In a Parallel Universe this Actually Happened

Bryan Kelly over at Bleacher Report recently wrote an article on oversigning.  Basically, as with many Bleacher Report articles, they are in the form of a slide show or in a "top 10" format.  Kelly, having read our site, decided to use some of the data here as the basis for his article "The 10 Worst College Football Teams for Oversigning Recruits."  He added some analysis and opinion to the data he collected and formulated his own list of schools. 

We're not going to critique his article because the reason we are posting a link to it here is not because of what he says in the article, although he does have some very strong opinions.  We are posting a link here and writing this because of what one of the readers had to say in the comments section.

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New Polls Added – Previous Poll Results

We posted a few polls questions in our sidebar to get a feel where everyone stands on the issue of oversigning.  We just added two new poll questions regarding whether or not you think the NCAA should address oversigning.  If you see one of them come up when you visit, take a second and answer - we would love to hear what you think.

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NCSA – National Collegiate Scouting Association

We were just linked up by NCSA.  It appears they have found our site and are now recommending that their readers visit our site and educate themselves on the topic of oversigning. 

NCSA is the leading collegiate recruiting source for more than 35,000 college coaches across the country.  From their website:

The National Collegiate Scouting Association (NCSA) was founded in 2000 by Chris Krause, a former full-ride scholarship football player at Vanderbilt University, with a two-pronged mission: To provide a means for college coaches at every level to find the recruits best suited for their programs and to educate high school student athletes and their families about the college recruiting process.

From Brian Davidson's article on their website regarding oversigning.com.


Eamonn Brennan from ESPN Calls for Change

Brennan's article is focused more on oversiging (which he calls runoff) in college basketball, but he might as well be talking about football.

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On the Clock


In a previous post, we responded to Alabama fans that were outraged by our March to 85 piece by giving them a homework assignment.  The assignment was for them to bring us a BCS school that needs to shed more than 6 scholarship commitments between now and August when the NCAA will required that all teams have their rosters down to 85 players.   It took a little bit of time, but we finally had a reader post a list of schools that he claims are over the limit and needs to shed players. 

Here's the list from the Alabama fan:

"You want other programs? Here ya go….

LSU currently has 91 players on scholarship (Need to cut 6)
Miami currently has 91 players on scholarship (Need to cut 6)
Texas A&M currently has 90 players on scholarship (Need to cut 5)
Washington currently has 88 players on scholarship (Need to cut 3)
Nebraska currently has 87 players on scholarship (Need to cut 2)

Texas was at 88 players on scholarship, had 2 transfer, and now needs to cut 1 more."

Okay, so where do we start?  First, let's get a table of the recruiting numbers for each of these schools in one place so we can easily look at them together here.  This is everything from 2002 - 2010; we'll narrow this down to the numbers we need for this investigation a little later in this post.

On The Clock

Teams Conf. 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Total Average
LSU SEC 26 28 26 13 26 26 26 24 29 224 24.89
Miami ACC 24 24 28 17 22 19 33 19 28 214 23.77
Texas A&M B12 23 24 28 25 23 18 24 28 23 216 24
Washington PAC10 21 27 23 13 22 27 26 19 31 209 23.22
Nebraska B12 21 19 20 32 22 27 28 20 21 210 23.33
Texas B12 28 18 20 15 25 24 20 20 22 192 21.33


Now, how do we figure out who went over the limit this year by accepting more signed letters of intent then they had room for given the number of scholarship commitments they had on National Signing day?  The math is really simple, but finding the actual roster numbers for the previous year online can be difficult, which is why we are asking you, the fans of these schools, to participate and help us determine if your team went over the limit.  We could do it on our own if all of these teams has a sweet online depth chart application like Notre Dame has available here; make sure you click on Roster Chart when you open the link (side note - if we had any sense at all we would build an application like this to house roster data for all 64 BCS schools and then charge a fee to access it - but as it is we barely have enough time to keep up with blog and our real lives). 

Regardless, we have the number of players signed to each recruiting class (see table above), therefore, all we need now is to know exactly how many players were on scholarship on National Signing Day.  Typically, this is the previous year's total number of scholarship players (which will vary from school to school because not all schools are always at 85 every year) minus graduating seniors with no eligibility left and minus juniors who have declared for the NFL draft by the deadline on January 15th.  We refer to this number as the "recruiting budget."

Until we can get those numbers, let's just look at how many players each school has signed over the last 5 years.  We're going to subtotal 2007 - 2009 and then add 2010 to that number and call it the subtotal for 2007-2010.  We are also going to show you the 2006 numbers, which would represent the 5th year senior classes for these schools.  It is very likely that each of these schools will have a few 5th year guys on their roster.

On The Clock - Numbers for 2006 - 2010

Teams Conf. 2006 2007 2008 2009 (07-09) 2010 (07-10)
LSU SEC 26 26 26 24 76 29 105
Miami ACC 22 19 33 19 71 28 99
Texas A&M B12 23 18 24 28 70 23 93
Washington PAC10 22 27 26 19 72 31 103
Nebraska B12 22 27 28 20 75 21 96
Texas B12 25 24 20 20 64 22 86

For comparisons sake, now let's look at a few teams that we have investigated in the past and that we know are not over the limit.

