Les Miles Speaks, Problably Shouldn’t

Les Miles thought it might be a good idea to answer a few questions about the Elliott Porter situation and his scholarship numbers situation.

“You get to a time where you anticipate that your signing class might have room,” Miles said. “At several points in time, I figured that would be the case this year.”

Interesting.  Class might have room.  Figured that would be the case.  He probably thought he had time to clock the ball against Ole Miss last year too. 

“I coach the team that I get here,” Miles said when asked if a signee would not be on scholarship this semester. “Scholarship is certainly a great inducement. I don’t mean to minimize that. But I don’t know that it’s my responsibility to determine publicly who is and who isn’t on scholarship. It’s my responsibility to be within the 25 number, which we are.”

Clearly Les Miles has no idea what he is doing here.  He believes that his only responsibility is to be within the 25 number.  I guess the 85 number doesn't count in his mind.  The LSU recruiting philosophy is to sign the max number of kids allowed every year and then make whatever roster cuts necessary to get down to 85.  Here are their numbers over the years.

LSU Recruiting Numbers 2002 - 2010

Teams Conf. 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Total Average
LSU SEC 26 28 26 13 26 26 26 24 27 222 24.66

Here is the deadwood shuffled out the back door this year to get down to 85.

The March to 85 - LSU

Player Position Reason for Leaving
Akiem Hicks Defensive Tackle Removed from the team - was involved in NCAA investigation
Kyle Prater Linebacker Transfer
Jhyryn Taylor Wide Receiver Transfer
Thomas Parsons Fullback Medical Hardship Scholarship
John Williams Wide Receiver Medical Hardship Scholarship
Clay Spencer Offensive Lineman Medical Hardship Scholarship
Chris Garrett QB Cut - Scholarship Not Renewed
Houston Bates Defensive End Released from LOI in April; refused Greyshirt
Elliott Porter Offensive Lineman Asked to Greyshirt in AUGUST; refused Greyshirt; released

“The opportunity to offer a grayshirt to a guy (this late) is not exactly what I’ve ever done before, but I think the opportunity is a very good one,” Miles said. “If you look at it over time, it still keeps him on scholarship and still gives him all the opportunity for an LSU degree.”

Les, you told the kid he was going to be on scholarship, he was already in the dorm room.  It does not keep him on scholarship between August and January and he does not get to be a part of the team, something he was promised and something he had his heart set on and something he worked hard for during the summer.

And lastly, from Elliot Porter with the quote that proves that oversigning is wrong and what it is doing to kids is wrong.  Why? Because kids are being conditioned to this that this is just part of the deal that getting an education and playing college football is just business, not to mention others are getting FITHLY rich in the process while these kids get hung out to dry.

“I was hurt a little bit, but they have to do what’s best for the team,” Porter said. “It’s a business. (Miles) over-signed, made an honest mistake. He has to do what he has to do, and Elliott Porter has to do what he has to do.”


College football is not a business, well according to Porter it is at LSU.

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  1. Hicks never took any money. It was more along the lines of using another player’s campus housing over the summer, before he was on scholarship. That is an illegal benefit.


    “In the 53-page report, LSU said it found violations committed by former Tigers receivers coach D.J. McCarthy, including improper phone calls, transportation and summer housing for Hicks, a junior college transfer. Hicks did not play in 2009, his only season with the team, and his scholarship was not renewed. He has since left the university.”

    Oh, and that Athletic department was one of two to give money back to its university, $6 million. In a year where LSU is suffering $133 million of cuts. Call it a whatever you want. It may not be a business, but it was key source of funding to a higher education system that is getting slaughtered right now. Let’s not kid ourselves into thinking this doesn’t benefit other students, who would otherwise have larger classrooms and higher tuition without the success of that athletic department. I do think that athletes are poorly compensated for that, and I find that unacceptable

    I hate what happened to Porter. I think signees that could possibly greyshirt must be told in writing of this possibility, but if a player has a bad attitude, can’t learn the playbook, or won’t stay in shape, then I see no reason they should continue to receive a 4 year scholarship that could go to a more deserving kid. The complaint I have is that Porter was THE MORE DESERVING KID! I understand we can’t sign more than 27, and I certainly fault Miles because 2011 is a banner year, and I look at the numbers at certain positions and know that not all of them will contribute. But all your solutions require us to keep guys on scholarship that may not be putting anything into it and denying another athlete of that scholarship. That has a domino effect and eventually leads to a player not having a college career.

