We're flattered!!!! Shocked, but flattered nonetheless. Here's a link; we'll break it down over the weekend.
Okay, we couldn't wait...
We're going to address this one comment and tackle the rest later this weekend.
"The point that the Oversigning.com authors miss is that most of the schools in the SEC that sign beyond their recruiting budgets are recruiting from some of the worst high school systems in America. Put yourself in Houston Nutt's CrazyDome for a moment. You're recruiting primarily from high schools in Mississippi, which rank in the bottom five in just about every output statistic. If you have 20 open spots on your football team, you'd be nuts to recruit only 20 players when you know that you are likely to have 4-5 academic casualties."
We didn't miss the point, in fact, we addressed it directly, here:
"One last comment on this. If Alabama (and other SEC schools) truly take more signees because the pool of players they have to select from dictates that they need to take extra to account for the mass numbers that won't make it academically, isn't that an indication of a much bigger problem? And what kind of message is it sending to kids? Shouldn't the message be: "if you want to play football here you need to be squared away academically or we can't even afford to look at you as a prospect.""
"Nutt even told the media that he knew players wouldn't make it academically but wanted them to go to JUCO in Mississippi and come back to Ole Miss in two years, and that is why the SEC put a limit on the number of signees to a single class at 28. Again, this sends the wrong message to kids. The message should be: if you want to play at Ole Miss, you had better have your ducks in a row when you start high school because you are going to need to have the academic chops to succeed in a 4-year institution and developing the tools you will need (such as good study habits, time management, etc.) starts your freshman year of High School, not the last semester of your second year in JUCO. But that is just our opinion."
We get it that certain schools in certain areas do not have the same pool of players to select from in terms of academics. But oversigning and running through those kids is doing NOTHING for them or the region in the long run. Our man, Willian Huie was talking about this back in 1941. Schools in Mississippi and around the southeast have been doing it (oversigning) FOR FRICKING DECADES and it hasn't helped the overall academic standings of the region. Those regions still rank amongst the lowest in the country. Not that not oversigning is going to solve the academic problems of a region, but it certainly isn't helping. And regardless, why should Ole Miss or Alabama be allowed to subsidized their academic attrition just because their region has poor secondary educational systems? Maybe removing the subsidy will motivate the universities to take more action in helping the high school systems.
Or maybe they need to look at starting with primary education:
We found this really cool web application for educational statistics. It's interactive and shows the state by state comparison of primary education. Check it out. It would be great to find the same thing for secondary education.
Here are a couple of snapshots - click to enlarge:
We'll get into the rest later, but go read the essay. The author is a very good writer and his blog has been around for years.
Thanks for reading Michael!!!
After the jump there is a copy of our master table for the recruiting numbers from 2002 to 2010. We have inserted a column to record the Fulmer Cup Points associated with each school. For those of you who are not familiar with the Fulmer Cup, it was created by the brain-trust at EDSBS, Orson Swindle. Wiki!!!
Now that we have that out of the way, disclaimer time:
First, before anyone gets upset or questions our credibility for using the Fulmer Cup data, we know exactly what it is and we know that it is not a complete police blotter for every single school in the BCS. No such thing exists. It is however, fairly accurate for arriving at somewhat plausible generalizations. For example, if a certain schools has high Fulmer Cup points, you could take the time and track down the police records and validate that there has been a fairly high level of crime associated with that school during the period in question.
So the generalization goes as follows: higher points = higher criminal activity; lower points = lower criminal activity.
Second, the awarding of points in the Fulmer Cup is done in such a way to determine which schools have the highest amount of criminal activity, not which school commits the worst crime. If you want to know exactly how it works, go here.
Third, Fulmer Cup points are only awarded to players on the roster who commit crimes during the off season. This is very important for two reasons: 1.) this is usually when you see all of the attrition we talk about on this site, 2.) there could be crimes that happen during the season that would attribute to a school's profile of having a lot of criminal activity on the football team, but because it happened in the off season it didn't count. Therefore, teams with 0 points might have had a problem during the season that is not reflected here. Remember, the Fulmer Cup only tracks criminal activity during the off season. That said, we will still work under the assumption that the Fulmer Cup points are a fairly accurate depiction of a school's profile. If you disagree and have proof of a school with TONS of criminal activity during the regular season, send it in and we'll post it.
The first thing we notice in looking at the numbers is that in the middle of our table there is no rhyme or reason to anything. For example, Arizona State and Washington State, they both signed the EXACT same number of players during the 2002 - 2010 period, they are both in the same conference, and yet Washington State has 27 Fulmer Cup points and Arizona State has 0. At first glance, you could look at that and draw the conclusion that there is absolutely no connection between oversigning and off season crime by the football players.
However, when you look at the top 10 teams and the bottom 10 teams the picture becomes very clear. The top 10 schools combined for a total of 188 Fulmer Cup points, while the bottom 10 teams combined for 80 points, 38 of which came from one school Penn State. Take out Penn State, the statistical anomaly, and you are looking at 188 points to 42 points. Now we are getting somewhere. And it makes sense.
Click the link to continue reading >>>
This project was originally dubbed "The Saban Cup" and you guys can call it that if you like, but we'll refer to it as "The Oversigning Cup" in an attempt to remain neutral and unbiased. It could have very easily been named "The Nutt Cup" in honor of Houston Nutt's 37 player class of 2009. Maybe we'll rename it every year using the name of the previous winner. Who knows, but for now, it's The Oversigning Cup.
