Starting Early

Looks like Alabama is getting a jump start on the attrition needed to clear out enough space for their 2011 class that is projected to be drastically oversigned.  As mentioned in previous posts, Alabama has an extremely small senior class (roughly 8 scholarship players) yet they already have 19 verbal commitments and 2 greyshirt commitments to their 2011 recruiting class.

Simply put, there will have to be casualties.  Why?  Because it appears that schools like Alabama simply won't allow themselves to take a small class of say 12-15 guys (which is what they really should be taking based on the size of their senior class and the number of juniors expected to go to the NFL early).  Why?  One reason is because if they don't take a full 25-28 (regardless if they have room for them or not) someone else will get those players and oversigning is just as much about improving your own roster as it is about keeping players away from your rivals.  It comes with a price tag, however, as guys like BJ Scott and Star Jackson, once promising stars with bright futures at Alabama, end up in places such as Georgia State and South Alabama - but hey, you have to make room somehow if you intend to take the NCAA max every single year.

That is the real issue, the NCAA allows schools to take 25 new players every year, but limit the roster to 85 players each year.  The NCAA does this so that schools that have legitimate shortfalls can fill them, but the NCAA failed to realize that there would be schools out there that are going to take the max every year and push out the injured or lesser players to make room for new, healthier players with more potential in an attempt to gain a competitive advantage or to keep players from going to rival schools.

BJ Scott appears to be poised to take the first slot on the attrition list for Alabama this year.

B.J. Scott, one of the jewels of Alabama's top-ranked 2008 recruiting class, is looking to transfer and may be headed to South Alabama, according to two sources close to the situation.

According to one of the sources, who asked not to be identified, Scott has not yet been granted a release from Alabama, but a transfer could be complete by the end of the week.

The 5-foot-11, 193-pound Scott played in six games this season, recording six tackles and one interception before undergoing season-ending ankle surgery earlier this month. He was working with the first-team defense at cornerback opposite Dre Kirkpatrick in the spring, but was beaten out by junior-college transfer DeQuan Menzie in fall practice and was later passed on the depth chart by freshman Dee Milliner during the season.

Scott played in nine games at receiver as a freshman in 2008, making two catches for 7 yards, before redshirting in 2009 while he switched positions. A five-star prospect coming out of Prichard's Vigor High in 2008, he was listed as the No. 1 athlete prospect in the country and the No. 19 prospect overall by ESPN.com and the No. 4 prospect in the state according to Press-Register's Elite 18.


Perhaps BJ Scott was not interested in a Medical Hardship Scholarship from Alabama's Athletic Department.  Perhaps due to the amount of attention Alabama has received regarding their use of medical hardships one is not being offered.

One thing is for certain, no matter what else you read Alabama has recruited over their expected budget and that will have an affect on players such as BJ Scott and the 8-10 others that will be leaving the program in order to make room for a full 25 in this year's recruiting class.

Filed under: SEC Leave a comment
Comments (33) Trackbacks (3)
  1. You know, every time a player leaves, it’s not a nefarious plot.

    BJ Scott was a 5 star recruit to the University of Alabama. He never panned out. If he had, Bama probably wouldn’t have played a walk-on at safety and a couple of first year players at corner for parts of this season.

    You have ABSOLUTELY no evidence that he was asked to leave; to the contrary, the only evidence presented here is that, despite his projected talent, he wasn’t able to make it to the field, and has decided to transfer some place where he can.

    A kid transferred. Like Star Jackson, a kid who saw the handwriting on the wall that he would never make it to the top of the depth chart. For those kids who are heavily recruited and don’t wind up playing, I’d guess it’s not all that uncommon.

    You have some decent arguments to make here, but sometimes you’re trying too hard, man.

    • It’s also not always just a harmless transfer either.

      The media department and staff has to get to work early floating anonymous “considering transferring” rumors to the local press. That helps get the pressure building on the players who don’t really want to leave.

      It’s an extremely unethical game that respectable schools don’t play.

      • Link? I mean a link showing that BJ Scott doesn’t really want to leave. BTW, an article in which Preyear’s mom states she doesn’t know about his plans to transfer, doesn’t even prove that Preyear wasn’t planning to transfer much less what BJ Scott’s intentions are.

      • UGA’s media department and staff have been floating anonymous “considering transferring” rumors about Nick Williams. I bet he really wants to stay at UGA, but they’re encouraging him to transfer to open up another roster spot for a more promising recruit. UGA should be ashamed for playing such an unethical game.


