We'll have more on this later today, but Saban just announced that 1 player is transferring and two players are accepting a greyshirt and will delay enrollment until next year. We said months ago that Saban was over by 10 and that 10 players needed to go; until today we had 7 accounted for and today we got 8, 9, and 10.
The interesting part is that Alabama only has 9 scholarship players on their roster, and with two guys greyshirting this year that leaves only 7 openings for next year plus the juniors that leave for the NFL. Alabama currently has 16 verbal commitments for next year, so much like LSU, they are already over the limit and we will see the exact same thing next year that we have seen this year.
As we mentioned above, Saban announced earlier today that 3 guys won't be joining the team this fall, two of which have elected to greyshirt. The one that is getting the most attention is Rod Woodson. Here are some comments from Saban regarding Woodson and the situation:
"He will transfer and have an opportunity to do that," Saban said. "We were very helpful in trying to give him an opportunity someplace else. We wish him very well. He did a good job for us."
Multiple sources had previously indicated that academics could be an issue in Woodson's case. After the initial announcement, Saban later made it sound more like a dismissal from the team.
"I don't really feel it's a problem, when you have people in the organization who aren't accountable, how not having one would affect anything," Saban said. "We cannot make decisions about the future of players who aren't accountable for what they're supposed to do and not responsible to what they're supposed to do as a member of this team, regardless of what they issue is, behavioral, academic, football-related.
"We have a lot of good players on the team, and I would rather move somebody from another position to play where we don't have enough players than to allow somebody not to do the right things and be involved. I don't think we do anyone any good if we do that."
So did Woodson violate a written team rule or was he declared academically ineligible? Doesn't sound like it. Sounds like Saban simply didn't like what he saw out of Woodson, end of story. Next. Too bad Woodson didn't have an agent when he signed his letter of intent, maybe his agent could have negotiated a better contract for him when he signed. That's where we are headed this this pattern, we all know it's coming.
It is interesting that Saban refers to the University of Alabama as an "organization," he could have fooled us, we thought it was an institution of higher learning that enjoys a tax-exempt status because it exists to educate the masses. Maybe we should start treating these schools like what they are, semi-pro "organizations," which flies directly in the face of every NCAA and University mission statement.
So here is what the final March looks like for Alabama:
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|
Sometimes a diagram is better than wordy explanations; we put together two diagrams that best depict the difference between how Alabama and LSU are managing their rosters compared to programs like Penn State, Notre Dame, USC, Texas, Ohio State, and other brand name power schools.
The first is the OVERSIGNING MODEL which gives the coaching staff an extra period of time to evaluate the players and make decisions on how they are going to get down to the NCAA mandated 85 scholarship players. This model results in mandatory roster cuts or non-renewal of the 1-year scholarship agreement.
The second is the UNDERSIGNING MODEL or the model where we have coaches who exercise constraint and ethics in the recruiting process and who are guaranteed not to have cut anyone in order to stay under the 85 scholarship limit.
It doesn't get any more cut and dry than the two diagrams above, and as we documented this year with LSU and Alabama this is exactly what is happening right now. Couple of things to note: both teams started with 66 players; one signed 29 and one signed 17; both ended up at 85.
At the moment what the oversigners are doing is legal because the NCAA doesn't not prohibit schools from oversigning, but we are of the opinion that they don't realize just how badly it is being abused. It is our goal here to raise awareness about oversigning and help make the NCAA realize that they have to do something about the entire signing process - it is completely out of control and it is damaging kids. Not to mention, the NCAA mission is..
Our purpose is to govern competition in a fair, safe, equitable and sportsmanlike manner, and to integrate intercollegiate athletics into higher education so that the educational experience of the student-athlete is paramount.
Our proposed solution has been to create a system where schools are required to declare the number of openings they expect to have before National Signing Day and be limited that number of signed letters of intent. This number, and bear in mind we are adhering to the NCAA's mission statement that the educational experience of the student-athlete is paramount, will the number of players that have graduated and any juniors who opt for the NFL early. That is who should be replaced, not some 3rd string DL who doesn't have the potential of the next 5* stud recruit.
In addition, we recommend that the NCAA require schools to prove that there is a scholarship available before a letter of intent is accepted. This will eliminate scenarios where coaches like Saban and Miles knowingly accept more letters of intent then they have room for when the accept them, knowing full well they have 6 months to make arrangements in order to get down to 85. Let's be honest here, guys like Star Jackson and Rod Woodson were dead men walking the minute Saban oversigned his class...everything else is window dressing. This will also eliminate situations like what we saw at Miami this year where they didn't have scholarship room for Seantrel Henderson when they accepted his LOI so they cut someone in order to make room after the fact.
We know what you are thinking, "well that will just lead to guys getting cut before hand instead of after." We have a plan for that as well, as mentioned by one of our best posters here, Mario. Require that each player leaving a team go through an exit interview at the NCAA office where the NCAA can monitor when players are released from a scholarship and get their side of the story as well as the schools.
That only leaves one issue on the table - the 1 year renewable scholarship rule. We are on record here numerous times that the 1-year renewal scholarship is something that needs to be addressed as well. Granted, you need to have something in place in order to remove a player who doesn't meet the academic requirements or violates a university policy, but giving the coaches power to make judgement calls on this not the answer (and save of the BS about the appeal process and the review process by university officials outside of the athletic department).
Bottom line, there is no reasonable excuse for allowing oversigning, especially when the results are what we have seen over the last couple of days at Miami, LSU, and Alabama.