    FWIW, I did some back of the envelope math. LSU will have 14 available spots at the end of the year. By my estimation, the 2011 class will consist of 18-21 players. It is quite easy for me to point to 3 recruits that I don’t think we should have offered based on the number of players at that position. Yes, that bothers me.

  2. Amazing post. I have bookmarked your site. I am looking forward to reading more

  3. Oversigning is not only a sleazy way for a team not only to hedge against attrition, but also to deny competitors of talent that could eventually line up against them. It effectively denies many kids the opportunity to land in a program where they would be legitimately welcome and productive. However, down south the only thing that matters to the fat cat boosters at places like LSU is to do whatever is necessary to crush ‘Bama, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, etc. by getting the best talent on the field, either by hook or by crook.

  4. OK, BC, when did these kids even have a chance to have a, “bad attitude, can’t learn the playbook, or won’t stay in shape.”? They weren’t even on campus yet! The coach was hedging his bets and using a kid’s career to do it. And the whole argument of “it’s a business” makes me sick, because it doesn’t make it right, and it won’t cost any money to stop doing it. And if everyone stopped doing it the playing field would still be (relatively speaking) equal. Imagine if your boss promised you a job for the next four years…so you refused other job offers…but then laid you off before you even started. Heck, imagine when you were going to college…if the school told you when you got there that they were full. You were planning on the next four years with them and them bam. But for the simplest reason…the coaches just lied to the kids and that sucks. If for no other reason than that…lying is wrong. Lying to kids is worse.

    • First, I love how people call them kids to make their opinion impossible to disagree with. Let’s avoid demonizing opposing viewpoints as supporting “lying to kids. I’m not happy with what Les did. But what Les did was “a failure to communicate” to the recruits that a greyshirt was a possibility, and then got blindsided when the was cleared. He was forced to approach an additional player about a greyshirt. It was poorly planned. It was poorly communicated. And it makes me doubt his ability to manage a roster. I am not defending him. Again, I am not defending Les Miles for offering Elliot Porter a Greyshirt so late in the game. I am angry about that.

      I am arguing against the idea that scholarships should be four year commitments for the university. I am also going to argue that undersigning is also unfair. I can spot a couple of players on our team, who I will not mention by name, that have not been keeping up with their end of the bargain. Simple as that. Those players all have at least two years of eligibility left. If they don’t turn it around before the end of the season, Les should have every right to award their scholarship to another student athlete who is more deserving. When I really take an in depth look at LSU’s roster, I see 14 scholarships that will definitely be available. I see the athletic department, the university, the team, the recruit, and even the two players as being better off if they were told to move on with their life (assuming they don’t turn it up a notch this year and put more effort forth). So I support a coaches right to do that. To me, I feel OK with LSU signing 16 players and knowing they have a spot. It’s also possible that a player in a position that is too loaded with young talent may choose transfer elsewhere after the spring. That is the grey area. Can we plan for 1 or 2 of those? Can we arbitrarily force that transfer if the effort is there? Actually, I think we should be able to force that. The player got a free year or two of college and can transfer to another school. And if we are really egregious about that, rest assured it will impact recruiting going forward. That’s a tough one, but I fully believe that players should understand that they need to put forth a minimum effort to keep a scholarship. If they fail a conditioning drill at the start of fall practice, they haven’t.

      But the most obvious flaw in the solution presented is that if you ban this practice, every roster will have less than 85 players. Let’s say they average 80 and the remaining are given to walk ons. The unintended consequence is that 600 “kids” will no longer have the chance to go to college at all unless they can afford to pay their own way.