Not On The Clock

Teams Conf. 2006 2007 2008 2009 (07-09) 2010 (07-10)
Georgia SEC 28 23 24 20 67 19 86
Vanderbilt SEC 25 14 21 18 53 24 77
USC PAC10 27 18 19 18 55 20 75
Stanford PAC10 18 19 17 22 58 23 81
Penn State B10 24 21 14 27 62 20 82
Ohio State B10 20 15 20 25 60 18 78
Northwestern B10 17 19 20 18 57 17 74
Notre Dame Ind. 28 18 23 18 59 23 82

And then finally, here is Alabama.  Still above those on the clock and way, way above those not on the clock.


Teams Conf. 2006 2007 2008 2009 (07-09) 2010 (07-10)
Alabama SEC 23 25 32 27 84 29 113

(Important: It should be noted that the 2007-2010 numbers do not include the 5th year guys from 2006.  Therefore, schools that are under 85 in this column are either short-handed or they have a number of 5th year guys; schools that are way over 85 either have no 5th year guys or they have a few and the numbers are even worse.)

Before everyone gets all up in arms, there is more to this than just these numbers and this is where it gets really time consuming in trying to investigate oversigning.  From 2006 to 2010 a lot of things happen to the rosters, some things are legitimate and some things are not.  The numbers above are the numbers signed; we still need to know who left the team and who still remains from the 2006 class, which will give us the total number of scholarship players at the end of the 2009 season.  From there we can subtract the graduating seniors and early entries into the NFL.  That will give us our recruiting budget for the 2010 class. 

We're not asking that you guys hunt down the back story to every single transfer (although that would be nice), all we really need is the total scholarship commitments at National Signing Day, which is what we described above.  Once we have those numbers we will add the number for the 2010 class and see if it is over 85.

So there it is, we have provided a nice starting point for investing the schools Alabama fans have claimed are also guilty of oversigning players.  Now we just need your help to finish up the investigation.  Please post anything you have here and we'll continue to discuss.

Filed under: Big 10, Big 12, PAC 10, SEC 78 Comments

The 1 Year Renewable Excuse

One of the more popular excuses we hear from those who defend oversigning is that football scholarships are 1 year renewable scholarships.  However, the one thing most of those same people forget to mention or struggle to comprehend, and this is the very loophole in the NCAA by-laws that is being exploited, is that the deadline for scholarship renewal is July 1st, nearly 5 months after national signing day.  This enables coaches to sign as many players as they can get away with in February and then gives them 5 months to figure out who they don't want to keep come July. Institutional Obligation. The renewal of institutional financial aid based in any degree on athletics ability shall be made on or before July 1 prior to the academic year in which it is to be effective. The institution shall promptly notify in writing each student-athlete who received an award the previous academic year and who has eligibility remaining in the sport in which financial aid was awarded the previous academic year (under Bylaw 14.2) whether the grant has been renewed or not renewed for the ensuing academic year. Notification of financial aid renewals and non-renewals must come from the institution’s regular financial aid authority and not from the institution’s athletics department. (Revised: 1/10/95) 

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Quick Links

Right before the server meltdown the other day we were getting ready to post a list of links to websites currently talking about oversigning.  Here is that list.  There are some very interesting conversations going on around the country.


Filed under: Quick Links 8 Comments

Tracy Smith – This is for You

When this site was created the sole focus at the time was analyzing college football recruiting numbers and investigating whether or not oversigning really existed and to what degree.  Now that our site has received some exposure, we are receiving a lot of emails and a lot of links to articles and other sites that are talking about oversigning. 

Today we received a link to a baseball blog and an interview with Indiana Head Coach Tracy Smith.  Before we go into the interview with Coach Smith and his comments regarding oversigning, we want to point out that we know very little about baseball recruiting rules and simply haven't had time to expand our research into other sports.  To be quite honest, we really had no idea that oversigning was such a big issue in football until we really started talking to people about it and investigating the numbers, and we didn't realize it even existed in baseball.  

At least now there is a place where people all over the country can funnel information regarding oversigning, regardless of where it takes place and in what sports, and it can be collected and read in one place here at oversigning.com.  In the end, our hope is that we are able to help coaches like Tracy Smith who recognize the issue with oversigning.

Thus far, we have been able to identify that oversigning affects college athletics in the following ways:

1. When abused, oversigning does a disservice to players by enabling coaches to discard unwanted players or players from a previous coach's program.

2. It contributes to the professionalization of college athletics (we received an email today to an article where Boise State's President speaks about the professionalization of college athletics - hope to have something up on that soon as well).

3.  It creates a competitive advantage against schools that are not allowed to oversign.

Coach Smith speaks directly to item number 3 in his interview below:

However, what gets little discussion, and is probably this biggest reason the conference struggles to compete on a national level consistently is the fact that other conferences can over-sign. Teams in the Big Ten that recruit a significant number of high level talent have to lay back and wait to see how the draft plays out on how many guys they are going to lose.

Coach Smith goes on to mention that his conference has acknowledged that their teams are at a disadvantage and will now allow teams to oversign by 1 scholarship spread out over 2 players.  Smith continues...

It does help, but when other schools are over signing by 6-8 scholarships, the playing field is not even close to being even. The part that drives me nuts is nobody talks about this issue. Everyone wants to talk about weather, and huge stadiums, etc., as being the things the hold our conference back, but it’s not. The issue of over-signing is the real problem.

My friends who coach at southern schools laugh when I tell them that we can’t over-sign kids until our underclassmen physically sign a contact. They are like, “how in the heck do you guys recruit?” I have my response down to a science now, I put my hands behind my back and say, “like this.”

