Quote: “The PL rules are any form of financial aid counts as football scholarship $. Even if a recruit has a 1600 SAT and a 4.0 GPA and admissions gives him and academic scholarship to LU, it still counts towards the 15 football scholarships. Makes no sense, but then again, it’s the Patriot League.”
The PL rule largely mirrors that of the NCAA, except the number is 60 instead of 63. Under NCAA and PL rules, virtually all financial aid given by a school to a player counts as athletically-related aid, thus counting towards the equivalency max.
However the NCAA does have a few exceptions for academic grants given by high schools or outside groups if an award is based on established criteria, is not based on athletic ability, and does not depend on which school a student chooses to attend.
The NCAA also has this clause:
Exception — Receipt of Institutional Academic Aid Only. In football or basketball, a student-athlete who was recruited (see Bylaw 15.02.8) by the awarding institution and whose only source of institutional financial aid is academic aid based solely on the recipient’s academic record at the certifying institution, awarded independently of athletics interests and in amounts consistent with the pattern of all such awards made by the institution, may compete without counting in the institution’s financial aid team limits, provided he or she has completed at least one academic year of full-time enrollment at the certifying institution and has achieved a cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.000 (on a 4.000 scale) at the certifying institution.
I don’t know if the PL has ever published its rules in any way, but it would not surprise me if they have the same small exceptions for certain academic awards that the NCAA does.