Don’t Blame the Coaches

Here is a decent column written by Gary Laney, sportswriter for The Advocate, and although the overall tone of the column is one that excuses the actions of the coaches, Laney does admit oversigning is an issue in the SEC. 


He basically acknowledges that oversigning creates a competitive edge and that it's a problem specifically in the SEC, but he says don't blame the coaches in the SEC, blame the NCAA rules.

Increased costs come with increased expectations and increased pressure to win.

If Miles doesn’t oversign, Nick Saban will (and he does) and LSU will lose some competitive edge in the process. You can’t let that happen, not when 9-4 doesn’t do the trick.

That’s not an ethical defense of oversigning, nor is it a defense of how LSU handles oversigned players. The point is when you look at the context in which it happened — high pressure to win and rules that allow it — you should only be surprised if it doesn’t happen..

So I guess we should be surprised that it doesn't happen in the rest of the country?  Or should we not be surprised that it is happening in the SEC?

He's right about it being an advantage, and we are seeing it on the field with Alabama over the last few year and we saw it at LSU and other places, but not all the blame should go to the NCAA.  The athletic directors, university presidents, and the mighty Mike Slive are just as much to blame as anyone at the NCAA office -- this is happening under their watch and they could stop it completely.  That won't happen though.  This is a problem that dates back to the 1960's with the SEC and it would take extreme pressure for them to address it on their own without being forced by the NCAA.

As it has been mentioned here before, this (oversigning) was the reason behind Georgia Tech leaving the SEC.

From the book Dodd's Luck written in part by former Geogria Tech head coach Bobby Dodd...

Bobby Dodd insisted there was no other reason he left the SEC, other than the 140 Rule. The 140 Rule stated a college program could only have 140 football and basketball players on scholarship at any one time. The teams were allowed to sign up to 45 players a year, but could not exceed the 140 Rule.

Dodd would not allow any of the football players choosing Tech to be dismissed from Tech, because they were not good players. Dodd said, “it is not the recruits fault for not making the squad, it was the coaches fault for misjudging their talents”. If a recruit came to Tech, he would stay on a football scholarship until he graduated.

Dodd would sign about 30-32 players a year to meet the guidelines, but the other schools in the SEC were offering 45 scholarships a year. Those players, not good enough to fall under the 140 Rule, had their scholarships withdrawn and sent packing before the end of each year. Dodd insisted, the recruiting of athletes by this method amounted to nothing more than a tryout for a scholarship.

Dodd thought it unfair and would not withdraw scholarships from his players. He wanted the SEC to limit the amount of scholarships to about 32 per year. This would keep the other schools from offering 45 scholarships, picking the best, and sending the rest packing.

A vote was to be taken by the presidents of the colleges on the issue, and Dodd made it clear, Tech would have to leave the SEC unless the rule was changed. Dodd said he would live with 10, 20, 30, 40, or even 50 recruits per year as long as he did not have to chase any of his players off.

The presidents were split six for Dodd’s position and six against. Bear had promised Dodd he would get his president to vote for Dodd’s position, which would have changed the rule. When the meeting was held, Bryant did not show up and the Alabama president voted against Dodd’s position and the 140 Rule was upheld. Tech’s president immediately walked to the podium and announced Tech was withdrawing from the SEC. Bryant never told Dodd why he reneged on his promise.

Perhaps we need a modern day Bobby Dodd to step in and put his foot down.  Mark Richt would be our choice given that he does not oversign players -- maybe Urban Meyer has enough pull to get it done, he doesn't oversign any where near the level of Saban and Miles.

Filed under: SEC Leave a comment
Comments (44) Trackbacks (1)
  1. Josh,

    My question is, how long into the inept NCAA gets off his butt and actually puts an end to this farce. That is my question, I guess we can’t blame Saban or Les, because they obvisouly feel neither can compete when the deck is equal, so they have to try and stack the deck however they can within the rules. Sad that we always seem to have someone who thinks they have to cheat beyond the rules because they feel they can’t take someone man on man. I guess we will always have people like Saban who feel they can’t compete with equal rules with voilating the spirits of the rules. The funny part is, why isn’t anyone else doing that, maybe just maybe because they aren’t willing to sell their soul to the devil.

    • I’m sorry, but Saban cant compete? How did he do at MSU? George Perles had let MSU run into the ground. Saban came in, in his 2nd year as a head coach, and turned that program around. Who knows what would have happened had he stayed around. But to say he cant coach when all things are equal is a farce.

