University of Alabama baseball coach Greg Goff informed up to 10 players their scholarships would not be renewed, a violation of NCAA rules, The Tuscaloosa News has learned.
According to NCAA bylaw 22.214.171.124, institutions cannot revoke or reduce a scholarship because of an athlete’s ability, performance, physical or mental condition.
According to NCAA bylaw 126.96.36.199.1, an institution may not set forth an athletically related condition that would permit the institution to reduce or cancel a scholarship if the conditions are not satisfied.
UA Director of Athletics Greg Byrne issued a brief statement when contacted about the situation:
“As with any situation, the University of Alabama will follow NCAA guidelines. We are not revoking scholarships,” the statement said.
Players were informed of Goff’s decision to cut their scholarships during exit interviews on Monday after UA’s season concluded on Saturday with a 3-3 tie at Vanderbilt.
Some draft-eligible players were told they could return and have a roster spot, but were not guaranteed any scholarship money. Some walk-on players, including several who contributed during the season, were told they could try out for next year’s team again during practice this coming fall but were not guaranteed to retain their roster spots.
UA athletic department officials became aware of the situation after upset players and parents complained.
Goff met with Byrne on Tuesday about the matter. The coach canceled a scheduled television appearance on WVUA on Tuesday night.
The Crimson Tide finished 19-34-1 overall and 5-24-1 in SEC play in Goff’s first campaign. It was the fewest wins by the program since 1980 and the worst conference record by UA since 1994. Alabama finished last in the SEC this season and was not among 12 teams to qualify for the conference tournament this week in Hoover.
Under NCAA bylaw 188.8.131.52, schools can reduce or cancel scholarships in cases where an athlete “renders himself or herself ineligible,” or “fraudulently misrepresents any information” on scholarship and financial agreements,” or “engages in serious misconduct warranting substantial disciplinary penalty.”
Athletes can voluntarily give up their scholarships, but the institution must honor scholarship agreements. In January 2015, NCAA schools passed legislation that required Power 5 conference schools, including Alabama and other SEC schools, to renew scholarships annually regardless of athletic performance. Previously, most scholarships were subject to annual renewal. Schools outside the Power 5 such as Louisiana Tech, Goff’s previous stop, are not required to renew scholarships annually.
Staff writer Aaron Suttles contributed to this story.