Official LSU Numbers Thread

Let's get to the bottom of LSU's numbers.  This is the list of Seniors from last year.  15 Seniors with 4 of them listed as Squad Team players, which are typically not on scholarship.  According to this list of current scholarship players, none of the guys on the list below are on that list, so there are no 5th seniors on the roster.

Now, the according to the list above there are 71 current players on scholarship.  That list of 71 includes 3 of the now 22 recruits in LSU's 2010 class.  Those three have already signed and enrolled.  That means there are 14 openings (85-71=14) and still 19 verbal commitments (rivals has 22 listed with 3 of them already signed).  However, LSU has been docked 2 scholarships because of recruiting violations, so that puts them at 12 openings against 19 verbal commitments.  (Note: the 71 above would include juniors leaving early for the NFL).

Couple of things to note here.  1. It was being assumed that LSU was at 85 max last year when they turned away Elliot Porter, but it might have been that they were up against the 25 max for the class and not the 85 limit.  2. LSU might have had a couple of guys leave the team during the football season that would have had an affect on their final scholarship numbers at the end of the season.

Regardless, if you subscribe to them having 71 guys currently on scholarship then there is still an issue with their numbers.  As mentioned, they have 22 verbal commitments, 3 of those have signed, that leaves 19 verbal commitments to 14 openings minus the reduction of 2 for the NCAA violations, which puts the budget at 12.

Based on this it appears that LSU is 7 over the limit, not 9.  Updates and comments welcome.

Filed under: SEC 15 Comments

Saturday Morning Reading

Jon Solomon with an excellent piece on oversigning.  Here is a reader response to Jon's article.  It is amazing how widespread this mentality is regarding student-athletes and college athletics.

You have to over sign to keep the freeloaders off the teams, leave it to you Bugsy to try and cause a stir. You're getting as bad as your twin Scarbo.

You take a kid like Tyler Love, he's never made one single contribution to that team is it right that he continues to have a free ride? He was a 4 or 5 star prospect. Nothing but dead weight. B. J Scott he couldn't find a spot on the either. Is it fair for him to just sit there? I think not, give him chance to play somewhere else, and make room for a new player.

Why don't you take a trip to Afrika, Bugsy, I hear the lions are hungry on the Serengeti Plain.


LSU Reveille with an interesting piece on LSU's scholarship numbers.  They point out that LSU is facing a scholarship reduction of 2 this recruiting class because of recruiting violations.  This means they can only have 83 total on scholarship this year and can only sign 23 this year.  As we pointed out, they had an extremely small senior class of around 11-13 guys.  By the time you take away the 2 scholarships from the NCAA penalty, they have room for a legitimate 8-11.  Let's say there is some wiggle room and the number is 15.  Right now they have 21 verbal commitments and according to the article they plan on taking a full 23. 


Filed under: Quick Links 28 Comments

Nick Saban Comments on the Accelerated Recruiting Time Table

According to Nick Saban, the recruiting time table has accelerated so rapidly that it is becoming increasingly difficult to evaluate recruits.  Listen to his comments at the 2:30 minute mark in this video.  Saban says he feels as though they are behind in their evaluations because of the accelerated recruiting time table. 

This is interesting for a couple of reasons.  One, you could argue that the lack of evaluation time could be the reason for oversigning: needing to run through more kids to make up for misses in recruiting.  Obviously Saban makes no bones about feeling like he is behind in his evaluations and is forced to offer kids before being fully able to evaluate them; he goes so far as to call it a problem.  Imagine the problem Big 10 coaches are having without that ability to take a few extra guys to make up for those misses in recruiting.

We actually agree with Saban here, the time table for evaluating recruits, and to a certain degree the added restrictions on contact with recruits that were put in place to curb abuses, has made it harder for coaches to evaluate players.  Some of the NCAA restrictions are an absolute joke.  However, oversigning is not the solution - all it does is give a coach a tool to help cover his own ass in recruiting.  Solutions for the oversigning problem need to include adjustments to the evaluation process.

Lastly, Saban really takes a shot at recruiting service websites such as Rivals.com for making recruiting a game and ruining kids in the process.  He blames the media as well and goes on to ask the guys interviewing them if they are proud of themselves for what they have done with the recruiting game.  Those comments come at the 5:40 minute mark. 

After watching the video, you almost feel sad for the reports who stood there and laughed at themselves being shamed by Saban.  Where is the media that covered the SMU scandal when you need them?  Those guys didn't take crap of anyone, much less a coach.

Filed under: SEC 137 Comments

Oversigning and the Big 10 Conference

 Andy Staples caught our attention with this particular portion of his recent article on oversigning:

The Big Ten has no issue with oversigning because it banned the practice in 1956. The conference actually loosened its rule in 2002 to allow schools to oversign by three players, but even that rule is drastically different from the NCAA rule now in effect. According to Big Ten associate commissioner Chad Hawley, schools are allowed three over the 85-man limit, not the annual 25-man limit. If, for example, Michigan ends a season with 20 open scholarship spots, then Michigan may sign 23 players. No more.

If a Big Ten program chooses to oversign, Hawley said, it then must document exactly how it came under the 85-scholarship limit. That way, coaches are less likely to cut a player who has done nothing wrong other than fail to live up to his recruiting hype. "If you've oversigned, you're going to have to report back to the conference," Hawley said. "Come the fall, you're going to have to explain how you came into compliance."


