It appears that Les Miles has not taken the criticism he has received, which he was rightfully given, for the Elliott Porter debacle well and he has taken to defending the practice of Greyshirting players. Here are a few of his comments...
He noted that Porter’s scholarship offer was still good, just postponed a semester. He said if somebody made the same offer to one of his sons, they would “certainly be disappointed that day, but recognize that, long-term, it’s not a bad thing.”
Miles said grayshirting can benefit players who could use time to allow their bodies to mature.
“He might take his time to come in shape and to benefit his body and compete,” he said.
The practice is common in the Southeastern Conference, but not allowed in other conferences, like the Big 10. CBS Sports’ Gregg Doyel was particularly harsh with his critique in a column Sunday, calling Miles “a bad guy.” He had similar descriptions for others who oversign, calling Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt “despicable” and Alabama’s Nick Saban “two evolutionary stages below a lizard.”
Miles said he had not read the Doyel column but “I did get bits and pieces of that.”
“I can tell you no one is more critical of how I operate than me,” Miles said. “I can tell you the guys I visited with and I told, for the team, it might well be the best thing for you physically and might well be best for you and your health and by the count of numbers and scholarships, you might benefit the most by postponing your entrance into school."
Allows us to put on our Miles decoder and see if we can decipher what he said -- not sure we'll be able to make anything out of that last quote, though.
First let us clear up some errors in Laney's original article.
1. The Big 10 has not banned greyshirting players; it is something that is watched very closely but it has not been banned. Oversigning is not allowed, but greyshirting is allowed in the Big 10.
2. You'll have to read the entire article for this one, but in the original article the general tone is that the issue with Les Miles was the 25 scholarships per year rule and that by signing 27 he was two over the limit, hence the greyshirt offer. While Laney is right, 25 per year is the limit and LSU was over with 27 eligible, the real issue here is the 85 limit and what took place prior to August deadline. If you examine LSU's recruiting budget at signing day you can see that by signing 27 they were projected to be 9 over the 85 limit. Therefore, in addition to the greyshirt offers that were declined there were a handful of other players that were removed in order to make room for 25 of the 27. We happen to have a list handy.
The March to 85 - LSU
|Player||Position||Reason for Leaving|
|Akiem Hicks||Defensive Tackle||Removed from the team - was involved in NCAA investigation|
|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|
When you step back and look at the entire body of work in this recruiting class you can see just poorly Miles has managed the entire process. The only conclusion you can draw about the series of events is that Les Miles simply signs the 25 max every year and sorts the bodies out later, and until this point it really hasn't bitten him in the ass. We have a list handy for that as well. This is every recruiting class for Miles since 2002; some of the numbers came from his time at Oklahoma State. Roughly a 24 average with as many as 31 in a single class. And for just about every one of those years there are handful of BS stories about how Les got the roster down either to the 25 for the year or 85 overall.
National Championship Coaches 2002 - 2010
Based on LSU's numbers at National Signing Day they should have signed 18 new recruits, not 27. Had all 18 made it academically, like all 27 did, they would have all had a spot, Chris Garrett would be at LSU not Northeastern State or wherever he landed, and Elliott Porter, since he was an early verbal commitment, would be living on LSU campus partaking in LSU spring ball. But then again, we all know the deal, you know, it's just business and all. Plus, if Miles only signs the 18 he has room for he might miss out on a new recruit and another SEC school might get him, plus he won't have any extra players to hedge against unexpected injuries, where's the fun in that?
The Les Miles decoder tells us the following:
1. He only cares about the athlete portion of student-athletes.
2. He only reads bits and pieces of Doyel's columns.
3. He is a man with enough money to pay for his son's education and having to greyshirt would not be an issue for him. Nothing like screwing a kid over and then telling the world that it wouldn't be a problem for him if it happen to his kids - no kidding Les, your son could go to any school in the country and you could stroke a check for the full 4 years and never even blink. A four year education is rounding error on your balance sheet. For the rest of the working stiffs and the underprivileged in this country who don't make $3MM a year being a coach, having to pay for 1 semester of college can be an issue.
4. He told his players something about scholarship numbers and greyshirts, but we don't think he had any idea what he told them, when he told them, or who he told. Reminds us so much of his explanation of the time out at the end of the LSU - Ole Miss game last year.
How can you seriously believe that he knows what is going on with regards to recruiting numbers after something like this: http://ballhype.com/video/les-miles-calling-for-spike-and-lying-against-ole-miss/
The problem wasn't that he offered a greyshirt to Porter, it was how it was offered and when it was offered, and for Miles to come out and take exception with the criticism further proves that he has no clue that he did anything wrong. Perhaps that empty suit Mike Slive should have a talk with him about managing scholarship offers and proper etiquette when dealing with potential student-athletes.
Now let us address the greyshirting and scholarship numbers for next year.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with greyshirting a player provided there is an understanding between the school and the player way in advance. Obviously, we want the NCAA to do something about oversigning and our hope is that by closing the oversigning loophole we create transparency in the entire signing process, especially the greyshirt process.
So here is a scenario that we would like to see happen:
A school has 18 openings that can be filled on National Signing Day because that is their established recruiting budget for the year based on who they have graduating and who they have leaving early for the NFL. Given the 18 LOI limit, the school is given the option to sign up to a certain number of greyshirt prospects (let's say 3 per year). These three extra players are signed to a different type of LOI that explicitly states that the school has to honor their scholarship offer the following year but the players are free to accept scholarship offers from other schools and are not bound to the school offering the greyshirt.
This keeps the school at or under the 85 scholarship limit, allows them to sign a few greyshirts for the next year to accommodate players that are willing and able to pay their own way until the next year and obviously really want to go to a certain school, and it eliminates the Elliott Porter scenario, which absolutely has to stop.
Now for the scholarship numbers next year.
Greyshirting creates a scenario where you are counting scholarships forward. Let's take Alabama for instance; it appears that they have 3 potential greyshirt candidates this year that will join the team next year and count to next year's numbers. Looking at Alabama's scholarship roster it also appears that they only have 9 scholarship seniors and 5th year guys who will be freeing up scholarship room for the next recruiting class (feel free to correct us on that Bama fans). When you subtract the 3 greyshirt players from the number of scholarship seniors for next year the number of openings looks something more like 6). According to Rivals Alabama already has 17 verbal commitments. Let's say there are a 5 Juniors who jump to the league, that's only 14 scholarship openings. Does anyone think that Saban is done recruiting for the year???
LSU is in the exact same situation, small senior class and already over committed (verbally at least) in terms of having verbal commitments from more recruits then they have room for next year.
And come next year we'll see all kinds of transfers and hear all kinds of stories attached to them, but at the end of the day it's all garbage because regardless of how many "mutual agreements to leave" we hear the bottom line is that in the business of college football, especially in the SEC, it's out with the old, injured, and less than, and in with the new. After all, fans care just about as much about winning the recruiting national championship as they do about the BCS national championship.