      So I suggest making sure you address two flaws with the undersigning model being advocated. 1.) The ability to take away a scholarship from a player whose attitude or work ethic are detrimental to the program. 2.) Ensuring programs who do not wish to or not forced into undersigning so that the rule change does not to deprive recruits of the chance to attend college. Or, we you can continue spreading lies by claiming Hicks took money and ignoring the obvious holes in your arguments.

      Either way, know that many LSU fans are upset that a player from Shaw got slighted because of Les’ mistake.

      • What about the 20 walk-ons per team that are doing everything the team is doing in terms of commitment, work-ethic, dedication, academics, etc., but because they don’t run the 40 fast enough they have to pay their own way – where is your outcry for those guys since you are so worried about kids missing opportunities to get an education paid for on scholarship?

        The undersigning model gives scholarships to the people who really earn it, not to kids that have tons of potential but who haven’t stepped foot on a college campus and proved that they can handle the college life.

        No scholarships go to waste, in fact they are put to better use because when you give a 1 year scholarship to a borderline recruit it often times turns out to be a waste, especially when the recruit turns out to be a bust in the character department. Here’s the problem, coaches don’t know if these guys are going to pan out, so going through more of them increases their odds of finding the ones that will pan out.

        Lastly, despite what you think, University Presidents, Athletic Directors, and the Conference Commissioner of the Big 10 Conference disagree with you. They don’t think coaches should have the the right to cut a guy in order to make the numbers work; they don’t have a problem with a coach removing a player from the team that happens all the time. But when it happens the coach is just out of luck and is forced to make due with what he has.

        In that model, coaches are forced to work harder to develop a kid instead of just giving up on him because there are 20 more waiting in line. It also doesn’t give coaches an incentive to make cuts quicker because they know that they will be short-handed and be under the 85 limit.

        • As far as walk-ons being more deserving than borderline players with more athleticism…I went to school on a “TOPS” scholarship. It was awarded to me because I made good grades. A walk-on being more deserving is akin to a C student being more deserving. The scholarship is awarded on merit in both situations.

          You can’t dispute the worthiness of a hypothetical athlete based on poor character. You may know more about the character of a walk-on, but that doesn’t mean they deserve the scholarship more or speak to any individuals character. Again, if a coach ends up losing a player due to poor character, like Ryan Perilloux, and has to kick him off, you end up with a freshman setting the record the pick 6 record the following year. A good coach does his research and avoids that.

          The Big 10 is misguided. Congrats on preventing a player with good grades from attending a prestigious Big 10 university. Scholarships are given based on merit.

          Speaking of which, my scholarship could get taken away if i made below a certain GPA. So why not standardize conditioning tests and allow coaches to cut those who fail.

          If a coach doesn’t do right by his players, high school coaches will avoid him like the plague. What are the chances we get another player out if Shaw during Les’ tenure?

          Still, les gets paid $4 million and Porter gets stabbed in the back, but I support capping coaches salaries and doubling the athletes stipend.

          • “Scholarships are given on merit” football merit alone? If so, then why bother asking them to go to class or show character off the field. These are STUDENT-ATHLETES that are supposed to be awarded scholarships basis on a number of things, grades being one of them – otherwise they wouldn’t have their football scholarships taken away from them if their grades are poor, despite how well they might be doing on the field.

            Jim Tressel has award 30 scholarships in the last 9 years to walk-on players as a reward for their hard work both on and off the field; those 30 scholarships came from the slots he had left if he didn’t sign all of his available spots on signing day or if after signing day when his scholarships were at 85 he lost a player to a transfer or had to remove a player.

            Those are meaningful scholarships given to the right people for the right reasons. I hate to mention Jim Tressel’s name on here because the instant I do people react as though I am placing him on a pedestal – that is not what I am doing I am just saying that the way he handles the scholarship numbers is the way it aught to be handled across the country. JoePa does the same thing and so do a handful of other coaches, I just don’t have the exact numbers for them like I do for Tressel.

            Oversigning is nothing more than running a football factory in an attempt to gain a competitive advantage no matter what the cost.