Back in March of 2010, we wrote that there was a rule change in 2002 that allowed Big 10 schools to accept 3 LOI over the 25 limit, provided they had room to back count the players to the previous year and provided they proper documentation to the conference office regarding the 3 extra recruits.  What we failed to comprehend was that the 3 over the limit applied to the 85 limit, not the 25 limit.  To confirm this and get further clarification, we contacted associate commissioner, Chad Hawley for further explanation, to which he provided the following:

The Big Ten exception in football is that an institution may oversign by 3.  Our rule isn't based on the NCAA limit of 25 initial counters, it's based on the number of scholarships available.  Using your example, if an institution has 65 countable scholarships returning, the institution could sign up to 23. 

When we approved limited oversigning in 2002, part of the deal was that institutions that did oversign would need to provide "sunshine" to allow for peer review.  This reporting includes identifying the individuals who received the offers that created the oversigned situation.  In addition, institutions that actually oversign would need to provide a person-by-person accounting for how the institution comes into compliance with the NCAA limit of 85; this includes reporting on not only the new signees, but also the status of each student-athlete who received countable aid in the previous academic year.          

Over the years, a few institutions have used the exception to oversign, but what we've seen is that the majority do not use the exception.

That last line is the most crucial.  Despite having an exception available to oversign by 3, the majority do not use the exception.  One could argue that the reason the exception is not being used is because of the transparency in the process and any foul play, such as bogus medical hardships or forced transfers, would find its way to the light.  Regardless, the exception is there provided there is a legitimate situation that would justify its use.

Football is the only sport in which the exemption is allowed.

Why can't the SEC adopt these rules?  Is it the portion of the rules regarding transparency and peer reviews that have kept the SEC from adopting the Big 10 rules or is it the fact that it provides a clear cut advantage that they do not want to lose?  What the Big 10 is saying with their rules is that they are willing to give a little bit of wiggle room but everything is transparent and monitored (and the net result has been minimal use of the exception to sign 3 extra).  Those are the things that will end oversigning, transparency and monitoring,  not increasing the scholarship limit or changing the agreement from 1 year to 4 years.  It's time to have every SEC school open the books and operate with transparency.  When a school like Alabama or LSU has an ultra small senior class (8-11 seniors) yet has 21+ verbal commitments and looking to add more, the conference office and the rest of their peers should be all over it demanding an explanation and demanding transparency; instead the SEC gives its members the green light to run a muck of the spirit of the rules.  Shame on them and shame on the University Presidents that allow it to continue despite the strong outcry for change in the national media.  Schools don't have to wait on the NCAA to change the rules; they can make a moral decision to start doing the right thing immediately and have their Athletic Directors instruct their coaches not to oversign, period, starting immediately - there is no rule that says they have to oversign!!

Simply put, if LSU or Alabama were in the Big 10 they would be allowed to accept around 13-15 signed LOI and they would have to explain, in detail, the 3 over they limit they would be and there had better not be any bogus medical hardships that push kids off the football team or yanking  of scholarships like Les Miles did to Chris Garrett.  What kind of affect would that have on their highly rated recruiting classes right now?  Sure makes you wonder.  Alabama and LSU are both sitting at 21 verbal committments and both will land more on national signing day. 

Look no further than Penn State who, with similar numbers as Alabama and LSU in terms of departing seniors, only has 15 verbal commitments.  Wonder what they would be ranked if they had 21 verbals and were looking to be in on the nation's top players still left on the board on national signing day.

Filed under: Big 10 140 Comments

Oversigning Making the Rounds – Andy Staples with a Great Article

Andy Staples is not new to the topic of oversigning.  In his latest article on the topic, he calls into question the teeth, or lack thereof, behind the NCAA rules for signing players.  As Staples points out, the NCAA has now placed a limit on the number of players that can be signed at 28, however, what good is a limit of 28 when a school only has room for 15-18?  They still have the opportunity to go over the 85 limit, drastically.

So now that a nationwide rule governs signee totals, the morally shaky practice of oversigning should end. Shouldn't it?

Not even close. The rule isn't worth the paper on which it's printed, and everyone in college football knows it.

The NCAA rule was sponsored by the SEC, home to some of the nation's most notorious oversigners. The SEC passed its own rule in 2009, and that rule was in place last year when Auburn signed 32 players and LSU signed 29. Thanks to a lingering numbers drought in the Loveliest Village on the Plains following coach Tommy Tuberville's 2008 ouster, Auburn managed to squeeze every academically qualified player onto the roster. That wasn't the case at LSU, where coach Les Miles already had tried to clear the decks by cutting quarterback Chris Garrett. Miles misjudged how many of his academically shaky signees would qualify, and by summer's end, Miles had two more qualified newcomers than he had available scholarships.

Tommy Tuberville sheds some major light on the competitive advantage aspect of oversigning with his comments:

Tuberville, now the coach at Texas Tech, doesn't need to see any numbers to know oversigning offers a competitive advantage. "Sure it is," he said. "But hey, nobody told [the Big Ten] they had to do that."

Tuberville, who coached at Ole Miss before Auburn, believes oversigning can benefit certain players. It's no coincidence that most of the schools that engage in oversigning are either in states or border states that allow junior college football. A coach will sign players he knows have no chance of qualifying academically and then place those players in junior colleges. In return, the junior college coaches will feed the best of their players back to the FBS programs when those players are ready to transfer. Tuberville believes the practice allowed some players to reach college when they might have otherwise slipped through the cracks.

"I always liked to oversign seven or eight just to sign kids, to motivate them, and then we're going to put you in junior college," Tuberville said. "Once you sign, then we can continue to call you and motivate you to go to class, get your grades higher. Then you go to junior college, and you'll be in a lot better shape. Now, you're not going to be able to do that."

