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Football Scholarships

I know I said that my next post would be about recruiting, but I need to switch gears a bit because I have yet to hear a good answer to one simple college football question.

Why does Division I FBS have 85 football scholarships?

Someone PLEASE explain it to me.

Just for the record, the Division IFCS scholarship limit is 63 and the Division II scholarship limit is 36. Teams are limited to 105 on the roster in FBS and 90 in FCS (NCAA Bylaw 2 and

Here are the NFL rules as I understand them. Rosters are limited to 53. Of the 53, 47 are dressed for any given game, which means six don’t play. Expansion teams are sometimes given exceptions as they get their team going.

I am a huge college football fan, but I have never ever been able to understand why there is a need for 85 scholarships. I can argue that teams need depth to allow for injuries, but players in the NFL get hurt at a greater rate than college players right?  What about opportunities to compete? Well, with 105 players, many do not get to play. What about revenue generation? Would schools make less money (even though most are running in the red currently) with a few less scholarships?

This question is important to me in a time where many college sport programs (men’s track and field, men’s swimming, wrestling) are facing elimination due to the huge cost to run athletic programs (especially football costs). So, I’m hoping someone can clue me in as to why 85 scholarships?

Here is a chart on the average scholarship awarded by sport compiled by the New York Times, but be careful when interpreting it because it combines DI and DII and does not take into account average cost of the schools offering the sport.

December 28, 2008 Posted by | BCS, Football | , | 10 Comments