One of our goals here at oversigning.com is to track the annual recruiting budgets of as many schools as possible to see which schools are abusing oversigning the most.
Really, the only data we need to do this is the number of players currently on scholarship on signing day and the number of players signed (we have been using Rivals.com as our source for the number of players signed - if you have a source that disputes their numbers, please send it in). Below are just a few examples. The problem is that it is a lot of work to track these numbers down for every school. Therefore, we're asking for some help from you, the loyal readers of oversigning.com. You can either submit the numbers for your school, or if you think your rival school is abusing the numbers, send in their numbers. All we ask is that you include a link to where you found the numbers so that we can at least appear to be on the up and up here.
In the end, Cup Points are actually the number of players certain schools/coaches will have to get rid of in order to stay within the NCAA's 85/25 rule. Once we know which schools have gone over we can begin to keep an eye out for the attrition and document how the coaches were able to get their numbers down to 85/25. Along the way, we should run into kids transferring, such as Auburn's Tyrik Roll, or kids running afoul of unspecified team rules like Alabama's Robby Green.
The Oversigning Cup
|Rank||School||Current Scholarships||Budget||Commits||Cup Points|
Here is a link to Notre Dame's roster which makes it very clear how many they had before signing day and how many they signed. It would be great if we could find something like this for every school. Maybe we'll dedicate a page for all the links we gather.
Click on the Roster Chart tab.
Please leave your numbers and links in the comments section. We will update the board as we get more numbers.
The SEC is not alone on the topic of oversigning...
Stumbled across a nice little article, it's a little dated but still good to see this stuff show up on the radar.
"In February, SMU released nine players from scholarship due to "failure to adhere to our department policies and/or team rules". While I'm sure there was justification for their dismissal, would coach June Jones have been so quick with the ax had he not just signed 26 fresh faces just nine days earlier? It should be noted that five of the dismissed players appealed having their scholarships revoked and three players won their appeal."
Glad to hear a few of those kids won their appeal. This type of oversigning seems to fall into the category of "new coach comes in and wants to gut the team." We'll need to do some digging, but it doesn't appear that Jones has a history of oversigning...we'll follow up on this.
We found the list below posted over at shaggybevo.com. Basically, this is Nick Saban's attrition since 2007 (this is not all of it, just what was listed at shaggybevo.com).
|2007 (25 Players Signed)||2008 (32 Players Signed)||2009 (27 Players Signed)||2010 (26 Players Signed)||2011 (22 Players Signed +2 GS)|
|Crump - quit football||Johns - arrested, cocaine||Dial - grades, juco||Grant - not renewed||Glenn Harbin - baseball|
|Elder - armed robbery||Bolton - grades*||Moore - grades||Sikes - not renewed||Demetrius Goode - transfer|
|Fanuzzi - transfer||Hood - MLB||P. Hall - transfer Div II||McKeller - medical hardship||Petey Smith - transfer|
|Hester - transfer||Jackson - transfer||Burnthall - quit team||Jackson - transfer||Brandon Moore - transfer|
|Lett - medical hardship||Lawrence - transfer||Fanney - transfer||Sims - din't qualify||Corey Grant - transfer|
|McGaskin - grades||Lewis - grades||Cardwell - not renewed||Pharr - medical hardship||Arron Douglas - died|
|Murphy - grades*||Matchett - medical hardship||Higgenbotham - transfer So. Ala||Talbert - medical hardship||Robby Green - released|
|Ricks - grades||Neighbors - bryant scholarship||Kirschman - not renewed||Woodson - not renewed||Kerry Murphy - medical hardship|
|Tayler - transfer||Preyear - kicked off team||Hester - medical hardship||Kendall Kelly - medical hardship|
|Farmer - transfer||Ray - MLB||Wes Neighbors - medical hardship|
|Smith - transfer|
* = guys who were resigned later so they get counted twice by websites like oversigning.com.
Quit - 1, kicked off - 2, Other Scholly - 3, Transfer - 7. MLB - 2, Grades - 8
Couple of things to note here:
1. Where would Alabama have been had they taken normal numbers and still suffered the same attrition? Or would they have had the same amount of attrition? Those are the primary questions. Had Alabama signed a normal amount of players (18-21) and still had kids transfer out, commit armed robbery, and fail to make their grades, there would be gaping holes in the roster that would have crippled the program for years.
Let's break it down by class: let's say in 2007 Alabama signs 21 guys and suffers the attrition of 10 players, that puts that class at 11 players; in 2008 let's say Alabama signs 25 in order to make up for the attrition the previous year, but suffers the attrition of 11 players, that puts them at 14 players.
The last time Alabama had back to back season with less than 20 players you have to look at 2002 and 2003, 19 & 19; that was the last time they were unable to sign extra players because of scholarship reductions. Here's their record: 2002: 10-3, 2003: 4-9, 2004: 6-6, 2005: 10-2, 2006: 6-7. 2007: 7-6. Could you imagine if they had to deal with only 11 & 14 players in back to back classes because of all the attrition? They wouldn't win a game.
2. How did Nick Saban miss on all these guys - he is regarded as one of the best recruiters in the country? Or, is it that Saban just runs through more players and the cream rises to the top? That has to be the case because we have already documented that he signed roughly 35-51 more players than Brown, Tressel, and Carroll.