That said, I am not saying I agree with over-signing to the level most southern do it, because it can create some ugly scenarios where kids are “run off.” Again, too many reasons and not enough time to respond. But what I would like to see is some consistency with regard to the issue of over-signing.

Here Coach Smith echoes something we believe needs to happen in college football:

I like the limits our conference has put on over-signing. Now, if we could get the rest of the country to buy into the Big Ten Conference’s rules, wouldn’t it be great?  However, I say again, why would they? They are at too much of a competitive advantage under the current system to want to change.

As someone who is trying win every game I play, I guess I understand their position. But if the NCAA wants to do what is “right,” it will address the issue of over-signing, and adopt legislation that truly benefits our student-athletes all the while creating a more competitive environment for all of college baseball, not just some of it.


It really doesn't get any more cut and dry than this.  These are comments from a Division 1 Head Coach, not an opinion from a blogger or some guy on a message board.  Oversigning is a real issue and it is just a matter of time until the NCAA is forced to do something to close the loophole so many coaches and schools are exploiting.

There you go Coach Smith, this post was for you.  Hope it helps and thanks for sharing your thoughts and opinions on oversigning so openly, college athletics needs more coaches like yourself.

Thanks again to the reader who sent us this link - good stuff!!

Filed under: Baseball 6 Comments

Back in the Saddle

Didn't expect to be down for so long...sorry everyone.  We're back online now.

We had no idea that Stewart Mandel was so powerful...lol.

In all seriousness, the traffic to this site has exploded.  In checking the logs this site has been linked to over 400 other websites in the last 3 weeks alone.  Many of those sites are message boards that require logins, some are to web-based email sites, and some are to tweets or facebook, but the point is that word is getting around and people are talking about oversigning.

From time to time, we manually update the site hit count note on the right for the total number of hits since the site was created.  Here is a look at what caused the site to go down on the 26th.  Now that we are on unlimited bandwidth we don't have to worry about this happening again.

Filed under: Uncategorized 5 Comments

Stewart Mandel Gets It

Quick programming note - we are in the process of switching hosting services and going to unlimited bandwidth - but if the site goes down in the next 24 hours rest assured that we will be back shortly.  The site has started gaining traction and people all over the country world are now starting to investigate oversigning. 

We want everyone to know that this is a very large topic to investigate - wrapping your head around one roster can be maddening at times, much less trying to investigate 64 rosters.  Our goal for this site is to stimulate fans around the country to investigate their programs or their rival's programs, if they want, to help determine who is signing more players than they have room for and who is doing the best job of staying within their recruiting budgets and retaining student-athlete football players. 

Many people will say that LOI (Letters of Intent) don't count - only scholarships count.  We don't believe that, we believe that LOI are like golf swings, every single one of them counts.  If you accept a signed letter of intent, even if it is from the same player two or three years in a row, it counts, and we count them the same way for all schools.  If you don't think it means anything, just ask the kids who sign those letters.  If it didn't mean anything we wouldn't have all day TV coverage of National Signing Day.  

Our initial charts have provided an excellent starting point in that it is one of the only places where you can see the sum total numbers for all BCS schools from 2002-2010 in one place, all nice and neat.  You can get this same information by toggling through Rivals.com or Scout.com and going from team to team, year by year, but that is a lot of work.  In fact, we created these tables because we got sick of having to toggle back and forth all the time while trying to start our investigation. 

Regardless, we just wanted everyone to know that the goal of the site is to get everyone to help investigate the problem and bring it to light. 

Now on to Stewart Mandel.  It appears that he has discovered oversigning.com and agrees with our position that A. oversigning does exist and is not some made up fairy tale, and B. that while it is not an NCAA violation, it is a loophole in the NCAA rule book that needs to be addressed.

What really blows our mind is that the original question came from Sujith in Bangalore, India.  Unbelievable.  

Another simple solution that we have suggested here is that the NCAA mandate that each school has to report its recruiting budget prior to signing day and that each school only be allowed to accept that many LOI.  By reporting its recruiting budget we mean that each school has to determine, before signing day, the exact number of slots they will have open (which is simply 85 minus the number of returning scholarship players from the previous year - a formula that is used by the Big 10 and several schools around the country that refuse to oversign players - Vanderbilt, Georgia, GT, Notre Dame, etc) and only accept signed letters of intent from that many players.  This will encourage coaches to only take players they know will qualify and will eliminate the loophole of signing 10 extra players and figuring out over the spring and summer who stays and who goes, thus eliminating the extra spring evaluation period that some coaches use.

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US Justice Department Investigation

Another really quick post here; just wanted to get word out that the anti-trust division of the US Justice Department is now investigating the NCAA 1 year renewable scholarship rule.  Here is a great article that was just published regarding the details.  We'll go over this in more detail when we have more time, but in skimming over the article it appears that it speaks to the very reason this site exists.

Everyone that visits this site needs to go read this article. 

Hopefully change is on the way. What's the famous saying, "abuse breeds control."


Update: SportsByBrooks has a piece up on the article above...plus a funny picture that we had nothing to do with.

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Quick Word from Tennessee Folks

Our inbox is absolutely slammed with emails and we're probably going to have to bone up and pay for unlimited bandwidth for the site because for some reason, within the last 48 hours, this place has gone nuts. 

We only have a second for a quick post based on an email that was recently sent to us.

