Alabama to Honor Elisha Shaw's Scholarship Despite Career-Ending Injury

Brian LeighFeatured ColumnistFebruary 6, 2014

Credit: 247Sports

Texas A&M wasn't the only university that did some good on national signing day, as Nick Saban and Alabama, much like the Aggies, chose to honor the scholarship of a former recruit who got injured and can no longer play football.

In the case of the Crimson Tide, that player was Tucker, Ga., defensive tackle Elisha Shaw, who sustained a neck injury during a preseason scrimmage and was forced to cut short his career.

Per Michael Carvell of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Shaw still had a big signing day moment thanks to coach Nick Saban and Alabama.

It will always be a day that the 6-foot-4, 310-pound senior will never forget.

He committed to Alabama at a news conference along with his Tucker teammates. But he won’t count toward the recruiting class; the Crimson Tide offered to put him on medical scholarship as a student coach or trainer so he can still get a college education.

Alabama took advantage of the same NCAA bylaw as Texas A&M, which honored its previous scholarship to cornerback Cedric Collins, who can no longer play due to a "rare congenital fusion of vertebrae" called Klippel-Feil syndrome, according to Kate Hairopoulos of The Dallas Morning News.

Shaw was a 3-star prospect and the No. 36 defensive tackle in the country before getting injured, per the 247Sports composite.

He held scholarship offers from Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, Georgia, Miami, Ohio State, Ole Miss, Tennessee and Texas, among a number of other schools. 

"It’s great. Everything is coming out as planned," said Shaw of the scholarship offer, according to Carvell's story. "Well, not as planned. Everything is coming is good, definitely much better than I thought."

Saban, Kevin Sumlin and (more so) the universities of Alabama and Texas A&M all deserve applause for these stories, since honoring the medical scholarship is supererogatory.

Even though it costs the school tuition money—funds that could be allocated elsewhere—the institutions chose to exceed the bounds of moral obligation, to offer an olive branch for someone who truly needs it.

The NCAA deserves some credit, too. Its policies often feel like a cold, Machiavellian nightmare, and usually with good reason.

But the medical scholarship is an inherently good thing and a chance for tragic accidents to be amended, if only the slightest amount.

It ought to be utilized more frequently, though hopefully it doesn't have to.


Follow Brian Leigh on Twitter: @BLeighDAT