Fifth Year of Eligibility A Good Idea

Alberts says he's for anything that benefits the student-athlete

June 8, 2007

By Trev Alberts

Special to


Trev Alberts is a football analyst for CSTV and
E-mail here!


You've got college football questions and CSTV football analyst Trev Alberts has answers and opinions. Each week Alberts will be answering questions and queries on the world of college football. So if you've got a question for Trev, just ask him.


What's your take on players being given a fifth year of eligibility. I think it's a good idea that would work. Why wouldn't the NCAA grant football players a fifth year when it's taking them over four-and-a-half years to graduate anyway? - Doug, Chesire, Conn.




On the surface I don't see anything that's necessarily bad. I think it's something that makes some sense. And there's nothing that's been indicated from the NCAA that they're vehemently against this.


If you're not one of the elites in the BCS conferences, if you're a school with budgets the way they are right now and are really struggling, it could impact you more.  We're in a current system where there continues to be a struggle and fight for equality from schools who often feel left out and it doesn't take a real genius to read how the SEC and Big 12 have distributed hundreds of millions of dollars. I think anytime you do something that further widens the gap on the competitive landscape, I'm not a huge fan of.


That being said, if you look at the numbers, and at the end of the day the student-athlete benefits, then I'm all for it. We often lose sight in our sport that the student athlete can be forgotten about.  And they're the one person who is just as important as anyone. Anything that college football can do to make life better or easier for the student-athlete I'm a proponent of.


I think you need to study very carefully the impact that you have on the schools that are attempting to compete who don't have the benefit of the dollars some of the larger schools have. I'm for a competitive landscape that is inclusive and for the student-athlete.  


It's pretty easy to need that extra year. I was a year round student at Nebraska in order to graduate in four years so I fully understand the rigors and demands on student-athletes.


You played under a legend in Tom Obsorne, but if there's one coach in history you could go back in time and have played for, who would it have been? - J.P., Florida


I would have like to have played for the late, great Bo Schembechler. I had the pleasure of meeting him in New York when I received a post graduate scholarship. I was invited to an event that he and his wife were hosting and University of Michigan. This was before we played Florida State for the national championship and I still had a cast on my arm. But I remember him sort of seeking me out and he started talking and told me he appreciated how I played the game. We exchanged pleasantries and then he asked me about playing in the national championship game. I don't remember what I said, but at one point toward the end of the conversation, he had me by my tux, way up near my bowtie, and was almost in my face basically saying, "I'd better see you out there."


I left that room so motivated and ready to play and it was very clear to me why he was so successful. He was very intense and passionate. There are a wide number of coaches I've admired. That was just a personal experience that I had with coach Schembechler that I won't soon forget.   


The most underrated quarterback in the country has to be BC's Matt Ryan. Now he didn't have a huge statistical season last year, but he played injured and helped BC contend for the ACC title. Why doesn't he, and Boston College, get the credit they deserve? - Jeff Kilnmore, Hadley, Mass.


I would argue a little the statement that Boston College doesn't get the credit they deserve. I think they do get some credit. The Eagles were consistent under Tom O'Brien: Consistently good, but never consistently elite.


There are kids across the country who get overlooked a little bit because of where they play at or because of other factors. Boston College has had its moments. They've had huge wins and disappointing losses. But they haven't been at an elite level. When you're at an elite level you get opportunities to get noticed nationally more often. They're in a conference now where excellent play will not go unnoticed. Ryan is somebody who people will be focused on. He is an outstanding talent. I don't think they're in a situation now where being overlooked is highly probable.


I'm excited about seeing what happens to his career. There's a new coach, a new system and I've seen these situations go one or the other. I've seen guys thrive in a new situation and I've seen guys not embrace that situation, struggle a little bit and struggle in an offense with what's being demanded of them. It's an important year for him and it's a real big opportunity for him to learn a system similar to what he could see at the next level.


Colt Brennan is a guy out in Hawai'i who gets very little exposure in the mainland, but you can hardly say that he's unnoticed. Maybe people don't truly appreciate his skills in how many touchdowns he's thrown. I just don't buy anymore with the modern time we're in that a very deserving player doesn't go unnoticed.


Now, could a guy be underappreciated right now? Sure. But after four or five games of lighting it up with his team undefeated, that's just not going to be the case.  We've seen guys so supremely talented that their teams still lost about half their games, but without that guy they wouldn't have won a single game. Think of Philip Rivers at N.C. State. Once he left, it literally was like the bottom fell out. Could you say he was underappreciated? I think you could make that argument. I think it's hard to quantify how much a guy means to the team until he's gone.