My name is Daniel Lewis and I am a TN alum and writer for www.tnvarsity.com. I noticed back in March that you asked for a site with a breakdown of TN's roster so here you go: http://www.ericspcrepair.com/lwsvol/UT_Roster_Class.html  I agree with the principle of your site, I think schools such as Alabama and Auburn have intentionally oversigned with the intent of "nudging" some fringe players out in order to assure having the best 85 man roster possible every year, and that this is not illegal, but it is a loophole that the NCAA needs to close. However, I venture to say that the consequences of not oversigning can be quite detrimental when you get in a situation like Tennessee is in currently. That roster I sent you reveals 77 scholarship players, and that number may even be higher than what Tn puts on the field in the fall as a few incoming recruits are still resolving Clearinghouse/academic issues (DT John Brown / DB Dave Clark for example). So essentially TN will be playing with scholarship numbers that resemble teams in the past that have been found guilty of major NCAA violations, partly because they have not oversigned the way other SEC schools have. Hopefully this adds some data and insight to your website.

Thanks for the email Daniel - we did a brief post on Tennessee's situation earlier, here, and it appears that we are on the same page.   There is no question that Tennessee will be playing short-handed this year, it will also be interesting to monitor how Dooley recruits over the next couple of years. 

His situation is a little different than Saban's in that he will have roster room to take a legit full class of 25 next year and may be able to get 3 more to come in early and back count in order to get the numbers back.  And, as long as he has plenty of room under the 85 max there really isn't a problem with any of that.  The problem comes when you only have 19 slots open and you still sign 29 guys and you do that 3 years in row - that is when this becomes a problem.

This is going to be very interesting because Dooley was a recruiting coordinator under Saban while he was at LSU. 

Great stuff and thanks for sharing with the rest of us.

Filed under: SEC 2 Comments

Most Kids Won’t Talk

One of the arguments we hear a lot is that until a former player comes out and publicly admits that he was cut and gives all the dirty little details about being cut then there is really no harm in what is being done.   First of all, that is a bogus argument in an attempt to justify something that is not justifiable.  Secondly, there are a number of reasons why players do not come out and publicly bash a coach for cutting him, or politely suggesting that they should find a new home and transfer.

1. The player still has eligibility and still needs to find a new home - bashing a coach is not exactly the best way to help that process along.

2. Chances are that the player really loves the program and the people he is leaving behind and doesn't want to say anything negatively.

3. Who wants to come out and admit that they were cut because they weren't good enough?

These are all speculative reasons, as no one really knows why players don't come out more and speak openly about being cut or asked to transfer.

John Taylor at NBC sports wrote a short article about one player being removed from the team for "violating team rules."

Former Alabama defensive back Alonzo Lawrence has found a home at Southern Miss, the Hattiesburg American is reporting.

Lawrence began looking into transferring last month, and had considered several in-state schools before deciding on USM. After sitting out the 2009 season, Lawrence will have three years of eligibility remaining.

"I'll sit out and learn the playbook," Lawrence said. "By the time I get out there, I'll know what's going on."

Lawrence was one of four players Nick Saban mentioned by name as having been removed from the program for violating team rules.

The DB denied any type of wrongdoing, but refused to get into a war of words with his former program.

"That's something that isn't true, but I'm not going to say anything about that," Lawrence told the paper.


We don't know all the details behind Lawrence's dismissal from the team, all we do know is that he is openly denying that he broke team rules and he is on record saying that he doesn't want to talk about it. 

This post is not intended to examine the details of Lawrence's situation, but to shed light to the fact that it is obvious that players, for whatever reason, do not want to talk publicly about being cut or removed from the team.  Perhaps, for them, in the long it's better to just keep your mouth shut and move on to another school.  If that's the case then there is something wrong with the system.

Update 6/19/2010: It appears that Lawrence is no longer with Southern Miss and headed to JUCO.  No one, even his coach at Southern Miss, knows where Lawrence is or what he is doing, as he has fallen completely off the radar.

"I haven't seen him or talked to him so I don't know (where he is) to be honest with you," Fedora told the Clarion-Ledger. "There's nothing we did on our side."


This post was regarding the reasons why players might not talk about being cut, it was not an expose' on Lawrence, and we never claimed that he was wrongfully thrown off the team - we simply stated that he disagreed with being removed and that he didn't want to comment on it.  From our original post above:

We don't know all the details behind Lawrence's dismissal from the team, all we do know is that he is openly denying that he broke team rules and he is on record saying that he doesn't want to talk about it. 

Obviously, there is something going on with Lawrence.  Although he was not kicked off the team at Southern Miss, (in fact no one knows why he is not reporting and for all we know he could have family problems, drug problems, home sick, etc., etc., or maybe he never recovered from being kicked off the team at Alabama) this is the second team he has left which definitely raises an eyebrow towards the direction of Lawrence.  But again, no one knows what is going on. 

We implied that players don't talk about being cut because most of the time it is in their best interest to work with the coach to find a new home or somehow land on their feet elsewhere - we stand by that - but there definitely times when players are cut from the team who need to be cut from the team and those players don't talk about it for obvious reasons.

The sad reality is that no one really wins here and Lawrence is the only loser - hopefully the kid gets his act together and makes the most of his life.

Filed under: SEC 25 Comments

Homework Assignment

Since it appears that Alabama fans are slightly pissed at oversigning.com for documenting the March to 85, we thought we would ask the Alabama fan base to take on a homework assignment and put all the energy they spend sending us hate mail containing personal threats to good use.

Here's the assignment.  It's actually quite simple.  Find us another program from a BCS conference that currently, right at this moment, still has to shed more than 6 scholarships commitments in order to stay under the 85 limit this fall. 