3. Why does this even happen? Schools all over the country such as Notre Dame, Penn State, Ohio State, Texas, USC, etc. do not need to do this. Is it because the available talent pool is prone to that much more attrition and without oversigning to cover for it Alabama would be dead in the water, or is it because they prefer to go through more guys just to keep them away from the competition? Our historical research showed that they used to do it (oversign) for both reasons.
And for those that argue "those extra guys don't count because they didn't make it into school or they transferred out," we say, if they don't count then why sign them to begin with? Take normal numbers and deal with the attrition - why should Alabama, or any school for that matter because this is not about singling out Alabama this goes for any school, be allowed to subsidize its attrition while other schools take normal numbers and either avoid attrition by taking better quality (academic and character) guys or "take it in the chops," as Nick Saban would say, meaning if they have attrition then they have a hole in the roster until they can fill it with the next recruiting class. How is it that these other schools only take 18-22 guys every year and still compete on the same field for the national championship as a team that takes 28-32 and culls down their roster? You can thank the NCAA for allowing the oversigning loophole to exist, then you can thank the conference commissioners and athletic directors for allowing their schools to exploit the loophole, and finally you can thank the multi-million dollar coaches who exploit it. Hopefully one day you can thank us for helping to eliminate this from college football all together.
Bottom line: Either Alabama takes extra players to cover the expected attrition because they have to given the pool of players they have to select from, which means if they took regular numbers they might not be able to field a team, or Alabama takes extra players in order to have a larger pool of players to pick from thus pushing out lesser quality players by way of medical hardships, transfers, poor grades, violation of team rules, or armed robbery. Those are the only two reasons and neither of them are appealing. Anyone who thinks otherwise either doesn't get it or has an agenda.
One last comment on this. If Alabama (and other SEC schools) truly take more signees because the pool of players they have to select from dictates that they need to take extra to account for the mass numbers that won't make it academically, isn't that an indication of a much bigger problem? And what kind of message is it sending to kids? Shouldn't the message be: "if you want to play football here you need to be squared away academically or we can't even afford to look at you as a prospect."
We continue to hear that Alabama was on probation and scholarship reductions in 2002-2003 and that is why their numbers are so high.
We'll keep this brief and to the point. If Alabama's numbers are so high because they were on scholarship reductions, then what were the schools listed underneath them on, double secret scholarship reductions? We searched the Internet and couldn't find where the NCAA dropped the hammer on any of these schools for recruiting violations. If you guys find something we missed let us know.
Here are all the schools from the BCS conferences (and Notre Dame) and their recruiting numbers for 2002 - 2010. We previously had this broken down by conference, but finally got around to putting all the data into one table for easy reference. This table is sortable so knock yourself out.
All BCS Schools
And so does ESPN's ACC blogger, Heather Dinich. They both agree that the oversigning loophole is an issue that needs to be addressed and that it primarily exists in the SEC.
"Some were quick to criticize Butch Davis’ class of 28 last year, but that’s nothing compared to how the SEC has recruited. The SEC has combined for 34 recruiting classes with more than 25 players each. Mississippi State did it each of the past five years. Alabama did it four of the past five, as have Arkansas and Auburn. Only one school in the SEC – Vanderbilt – has kept its classes at 25 or under."
"If you are good at math, you may note that 39, 30 and 28 all are more than 25, the NCAA-mandated limit that has applied to FBS schools since 1992. But a few years ago, some very shrewd coach (no one is sure whom) noticed that the rule says that no more than 25 signees may enter the university in the fall term. It says nothing about how many players may sign with the university in February.
It is a loophole that a coach can drive a championship through. National champion Alabama, for instance, has announced 29 signees on each of the last two signing days."
We really love this comment:
"We spent some time trying to analyze what happens in each signing class," SEC associate commissioner Greg Sankey said. "Folks got so concerned that it became an issue that crystallized last spring."
The SEC athletic directors suggested that the signing limit from signing day through May 31 be set at 30. The presidents agreed upon 28. The NCAA also adopted the 28-man limit, although few schools outside the SEC have signed more than 25.
"Spent some time trying to analyze what happens in each signing class" - what a joke. Oversigning has been an issue in the SEC for the better part of its existence. Any SEC official who can't see what is going on is either an idiot or understands exactly what is going on and doesn't have the balls to do anything about it. The rule that needs to come down from the SEC office is a rule that requires SEC coaches to report the number of returning scholarship players prior to national signing day, and with that number the SEC office can assign a max number to each school and not allow anyone to take more than they have room for, period. If a school reports 68 returning scholarship players, they get a budget of 17 scholarships to give out and the message to the coaches should be, "here's your number, make each commitment count."
The SEC implementing the "Houston Nutt Rule" limiting schools to signing 28 commitments to a single class has zero teeth and is a complete joke. Besides, the Big 10 has had that rule for years, so it's not like they came up with something new that no one else has been doing, plus oversigning has never been an issue in the Big 10 anyways.
Now that everyone is glued to recruiting class rankings on signing day (which wasn't the case before rivals.com and scout.com) it has put a spotlight on the number of kids each school signs; before then all of this was pretty much under the radar for the average fan. With both websites displaying numbers from 2002-2010 we finally have enough data in one place to analyze and see if there is a trend or not.
We're not going to say that we scooped ESPN on this one (they have mentioned it before in previous years)...but both of these articles did come out a few days after we put up our first recruiting chart on this website.
Let's hope it continues to come up in the mainstream media.
