Football recruiting not affected by WCU budget cuts

Coach Wagner leads the Cats through the budget as well as the SoCon. Photo by Jarett Frazier

Budget cuts take the forefront of discussion across the campus of Western Carolina. In athletics there have been rumors of less scholarship money awarded, which could potentially cause a problem for in state athletes. At WCU Head Coach Dennis Wagner smothered the rumors saying that there is nothing to fear.

“The budget has little to no impact on the money given out to in state athletes,” Wagner explained. “[On average] about one third to half of scholarships typically go to in state recruits.”

The idea of walk-ons and preferred walk-ons seemed like a growing importance in football because those students traditionally do not get money right off hand. However, Wagner explained that WCU normally does not have many walk-ons in the first place. The NCAA caps the team that Western Carolina can carry to 95 athletes. Of those 95 the NCAA sets the maximum at 63 scholarships awarded.

Coach Wagner said the number of scholarships used by the Catamounts depends on the amount of seniors that graduated in that particular year. Also before walk-ons are permitted they also have to look at the number of athletes in the other female sports because of the gender quality instituted by the NCAA.

In addition to the budget there are other North Carolina changes that could affect in state recruiting. The University of North Carolina Charlotte announced earlier this year that their football program starts in 2013. The team will be in the FCS class and will add another team to the vast array of FCS and D-I schools already competing for recruits.

“[Charlotte] will not affect us hardly at all. The fact that there will be another school where there will be, you know, 10 or so more scholarships given is great,” Wagner commented.

Wagner said that even in the area of Charlotte the new team will not be a problem because there are so many teams in North Carolina, and geographically some places may be closer to a particular school, the teams have to spread out to recruit. For example, even being in Western North Carolina it takes eight hours to get to the coast whereas to go to Columbia, South Carolina or Atlanta, Georgia it takes about three hours.

For right now the budget storm only gives a nice breeze to athletics and the up and coming in state athletes will still be able to earn money to go to their favorite in state school. Hopefully most of them will be Catamounts.