One of the signees Tuberville's Auburn staff placed in a junior college was defensive tackle Nick Fairley. After a stint at Copiah-Lincoln Junior College in Wesson, Miss., Fairley went to Auburn, where he helped the Tigers win a national title. He now is considered the top prospect in the 2011 NFL draft by many analysts.

Memo to Tommy Tuberville, you're right, no one had to tell the Big 10 that they had to ban oversigning, they already knew it was bad for the student-athletes and decided to be proactive instead of reactive.  Being that the Big 10 banned oversigning in 1956, 8 years before Georgia Tech decided to leave the SEC because of oversigning, you would think that the SEC would have figured out that this was bad for student-athletes and not worth the human expense to allow it to continue.  Nonetheless, here we are 55 years later and still trying to get the SEC to come to its senses and put some real teeth into its oversigning rules.

One of the major contributing factors to the oversigning issue, and why it is so prevalent in the SEC, is the academic aspect of recruiting a student-athlete and the JUCO farm system the resides in the Southeastern portion of the country.  As Tuberville mentions, when he was at Auburn, he would sign 7-8 extra and place them in JUCO in hopes that maybe one day a guy like Nick Fairley would come back. 

Here's a news bulletin, Nick Fairley is not going to Notre Dame, Michigan, USC, Penn State, Stanford, Vanderbilt, Northwestern, etc., etc.  Academically he would have not been admitted into Notre Dame - Notre Dame has never had a JUCO player, ever.   Yet the BCS wants everyone to believe that their National Championship is legitimate and that everyone is competing for it on a level playing field - guess what, they are not, and oversigning along with the JUCO farm systems of the south play a major role in explaining why the playing field is not level.

Go read the rest of Andy's article; it's a great piece of work done by a true professional.  This might be the site that is at the epicenter of the oversigning topic, but it takes guys like Andy Staples, Stewart Mandel, Bruce Feldman, Bob Ley, and the countless others with real mainstream media pull to move the needle, and right now it is really moving.  Now we need the local beat writers to really hound the coaches to explain their numbers when signing day comes around.

Filed under: Big 10, NCAA, SEC 118 Comments

Bruce Feldman talks about Oversigning

For those who saw the entire Outside the Lines episode live on ESPN, you got a chance to hear Bruce Feldman talk about oversigning in a little more detail.  Feldman is extremely plugged in on this topic; he spent an entire recruiting season with former University of Mississippi Head Coach, Ed Orgeron while writing the book Meat Market. If you haven't read Meat Market it is an absolute must read.

With his inside perspective on the recruiting process and having been in the trenches, Feldman uncovered a complete sub culture to college football recruiting, particularly in the SEC, that exposes the nasty underbelly of the motives behind many of the issues surrounding the college football recruiting process.  Below he reiterates what he has said many, many times before about the practice of signing and placing and how coaching salaries are tied to recruiting rankings, etc.  If you are an ESPN Insider, you can get the whole story...for those that are not here is what is publicly available:

From @RowlffDogg Why doesn't the national media pay any attention to the practice of oversigning?

I've actually written about the subject several times and helped on a recent "Outside the Lines" segment on the issue. I was also the commentator discussing it in detail right after the near-10 minute piece aired.

One of the points I brought up on the show was about the practice of schools rewarding coaches with bonuses for signing a "top" class (either top 5, top 10 or top 25), or for landing a certain number of four-star players. With coaches having even more of an incentive to meet certain quotas and rankings, they often try to sign certain recruits that they know might have a very tough time qualifying academically.

I wrote about the "Sign-and-Place" method in "Meat Market," and for schools that deal heavily with junior college recruits, that also factors in. The process is this: Sign the shaky four-star prospect so that you can up your recruiting ranking, impress other prospective recruits, appease your fan base (and, in turn, the administration), increase your own chance of landing that recruiting bonus, and then send the players who can't get in academically to a junior college as if it's a farm system. If the kid turns out to be a complete knucklehead or flops on the field, you forget about him. If not, you didn't take up a spot for two years and then the juco coach, who is thrilled you sent him a talented player, has protected him for you and sends you back a more ready-to-play, developed prospect.


It would be interesting for someone to do some research on assistant coaching contracts and see what the bonuses are and how they are tied to recruiting rankings.  Feldman definitely exposes one of the motives behind abusing the signing process and oversigning student-athletes for the sake of personal gain.  Guess that throws a little cold water on the notion that oversigning is harmless and attrition is natural, of course most reasonable folks already knew this to be true.

Filed under: SEC 113 Comments

Oversigning Cup Standings

The Cup Standings will be here at the top until NSD - be sure to scroll down for new posts.  Note we added a column to place a link to the team scholarship roster.  If you have one please post hereIMPORTANT: These standings are not final - at this point in the process we are looking at verbal commitments, which are different than players actually signing.  We should be able to round up solid, concrete numbers after signing day.  This is a reader-based event, your feedback and updates are critical -- if the numbers we have on the board are wrong post an update so we can fix the numbers.  Part of this exercise is to get you, the reader, engaged in this topic and reviewing your own team's numbers - this is just as much about raising awareness as it is crowning a champion of oversigning.