In an earlier post, we mentioned that there was no way on earth Texas would ever go to the SEC (not that the SEC is looking to expand, but our point was that the SEC, by virtue of running off 3 solid academic universities because they couldn't see eye to eye on how to handle recruiting players and competing in athletics, does not have the entire package to offer an institution like Texas; in contrast, the Big 10 by maintaining an emphasis on academics is now poised to possibly add another powerhouse program to the conference, Penn State being the first in 1990. The last two teams to join the SEC: Arkansas and South Carolina). To further reinforce our logic, here are some staggering numbers for you to ponder.
|SEC Schools||$$$||Big 10 Schools||$$$||Pac 10 Schools||$$$|
|Kentucky||831m||Penn State||1.6b||Wash State||678m|
|Ole Miss||495m||Illinois||1.5b||Oregon State||476m|
|South Carolina||438m||Michigan State||1.2b||Arizona State||407m|
TEXAS - $16.1 billion
Regardless of where Texas might go, if anywhere, they will be the big dog on the block (sans Stanford in the Pac10) when it comes to endowments, but as you can see, Texas would definitely be more at home with the schools of the Big 10 or Pac 10 when it comes to endowments.
And again, the point here is that the Big 10 and the Pac 10, by not selling their souls for football, appear to be in very strong positions when it comes to the topic of conference expansion and sustainability.
Texas also ranks 47th in the US News and World Report rankings, which puts them right at home with the Big 10.
We found that link we were talking about earlier where Texas had already looked at joining the SEC and decided they were not a good fit. Main article here. But we found the article reading The Rivalry, Esq. about the "Death of the Big 12 Conference."
The Longhorns next turned to the Big Ten.
Having added Penn State in 1990, the Big Ten was now made of universities that, in the view of UT officials, matched UT's profile — large state schools with strong academic reputations. Berdahl liked the fact that 10 conference members belonged to the American Association of Universities.
Yet, distance remained a disadvantage. Iowa, the closest Big Ten school to Austin, was 856 miles away — but the appeal of having 10 of 12 schools in the same time zone was seen as a plus.
But after adding Penn State in 1990, Big Ten officials had put a four-year moratorium on expansion. Although admitting interest, Big Ten bosses ultimately rejected UT's overtures.
That left the SEC as a possible relocation target for the Longhorns — until Berdahl let it be known that UT wasn't interested because of the league's undistinguished academic profile. Only two of 12 schools in the SEC were American Association of Universities members and UT officials saw admissions standards to SEC schools as too lenient.
"We were quite interested in raising academic standards," Berdahl says. "And the Southeastern Conference had absolutely no interest in that."
So that's three major categories: endowments, academic rankings, and recruiting numbers (we touched on that here), where it is crystal clear that Texas is a much better match for the Big 10 than they ever would be for the SEC. "Frank the Tank's Slant" has everything else covered.
They all have something in common, well actually several things in common. For starters, all three schools were, at one time, members of the SEC. In fact, not only were they members, they were all charter members of the SEC when the conference was created in 1932.
Sewanee (The University of the South) left in 1940.
Georgia Tech left in 1964.
Tulane left in 1966.
Note: (In a previous post, we documented one of the main reasons why Georgia Tech left the SEC - basically they were unhappy with the gross oversigning of recruits. Our reason for that post was to serve notice that oversigning is not a myth and not something we made up out of thin air. Oversigning is real, and its historical roots are located in the heart of the southeastern conference.)
Back to the similarities: All three schools also have very high academic standards (US New and World Report Rankings):
Sewanee - 36th
Georgia Tech - 38th
Tulane - 50th
Click the link to continue reading >>>
Yahoo Sports made public yesterday documents it found during the investigation of USC's Reggie Bush receiving extra benefits. The biggest ticket item on the list is the $757K home that Bush's family lived in shortly while Reggie was at USC; the house was paid for by New Era financier Michael Michaels. It will be interesting to see what the NCAA does about this.
We almost feel guilty for having a blog that virtually writes itself; therefore, we will only take credit for setting up the web server and learning how to use WordPress.
If you have been here before you know that we have mentioned the fact that Alabama and Nick Saban went over their recruiting budget this year and have to shed some players in order to get down to 85.
Alabama had 66 players returning on scholarship on signing day and accepted 29 signed letters of intent. This puts them at 95. In order to deal with the 25 per class limit, 11 of the 29 enrolled early and count towards last year's numbers, leaving 18 to assign to this class. The problem is that if you have 66 and you add 11, that gives you 77. 85-77 = 8. Meaning, Alabama has signed letters of commitment from 18 players with only 8 spots available before they hit the 85 limit. Therefore, the magic number is 10. (note: scout.com has verified and marked 29 recruits signing letters of intent - that is the number on their site and the number we are using here.)
Bottom line: between now and August players will need to transfer, quit, take a medical hardship, or violate unspecified team rules and be removed from the team in order to get the roster to 85 scholarship players.
Robby Green, understanding the value of being a team player, decided to step to the plate first. The details are sketchy at best; all we know is that there is a "situation" developing with Robby Green.
"There is a situation with Robby and we are currently in the process of determining the facts," Saban said in a written statement that was issued after reports surfaced that Green has been suspended for violating team rules.
"To make any kind of announcement on his playing status at this time is completely premature and it is not appropriate to do so until we have a chance to go through due process for Robby and his family.
"If there is a change in his current status, we will make an announcement once a final determination is made."