            • So you’re problem is that Big 10 teams can’t compete because they following a practice that lowers the number of athletes that are able to use their skills to become student athletes. Yes, athleticism = merit. So do grades. I’m not saying they aren’t meaningful scholarships when given to a walk-on or that it isn’t a feel good story. I’m saying it’s wrong to force that on people when it is not without its flaws. From a macro perspective, more student-athletes get a chance to get a college degree through (properly executed) oversigning. The problem is that it is sometimes misused. The solution needs to be a compromise that prevents that, like stricter graduation requirements.

              Here’s a great story that portrays this from a different perspective. An athlete named Armand Williams was part of LSU’s ’10 recruiting class. After moving from New Orleans to Slidell after Katrina, he ended up going to a high school that isn’t noticed for their football. He fell way under the radar. Things didn’t go so well for his mother as he neared his senior year, and before he knew it, he was living in a car with his mother. He was homeless and the only meal he ever ate was the free one he got at school. He was normally a good student, so when his grades slipped, his teacher asked him what was wrong. After a discussion, she starts bringing him home from school everyday to eat and do homework. Soon enough, his mother took off and left him with nothing but a note. Nobody knew he existed until suddenly, right before signing day, he played at a camp with a decent quarterback and ended up with 200+ yards receiving. Luckily, LSU coach Billy Gonzales was there and demanded that Coach Miles give him an offer. Two practices into the fall and he looks to be one of the best guys in our class.

              So how did we sign him? Chris Garrett transferred to a place where he could actually get on the field and play. Garrett could have gone to Mississippi State. LSU thought he would be really good, but it was clear that Zach Lee was better than him before he ever stepped on campus. Evil Les Miles cut him? I don’t think that’s true. You can’t force a studen-athlete to transfer and offer him a conditional release. It was his choice, both the decision to chance it at a more competitive program than State and to transfer. In the end, he’ll be a key part of a football program while getting his degree and Armand Williams went from homeless to working his way to a college degree in just a year. Les Miles made it happen, thanks to his ability to take a scholarship from a transfer and give it to someone else. And guess what. We gave two scholarships to walk-ons this year.

              If you peruse dandydon.com, you can find that story. The human interest aspect you to demonize this practice can be turned right around to show the opportunities those scholarships you want to take away from high school students and give to people who already are on the team and in school can easily be turned right around.

              • And when the next underprivileged kid comes along that is a stud in the making are we to assume that it is okay to push Williams out to make room for the new guy? I mean if we send him to JUCO or something he’ll be so much better off than he was when he was homeless and desuetude when we found him, and look we get to help another kid.

                I’m being a smart ass here, but the real point is that the goal of the system is to get kids to come to school on a football scholarship, spend 4-5 years transitioning from a boy to a man, and leave the institution with a degree and a career path.

                All you are saying is that it is okay to shuffle people through the system with the sole purpose of making the football team better because there are a few really underprivileged people who are helped along the way.

                I think that it is great that the kid is getting an opportunity, but why does it have to come at the expense of someone else? You guys worked so hard to get Garrett but when you found out that he wasn’t good enough you were more than willing to let him go and then you wrap up the whole exchange with a story about an underprivileged kid who benefited from it.

                Perhaps the problem in the SEC is that there are so many kids that need to be helped – maybe there are far more Armand Williams’ in the southeast. I don’t see why the football teams need to be the engine to help these kids – if LSU is so concerned about the welfare of people like Armand Williams why don’t they setup some sort of scholarship fund that is funded by the football program that will help all these underprivileged kids, regardless if they can play football or not.

                Do you know how many Armand’s you can help with Les Miles’ salary?

                My point here is that oversigning does not have to be the engine to help kids and kids like Armand can still get a scholarship for football without oversigning – maybe the coaches just need to target more guys like Armand first instead of following the recruiting services.

                On the one hand you guys say that college football is just a business and then on the other hand you try to sell us that the football program is providing a public service (I’m not saying you are making both arguments, just talking about fans in general).

