We ran a search on the most powerful search engines in the world for the following string "what is a medical hardship scholarship" in hopes of learning more about this mysterious scholarship that injured football players are being awarded in lieu of their football scholarship. The only thing we found that was related to football were links to articles about two different schools, Alabama and North Carolina.
One article we found, regarding how Butch Davis magically converted 12 roster openings into 24 and 29 scholarship commitments into 24, shows that Davis put 3 players on medical hardship in a single season.
"Butch Davis promised it would work out.
With Angelo Hadley's exit from the UNC football program before he got there, the Tar Heels coach was right. His over-recruiting strategy balanced out in the end.
What was once a 17-scholarship discrepancy is likely to work out to an even 24 signees to 24 available scholarships.
Rewind to December — UNC had 29 commitments with 12 seniors departing the program."
The rest of the article goes on to explain exactly how 12 scholarship slots turned into 24. Basically, 4 players graduated with a year of eligibility left but were not given a renewal of their scholarships, 3 players were given a medical hardship scholarship (we still don't know what that means, who controls it, who monitors it, etc), 4 players were dismissed from the team, and 1 player left early for the NFL.
Kind of ironic that Nick Saban and Butch Davis are considered two of the best recruiters in the country, despite their long list of kids that have been cut from their teams or placed on medical hardship scholarships.
A reader from the original article is calling BS on UNC's use of medical hardship scholarships:
"14 kids have left the UNC football team since 2002 due to medical reasons. 14!!!!!!! How are all these kids getting hurt so badly to have career ending injuries? A lot of these aren't even during games. As the poster said above, that's just slime ball tactics. You tell a kid who's not that great that if he keeps his mouth shut, he still gets school paid for. Not saying that all cases are the same, but 14?? My God.
What about that world renowned hospital right beside the stadium?
And for comparison's sake - even with the ridiculous injuries NC State has had in recent years (Remember when they had < 60 scholarship players available to play last year at one point due to injuries??), students have received 2 medical hardships since 2002.
14 >> 2."
He's right, what kid in his right mind would turn down a free ride just to leave the team, especially if he is either injury prone or not good enough to see the field. To guys like Nick Saban and Butch Davis this is like the holy grail to solving roster issues and helping make room for all those players they oversign without facing APR issues; because you see, if a player remains in school and makes progress toward his degree, then the school is safe. Without APR would these kids get medical scholarships or would they be kicked to the curb, or would they have to remain on football scholarship until they finish school and just do what they can to help the team and earn their degree?