Click the link to continue reading >>>
We have already compiled recruiting numbers for schools and conferences, see our "Recruiting Numbers" link above for that data, but now let's take a look at the numbers for National Championship coaches from 2002-2010. Make sure to read our footnotes at the bottom regarding the data in the table below.
National Championship Coaches 2002 - 2010
The first thing that jumps off the screen is that despite being out of college football for 2 years (2005 & 2006), Nick Saban still signed 193 recruits, which is second only to Les Miles his successor at LSU when Saban left in 2005. Saban also has the highest average recruits per year at 27.50. In 7 years, Nick Saban has never signed less than 25 recruits in a single year.
Let's compare that to the same set of years (2002-2004 & 2007-2010) for the coach with the lowest numbers, Jim Tressel. Tressel signed 142 players in the same years that Saban signed 193 recruits. That is a difference of 51 players over the same period of time, 7 years. That is mind boggling to say the least.
And to further put that into perspective, only 4 BCS programs in the entire country have signed fewer players than Ohio State's Jim Tressel, Stanford (170), Georgia Tech (177), Wake Forest (174), and Northwestern (170). Notre Dame tied with (180). For Jim Tressel to win a NC, compete for 2 more, and win the Big 10 Conference 5 Times in a row with those kind of numbers is simply amazing. The same goes for Pete Carroll, although his numbers are just slightly higher, and what he did at USC. Imagine if either one of those coaches had an extra 40-50 players to select from or to use in order to fill in gaps from unexpected attrition such as career ending injury.
Click the link to continue reading >>>
We love our readership here at oversigning.com and truly appreciate the time anyone takes to read this site, much less send a response. Our readers have a voice, and with that an email from: Fury
"Your site would have more credibility if you had a clue. The reason the SEC signs so many, is because they are in a recruiting hotbead & THEY CAN.
You can talk about how many players are signed on signing day, but it is frivilous. You currently list Alabama as signing 29 this year & 27 last year, but you fail to recognize that THREE recruits are being counted TWICE in BOTH lists. Theses are players who delayed enrollment, and show up on multiple signing classes. This happens all the time, and shows that you all your statistics are incomplete, and not withstanding. The signess ABSOLUTELY DO NOT MATTER. Some signees don’t qualify, some aren’t on athletic scholarship, some delay enrollment for personal reasons, & some sign MLB contracts. The fact is, every school knows only 25 can enroll & only 85 are on scholarhip – AND THEY MAKE THOSE DEMANDS. EVERY scholarship at EVERY school is awarded on a 1 year basis that must be renewed. Football signees ARE NOT signing 4 year agreements, that is against the NCAA by-laws.
Furthermore, check out these numbers:
In ‘08, Bama signed 32, only 23 enrolled in the Fall to “count” on the ‘08 class. In ‘09, Bama signed 27, only 22 enrolled in the Fall to “count” on the ‘09 class."
So where do we start? "The SEC signs so many players because THEY CAN" or "signees ABSOLUTELY DO NOT MATTER." Or, "all of your statistics are incomplete."
We'll start with a bottom line: There are no excuses for going over by 1 player, much less 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, or like back in Boddy Dodd's day, 20-25. When you have 66 returning players you should sign 19, period. And that doesn't mean you should gather a pool of 28 signed letters of commitment on signing day and narrow it down to 19 legit players by some date in the future.
We address the other points after the jump. Click the link to continue reading >>>
The fascinating history between Georgia Tech and the SEC is pretty well documented, but perhaps a lot of college football fans, especially those outside of the southern states or those under the age of 40, have forgotten the whole story behind GT and the SEC. Georgia Tech was a founding member of the SEC and remained in the conference for 69 years until differences between Georgia Tech and the SEC could not be resolved.
More on GT's relationship with the SEC:
More on Georgia Tech's history as a football program:
We felt in order for this site to have any credibility we needed to go back in time and establish an understanding of oversigning and its historical meaning; we needed to find its roots. Thus far, all roads lead to the southeastern portion of the country - but don't worry, we're not done looking. So before you jump to any conclusions regarding this site, we ask that you take a moment to realize that we do our homework on this topic, we're not just making things up as we go along.
And for those of you who think that oversigning is just some new made up term for something that just started since the 85 scholarship limit, you would be wrong. Oversigning is an issue that is as old as the SEC conference and played a major role in Georgia Tech's decision in 1963 to withdraw from the conference.
"Another issue of concern for Dodd was Alabama's and other SEC schools' over-recruitment of players. Universities would recruit more players than they had roster space for. During the summer practice sessions, the teams in question would cut the players well after signing day thus preventing the cut players from finding new colleges to play for. Dodd appealed the SEC administration to punish the "tryout camps" of his fellow SEC members but the SEC did not. Finally, Dodd withdrew Georgia Tech from the SEC in 1963. Tech would remain an independent like Notre Dame and Penn State (at the time) during the final four years of Dodd's coaching tenure."
We're considering a new annual award to the coach who runs off the fewest number of players to make room for new recruits, a sort of anti-Saban Cup award; we'll call it The Dodd Cup award. On a serious note, Georgia Tech fans should feel honored and proud to have a man like Dodd as a part of their rich history. We're big GT & Bobby Dodd fans here at oversigning.com. Bobby Dodd & GT were fighting the war on oversigning way before we were in diapers.