      • He certainly didn’t win 28 or 29 straight regular season games, didn’t win even a share of the big ten title, didn’t have a heisman trophy player, didn’t win a NC, and didn’t get a statue. And he was there for 5 years. Dantonio is on pace to do just as good as him there.

        • Was he at the school that was the flagship of the state? That had the resources that Alabama has? The history to bring in players? Or did he work at a school that was at its best, 4th or 5th in the conference, second in the state, and have to work with the players that Michigan, OSU, PSU and Wisconsin didnt get?

          So is Dantonio not a good coach either? Is this Dantonios 2nd year as a head coach? Saban was also there when ND and the Big 10 conference as a whole was better. Right now, Michigan has been down, Wisconsin down, ND down, Perdue down, PSU down. The only real standout has been OSU.

  2. I’m starting to get worried about DSB. This post has been up for almost 24 hours and no comments yet.

    • Maybe, He finally figured out that Josh actually knows what he is talking about because Josh actually brings facts and figures to the argument, where DSB only retort it, well it isn’t against the rules. I love his simpleton mind.

  3. Very nice article by you, and quite the contrary on the part of Gary Laney. How weak it is to compare Calipari ethically recruiting basketball players who everyone knows will likely stay for just a season, to SEC football coaches unethically recruiting players who will audition for a scholarship for a season or two.

    In the former the school delivers on its promise of a scholarship and an education, and it remains there for the player to take advantage of for as long as he stays. In the latter, the SEC coaches say your value to us is only your athletic ability, stay healthy and be a good to great player – certainly better than any player we might next see out on the recruiting trail – and you can get educated here for as long as you can last.

    In the former, the player’s market value INCREASES with that year in school, so there is no taking advantage. Advantage: player. In the latter, any chance at creating market value is CRUSHED once the player is run out of the football program. Of course, the advantage here is to the football program and school as a better player comes onto the field to raise the market value of the athletic department, school and conference. Advantage: SEC.

    Sadly, this wont be the last ridiculous contortion made in SEC country by someone attempting to excuse the win at any cost ways of that conference. Stay healthy my friend. Stay healthy (and academically sound and out of jail – but if you’re better than anything they’re seeing out on the recruiting trail don’t worry about the latter two so much, ’cause it will likely get worked out.)

    • Oh come, DSB, will just say, well if he isn’t getting his scholarship renewed anyway, then he isn’t going to see the NFL anyway. So, I guess Saban crtiteria is, son, if you are’t going to make the NFL then you have no value to me, and I am going to either, give you a medical hardship, so you can still get your degree(Should we be appluading Saban), or he just completely runs them off, or if that doesn’t work, then he just flat out tells them scram kid, you aren’t good enough and wanted here anymore, because you can’t help me win games and your value doesn’t mean anything to me, if though I am suppose to be building boys into men. He just tosses them away like an old shoe, or treats them like commodities, but you know what, DSB , is ok with that, because guess what, Saban is a winner. All Hail the great Saban, he wins, even though he treats his kids like some commodity. It is all about Saban, when other college coaches realize, it isn’t about them, it is about the student athletes. Oops, I wonder if Saban even knows that his players are actually student athletes. Probably to him, they are just athletes, and what is this student word other coaches keep calling them. Good job Saban, I wish everyone could be like you, a winner, win at all cost, win so everyone can worship you.

      • I wish I could say that Alabama’s APR for football is higher than Ohio State’s, but I can’t. Ohio State has a very good APR. I can say that Alabama has a higher APR than the following schools:

        Auburn, Arkansas, Mississippi State, Kentucky, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee, Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, Texas, Michigan State, Purdue, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Arizona State, Oregon State, Arizona, UCLA, Oregon, Washington, Washington State, Florida State, North Carolina State, Maryland, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Syracuse, Cincinnati, UCONN, Louisville, Pitt, South Florida, West Virginia

        Alabama led the nation last year with 13 graduates on it’s football roster; a number that increased to 21 for the National Championship Game following December ceremonies.

        Alabama had 12 football players on the 2010 SEC Freshmen Academic Honor Roll, more than any other school.

        Alabama’s starting QB, Greg McElroy, is a Rhodes Scholar applicant

        But you’re right. Saban places no value on his players’ academic responsibilities.

      • Oh yeah. What was that you were saying about bringing facts and figures to the arguement earlier?

        • Someone did not eat their Wheaties this morning…lol.   As smart as you appear to be, it baffles me that you can’t understand the simple process of counting signatures. 