The Oversigning Cup - 2011

School SPES Departures Budget # Verbals Cup Points Roster
Ole Miss* 85 15 15 29 +14 Link 1 2
Alabama 84 12 (8sr+3jr+1ts) 13 18 (+2gs+3Juco)=23 +10 Link
USC** 85 25 25 (-10) 25 +10 Link
LSU 85 12 (11sr+1jr) 12 21 +9  
Arkansas 85 20 (19sr+1jr) 20 28 +8  
South Carolina 77 18 26 (30) +5  
Miss State 85 19 19 24 +5 Link1 2
Clemson 83 20 (18sr+2jr) 22 24 +2 Link
Michigan State 85 17 17 18 +1  
Ohio State 83 20 22 21 (+1Juco) 0 Link1 2
Penn State 84 14 (11sr+3dp) 15 15 0 Link
Florida State 74 13 24 24 0 Link
Notre Dame 78 18 25 23 -2 Link
Miami 85 15 15 12 -3 Link 1 2
Florida 84 18 19 15 -4  
Auburn 84 25 (22sr+3jr) 26 22 -4  
Minnesota 74 14 25 20 -5 Link
Nebraska 85 23 (20sr+2md+1tr) 23 16 (+1gs+1ms)=18 -5  
Georgia 84 25 (19sr+2jr+2dc+1ts+1md) 26 21 -5 Link
Michigan 80 14 (13sr+1tr) 19 12 -7 Link 1 2
Iowa 85 29 29 20 -9  

Table Key

* We need verification on the Ole Miss' SPEC number.  Did they have anyone leave during the season that would have made their SPEC lower than 85?

** We are unclear about USC's appeal situation and whether or not they are allowed the full 85 this year or not.


Dr. Saturday Weighs In on Oversigning – Must Read

This is one of the best articles written on the current state of oversigning.  National Media Members, you have been given your marching orders - drill these coaches about their numbers - generate heat on the coaches, university presidents, and the NCAA.  It is the only way that the abuse of oversigning and the lying and abusing of kids will stop.  Now is the time!!! 


Filed under: Quick Links 71 Comments

Dieon Green was Lied to – Victim of Oversigning

Update: Shortly after this story ran, the Orlando Sentinel pulled it and replaced it with the following.


Interesting to say the least, but common sense would have you believe that Green was telling the truth about being lied to by Coach Huxtable.  However, he suddenly remembers that they told him it might be a possibility that he would have to defer his early enrollment to the fall.

"They had too many guys on scholarship so they couldn't bring me in." Green said. "I wouldn't say I'm looking elsewhere. I've always been open to listening to anyone.

"They told me in December that it was a possibility that I wouldn't be able to come in early. They told me to be prepared just in case, and to go through with filling out all my courses and all that stuff."

During his first interview with the Sentinel on Wednesday, Green vented about his deep disappointed in not being allowed to enroll at UCF this month, as planned. He later contacted the newspaper to reaffirm his commitment to UCF.

UCF signed three four junior college players and brought them in early -- LB Terran Buck, LB Ray Cottman, DE Toby Jackson and DT Jose Jose. The one scholarship left went to DE Joey Grant, a true freshman from Altamonte Springs Lake Brantley. Those five players will count against last year's alottment of scholarships, of which there were five left over and went unused for various reasons.

That left UCF, and Green, out of options for spring semester. Green was in place if one of the junior college players' enrollment fell through.

Regardless of who you believe, the problem here is still the same, the numbers crunch.  UCF was waiting to see if a group of JUCO players would qualify before allowing Dieon to sign and enroll.  Our position is that this needs to be EXPLICT with the student athlete and there should NEVER BE ANY DOUBT WHATSOEVER as to when he can enroll.  If you are that close to the borderline then just don't commit to anything until you know for sure.  Many coaches are lying to these kids, which most likely was the case here but Deion probably decided it was in his best interest to patch things up with UCF, and doing all they can to keep them from looking elsewhere, regardless if they have the room or not.

Original Post:

Just another sad story of a kid being lied to by coaches and a University that allows oversigning.  Now that the light is on the stories are coming out of the wood works.   This time it is Central Florida.

"I feel like I was lied to. I feel like they weren't 100 percent honest with me the whole time," Green said Wednesday. "They knew how many guys they were bringing in. They knew they were going to be cutting it close. It's not like the numbers changed.

"Coach Huxtable told me that I would be the first high school guy they would bring in. The first guy after all of the juco players and then they brought in Joey Grant (Altamonte Springs Lake Brantley). They brought in Joey and Coach Huxtable told me I would be first in line. He lied to me."

"Signing day is not as clear as it used to be."

"They should have told me about the numbers back closer to when I committed," said Green, who committed July 31. "Coach Huxtable just kept saying, 'We want to bring you in early to help the team.’



Official Oversigning Cup Update Thread

This is the official thread for the oversigning cup updates.  Please only post updates and numbers for the cup standings here.   Alabama fans that insist on arguing that there is nothing wrong with oversigning will be removed from this thread.  Please submit entries in the following format: Just include the numbers for each column in the cup along with any relevant links used in your research...roster charts, etc.  A brief explanation is fine, but nothing too long.

The Oversigning Cup - 2011

School SPES Departures Budget # Verbals Cup Points Roster
Ole Miss* 85 15 15 29 +14 Link 1 2
Alabama 84 12 (8sr+3jr+1ts) 13 18 (+2gs+3Juco)=23 +10 Link
USC** 85 25 25 (-10) 25 +10 Link
LSU 85 12 (11sr+1jr) 12 21 +9  
Arkansas 85 20 (19sr+1jr) 20 28 +8  
South Carolina 77 18 26 (30) +5  
Miss State 85 19 19 24 +5 Link1 2
Clemson 83 20 (18sr+2jr) 22 24 +2 Link
Michigan State 85 17 17 18 +1  
Ohio State 83 20 22 21 (+1Juco) 0 Link1 2
Penn State 84 14 (11sr+3dp) 15 15 0 Link
Florida State 74 13 24 24 0 Link
Notre Dame 78 18 25 23 -2 Link
Miami 85 15 15 12 -3 Link 1 2
Florida 84 18 19 15 -4  
Auburn 84 25 (22sr+3jr) 26 22 -4  
Minnesota 74 14 25 20 -5 Link
Nebraska 85 23 (20sr+2md+1tr) 23 16 (+1gs+1ms)=18 -5  
Georgia 84 25 (19sr+2jr+2dc+1ts+1md) 26 21 -5 Link
Michigan 80 14 (13sr+1tr) 19 12 -7 Link 1 2
Iowa 85 29 29 20 -9  