Alabama had 66 players returning on scholarship when they signed 29 new recruits.  11 of those 29 enrolled early, putting the roster at 77, and leaving 18 more still coming in the Fall.  4 from the roster of 66 have already left (this includes Star Jackson), so that puts the roster at 73.  73 + 18 = 91.  91 is 6 more than 85.  

You find us that program and we will go at them like a pit bull and won't let go.   But you have to bring us concrete numbers and bear in mind that Alabama has already shed 4 scholarship players with eligibility.  

There it is, let's see what you are made are really made of.  Let's see if you are willing to put the time and effort into truly investigating the numbers for other schools and let's see if you can find another school that needs to shed as many scholarships as you do between now and fall. 

We'll save you a little bit of time and help you narrow down your search - you can go ahead and scratch the following programs off of your list.  Vanderbilt and Georgia, as they refuse to oversign players.  3/4 of the ACC refuses to do it as well, so scratch them from the list.  You might want to look at FSU and Miami though.  Texas and USC - scratch them from the list.  Tennessee, scratch them from the list.  All of the Big 10 schools, you can scratch all of them from the list, ND and Texas too. 

There, that should help narrow it down a little for you. 

Best of luck!

Update 5/21/2010:  A bunch of posts, but still not a single team found that has to shed more scholarship commitments in order to stay under the 85 limit.

Update 5/28/2010: A reader here has posted a list of schools he believes are oversigned this year.  In order to verify his assertion, we need to know the exact number of players on scholarship on signing day for these school and the number of players they signed.  We have the number of players signed here, but need the other information.

You want other programs? Here ya go….

LSU currently has 91 players on scholarship (Need to cut 6)
Miami currently has 91 players on scholarship (Need to cut 6)
Texas A&M currently has 90 players on scholarship (Need to cut 5)
Washington currently has 88 players on scholarship (Need to cut 3)
Nebraska currently has 87 players on scholarship (Need to cut 2)

Texas was at 88 players on scholarship, had 2 transfer, and now needs to cut 1 more.

Once we get valid numbers for these schools we will do a separate post.  It should be noted that the homework assignment was to find a school that has MORE than 6 scholarship commitments to shed, but LSU and Miami are close enough.  Still, though, Alabama has already dealt with 4 scholarships and still has 6 to go.

Filed under: SEC 99 Comments

The March to 85 – Star Jackson

We called this about a month ago when Star Jackson was held out of practice for a few days for "academic" reasons.   (Pictured is Star Jackson announcing his commitment to Nick Saban and Alabama).

Comments from Nick Saban regarding the situation:

"Star Jackson has done a fantastic job in our program, made a tremendous amount of improvement. We hate to see any player leave the program, but quarterback's kind of a unique position where one guy can play, and we have a lot of competition there right now. Greg's the starter coming back, AJ has done a fantastic job of improving, Phillip Sims came in at mid-semester and showed a lot of promise this spring.

"Star has made a tremendous amount of improvement and done a very, very good job. But I think sometimes when quarterbacks can't see the light at the end of the tunnel in terms of when they might be able to play, they get a little antsy and might want to go someplace else. Star and I have discussed it, and we're going to help him do what he feels is going to make him and his family the best decision for his future."


How can Nick Saban say that he hates for any player to leave the program?  He oversigns his classes by 10 players nearly every year which means that players are going to have to leave in order for Alabama to stay under the 85 player limit.  Nick, if you hate to see players leave the program then quit signing more than you have room for every year and no one will have to leave unexpectedly, or at least not as many.  This is poppy cock BS. 

If Nick Saban were running an airline company instead of a football team it would be like him saying he hates that on every flight 10 people won't be able to board because he sold more tickets than he had room for on each flight.  The difference is that in the airline business, victims of overbooking have legal rights and are compensated for their inconvenience.  The harsh reality of the situation is that no matter what, Saban has accepted 10 more LOI than he has room for and some how, some way, people have to leave or pay their own way or Alabama will be penalized by the NCAA for having too many players on scholarship.

Maybe the Star Jackson transfer is legit, but the simple fact that Saban has to shed players in order to get down to 85 makes it very, very hard for us to believe that he did all he could to talk Jackson into staying and being a part of a NC contending team and getting his degree from the University of Alabama.  We understand that guys want to play and they want to start, but why in the world would you willingly transfer from the defending NC team to go play 1AA ball?  Look at Matt Cassel the guy rode the pine at USC behind Heisman winning quarterbacks, yet he was able to get a starting quarterback gig in the NFL. 

Let's go ahead and say that the transfer is legit and Jackson truly wanted out on his own accord and that it makes perfect sense for him to go play 1AA ball instead of continuing to be coached by the best coaching staff in the country with the best facilities in the country, etc., etc.  Sometimes kids just want to transfer.  Fine.  This is where the competitive advantage aspect of oversigning comes into play.  Had Saban not been oversigned on his roster and Jackson transferred, he would be left with a scholarship shortfall and reduced depth at the quarterback position.  This is usually what happens to the rest of college football coaches that don't oversign.  They get left short-handed.  But we can only assume they do it (not oversign) because they don't have it in them (even if they are allowed to - like Mark Richt) because they are ethically opposed to the practice  or they are just not allowed to oversign because of conference rules.  Either way, it creates an uneven playing field.  There are some coaches who are sweating over every roster spot hoping and praying no one gets hurt, everyone is academically eligible, and no one leaves the program to transfer to a 1AA school, and then there are those who are trying to find loopholes and tricky ways to shed scholarship commitments because they have oversigned.