  2. you know that a player cant play in more than 30% of the games to be eligible for a medical hardship, dont you?. Yet you bring it out. And you bolded his season ending ankle surgery, but for what purpose?

    • For NEXT year, Einstein. This year doesn’t matter anymore, numbers wise.

    • you’re confusion terms. Medial Redshirt is what you’re referring to. Medical Hardship basically means “we’ll honor your scholarship young man, but only if you agree you can’t physically play football anymore”

  3. You have yet to point out how this is so bad. A kid whose talent didn’t translate from high school to college and will never get the playing time he wants transfers to a school where he thinks he has a better opportunity. How is this so evil? And Saban has anticipated these moves as there are probably more than him that will be looking. It is an unfortunate fact that not all atheletes will pan out to be what Saban and his staff envision for them. Why not let them go where they can play?

    Also, you insinuate that Scott has been “cut” or pushed off the team (as you do every time someone leaves), yet go back to the WSJ article you reference in your previous article. All three of the interviewed players said that they requested the transfer, and some admitted that Saban wanted them to stay. I haven’t looked, but did your blog go back that far? What do you think your reaction was to their departure at that time?

    • “All three of the interviewed players said that they requested the transfer”

      They say that to save some pride. It’s a lot better than admitting they were cut and disgracefully kicked out of school by their coach and university.

      Alabama was pressuring Jermaine Preyear to transfer the entire summer of 2009. And all summer he and his mother said he wasn’t transferring. So they just kicked him (and Lawrence) out of school. Neither one had any idea where they were going at the time Saban and Alabama cut them:


  4. to Catch 5: “How is this so evil?” Are you serious??? These kids have a scholarship to the University of Alabama that gets taken away and they have to end up at South Alabama or Georgia State. Are you telling me a degree from one of these smaller schools carries the weight of a degree from U of A? It is about developing young men and preparing them for the real world is it not? Isn’t it about taking care of a kid who made a commitment to coach Saban and the Bama program even if things don’t turn out as hoped by both parties. Forcing players out of scholarships for the sake of a football program is wrong. I have no problem with kids leaving on their own in the hopes of more playing time elsewhere, but that’s not what’s going on at Bama (or a lot of other places, including in basketball.) And this is yet another case of the NCAA with their head so far up their ass it’s not funny.

    • Dude, in the real world, if they aren’t up to snuff, they’ll get replaced. If anything, this IS preparing them for the real world. Sometimes people are ALL potential and no substance. That is clearly what happened in this case.

      Secondly, the scholarships are renewed on a yearly basis, with each side having the option not to renew. That’s the deal. These kids knew the deal when they signed their LoI.

      • “These kids knew the deal when they signed their LOI.”

        Ha. Hilarious.

        I’m sure it is repeatedly reiterated to these often poor 17-year-old kids – in between all the promises of fame and glory – that they will be kicked out of school if they don’t make the cut.

  5. LSU will have 10-12 leave. Drayton Calhoun will definitely be one of them. That fat, lazy fullback that was suspended for this year should be another. Expect up to 3 grayshirts.

    You are misguided in opposing this practice, and I greatly dislike you for taking cheap shots at the south. Yes, I do plan on saying that in every post I make.

  6. Bammers just like it because your team does it, and gets a competitive advantage b/c of it. If not, then why argue to keep it. It just hurts these kids. If there was a bright line rule against it…and everyone played by the same rules…then what’s the big deal? The almighty Saban-a-tor should still be able to out-coach everyone even with fewer players.

    • I hate Saban and think he’s a bad coach, but…if it were illegal, then I’d have an issue. It’s NOT. So deal. Keep writing. Maybe one day it will be. Until then, join the party or get left behind.

      • The thing is, they’re not allowed to do it. They’re jealous. So they pretend like a walk on is more deserving of an ATHLETIC SCHOLARSHIP than someon in high school who has worked their tail off to deserve it. It’s not. Undersigning is a ploy to take scholarships away from football programs in order to assist teams that can’t compete with the dirty south anymore. Sorry, we’re on to you.

  7. Its not against the rules just to not renew the scholarships either. Why not just do that and be more honest with everyone. Because lying helps the program. If kids start to realize what is going on…there might be a problem with future recruits. Right now, the kids can’t say anything because they might get Saban angry. Could affect their career. The truth shouldn’t have to be hidden.
    That’s why people who like the practice keep coming back to this site. You have to shout down the growing uproar. If you think oversigning is OK, then why do you read this stuff?