Update: Michigan State Fans. We have you at -1 based on this chart http://michiganstate.247sports.com/Board/94/2011-Football-Scholarship-Chart-726235/1; we need to confirm that you had a full 85 at the end of the season last year.  For now we are assuming that you had a full 85, if not then your cup points are just lower and you still have more room.  Please update if you can.

Arkansas Fans: Rivals has you at 28 verbal commitments; please explain you had 25 last year.  South Carolina, you have 28 verbals as well with 23 last year.


Who Said That?

Several readers have asked about the quote at the top of the home page and who it belongs to.  That quote was one of the inspirations for the site and it came from none other than Nick Saban.  Here is the context from the original interview with Ian Rapport http://blog.al.com/rapsheet/2008/04/playing_the_numbers_game.html 

Today, after Alabama's last spring practice, I had one of those situations. One of the big questions, I think, for the offseason is how will coach Nick Saban whittle the roster down to just 85 scholarships? There are 66 on scholarship now, and assume 25 freshman will enroll. That's 91. So six have to go by August.

How?  That's what I asked Saban today. He was entertaining as always. Let's just say, the conversation was classic:

Me: "The numbers is issue. First, do you know, is Colin Peek on scholarship?"

Saban: (Time to play dumb.) "I don't know. You ask me, do I know..." (Bad question. Clearly, he knows.)

Me: "I think you do know." (See?)

Saban: "You'll have to ask somebody else." (Cue mischievous grin) "You're asking the wrong guy."

Me: (Alright, come on, it's getting late.) "He is, right?"

Saban: "Yeah." (Round one: Me!)

Me: (The real questions) "How are you going to handle the numbers and when do you start to worry about it?"

Saban: (Getting a little loud... What, Saban worry?) "I'm not worried about them. It'll all work out. I mean, the whole thing has a solution to every issue. You don't put yourself in a position where you don't know what's coming, then have to take it in the chops." ("Chops" is such a dad word. Not that there is anything wrong with that) "Aiight? We know how it has to be managed, and it will be managed."


Saban: "And you don't need to call me and ask me to write a column for you, and I won't call you and ask you how to manage our numbers. How's that?"

Me: (Deal! But when when did I suggest how to manage the numbers? If he did ask... I digress.) "I don't even have a calculator." (Can't do math without one of those.)

Saban: (The smile returns.) "You don't need one to do this."

Me: (Throwing the hands up in the air.) "So you're not going to tell us?"

Saban: "I'm not going to tell you what?" (That exit is looking mighty welcoming now.) "It's none of your business. Aiight? And don't give me this stuff about the fans need to know, because they don't need to know."

Me: "I would never say that."

Saban: "Don't even ask. Aiight? So. (Starts to walk out, but he's got one more zinger before he leaves.) Ya know, I thought we could get this one last thing without having to..." (attempt a scolding?)

Me: (Even I start to laugh at that) "You really thought that? No chance."

Saban: (Off the podium, he can't help giggling to himself, too) "Not with you."

Media relations guru Jeff Purinton: (Escorting Saban out the door) "He (me) needed something to hold him over until the season..."

True. Good times...

Compare that with Jim Tressel's press conference video below where he discusses his numbers and how he manages them each year.  That pretty much says it all.

Filed under: SEC 61 Comments

Saban Gets Head Start on the 2011 March to 85

As predicted, Saban has started early with the roster trimming this year. BJ Scott, a key recruit in the #1 ranked 2008 class, is officially taking the Star Jackson career path of transferring down to a lower tier school, the University of South Alabama.  This first showed up on the radar here, and followed up on here.

Roll Bama Roll had a interesting take on BJ Scott:

"Nevertheless, while he never put it together on the field, in many ways Scott served his purpose. His commitment to Alabama in July of 2007 played a major role in our re-taking of the recruiting hotbed of Mobile, and his commitment also helped us sign several other heavily recruited players because he helped our recruiting efforts tremendously down the stretch. Scott never did anything as a player, but he helped push a lot of other kids to Tuscaloosa who have done very well."


Being that the transfer was announced prior to signing day it's not as dubious as the transfers that come after guys spend the entire spring and summer competing for a spot on an oversigned roster.

An update to Alabama's numbers is in the works.

In reading some of the comments posted in response to the announcement of BJ Scott transferring, it's pathetic and disappointing to see the mindset of some Alabama fans when it comes this topic.

Steady up boys, this happens every year, and it happens everywhere. You have kids that don't cut the mustard, and you have to make room for others. It's a business these days. Coaches are paid 3, 4, 5 million dollars a year to win and win big.

You must "over recruit" and shuffle the dead weight around to the back of the line and/or out the door. The players know it too. They have one year on their scholarship, it's reviewed each year. It all works out, it's a plus for the young man who wants to move on so he can get playing time. It improves his chances of making the NFL draft.

It's not as heartless and cold as "some folks" make it out to be.

