You might think staying eligible is simple for decent students. Not always. A student who changes majors might have to apply for an NCAA waiver because there is a rule that a student must have progressed 40 percent through her major before the junior year starts (60 percent before senior year, 80 percent before fifth year). Engineering students also have a more difficult task. Their major requires more than the usual 128 credits, so getting 40 percent (etc.) through the requirements is more burdensome.
At Akron, 73 percent of athletes graduate after the fifth year. University of Akron students -- on the whole -- graduate at a 44 percent rate after five years. That's pretty significant.
From what I'm told, I should have a copy of Akron's contracts with Nike and adidas pretty soon. I'll break them down asap.
for $2.1 million.
That sounds like a good compromise from both sides.
goes to trial on Dec. 2.