  8. just look at the numbers. Alabama recruits a full class every year, has more transfers than many schools every year and more medical hardships. It is not a coincidence how they oversign and then have more players leave. You have got to be kidding me if you dont see how oversigning is a competitive advantage.

  9. All NCAA scholarships are one-year contracts. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with signing kids and later revoking their schollies if they don’t meet expectations. Saban and other SEC coaches are simply ahead of the game on this aspect of college football.

    My only qualm about this issue is if the coach promised the kid a four-year scholarship and later revoked it.

    Revoking or reducing the % (if allowed) is very common in other minor sports (ie. wrestling).

    • I think part of the problem is just that: that an offer isn’t a four-year offer contingent on certain rules / principles. It’s not against NCAA rules to do this, but it can certainly be unethical. Athletics provides educational opportunities to many who otherwise wouldn’t have them. Indubitably, this is one of the major selling points a recruiter has, especially at top-tier schools like UF, OSU, or ‘Bama. The major sports institutions have the NFL cachet, too, but I suspect that most athletes realize that few of them will accomplish that dream. Of course, I doubt there are many football recruiters who tell the parents or students involved that they only have a one-year contract (it’s really a one-way two-year contract for the student because of NCAA transfer rules) and may not be able to finish their education, et c.

      What makes me squeamish about oversigning isn’t the competitive advantages it grants to institutions who practice it. At the end of the day, many of the people victimized by it won’t have the opportunities they otherwise would have had. All of the business talk aside—and college football is big business—it’s unethical to recruit someone to play football at a four-year uni and dump them because you have a better crop of athletes next year. I can understand issues in the classroom, rules violations, and other issues of moral integrity. But it’s unethical, IMHO, to offer a scholarship to a student on a one-year basis and not renew it because they didn’t pan out on the field.

      While I doubt that Tressel’s record (I’m an OSU alum and big fan of the man in general) in these matters is completely clean, it’s difficult to make any kind of oversigning case for him. He’s signed an average of 20 recruits over the past five years and works in a league that’s banned oversigning. It’s certainly possible that Tressel pushes people out the door, but you couldn’t make that argument very well from the signing numbers. I don’t canonize the man, and I can’t say what he’d do in the SEC (Nick Saban, after all, was MSU’s coach, too), but in general I appreciate what he says on the subject, and I hope he practices what he preaches.

  10. No one is breaking any rules. If the SEC changed this rule, the same SEC haters would find some other reason that they aren’t winning national championships.

  11. And these comments are proof that the SEC continues to be the bastion of integrity in sports.

    rational fan: what you’re doing is unethical.
    SEC Fan: derp derp does that mean illegal?
    rational fan: no, its not illegal per-say…it kinda makes your head coach and appear really shitty and that they have a blatant disregard for student athletes.
    SEC Fan: derp derp aint nothin wrong with that. quit yer whinin’ and take yer licks derp derp derp.

  12. Wait, so it is unethical for a coach to offer a 4-year scholarship to a player and then dump him when he doesn’t perform, but it is completely ethical for an athlete to come into a school play the minimum number of years required and then dump the school/coach when it comes time to sign for the NFL and make the money?

    If we are gonna ban coaches from dropping players that don’t perform then we should ban players from leaving to the NFL early. That way the players would honor their L.O.I.s and the will get their educations … lest we forget this is about educations. Or is it really all just business transactions? YES!

    I should tell my employer it is unethical for him to hire me and then turn around and hire someone else for my position while I still want to be here; I mean it doesn’t matter that I’m not performing to standards at work. I should be the only one who can control when I leave this company.

  13. We know the SEC schools do this all the time in football. One of the reason why they are so good year in year out. Also basketball programs do the same thing. OTL did a program on that last year. It was terrible what happens to these young men. Calapari has a big time responsibility there. There is an ethical problem here and the NCAA should evaluate how things are handled. medical hardships are allowed considering the number of injuries. Another thing is there is so much pressure on these coach’s to oversign because they will be fired if their programs are not be able to compete as they once did. So its not just the coach’s its the admin. I do not know how they should handle it. I think one option would be if a player is not up snuff then the school should be able to apply for a hardship but still should honor the scholarship. The player should be interviewed in every case to see if they are pressuring him to leave. If they are scholarships should be removed from the team. there should be a limit of the number of hardships per year that school is entitled to.

Leave a comment