When I finished HS in 1971 I signed to play at Alabama. We had over 70 freshmen come in that year with 30 plus being invited and uninvited walk ons. Out of that class there were 35 scholarship and 4 became head coaches "three in the SEC and one in the Pac10" and one sports agent , who unfortunately crashed with Payne Stewart. Out of the 35 only 17 of us survived with a number transferring to Livingston, Jax State, Troy and North Alabama. I know for a fact Auburn had Dieter Brock that transferred to Jax State that year and went on to the CFL and NFL. This has been the way of college teams for ever. It is not an Alabama thing or an Auburn thing or any other college. There are a number of reasons some don't make it in a certain program and others do. It also does not matter if a coach is being paid 4 million or 50k. His intent is to win. When was the last time an AD stood up and introduced a coach as "We have hired Bubba because he is a looser and we got him cheap?". I think it is always good that a young man has options to transfer. The problem with them transferring is they are looking at it from a football perspective and not an education one. They all think they can still make it to the NFL. You can name the NFL transfers on your 20 digits. Priorities.

Part of football ...
That 5 star rating from ESPN and Rivals got him nothing....I expect more to come from Bama in the next couple of weeks with the talent still there and the amount headed in the upcoming class..
No big deal here , just like other colleges, the kid wants playing time and wont be getting it at Bama, so you end up with a transfer..
I expect Harris to be next, I think will transfer to JSU..He has talent out the arse but just can't handle the defense ran by Saban and Smart...And then there will be others
RTR, move along, nothing to see here , just the every year transfer that all D1 colleges have each and every year.

It really isn't a big deal, except to some West coast guys that hate the SEC, and the Aubies that read their blog or whatever it is. Anyway, I have heard many college coaches speak as my best friend is a HS coach and I have tagged along with him to several clinics. Most of the coaches that I have heard speak make it very clear that they tell their players out front that a scholarship offer is a one year thing. They tell them that if they don't work hard or if they don't do what is asked of them, then they may not be renewed. Scholarships are like a job, as you are getting to go to school for free, and just like a job, if you do not perform and please your boss, then you get fired.

The oversigning thing is a bunch of whining. Scholarships are a 1 year at a time deal no 4 year contract with kids leaving early, transferring a getting hurt…..I really don’t see the problem as long as its handled tactfully. The more quality players you have the more that are going to leave early…..better to have too much than not enough….

Filed under: SEC 115 Comments

Not All Alabama Fans Support Oversigning

This was posted by a reader in response to the piece on why Georgia Tech left the SEC, but we thought it should be posted for all to see, instead of buried in the archive.  This is yet another example of why the Big 10 has banned oversigning in all sports.  Thanks to "Dranodrog" for sharing your story; this site exists for people like you and others that have been harmed by oversigning. 

My daughter was recruited by Alabama for Cross Country and Track. She was offered 75% of a full ride and signed Nov 9, 2005. She went there the next year and continually placed in the top 5 of her team and was often in the top 3. At the end of her second year, her coach called her into his office and cut her scholarship…but wanted her to stay on the team. She couldn’t afford to do that and got a job as an assistant coach at Tuscaloosa Academy. She then watched new girls come in to run for the Tide under scholarship. She never understood why they did it, but I always knew. They want to get kids in and ingrained into the system, then give that money to get more kids in. My wonderful daughter graduated in 2009 and got to see the mighty Tide’s great Championship Season. We are great Alabama fans, but believe me that I have “a name” of someone who was hurt badly by “the system”.

Filed under: SEC 63 Comments

Big Recruiting Weekend

Nick Saban and Alabama, despite already being on tract to having one of the most oversigned classes in the country is having one of its biggest recruiting weekends this weekend.

"The Crimson Tide will welcome 11 recruits to campus trying to land deals with some of the nation's elite high school athletes."

Wonder what kind of "deals" the writer is talking about here?

"This might be the biggest weekend since (Alabama coach Nick Saban) and his staff have been there," Bamaonline.com recruiting editor Tim Watts said. "It's certainly the biggest I remember in the last 10 years or so. Whenever you see the No. 1 player in the country coming in on a visit it's always a big deal."

So despite the fact that they have 21 verbal commitments and 2 greyshirts that count towards this class, and given Alabama has one of the smallest senior classes in the country, Nick Saban and Alabama are hosting 11 recruits this weekend.  Granted some of them are probably just taking a free trip and there is no way on earth they sign all 11 of them, but why are they even bringing anyone in when they have already exceeded their projected scholarship limit based on the same guidelines the Big 10 Conference office would use to determine if they had room for more recruits?  Why?  Because SEC Commissioner, Mike Slive, is a puppet that serves at the pleasure of the SEC University Presidents and the President at the University of Alabama does not have the guts to stand up to Nick Saban and tell him what he is doing is wrong, unethical, and would not be tolerated anywhere in the Big 10 and at several universities around the country.

Alabama also will welcome a handful of players who already have verbally committed, including Vigor wide receiver Marvin Shinn.

According to Watts and Bone, the Tide has done a good job of filling its needs. But if Alabama can add a few more commitments it could reclaim its place at the nation's overall top signing class for 2011.

We don't have a problem with bringing in guys who have already verbally committed elsewhere, that is common practice and generally accepted, but the issue is that Alabama is so far over the limit and they are hell bent on signing 25-28 and sorting it out during spring camp and summer workouts.  Chances are, the guys that are verbally committed to other schools are committed to schools that have legitimate room for them; yet here is Nick Saban and Alabama, who by Big 10 Conference recruiting rules does not have any room and would be reprimanded, still bringing in recruits and still trying to get players.

The problem is that there is so much talent available now all over the country that the recruiting game is just as much about keeping players away from rivals as it is about filling your roster needs.