Many will say that GT left the SEC because of the riff(s) between GT head coach Bobby Dodd and Alabama head coach Paul "Bear" Bryant, but in the book "Dodd's Luck," Bobby Dodd claims it was the 140 rule. See this excerpt below:
"Bobby Dodd insisted there was no other reason he left the SEC, other than the 140 Rule. The 140 Rule stated a college program could only have 140 football and basketball players on scholarship at any one time. The teams were allowed to sign up to 45 players a year, but could not exceed the 140 Rule.
Dodd would not allow any of the football players choosing Tech to be dismissed from Tech, because they were not good players. Dodd said, “it is not the recruits fault for not making the squad, it was the coaches fault for misjudging their talents”. If a recruit came to Tech, he would stay on a football scholarship until he graduated.
Dodd would sign about 30-32 players a year to meet the guidelines, but the other schools in the SEC were offering 45 scholarships a year. Those players, not good enough to fall under the 140 Rule, had their scholarships withdrawn and sent packing before the end of each year. Dodd insisted, the recruiting of athletes by this method amounted to nothing more than a tryout for a scholarship.
Dodd thought it unfair and would not withdraw scholarships from his players. He wanted the SEC to limit the amount of scholarships to about 32 per year. This would keep the other schools from offering 45 scholarships, picking the best, and sending the rest packing.
A vote was to be taken by the presidents of the colleges on the issue, and Dodd made it clear, Tech would have to leave the SEC unless the rule was changed. Dodd said he would live with 10, 20, 30, 40, or even 50 recruits per year as long as he did not have to chase any of his players off.
The presidents were split six for Dodd’s position and six against. Bear had promised Dodd he would get his president to vote for Dodd’s position, which would have changed the rule.
When the meeting was held, Bryant did not show up and the Alabama president voted against Dodd’s position and the 140 Rule was upheld. Tech’s president immediately walked to the podium and announced Tech was withdrawing from the SEC. Bryant never told Dodd why he reneged on his promise."
History goes on to show that Bryant and the Alabama football program went on to have one of the greatest runs in college football history. From 1963 until Bryant's retirement Alabama won192 games, with 11 ten win season, 12 SEC championships, and 5 National Championships. It would have been interesting to see how things would have panned out had the SEC voted in favor of reform on oversigning and GT stayed in the SEC. Alabama and GT never played again and probably never will didn't play again until 1978 and only played 6 times (1978-1984).
Dodd also indicated that the stiffer academic requirements played a role in Georgia Tech's departure from the SEC.
"I just could not compete with those damn state universities. And Auburn is just as easily a state university. They could take these same boys we couldn't take, who wanted to come and play for me. And it just broke me down. I couldn't beat'em. You can just outcoach'em some of the time, brother. Better football players will beat you."
Link to a condensed version of Dodd's book: http://www.stingtalk.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-4395.html
It's hard to believe that 47 years after Georgia Tech left the SEC because of oversigning and discarding players that it is still an issue and the SEC still leads the country in the number of players signed.
Of course now the rule is 85/25, back then the rule was 140/45. Does anyone else get the feeling that no matter what the numbers are they will always be pushed to the limit in the SEC? We're just shocked that Vanderbilt (which has normal recruiting numbers) hasn't pulled a GT and withdrawn from the conference. When you think about it, is there another school in the country that is more out of place in their conference than Vanderbilt?
This article, How to Keep Football Stars in College, written in 1941 by William Bradford Huie and published in Colliers Weekly Magazine, is a historical gem and an absolute must read for anyone who shares our interest in college football recruiting, specifically the signing and discarding of recruits.
Before his career as a writer for Colliers and the Birmingham News, Huie worked as a tutor for his Alma Mater, the University of Alabama, and had some sort of involvement in the football program although not clearly defined, which was probably not uncommon at the time. After he left the University, Huie continued to be involved with the football program, kind of like an old-school booster if you will; like a 1930's version of Logan Young, the infamous booster associated with the Albert Means recruiting violations that placed Alabama on probation. That's pretty much where the similarities end with Huie and Young. Having never heard of Huie before, we decided to do a little bit of reading on him. Turns out he's kind of a big deal in Hartselle, Alabama where they named a library after him. Also turns out that he is a very accomplished writer, something we are not and never will be.
What does William Bradford Huie have to do with this site?
William Huie's story speaks to the very reason this site exists - the human element in college football recruiting. We're not here because we think there is a huge competitive advantage given to programs that oversign, nor are we here because we're outraged by the uneven playing field in college football. We are here to tell the human story behind what happens to the players that are chewed up and spit out by the coaches and programs that allow it to go on.
If you don't read the whole article by Huie, we implore you to just read the last two sections: "Boys are Only Human" and "Why Football's Lost a Fan." Here are just a few excerpts:
"Three thousand hopeful young men have entered the University of Alabama to play football during the fifteen years I have been close to that machine. Fifteen hundred fell out by the end of the first semester. All of these initial casualties had played football in high school and had learned little else. When the athletic department dropped them, what could they do? Even if their parents could afford to send them to classes, they were not prepared. They had come to college prepared only to play football. Had football not robbed them of their opportunities in high school some of them might have worked out successful college careers."
"Some weeks ago, with Collier's cameraman Hans Groenhoff, I examined the records of a hundred or more products of the Alabama machine. We traveled many miles and interviewed boys all the way from the Tennessee Valley to the Black Belt fans in southern Alabama. Many of them were coaching and "teaching" in small-town high schools-manufacturing new prospects for the Tide-at salaries of $900 to $1,350 a year. The rest ranged from complete unemployment with "no prospect of work" up to Big John Miller, All-Southern guard in 1931, who, as premier snuff salesman in four TVA counties, seemed to be faring best of all."