          In the Big 10, where the number of players coaches can sign is based on roster openings at signing day, every single signed LOI counts.  Let’s say a Big 10 coach has budget room for 18 signatures.  If a player doesn’t qualify it is not like there is someone extra to take his spot in that class and all of the sudden that signature doesn’t count because the kid didn’t qualify.  Now if that same kid signs again the next year, he is going to count for one spot in the budget for that year, just like he did in the previous year.  Whether or not a kid signed the previous year and didn’t make it has ZERO bearing on whether or not he should count towards the current year’s numbers.  

          18 signatures is 18 signatures.  A LOI is not void or does not count just because a kid signed one the previous year.  I know you don’t understand that because you come from a world where signatures don’t matter; the only number that matters to you is 85.

          • true, but if you have 10 spots open and only 9 are eligible, you have 10 spots open the next year, but add 1 more because the last year only had 9 sign, then you sign 10 players, plus the player from the year before is now eligible and signs, you didnt sign 21 players, you signed 20. You cant count a player as signing the first year when he wasnt in, and then count him again the 2nd year.

            Or, you just dont count him the second year, because he was counted the first year.

            • I cannot make it any more clear than this: each year players have to sigh a letter of intent, even if they signed one the year before and just didn’t qualify. In the big 10, they can only take as many signed letters of intent as they have rosters spots for on signing day. If they have 18 openings they can take 18 letters – they don’t get to take 1 more than they have room for just because one of the 18 signed last year didn’t make it. The school might have an extra opening the following year but only if the spot that was left vacant by the guy that didn’t qualify is left open, but that however doesn’t enable them to sign more than they have openings for. 18 openings 18 letters…it does not matter if this is the tenth time the guy has signed one, they all count, except for in the SEC where it doesn’t matter how many openings they have – they sign as many as they want up to 28.

              I think the problem you are having is that when Alabama has a guy that doesn’t qualify, they don’t leave his spot open for the year and fill it the next year when he qualifies. Being that they are oversigned that opening is taken right away, so in reality there is not an open spot waiting for him next year. Bottom line, every signature counts.

  4. Yes, Mark Richt should be the coaching role model for the rest of the SEC. There have only been about 45 arrests of Georgia players in the last 5 years. The AD at Georgia was fired in August after being arrested for DUI and having a woman who wasn’t his wife in the passenger seat and her panties in his lap. And not that football results actually matter when evaluating a football coach, but the lack of discipline off the field has also been reflected on the field, as Georgia was near the bottom of the NCAA last year in penalties and turnover margin. And things have really caved in this year as Georgia is off to a 1-4 start.

    Here’s an article with a summary of Georgia’s off the field problems in the last year:


    Alabama had plenty of off the field problems in the first year after Saban arrived, but the last arrest they had was 15 months ago. And the graduation rate of Alabama football players has increased significantly under Saban. What a terrible guy.

    Here’s what a top recruit who is choosing between Alabama and Georgia had to say in the last couple of days:

    “The five-star running back from Carver-Columbus confirmed Tuesday that Alabama is now in the lead for his services. Crowell was in Tuscaloosa this past weekend for the No. 1-ranked Crimson Tide’s 31-6 win over Florida. And he was impressed with what he saw.

    “It was a great experience,” said Crowell, an AJC Super 11 selection and the No. 1 tailback prospect in state. “It was nice to be around the players and coaches and see how they get focused and prepared for a game. And they played a great game.”

    Crowell also confirmed that it’s down to Alabama and Georgia for him. For the longest time many have felt the Bulldogs had the edge because they could offer more playing time earlier.

    But the Bulldogs’ 1-4 start compared to Alabama’s current status as defending national champions and the country’s No. 1-ranked team is too stark a contrast to ignore.

    “Well, they’re losing a lot of games and have a lot of people have been getting in trouble,” Crowell said of Georgia. “There’s just a lot of things going wrong. I do want to play right away but I also want to be where it’s disciplined and they win championships.””

    He wants to be where it’s disciplined, where you can’t get arrested or slack off and not work hard and still be virtually guaranteed of hanging around the program for 4-5 years. Imagine that.

    • What does this have to do with Mark Richt not oversigning?

      • If you have a degree from Ohio State and spend a few minutes thinking about it you should be able to figure it out.

        • I have a degree and I have thought about it. What does players being arrested have to do with the fact that he doesn’t oversign? And why do you keep going on these fact finding missions to dig up dirt on coaches who don’t do it like Richt and Tressel? Clearly you must believe that oversigning is a problem or you wouldn’t feel the need to try and compare it with arrests and NCAA violations.