The only thing that can stop Nick Saban is the NCAA and the only way to get the NCAA to stop Nick Saban is to continue to spread the word about this practice and to shame the NCAA, Mike Slive, and the University Presidents into putting an end to oversigning.

While they are at it they might want to consider monitoring coaching hires as well...

Alabama may have improved its chances to land Clowney after it hired former Clemson assistant Chris Rumph to coach the defensive line.

For those that don't know, Clowney is a once-in-a-lifetime player.  He is a game changer with raw physical ability rarely seen, even at a school like Alabama that is used to having players like Julio Jones.  Simply put, this kid is a freak and the kind of player with which you win championships.  We're sure hiring Clowney's favorite coach had nothing to do with his recruitment.  This doesn't have anything to do with oversigning, it just wreaks, but then again what doesn't about a school and coach that are habitual abusers of something that an entire conference banned and the reason Georgia Tech left the SEC back in the 1960's.

Filed under: SEC 33 Comments

5 Million Hits!

This month has been amazing in terms of traffic to the site with over 1 million hits in 14 days.  Word has spread to the masses about oversigning.  Thanks to all the readers and followers who have helped spread the word -- keep up the great work!


Chad Hawley, Associate Commissioner of the B1G Conference on the Topic of Oversigning

This morning, we received a forwarded copy of this email from Mr. Hawley from one of our readers and we were able to confirm that it did originate from Mr. Hawley, and that we had his blessing to share his thoughts on the topic of oversigning with the rest of our readers.

From Mr. Hawley:

I appreciate your interest in the issue of oversigning. As you may know, the Big Ten is philosophically opposed to the practice of oversigning in all sports, and our long-standing rules in this area reflect as much. Consequently, we are pleased to see that the conversation regarding oversigning appears to be picking up steam nationally. We’ll continue to monitor that conversation, and when given the opportunity, we will continue to share our position that our approach better serves student-athlete welfare.

I do believe that we are heading in the right direction nationally. For example, there is now an NCAA rule in football—effective for the first time this year—that limits the number of prospects who may sign National Letters of Intent with an institution (28 during the regular signing period). In general, the NCAA rule is not as restrictive as Big Ten rules, but again, it’s a step in the right direction—we voted in favor of the rule and will continue to vote similarly in the future.

I can’t say whether the day will come when NCAA rules prohibit oversigning in any or all sports, but we obviously would welcome such a day. Continued pressure from the media and the public certainly help the cause.

I hope this is helpful to you. Again, thank you for your interest.


Chad Hawley
Associate Commissioner

Things are moving in the right direction, but there is still a lot of work left to be done.  Setting the cap at 28 does not eliminate the problem, as we have seen in the SEC, but is a move in the right direction.  It should be noted that the SEC, the biggest offenders of oversigning, does not have supplemental rules in place to safeguard their student-athletes from oversigning and situations such as what Elliot Porter and Chris Garrett went through this past year.

The associate commissioner has been gracious enough to extend an invitation for further questions and we are working on that now and will share his response as soon as possible.  In the meantime, we thought this was relevant and worthy of sharing.

Filed under: Big 10, Feedback 67 Comments

Oversigning Cup Update – Calling for Help!

The scoreboard has been updated to reflect feedback from readers.  Thanks to the Iowa and Florida people for sending in their data.  We have added a small scorecard in the sidebar on the right for quick reference.

The only way this can work is if you help us - we would love to hear from Penn State, Texas, Auburn, Ole Miss, Ohio State, UNC, Florida State, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Oregon, VT, and everyone else from BCS schools. 

Notre Dame has the best scholarship roster application on the Internet http://www.fat-brain.com/football/notredame.html; if there are any Notre Dame readers we would love get your numbers.  Your scholarship app shows that you have 5 fifth year seniors and 15 regular seniors; of the 15 regular seniors you show 8 that have a 5th year available.  We need to know how many of the 15 are coming back for their 5th year and how many, if any, juniors are leaving early.  The scholarship app shows 77 players on scholarship (which doesn't sound right), but if it were, and all of your seniors were leaving, you would have room for 28; right now you have 19 recruits.  Oversigning has never been a problem with Notre Dame, in fact, Notre Dame's roster management should be held has the gold standard for all of college football; it is the polar opposite of Alabama and LSU.

There are so many people out there that are much closer to these programs than we are - with your help we can really get a gauge for who is abusing this loophole the most.

The Oversigning Cup - 2011

School SPES Departures Budget # Verbals Cup Points Roster
Ole Miss* 85 15 15 29 +14 Link 1 2
Alabama 84 12 (8sr+3jr+1ts) 13 18 (+2gs+3Juco)=23 +10 Link
USC** 85 25 25 (-10) 25 +10 Link
LSU 85 12 (11sr+1jr) 12 21 +9  
Arkansas 85 20 (19sr+1jr) 20 28 +8  
South Carolina 77 18 26 (30) +5  
Miss State 85 19 19 24 +5 Link1 2
Clemson 83 20 (18sr+2jr) 22 24 +2 Link
Michigan State 85 17 17 18 +1  
Ohio State 83 20 22 21 (+1Juco) 0 Link1 2
Penn State 84 14 (11sr+3dp) 15 15 0 Link
Florida State 74 13 24 24 0 Link
Notre Dame 78 18 25 23 -2 Link
Miami 85 15 15 12 -3 Link 1 2
Florida 84 18 19 15 -4  
Auburn 84 25 (22sr+3jr) 26 22 -4  
Minnesota 74 14 25 20 -5 Link
Nebraska 85 23 (20sr+2md+1tr) 23 16 (+1gs+1ms)=18 -5  
Georgia 84 25 (19sr+2jr+2dc+1ts+1md) 26 21 -5 Link
Michigan 80 14 (13sr+1tr) 19 12 -7 Link 1 2
Iowa 85 29 29 20 -9  


Tressel on Oversigning

This is a video we posted a long time ago of Jim Tressel talking about his 2010 recruiting class.  Oversigning.com has had over 4 Million hits since its creation last February, but the vast majority of that traffic has been in the last 6 months or so, and as with any blog site content often rolls off the front page and gets buried in the archive somewhere.

