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Maryland Football Faces Academic Penalty, Loses Three Scholarships

Bad, but not terrible news: Maryland football will lose three scholarships for the 2011-12 season. Via Maryland's official site:

As anticipated, the University of Maryland's 2009-10 academic progress rate for football is below a prescribed benchmark that subjects the program to the loss of three scholarships for the 2011-12 season.

The 2009-10 four-year APR for football is 922, three points below the cut score for potential penalties. The loss of three scholarships is a contemporaneous penalty imposed by the NCAA as part of this program and will be absorbed in the fall.

"We already have a system in place to deal with and rectify the situation," said first-year coach Randy Edsall said.

We knew this was coming, or at least could be on the way, thanks to an earlier report. Maryland appealed, and apparently lost.

To summarize, it's a one-year, three-scholarship reduction, which will take place after this upcoming season. That means that the next recruiting class, which already has three commitments, will have to be a little smaller than usual.

But two things make me not quite that worried. First, given the number of graduating seniors, which is a little higher than usual, it won't be a drastically smaller class than normal. And secondly, Maryland's already two or three scholarships below the maximum number of 85. Those couple of spots - which would've been occupied by guys like Delonte Morton, Travis Hawkins, or Larry Mazyck - will be open for the next recruiting class, too. In fact, it makes me wonder if that wasn't one of the reasons those guys ended up elsewhere.

Now, to the real story: why did this happen, and who's fault was it? The most obvious answer to that question (and, it should be stressed, not necessarily the right one) would be that the athletic department didn't provide adequate academic support, about which there were grumblings in the past. If that's the problem, hopefully Kevin Anderson and the rest of the AD can get that aspect into shape. If it isn't, maybe having a disciplinarian like Edsall will help. Actually, that should help anyway

I feel like I should feel a lot worse about this than I really do. The only part I'm really worried about is recruiting - opposing coaches will stress the poor grad rates, maybe try to make it seem like their scholarship is in jeopardy, and probably say something about how academic support is poor and the players will be left out to dry. Most of it won't be true, but you never know what someone will believe. And hey, the numbers speak for themselves.

Regardless, I can't help but feel kind of ambivalent about it. Maryland has the room to lose three schollies for a year without taking a hit.