"Jimmie Moss was playing with his two children the night we called at his four-room farmhouse in Morgan County. Jimmie and I were kids together. In elementary school he was smart enough. But in high school he learned he was a star tackle. He went to Alabama the year I did, on a football scholarship. I remember the day he left the university. It was three months after he had entered. His knee had been wrenched the first week out and he had had no chance to make himself seen among those scores of striving freshmen. His scholarship had soon played out. He was a picture of dejection. He was heading back to the small town we came from, and there'd be no band to meet him."
In an earlier post, we pointed out that there appears to be a trend in the state of Alabama with regards to the number of recruits signed. There is no denying the numbers, they are off the charts. Auburn leads all teams in the BCS conferences in the number of LOI's signed (253) since 2002 (this excludes the service academies as they are exempt from limitations). And only three programs outside of the SEC have signed more players than Alabama at 235: Troy University (248) located in the state of Alabama, and two teams from the Big 12, Iowa State (243) and Kansas State (238) [Update: further investigation on Kansas State and Iowa State have revealed that they rely heavily on JUCO players and since JUCO players only have 2 years of eligibility when they arrive it explains why their numbers were high - this is not the case with the Alabama schools].
We hinted that there might be something "cultural" behind these high numbers. And, as if someone from above was listening, a link to Huie's article was delivered to us like stork delivering a newborn to our doorstep. At first we couldn't believe it, surely this article is fake, surely its a fictional tale made up by a rival. There's no way any of this is true...no way.
"As a hobby it's been exciting. We fellows in the alumni association have had a lot of fun. We've drunk a lot of good corn whisky and told a lot of swell stories. Our haven't-missed-a-game records have been as precious as our politics. And, yes, you've guessed it. We're guilty of all the sins in the book. We've recruited players from all points of the compass. We can quote you current on-the-hoof prices for tackles or tailbacks. We've helped build a feeder organization that's bigger than the New York Yankee farm system, and we've fought our big-time competitors on a nation-wide front."
For some reason, this sounds eerily familiar, just to a much lesser degree than back in Huie's day.
"The Red Shirts composed the "suspension" squad. They were the fifty or more prospects who had already served their time on the freshman squad but had not yet been chosen for the varsity. You see, under the five-year eligibility rule in the Southeastern Conference a boy can play a year on the freshman squad, a year on some intermediate squad, and still play out his full three-year varsity career. Thus in the spring the coaches look over the varsity and see what is needed to fill the holes resulting from what the sports writers politely call "graduation." They look over the Red Shirts first since they are older and better developed. Then they pick up a few from the freshman squad. Next they consign the rest of the freshmen to the Red Shirt pool to grow and develop another year. The chaff portion of the Red Shirt squad is then fired off the pay roll, and the brain trust promptly allows them to flunk and fall out of school. This fate will already have caught up with more than a hundred freshmen before the end of the first semester."
In the 1980's, James Brooks, former Auburn running back admitted that he couldn't read after attending Auburn University for 4 years. Reading between the lines you can see that the same thing was going on at Alabama back in Huie's day.
"I remember in particular one great hero who was an All-America guard. He had been on the campus for seven years, and we had labored and dragged him through everything but elementary English. I would sit and read to him and point out and define the various parts of speech. "Here, Spike," I would say, "is a noun. And here is a verb.
He would nod his head, and I would read on. After six lines I would point back to the two words and ask him what they were. He would give me a blank stare, and the session would be ended.
I got Spike his pass in English, however, and the night he marched up and received his degree his professor and I sat in Tuscaloosa's most respectable bar and drank a toast to the great American system of public education."
We're kidding of course when we say that there is no way this article is real. Of course it is real. We actually took the time to track down scanned images of the original article just to make sure...
We're not naive enough to think that this kind of stuff didn't go on back in those days, and we don't believe for a second that it only happened in the state of Alabama. The stork just hasn't delivered anything to us about other programs yet...hint, hint.
It is important to know that at the time of Huie's article, Alabama was the largest public university in the south and most likely a strong influence on the rest of the public universities in the south.
Regardless, after reading the entire article, you get a little better idea of just how things used to be and how far things have come. Huie, if still alive today, would fall out of his chair laughing at this website. We could see him saying something like, "you mean to tell me that people are worried about a few recruits here and there...heck, what Saban pushes through the system in 4 years is less than we did in a month back in the old days." He would be right. But the BCS didn't exist back in those days, the Internet didn't exist back in those days, and college football was not a billion dollar industry. Times change, but sometimes old habits or mentalities carry on in the face of change.
Draw your own conclusions...
Conference Comparisons 2002 - 2010
|Average # of Total Recruits Signed Per School:||227||219||215||208||199||199|
|Total Players Signed:||2,727||2,629||1,737||2,084||2,196||2,394|
|Highest Single School Total:||253||243||235||235||218||225|
|Lowest Single School Total:||191||192||201||170||170||174|
|# of Times Over 25 in Single Class:||54||37||23||28||18||22|
|# of Times 28 or More in Single Class:||33||24||14||14||5||10|
|# of Back to Back Classes of 25 or More:||35||24||11||8||6||5|
The ACC is now on the board. When putting all of this together we really didn't know what to expect; we knew that the SEC signed a lot of players, but we had no idea just how many and we certainly didn't expect such a wide margin between SEC and the ACC. The numbers are staggering.