If you are new to the site, click the tag for "The March to 85" and read up.  For those of you have been around for a while, the magic number is now at 6.  There's a new Widget at the top of the sidebar for a special someone who suggested it earlier today, and below is the updated table for the March.

2010 The March to 85 - Alabama

Player Position Reason for leaving after NSD
Terry Grant Running Back Scholarship not renewed
Travis Sikes Wide Receiver Scholarship not renewed
Rod Woodson Safety Scholarship not renewed
Star Jackson Quarterback Transfer, Georgia State Div 1AA.
Deion Belue Defensive Back Academically Ineligible; headed to JUCO
Alfy Hill Linebacker Academically Ineligible; future unknown
Taylor Pharr Offensive Lineman Medical Hardship
Milton Talbert Linebacker Medical Hardship
Darius McKeller Offensive Lineman Medical Hardship
Ronnie Carswell Wide Receiver Greyshirt
Wilson Love Defensive End Greyshirt

Filed under: SEC 31 Comments


We received this email earlier today and thought everyone who follows this site would find it interesting.

"You might already received news about this transfer and Alabama’s March to 85 – Star Jackson.

Here in Alabama, this one has been rumored for over a year, but it looks like it is finally coming to fruition. Several media outlets are reporting that quarterback Star Jackson will transfer. Ever since this kid stepped on campus several years ago, I’ve had to listen to crazy stories about Jackson being the future and probable Heisman winner. Of course this was before the tide signed 5 star AJ McCarron in 2009 and 5 star QB Phillip Sims in 2010.

I love your website, please keep it up. I find great entertainment reading these Alabama tide newspapers and message boards. I was born and raised in San Diego and moved to Alabama in 1985. The move was a culture shock especially at 16 years old, but I love living on the beautiful gulf coast.

The hardest part about living in Alabama is the crimson tide sidewalk alumni. I’ve never seen a more arrogant and obnoxious fan base. I spent one school year in Tuscaloosa before moving across the state to the University of Auburn. I also spent a lot of money putting my daughter through 4 years up there and she graduated from Alabama in May 2009.

I really feel I can look at this objectively since I wasn’t brain washed with Alabama and Auburn at an early age, but I’ve lived here off and on for the last 25 years. I can imagine all the emails you probably receive from these oversigning schools, especially the tide fans. You can talk/chat with them until you’re blue in the face, but it won’t do any good. Their fan base has an aura around them that gives them a feeling of entitlement, their god given right to have a minor league farm system. Scholarships are for one year and one year only and the god-like saban has the right to cut any player he feels isn’t living up to that 5-star rating. Unless you’ve lived in Alabama, I really don’t think you can imagine this culture. Most all sidewalk alumni worship the tide first, then god and then family, I’m not kidding. Most measure their self-worth with the success of Alabama football.

I’m not one of those black helicopter guys, because I’ve seen the cheating with my own eyes. I’m sure you don’t want to hear about it, but 3 current tide players are from my high school. I’ve known 2 of the kids since the 9th grade and the other transferred in for his senior year. I’ve seen these “gifts” and “benefits” they received. Now that the tide has won another national title, their feeling of entitlement is growing. Unless the NCAA steps in, college football has been thrown back to the 70’s all over again.

Even as an Auburn fan, I’m objective enough to admit that the playing field needs to be evened. The oversigning must be reigned in and controlled. Tuberville didn’t do a good job at recruiting the last 6 years and the Auburn fan base knows he signed way too many “project” players. His “sign and place” practice made most fans I know sick. Tuberville got lazy after the 2003 season of jet-gate and the undefeated 2004 season. Tuberville routinely signed 10 or so kids he knew were questionable and played the percentages that only half would make it in to school. This sure doesn’t make Auburn fans proud we oversigned by x players. Would any school’s fan base be proud? The diehard bama fans I work with are proud of the fact that saban will cut a player who is underperforming. It doesn’t mater if a kid blew his knee out the year before and needs another year to get full speed; they need to make room for their next set of studs, so they say cut’em. Is this ruthless? Yes, but that is the price you pay for championships.  I can’t tell you how many times I heard this said at work or sports talk radio.

I don’t have the answers for oversigning, but I see the problems. I’ve been saying for 2 years now that some of these stories should be getting back to the parents about scholarships being taken away or forced to go with the “medical hardship” scholarship. These kids are naive in thinking it can’t happen to them, but the parents must be right there with them. They think … “my kid is a 5-star and there is no way he’d be cut”. I’m sure most of them all believe they’re receiving a 4 to 5 year scholarship commitment. Don’t you think some stories should surface? What about a story on a kid that was forced to transfer? The University of Alabama controls the state media and any big story on Alabama oversigning practices or cheating won’t come from within the state. The Memphis paper broke the last major infraction at Alabama and the same thing will have to happen again and I’m betting on the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Saban is really starting to recruit heavy in Georgia and this isn’t setting well with the bulldog nation.

Sorry for this long email and any spelling or grammatical errors. I’ve been typing on this email since 7am during my breaks and lunch. I feel like it is a little therapeutic to vent a little of the frustration I see and feel every day. Hopefully one day the playing field gets leveled and over a 4-year period Auburn signs the same number of recruits as Vandy and the spring minor league system is done away with forever.

Have a great day!


Thanks for taking the time to write, Jeff.  It's obvious that your message was sparked by the recent news that Star Jackson plans to transfer from Alabama, something we pegged about a month ago.

