BETHLEHEM, Pa. – In a move to stabilize the league and increase access to highly qualified student athletes, the Patriot League presidents endorsed a more flexible approach to awarding merit aid to football student-athletes on Monday.
Lehigh President Alice P. Gast noted that “the challenges of recruiting student athletes in football and scheduling football contests against schools sharing our values and stature has made it necessary to seek a more flexible approach to awarding financial aid.” Gast stated that the decision will not impact admissions decisions.
The new policy takes effect in the fall of 2013, and will be administered within the current budget. Each school will be permitted to award no more than the equivalent of 15 athletic financial aid awards each year to incoming football student-athletes, including transfer student-athletes. The total amount of all countable financial aid awarded to all football student-athletes may not exceed 60 equivalencies in any year. Currently, it is permissible for Patriot League institutions to offer athletic and academic merit aid to student-athletes in the League’s other 22 sports.
“This approach to providing greater flexibility in the awarding of financial aid to football student-athletes will enable us to recruit students who are attracted to Lehigh for our combination of athletics, academics and the overall student experience,” said Lehigh Dean of Athletics Joe Sterrett ‘76. “It has worked extremely well in our other varsity sports and I am confident this will be a positive step for Lehigh and for the Patriot League.”
Lehigh recently concluded a successful football season, which saw the Mountain Hawks win their league-best tenth Patriot League Championship and advance to the NCAA quarterfinals. Several student-athletes garnered academic accolades in addition to distinction within their sport.