hey TMH, I’ll give this a shot, but maybe LU65 or Bison137 will hop over at some point to fill in the details. The NCAA max is 13, and as you mentioned, the vast majority of programs across the country will use all 13 every year, even if it is rewarding a former walk-on for his contributions. However, as the PL rolled out scholarships in basketball, a couple of schools voluntarily limited themselves to 12 scholarships instead of the NCAA mandated 13. Lafayette initially offered no scholarships, and I believe they are now using 12. Bucknell has only been using 12 except for extenuating circumstances around tranfers leaving/joining the program.
No one seems to know if Lehigh is allowed to use 12 or 13. For the Bailey situation, I think what may have happened is that when he left Boston U, he was not sure if he would continue to play basketball and therefore Lehigh did not put him on scholarship (BJ being unsure of playing when he intially transferred to LU has been published multiple places). Once he started playing it seems that he was still never given a scholarship. The most likely scenario I could imagine is that he was getting a full ride via financial aid, and therefore a scholarship would be in name only, and wouldn’t change the situation at all, either for player or program. That is pure speculation however. If we do have 2 available scholarships for the coming year, and that plays any part in BJ’s decision to come back for a 5th year, the staff would be crazy not to offer him a schollie.
I do believe that an unused scholarship would go “back into the treasury” as you put it. It could also be that the staff was trying to bring in another player last spring, or so far this fall and spring, and has just been unable to lock down anyone. Also just pure speculation.