The answer to oversigning is to help force the NCAA to further regulate the way coaches manage their scholarships and their LOI's.  It is our goal to somehow help get new By-Laws passed that will eliminate the oversigning of players and make coaches more accountable for their recruiting numbers.  There is no place for oversigning in college athletics and it needs to be put to stop.

Filed under: Feedback 11 Comments

2006 – 2010 Recruiting Numbers

Update 6/1/2010: This appears to be a very popular post.  It has been linked to a lot of websites over the last few days, and judging by the comments associated with the sites that have linked to it there appears to be some misconceptions as to what these numbers mean.   Here are couple of things to know before looking at the original post and the numbers.

1.) The table below is not a listing of teams from worst oversigners to least (we never said it was by the way).  It is simply the number of players that signed letters of intent (referred to as "commits") for each BCS school, sorted by the highest number of players signed to the lowest.   Granted, there is a strong connection between having a high number of players signed and oversigning.  However, not all teams that have high numbers are guilty of oversigning.  One reason for this could be the use of JUCO players that only have 2 years of eligibility, another reason could be consecutive years of attrition during the regular season or after national signing day on classes that were not oversigned.  For example, if a team has room for 23 guys and they take 22 and then 5 guys transfer during the spring, the team will go into the fall short 6...if this happens a couple of years in a row you could see teams with a high average number but yet never oversigned.  They too have a problem but it is not oversigning.

2.) In order to determine if the numbers below indicate that a school oversigned, you need to understand what oversigning really is.  It is not just having really high numbers every year and it is not having more than 25 in a single class.  Oversigning is the practice of accepting more signed letters of intent on National Signing Day than you have scholarship openings for under the 85 limit when you accept the signed letters and then depending on attrition between signing day and the NCAA deadline in August to get down to 85.   This is where we have pointed to Alabama as the easiest to understand example of oversigning.  They had 66 players on scholarship on NSD, leaving only room for 19 new recruits; instead of signing 19 new recruits they accepted letters from 29 players.  So while Alabama has lower total numbers below, they were actually more guilty of oversigning than Auburn.  Auburn's issue is that they have had so much attrition (mostly academic) that they, despite having signed more players than anyone in the country, are always playing catch up.  This too is a problem, but it's a slightly different breed of cat.  How they have managed to avoid APR penalties is proof that the system for APR is flawed.

3.) Determining which teams oversign is time consuming process and requires some investigation.  You can't just look at the numbers below and say that all the teams that have signed more than 85 players are guilty of oversigning.  In order to determine who oversigned you have to look at the the 2009 team roster at National Signing Day and determine how many players are on scholarship when the new letters are accepted.  This number is typically the number of scholarship players on the 2009 roster minus graduating seniors that have exhausted their eligibility minus any players that have declared for the NFL draft by the deadline on January 15th.  Once you have that number you subtract it from 85 and that gives you the recruiting budget for the next class. Lastly, compare how many players a team signed to how many they had room to sign, and that is how you determine who oversigned.  It's not an easy process and it is part of the reason why few people really understand this process and how the numbers really work.  There will be those that point to the 1-year scholarship rule, but they fail to realize that scholarships are not renewed until July first, therefore, players with eligibility remaining are still on scholarship on signing day.

4.) The real purpose for the numbers in the table below was to show how many players were signed by each school in hopes of shedding light on the schools that are doing a good job of retaining players and keeping their numbers in check, as well as showing the schools that go through a lot more players.  Yes, there are some that are guilty of oversigning, but don't go away from this article thinking that everyone over 85 has oversigned because they haven't and don't come away thinking that this is a list of oversigning teams from top to bottom.   

Back to the original post:

The results below should come as no surprise to anyone who reads this site or knows anything at all about oversigning, but we thought we would post them anyways.  The chart below shows the average number of players signed per team by each conference for 2006-2010 and the table below the chart shows all of the BCS teams and their numbers (note the total and average columns in table are just for 2007-2010 so that you can get an idea of what each school has done in just the last four recruiting classes). 

There is really not a lot to say here that hasn't already been said.  However, these numbers do give us a pretty good indication of exactly who is doing the best job of recruiting and retaining players at a high rate.  The NCAA needs to do something to rein in some of these schools that are simply abusing the spirit of recruiting student athletes.  Although there is a NCAA By-Law that states that football scholarships are 1-year renewable contracts, we all know the true spirit of scholarship athletics is to recruit players with the intention of developing them over a 4-5 year period and making sure they graduate from your school.  These numbers make it pretty clear who is operating within that spirit and who is simply running through players with a win at all costs mentality.