                • *sigh* You miss the point, man. Let’s say your GPA falls to low and you get your academic scholarship taken away. You don’t wait to give another one when you would have graduated. You don’t go give it to some dude that just aced his biology exam. They are meant to be given to high school students who work their butt off to try and make it into a really good school. At the end of the day, they have to keep working their butt off to keep the scholarship. I thought maybe you could see that with a story since you latch onto stories to avoid the bigger picture. FWIW, Armond is going to be playing his true frosh season so he has nothing to worry about.

                  Let’s face it, there’s a reason those that advocate this are from places like Ohio, Texas, etc. Y’all have the best high school football. You’re ulterior motive is ironically inequity. And you’re willing to deprive more worthy candidates of a scholarship to get that. But enjoy acting high and mighty and taking needless shots at irrelevant topics. And flat out lying (Houston Bates, Hicks)

                  • I got your point, and I apologize if my response came back as insensitive or as acting high and mighty. Williams’ story is a great one and I hope everything works out for him in the end.

                    I am not promoting inequity. I disagree with your position on who the leftover scholarships should go to – what incentive will any walk-on player have if all of the leftover scholarships immediately go to incoming freshmen? Might as well do away with the walk-on program because those guys are there working hard to earn a scholarship – they are not going through camp and the rigors of being a student-athlete for no reason (sure some just want to have something to do while in school, but most of them are working hard and hoping to earn a scholarship and have some of their education paid for).

                    I think you are missing another valuable point. Being a college student requires that you be prepared to be a college student, academically, socially, financially, etc. I think we send the wrong message to kids and to society when we lower the bar for athletes – we’re basically saying that you don’t have do the other things that regular students do because you can run a football for us and make us millions of dollars. And this goes beyond the oversigning issue. The message to society and to kids should be that if you want to go to college you need to have your ducks in a row and you need to be prepared for it ahead of time, as in starting in 9th grade there needs to be a plan.

    • “Imagine if your boss promised you a job for the next four years…so you refused other job offers…but then laid you off before you even started.”

      How about this one…”Imagine if you accept a new job with a company and give notice at the job you are in only to be told by the company you accepted the new job from that they are having a hiring freeze.”

      That sounds shitty, right? Well it happens. It sucks, but it happens. It happened to my friend in this sorry economy and he lost everything…house, car, everything.

      Now, tell me again how asking a player to take a part time class load and delay joining the team for 5 months in anything like that. Everything is still there for this young man. If his dream is to play for LSU, that is still there. If his dream is to get a degree in a certain field, that is still there. What is the great permanent damage Miles and LSU have done to this young man? There isn’t any!

      And for the record, the OP claiming a coach like Les Miles, who has been in coaching for over 20 years and has a graduate degree from Michigan, “has no idea what he’s doing” only defeats the purpose of his bias site. Everyone knows coaches like Miles, Saban and Myer know exactly what they are doing when it comes to recruiting. Just because you are butt-hurt about what they are doing does not mean they don’t know what they are doing. They don’t bring in top 10 classes every year by accident.

  5. I guess an example is really the only way to show you how wrong you are.

    Let’s say we only have 10 scholarships available to go to Harvard Law School and we need to offer them before the LSAT but to receive the scholarship you must have a perfect score on the LSAT. As the 12th most qualified student would you want them:

    A) To offer you a scholarship with the possibility that it you might have to wait a semester if the top 10 all accept and all top 10 make a perfect score

    B) To not offer it at all.

    Now lets say all of the Top 25 law schools offer the same deal and the only guaranteed spot you had was at University of which is not a bad school but not a Top Tier. Would you take the guarantee? or the shot at a top school?

    • 1. There are situations where greyshirting is a win-win situation when handled properly, no question about that.

      2. This is not what happened to Elliott Porter, he was told he was in, moved onto campus and participated in summer workouts, and then ended up having the rug out from under him at the last minute and he had no idea it was coming.

      3. Greyshirting only accounts for a small portion of the players that are shifted around in order to make room.

      4. College football recruiting is subjective; it’s not like there is a standardized test and that test is the same for every single recruit.

