The most-recent docks in scholarships by the NCAA, due to academic shortfalls, shouldn't hurt UTEP football or men's basketball too much.
But it does pose this question: Wasn't UTEP's adding the "general studies" degree program supposed to help more students graduate — and remain academically eligible?
Previously, not only bad grades knocked a student-athletic out,. But changing to a different major often meant ineligibility because rules said the athlete had to be on a par toward graduation in the declared major. Example: If you were a junior majoring in criminal justice, you had to have x number of credits toward that degree entering your junior year in order to remain eligible. It was somewhat complicated.
Anyway, the four docks in football can be spread out over two years; and with a program as large as major-college football (85 scholarship limit), the numbers on scholarships are usually in flux anyway. But two is still two. Eighty-five is still better than 83.
The one dock in basketball? Again, and especially with Coach Tim Floyd so adept at hiding the pea under a walnut shell, UTEP is not always at the limit of 14, anyway. Usually, though, coaches use an open hole to help pay a walk-on's tuition with the understanding it's only temporary financial help.
Here's what doesn't wash:
UTEP points out that some football players leave school in the spring semester of their senior year to get ready for the NFL Draft. C'mon. The NFL Draft? They had no shot at the NFL. They just were not serious students in the first place. Mercenaries!
Here's what's ironic:
UTEP, in a lot of ways, is becoming a program with several "mercenaries" on the football and men's basketball rosters. They are guys who have talent, but have left bigger schools for any one of several reasons. They are not here for academics, they are here to "go pro," as was Derek Caracter on last year's basketball team.
Bottom line: The "general studies" program, when it really kicks in, should help UTEP avoid losses of scholarships in the future.