Recruiting Numbers 2007 - 2010

Teams Conf. 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 07-10 Total 07-10 Average
Auburn SEC 25 30 29 28 32 119 29.75
Ole Miss SEC 30 22 31 37 25 115 28.75
Miss. State SEC 24 33 27 27 26 113 28.25
Alabama SEC 23 25 32 27 29 113 28.25
Arkansas SEC 26 27 26 31 25 109 27.25
Kansas State B12 30 34 33 25 17 109 27.25
South Carolina SEC 24 31 23 29 23 106 26.50
West Virginia BigEast 16 28 30 26 21 105 26.25
LSU SEC 26 26 26 24 29 105 26.25
Iowa State B12 30 25 25 26 28 104 26.00
Oklahoma State B12 29 23 28 26 27 104 26.00
Kentucky SEC 31 29 20 29 26 104 26.00
Baylor B12 29 29 23 28 23 103 25.75
Washington PAC10 22 27 26 19 31 103 25.75
Arizona State PAC10 24 24 28 22 27 101 25.25
Washington St. PAC10 24 27 27 22 25 101 25.25
Louisville BigEast 25 18 26 29 27 100 25.00
USF BigEast 28 27 24 29 20 100 25.00
Oregon PAC10 21 29 22 26 23 100 25.00
Virginia Tech ACC 22 26 31 22 21 100 25.00
Mizzu B12 25 27 24 25 23 99 24.75
Miami ACC 22 19 33 19 28 99 24.75
North Carolina ACC 28 24 18 28 28 98 24.50
Syracuse BigEast 24 27 26 16 29 98 24.50
Minnesota B10 22 24 29 20 24 97 24.25
Tennessee SEC 22 32 18 22 25 97 24.25
Florida State ACC 31 20 32 21 23 96 24.00
Nebraska B12 22 27 28 20 21 96 24.00
Oregon State PAC10 33 34 18 24 18 94 23.50
Oklahoma B12 28 21 21 23 29 94 23.50
Cincinnati BigEast 19 23 24 25 22 94 23.50
Texas A&M B12 23 18 24 28 23 93 23.25
Illinois B10 27 23 28 22 20 93 23.25
Florida SEC 27 27 22 17 27 93 23.25
Michigan B10 19 20 24 22 27 93 23.25
Texas Tech B12 34 26 16 25 25 92 23.00
Connecticut BigEast 22 29 22 21 20 92 23.00
Colorado B12 22 28 21 20 21 90 22.50
Rutgers BigEast 26 23 20 23 24 90 22.50
N.C. State ACC 22 26 17 26 21 90 22.50
Maryland ACC 22 26 17 26 21 90 22.50
Arizona PAC10 25 19 24 24 22 89 22.25
Purdue B10 27 19 26 20 24 89 22.25
Wisconsin B10 23 18 26 21 24 89 22.25
Michigan State B10 28 23 21 23 21 88 22.00
Cal PAC10 20 26 22 21 19 88 22.00
Iowa B10 21 22 25 20 21 88 22.00
Pittsburg BigEast 27 24 19 20 24 87 21.75
Kansas B12 25 23 20 25 18 86 21.50
Georgia SEC 28 23 24 20 19 86 21.50
Texas B12 25 24 20 20 22 86 21.50
Boston College ACC 20 18 29 18 21 86 21.50
Virginia ACC 23 24 18 25 18 85 21.25
Duke ACC 26 21 17 27 20 85 21.25
Indiana B10 21 20 20 19 25 84 21.00
UCLA PAC10 22 11 23 27 23 84 21.00
Clemson ACC 20 23 25 12 23 83 20.75
Penn State B10 24 21 14 27 20 82 20.50
Notre Dame Ind. 28 18 23 18 23 82 20.50
Georgia Tech ACC 16 20 20 21 21 82 20.50
Stanford PAC10 18 19 17 22 23 81 20.25
Wake Forest ACC 15 20 17 23 19 79 19.75
Ohio State B10 20 15 20 25 18 78 19.50
Vanderbilt SEC 25 14 21 18 24 77 19.25
USC PAC10 27 18 19 18 20 75 18.75
Northwestern B10 17 19 20 18 17 74 18.50

Note regarding data above:  The Total and Average columns are for 2007-2010; we included 2006 numbers just to show how many players were signed prior to the current 4 year rosters.  The theory here is that if a team signed 115 players in four years, like Ole Miss did, and signed 30 the year prior to that, you have to imagine that they have a few 5th year guys who red-shirted.  So in addition to 115 new players in 4 years, you should have a handful of 5th year guys as well.  This just further exposes the oversigning of players relative to taking 5th year guys into account.


The Oversigning Cup v1.0

We mentioned a while back that we would like to award the team with the most oversigned roster going into the fall with a special award, The Oversigning Cup.  As it turns out, Matt Hinton (Dr. Saturday), has already done the legwork for the 2009 class.  It appears the 2009 Cup goes to Alabama.  It also appears as though they are working on back to back Cups, as they lead the 2010 race with yet again 10 players too many.  Currently that number is down to 7 due to 2 players not returning for their last year of eligibility and 1 medical hardship scholarship.

Matt wrote  a great piece on oversigning and hit the nail on the head.

"These numbers are always murky enough that they fall into the category of "best guess," but Alabama, North Carolina, Auburn and UCLA -- and probably some other schools that weren't part of the very small group I delved into -- are all far enough over the line here that, if the season started today, I'm confident they'd have to straight up cut some kids with whom they had a mutual commitment."



Shameless Plug – Rivals.Com Radio

It has been brought to our attention that someone called Rivals.Com's weekly radio show and plugged our site. 

Click the link and fast forward to the 15:15 mark...Thanks to Andy from Chesapeake, Virginia for the shameless plug!


For those of you just now visiting the site for the first time, we encourage you to read everything here and come to your own conclusion.  Our main purpose for this site was to have a centralized place to discuss oversigning and explain all the little details that most college football fans overlook or are unaware of because oversigning is not something that is ever talked about on shows like College Gameday on ESPN. 

Please be sure to visit our Recruiting Numbers page and read so of our older posts - we believe that oversigning has cultural roots in the Southeastern part of the country and we have uncovered some every interesting stories that validate our beliefs.

Filed under: Big 10 5 Comments