Thus football rosters would be capped at 90, and the number of available scholarships would drop from 85 to 63. To help compensate for their losses, football coaches could fractionalize scholarships, a common measure in most nonrevenue sports, but one now prohibited in football. If a recruit received a quarter scholarship from one school but a full ride from another, he would know where he stood with each.
When SI presented this idea to some of its experts, one concern raised was that it could leave football players from low-income families who got only partial scholarships unable to pay the remainder of their tuition and room and board. Ross countered that such recruits could qualify for financial aid and grants that could make up the difference. They would also receive money as part of the model, which they could use to cover any remaining expenses. Under the model, all athletes who make a team would be eligible to receive a full stipend, whether they are on scholarship or not.
Trimming total football scholarships to 63 and capping rosters at 90 would result in enough savings to enable many schools to begin paying athletes. The savings at the four schools examined by SI would be:
San Jose State: $874,469
Those gains come with no foreseeable drop in revenue. Television rights wouldn't sell for less because schools are fractionalizing scholarships; attendance and alumni donations wouldn't decline because football rosters are capped at 90. Football programs would be leaner, but more profitable than ever.
—Operating expenses of the 12-member Oregon men's golf team