We have been accused of pulling numbers out of thin air, not being able to count to 85, and not knowing the difference between recruiting by-laws and the dollar menu at McDonald's, so every now and then we have to post something from a 3rd party source to verify that we are not making this up as we go.
The same source that published verification 1.0 has put out an update on Alabama's scholarship numbers. They have the magic number at 2, we have it 3, however, there seems to be some confusion regarding the status of 1 player's scholarship and whether or not his parents are paying his way. Given all the variables to the Alabama scholarship equation, which is nearly as complex as quantum field theory, we feel fairly satisfied with being within one scholarship, if not dead on the magic number.
(60 + 23) - 1 = 82
One has to wonder why it is so complicated and why there are so many back stories to Alabama's roster. Notre Dame doesn't have this problem - there is no need on June 27th for a 5,000 word explanation as to how Notre Dame is going to get to 85 by August. The explanation for Notre Dame's roster can be summed up in one sentence: Notre Dame had 60 players on scholarship on signing day, they signed 23 players, and they now have 83 players on scholarship. End of story. Oh wait, there is a need for another sentence, sadly, one of Notre Dame's recruits tragically fell from a balcony and died, so Notre Dame is at 82 scholarship players. Instead, with Alabama and other schools that oversign you have to sit down and go through something like this to get to the bottom of where their numbers are and how they are going to get down to 85.
This is the exact area that needs attention:
Before getting into the actual roster as it stands now, you also need to know exactly what has transpire since the Tide headed home from Pasadena.
On January 11, eleven new Tide players began their academic career at the Capstone:
Cade Foster, Jalston Fowler, John Fulton, Brandon Lewis, Chad Lindsay, Darius McKeller, DeMarcus Milliner, Anthony Orr, Austin Shepherd, Phillip Sims, Petey Smith
That saw Bama's number of scholarship athletes climb to 78.
Within one week of that, both Rolando McClain and Kareem Jackson declared for the NFL Draft (and went on to be 1st round draft picks), dropping Bama's number to 76.
On February 3, 18 more student-athletes signed their national letter of intent to play for Alabama in the fall. Those guys don't count towards the scholarship limits until fall practice begins, so we won't add them into the mix quite yet.
Obviously, those 18, plus the 11 that enrolled early gives Bama a total of 29 new players. Since an incoming group can not exceed 25, something has to give.
The NCAA has got to recognize this as a problem (actually they are currently investigating and gathering research data on oversigning). With Alabama's scholarship numbers sitting at 76 on national signing day, Alabama accepted signed LOI from 18 more student-athletes. 76 + 18 = 94. That is just plum ridiculous, legal, yes for the time being, but ethical? Not hardly. The days are numbered on this practice - we just wonder why it has taken 40+ years for everyone to recognize it for what Bobby Dodd saw it as, a scam.
The solution is simple and it is one that we are sure the NCAA is going to adopt soon; before a LOI can be offered to a player to sign, the school has to prove that there is an opening for the scholarship at the time the LOI is signed - no opening, no LOI - period. If Nick Saban and others want to replace players that fall to the wayside because of "natural attrition" they can do it when the attrition happens. If a guy transfers in the spring and opens up a scholarship then Saban can go out and recruit a replacement or give the scholarship to a walk-on. We have got to put an end to coaches recruiting and signing these extra players 4-5 months before the scholarship becomes available.