We picked this up off the wire yesterday; appears the people in Georgia are taking notice of the people in Alabama when it comes to the number of recruits they sign (every fricking year).
EDSBS picked up on it as well.
"AND SPEAKING OF THINGS THE NCAA SHOULD BE DOING RATHER THAN LEGISLATING SHIMMY: At least attempting to stop teams in the state of Alabama from signing an entire class more over a four year span than other teams?"
Our 2002 - 2010 data shows that Alabama, Auburn, and Troy University are among the nation's highest in recruiting numbers.
Auburn: 253 LOI's, 28.11 Average per year.
Troy: 248 LOI's, 27.56 Average per year.
Alabama: 235 LOI's and 26.11 Average per year.
(Alabama's numbers would be higher if not for the NCAA taking away scholarships due to, you guessed it, recruiting violations - color us shocked).
All three of these schools have higher numbers than anyone from the Pac10, Big10, Big East, ACC and 10 of the 12 teams in the Big 12.
This can't be a coincidence. It has to be a cultural mentality or something; we all know they love their football in Alabama, but come on...this is ridiculous. Especially for Alabama. You look at the numbers for all the other blue blood schools (Notre Dame, Texas, Ohio State, USC, Florida, etc.) and they all sign a lot less players.
Do not fall out of your chair, that is unless you have been living in a cave lately and haven't heard the news about the possibility of Texas joining the Big 10. When the Big 10 announced that conference expansion is a topic on the table for discussion, the Internets went wild. In fact, Frank the Tank's Slant has devoted more time to it than we ever thought about devoting to the topic of oversigning. If you haven't been to his Blog, go there. It's a great read and Frank really does his homework.
Frank put together a Big 10 Conference Expansion Index, based on a scale of 1-100 with 100 being the highest possible score, in which he categorized and ranked potential candidates to join the Big 10.
In his index, Frank has Texas as the leader with an index score of 96; second in his index was Notre Dame at 91.
We're not going to go into all of the details of Big 10 expansion or whether or not we think Texas would consider joining the Big 10; Frank has more than covered all the bases and if you really want to know more about it you should check out his blog and read it.
We just want to add one thing to the discussion in terms of recruiting. In looking closely at Texas' recruiting numbers (which is an indication of how they run their program), they would fit right in with the Big Ten. Since 2002 Texas has a total of 192 commitments with an average of 21.33 per year. That would put them right in line with Michigan (195, 21.67), Penn State (183, 20.33), and Ohio State (180, 20.00), all of which rank towards the bottom of the Big 10 in terms of total numbers taken each year. In case you haven't noticed, we tend to like programs that keep their numbers in check. To see more of these numbers, click here.
Texas takes the lowest number of players in the entire Big 12 Conference; it's almost as if they are out of place with regards to where their numbers are in comparison to the rest of the conference. This tells us several things:
- They are not running players through their program; meaning they take very few risks on borderline academic players and they don't oversign players only to push out the lesser talented or injury-prone players to make room for new recruits.
- We believe that how you manage your roster is like a calling card for what kind of program you run. Texas has a pretty good calling card when you consider the success they have had on the field and the number of recruits they do it with. Compare Texas to Alabama for just a second: since 2006, Alabama has taken LOI's from 136 players to Texas' 110. Where did those other 26 players go? Did they ever make it into school at Alabama or were they cut from the team to make room for Saban's classes of 32 and 27?
- Strong academics. Texas has the best academics in the Big 12 (by a long shot) and they would fit right in with the Big 10. But how do low recruiting numbers = good academics? Maybe it's the other way around, good academics = lower recruiting numbers. Just look at our conference charts linked above. The schools with lowest recruiting numbers tend to have better, if not the best academics in their conferences. Here are some schools at the bottom of each of their conferences in terms of the number of recruits signed each year: Vanderbilt, Northwestern, Stanford, and Texas. Now compare that to the list of names at or near the top of the conferences: Auburn, West Virginia, Mississippi State, Kansas State, etc.
Missouri is another school that seems to be in the middle of the Big 10 expansion conversation. Not that a decision like this would depend on the number of recruits a school normally takes, but we did find it interesting that Missouri, if added to the Big 10, would be at the top of the board with the highest number of recruits per year. In fact, they would be tied dead even with Purdue at a 218 recruits since 2002 and a yearly average of 24.22.
Our hats off to Texas for running their program the right way and always making sure to stay within their recruiting budget. We think Texas would be an awesome addition to the Big 10, obviously they are match for each other in terms of academics, and we hope it happens. If the 3 games against Ohio State and the Rose bowl thriller against Michigan are any indication, Texas joining the Big 10 would really make things interesting.
Hook 'em Horns!
We admit it, we like Mark Richt, a lot.
"Georgia coach Mark Richt refuses to oversign for two reasons. First, he wouldn't want to run out of scholarships for qualified players. Second, he would not want to run off current players who have eligibility remaining to keep the Bulldogs under the 85-scholarship limit. "We could always get into a situation where we oversign, but there's no way I could look at a kid and his parents and say, 'We had some room, but now we really don't.' I just think you have to be careful," Richt told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Signing Day. "I don't want to oversign, then tell one of the kids we've already got, 'You've got no value to us' and toss him aside. I'm not going to do that."