I had a personal experience with recently retired Chris Hill during his first few years as the Utah AD. I started as a walk-on and actually was the starting punter and placekicker, even leading the 1986 team in scoring. But I had no scholarship. In the 1987 training camp I earned the starting placekicker job. My backups were on full ride, but I was a local kid paying to play and go to college.
A few games later in 1987, after beating Wisconsin at Camp Randall Stadium with a last-second field goal on national TV, the coaches gave me a full-ride scholarship. The field goal was mentioned in Sports Illustrated along with several major publications and a lead on ESPN.
My eligibility ended after the 1988 season, but I had a couple of semesters left to graduate.
I went to Dr. Hill and explained the situation. He listened and then said: “Scott, the athletic department appreciates how you’ve represented Utah, I know how hard you’ve worked and the sacrifices you’ve made for the Utah football program ... so whatever you need to finish your degree, I am happy to cover everything with your scholarship.”
He did not have to do this, other than it was the right thing to do. My life was greatly affected by his ethics and I have tried to emulate it in my own coaching/consulting career.
Scott Lieber, Salt Lake City