          • DP, DSB, and Trey always resort to off-topic deversions when faced with the fact that their coach is raping the spirit of the recruiting and signing process. Instead of just calling a spade a spade and admitting the advantage oversigning has provided the SEC, they look for something to discredit others.

            • I see it as that as well. DSB spends an inordinate amount of time on other blogs doing the exact same thing. His latest obsession was to discredit the Buckeyes win over Miami in ’02 calling the ‘Canes Miami/Lite and the win didn’t come against the Miami/HD team of ’01,so of course, not nearly as impressive. Of course failing to note that the ’01 team returned Dorsey, MaGahee, Rolle, Taylor, Vilma, Winslow, Johnson and a couple of others I can’t think of off the top of my head, to the ’02 team. I nearly died laughing at that beaut.

              • Keep stretching DSB. Anyone with a scintilla of CFB knowledge knows that the ’02 team while maybe not as loaded as the ’01, was loaded. tOSU was a double digit dog and given zero chance of winning that game. They weren’t supposed to be on the same field as the ‘Canes. Funny thing happened on the way to that game, no one told the Buckeyes that and the ‘Canes bought if hook line and sinker so much so Willis MaGahee passed out flyer’s to the ‘victory party” back at their hotel the day before the game.

                I have the DVD of the game and you are correct, it was a beaut. You should watch it sometime. Trying to discredit that win is as pathetic as those who say that ‘Bama would have lost to TX if not for Colt leaving the game. What is the topic again? You being a hypocrite perhaps?

                • You know just when I thought you couldn’t get any dumber, you come up with this.

                  John, you really need some help. Oh, BTW, they are ripping you a new one over at Hineygate.

            • “deversions”? Did your cell phone do that too?

    • So who is saban going to push out to get this kid because he doesn’t have the frogging room for him and the other 21 commitments with only 8 scholarship seniors leaving the team next year. Must be nice to take 25 new kids every year and keep the best.

      • I’ll just say this. Yes. yes it is. I dont know everything but i will take your word it is all true. (of course i know it isnt, when you talk about why Star Jackson left, or why Woodson left or why Alonzo Lawrence left) Unfortunately for you, it is against no bylaw, so until it is, tough luck.

        • No it’s tough luck for player’s who get sucker punched. Thankfully, our coaches in the Big Ten aren’t allowed to do it because it is understood that something doesn’t have to be against the rules to be wrong.

          • I could bring up the Youngstown State incident with Tressel, but i think DSB has beaten that to death. Until you have players coming out and saying they were forced out, i just dont know what to say. And i have yet to hear someone come out on record and say exactly that.

            • Well, you could expect for one pesky little fact: It has and never has been about oversigning. Tressel doesn’t do it, Saban does.

          • “player’s (sic) who get sucker punched”

            Is it too late to demand your money back from Ohio State?

            “Thankfully, our coaches in the Big Ten aren’t allowed to do it because it is understood that something doesn’t have to be against the rules to be wrong.”

            “our” coaches in the Big Ten. That gets to the heart of the Ohio State partisans (no apostrophe required, FYI) on this site. Us against them. We’re good, they’re evil. That’s why we can’t beat them.

            • The only thing more pathetic than bringing up arrest record and NCAA violations that have nothing to do with oversigning? Being a grammar Nazi.

              The Big Ten doesn’t allow oversigning, not just Ohio State, hence the “our coaches” and it’s Ohio State that has a losing bowl record against the Special Education Conference, the rest of the conference is doing just fine.

              • Special Education Conference? That’s pretty rich coming from you.

                • Please. Have you ever heard JaMarcus Russell speak? It’s much worse than a misplaced apostrophe.

                  • I’ll call your JaMarcus Russell and raise you Andy Katzenmoyer.


                    “Minnesota isn’t the only Big Ten school to have sullied its academic image in the past year. Last summer Ohio State was widely ridiculed for the smooth path to eligibility it paved for All-America linebacker—and noted classroom slacker—Andy Katzenmoyer, who needed to pull his overall grade point average up to 2.0 (C) during two five-week summer terms so he could suit up for his junior season. Katzenmoyer attained his goal by loading up on such easy-to-pass courses as AIDS: What Every College Student Should Know and golf.