  6. Also, just to remind you, Houston Bates never signed an LOI with LSU. He was told beforehand that his offer would be a greyshirt and he declined. I think he went to ULL instead. That’s how it’s supposed to be done.

  7. This site is what is wrong with this country. You Bleeding heart. Life isn’t fair, get over it. This kid learned a good life lesson here. He got some adversity, how he handles this will be a good indicator of whether or not he would have made it anyway. I lol at your “student Athlete” argument. Get real. These kids go to school to play football. The NCAA makes millions off of these kids. If you truly have a problem with the “ethics” of over-signing, then pick another sport to follow. The whole system is flawed, it’s not going to change anyway. Ethics and NCAA are two words that don’t go together! Get over it and enjoy it for what it is, a damn good way to spent a Saturday. The players are used, but most get great benefits, either in the NFL or with the name recognition that comes from being a D1 athlete (or in Ohio St.’s case, cars, $100 handshakes . . .). You “holy Big ten” is as dirty as the rest, in fact Ohio St. wrote the book on how to run a dirty program. Give it a rest!

    • Actually it is comments like “Get over it and enjoy it for what it is, a damn good way to spent a Saturday” that are what is wrong with this country. And for the record, we are calling out the NCAA just as much as anyone, if not more. They are to blame for this as they are tasked with preventing things like this from happening.

      And what life lesson did he learn you fucking idiot??? That despite giving his full commitment and signing on the dotted line with a public institution tasked with educating young people and a coach who gave him his word that he would have a scholarship, in this country he can still get screwed. That in this country a commitment is not a commitment; that in this country our public institutions are football factories that generate millions of dollars off the blood, sweat, and tears of young kids? It’s people like you that piss me off the most.

  8. “I think we send the wrong message to kids and to society when we lower the bar for athletes – we’re basically saying that you don’t have do the other things that regular students do because you can run a football for us and make us millions of dollars.”

    I hope you’re not naive enough to think that most of Ohio State’s football recruits would qualify to get in under the academic standards for the rest of the student population.

    You and Mario need to get together and work to get rid of big time college football, to make it into a club sport. And the same goes for basketball. Just get rid of all athletic scholarships like the Ivy League does. Then you can figure out how to replace all the money that goes into universities from athletic programs, including the inevitable decline in alumni giving that would occur at schools like Ohio State.

    Tear down all those big stadiums and make the workout facilities available to all the student body, right?

    • Yeah, Ohio state gave tens of millions of dollars to the university in ’08. Texas gave close to 100 that year. Of course Texas gets that by extorting smaller schools like Kansas State and threatening to toss them to the curb and run to the Pac 10 unless they fork over money they get from the Big 12. So…I guess they really just steal it from the little guy. I find their fan’s moral outrage particularly hypocritical. Because only 19 athletic departments turned a profit in ’08 and I’d bet that their actions will directly lead to taking money away from other universities. They reeeally care about higher education and the integrity of the system

  9. I agree entirely that students and athletes should be forced to abide by the same standards. I agree the system is broken. But I will not back any solution that results in undersigning unless the limit is raised back to 95, as was the case prior to ’91.

    On Hicks, please read this cached version of an article from the bylaw blog, which is regretfully no longer. You could have likely benefitted from tapping into his expertise. http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:vGR0_7aymHIJ:www.bylawblog.com/2010/03/digging-into-the-lsu-report/

  10. God, I hope “sec is king” is just a flame post, and not real. Please God. I apologize on the behalf of the sec.

  11. “College football is not a business”. You’re an idiot. Of course it’s a business. The NCAA has been pimping these kids for a long time. And so are the other students…and the non-income sports. Call it like it is instead of pretending LSU is doing something other schools aren’t!

  12. Doesn’t a coach have the right to revoke a scholarship? I think you have a good argument if scholarships were given for the entire time a student-athlete is on the team (or passing classes) but the reality is each recruit is given a year-to-year scholarship. If a kid gets hurt and qualifies for a medical scholarship then wouldn’t the university be rewarding a player for his commitment, as opposed to just releasing him from his scholarship and telling him good luck?

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