                    SI has obtained copies of two anonymous letters—both signed “Sincerely, OSU Faculty”—that were sent to Ohio State president William Kirwin last summer and that offer new details about Andy’s excellent academic adventure. “The special treatment football player Andy Katzenmoyer has received this summer in order to be academically eligible is ridiculous,” said the first letter, dated Aug. 14. “Something is definitely wrong when the only grade given in [a mass communications course Katzenmoyer had taken in the first summer semester] is an A or A-for all 22 students enrolled, even though there was normal grade distribution/range for the course in previous quarters.”

                    The letter also questioned how Katzenmoyer, who it claimed had earned a 1.72 average or lower in five of his seven semesters, was “suddenly able to perform at the scholar-athlete level (3.0)” for the first summer term, and how he’d been squeezed into the golf class, which was full.

                    The second letter, dated Aug. 24, asked how, eight weeks into the summer session, Katzenmoyer had been granted a grade change for an art education class he had failed the previous spring. “The academic integrity of this University has become a joke,” the letter concluded.

                    Kirwin, who had a team of administrators investigate the claims, acknowledges that the basic facts in the letters were correct. He doesn’t agree with the letter’s interpretation, however. “I certainly don’t think we’re an academic joke,” Kirwin says. “From everything I learned, nothing was done for Andy Katzenmoyer that can’t be done for any other student of the university. Some will take those facts and see it one way. I saw that no rules or regulations were broken.”

                    When asked by SI to explain the spate of As in Katzenmoyer’s mass communications course, Presentational Speaking, the instructor, John Love, noted that there were “a fair amount” of athletes in the course. “This course is very performance-oriented, and athletes are used to the notion of executing and performing,” Love said. When asked to explain why she had changed Katzenmoyer’s grade from an E ( Ohio State’s version of an F) to a C+ in the spring art course, Introduction to the Computer and the Visual Arts, teaching assistant Paula DiMarco said, “This is uncomfortable. I really don’t want to talk.” As for how Katzenmoyer got into the golf class, the graduate student who taught it is now in New Zealand and could not be reached.”

                    But wait a minute, I forgot it’s all about oversigning. Speaking of “our” coaches in the Big Ten and referring to the SEC as the “Special Education Conference” and talking about how dumb JaMarcus Russell is doesn’t mean you’re not objective about the SEC, does it?

              • The two bowls that match the SEC and Big Ten are the Outback and Capital One. In the last ten years the combined record is SEC 10, Big Ten, 10. Two of the Big Ten’s losses in that time were Ohio State. So, as I said, while Ohio State has had trouble with the SEC in bowl games, the rest of the conference has been very competitive. If you want to go back to the early 1900′s when some of those games were played, be my guest.

  5. Why do so many of you insist of discussing things other than oversigning? This website is about oversigning and its excessive use by SEC coaches. I don’t quite get why most of you find it necessary to argue about the competitiveness of Big Ten teams and other unrelated topics. I also don’t see how you Bama fans can chalk up the players that “leave” the team to get the scholarship number down to 85 as pure coincidence.

    • It is interesting that Alabama fans are the only ones that defend this practice – even LSU fans acknowledge this is an issue and don’t fight it.

    • Christian,
      if that were the case, i would be fine with it. The author of the site though has done posts attacking other posters, done posts that a recruit said he had been called by another coach, then the recruit admitted to lying about it. But Joshua here just loved to jump on it. He also espouses everything that Jim Tressel does as correct, moral and the right way to do things, when we all know Tressel has skeletons of his own in his closet.

      • LOL, Skeletons? In whose opinion? Yours. LOL. Whatever? Keep dreaming that Tressel does unethical things like Saban, and the rest of the SEC coaches. Keep dreaming my friend, keep dreaming. Everything that has been brought up as showed JT had no knowledge of, and when he did, took swift and harsh actions. Just like I don’t blame Saban for the party thing, his guy went to and go in trouble. Coaches can’t watch guys 24/7, and when he found out about I am sure Saban took care of it. However, Saban leaves alot to be desired how he runs his team like a football factory, even to the point of using scholarships like try outs. How sad is that? That is getting very NFL running like, even though these are amatuers, and are there for an education, and suppose to be young boys being molded into men.

        • Tressel and YSU. Look it up. tired of re-hashing it. once again, find a player that said explicitly they were forced out. that they didnt get their education. can you find even one?

          • also, if Saban is so evil, why do parents love him during recruiting visits? why does he still get recruits? why do past recruits talk so favorably about him? Past recruits would have no need to talk good about him if they didnt want to, he doesnt affect their playing time, etc. But they still talk about how he molded them into better people, got them doing better in schoolwork, etc. Does he push the line, absolutely you can say and see that he does. Does he break rules? not that i have seen.

Leave a comment