With National Signing Day approaching, we thought we would revisit Jim Tressel's press conference from last year that took place just days after sign day.  The video below is about 8 minutes long, but we are only concerned with the first 2-3 minutes.

In the video, Tressel announces to the media that Ohio State had 20 vacancies they could fill with the current recruiting class.  That number, no doubt, was based on the number of seniors graduating and the number of juniors leaving for the NFL early, plus any scholarships that were banked from the previous year.

Tressel explains that one thing you never want to do is go over the limit but in order to sign everyone they wanted to sign they would have had to sign 30 guys.  The limit he is talking about is not the limit of 25 guys per class, he is talking about the 85 limit.  It is important to note that he treats signatures as enrolled players.  When he says "right now we are at 18" he is referring to having 18 kids signed not 18 kids enrolled.  Ironically, one of the kids he signed did not make it into school and that scholarship was given to a deserving walk-on for his senior year. 

The 19th player he had hoped to sign was Seantrel Henderson.  Ohio State did not land Seantrel and since they were not able to sign more than they projected to have room for they couldn't heavily recruit Seantrel and several other top OL prospects for fear of landing more than they would project having room for or having to turn someone away after an offer had been given.  Ohio State could have easily pursued 5 OL and found some pour soul(s) to cut on the bottom end of the roster, but that didn't happen and won't happen under Big 10 recruiting rules.

Notice there is no mention of medical hardships, grey shirts, cuts, transfers, etc.  Notice that he doesn't get upset with the media for asking questions about his numbers, in fact he is as transparent as the NCAA will allow him to be with regards to roster management.

Let's compare that to Nick Saban's current recruiting class, ranked #1 in the country.

Saban has roughly 8 scholarship seniors and he announced this week that 3 Juniors are leaving early for the NFL.  That is roughly 11 scholarship openings.  Let's be generous and say there are 15 openings.  His class right now has 22 verbal commitments plus two players that accepted a grey shirt offer from last year and are expected to enroll this year.  That makes 24 total scholarship commitments this year and only 15 at most openings.  There was no room to back count players to last year's class so everyone is going to count towards this year.

But Nick Saban is not finished recruiting yet.  National Signing Day has not arrived and Nick Saban is still pursuing recruits such as #1 ranked DE Clowney. 

Defenders of Saban's recruiting practices and even Saban himself will probably tell you that they have a plan and that everything is on the up and up with the NCAA.  What they won't tell you is that his plan is to exploit every known loophole in the NCAA rule book for recruiting.  Players will be moved to medical hardships, transferred, or asked to greyshirt in order to make room to get down to 85, room he didn't have when he accepted their signed letter of intent. 

There is something drastically wrong when a coach like Jim Tressel has 1 greyshirt and maybe 2 medical hardships in 10 years at Ohio State and Nick Saban has 12 medical hardships in 4 years and is looking at giving out 10 greyshirt offers this year.  It's a problem and it's real.   And LSU is no different - it's not just Alabama.

Filed under: Big 10, SEC 88 Comments

Leather Helmet Blog – Should Georgia Leave the SEC like GT Did?

The Georgia-based website, LHB, has been a supporter of this site since its creation.  We recently received an email from its owner, Greg Poole, regarding his concern that should Georgia lose Mark Richt that the new coaching staff would use oversigning in order to keep up with the Alabama's and LSU's of the SEC West.

Obviously, Poole and many Georgia fans take great pride in not oversigning.  Many of the SEC supporters that we have on this site are Georgia or SEC East fans being that the East does not oversign to the extent of the West.  This is not something new with regards to the state of Georgia or the issue of SEC West teams abusing oversigning.  We wrote a piece a good while back when we were first investigating oversigning regarding Georgia Tech's departure from the SEC.  Here are a couple of lines from that piece for those who don't want to read the entire entry.

This is a quote from Bobby Dodd's book, Dodd's Luck.

"Another issue of concern for Dodd was Alabama's and other SEC schools' over-recruitment of players.[11] Universities would recruit more players than they had roster space for.  During the summer practice sessions, the teams in question would cut the players well after signing day thus preventing the cut players from finding new colleges to play for.  Dodd appealed the SEC administration to punish the "tryout camps" of his fellow SEC members but the SEC did not. Finally, Dodd withdrew Georgia Tech from the SEC in 1963.[11] Tech would remain an independent like Notre Dame and Penn State (at the time) during the final four years of Dodd's coaching tenure."

Georgia Tech, a charter member of the SEC, withdrew from the SEC in large part because of the oversigning issue back in 1960's (yes we know about the fight with Alabama and the broken jaw, but that was only part of the issue according to Bobby Dodd in his book).  This problem, while greatly diminished from back in Dodd's day, still has not been completely eradicated.

More from 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.

Maybe it is time the University of Georgia takes a stand like Georgia Tech did back in the 1960's.  It's pretty clear that Georgia fans see oversigning for what it is and are against it; they see the harm it causes, the lying required to make it happen, and the competitive advantage that is gained through its abuse.  All of that has been well documented and is indisputable.  This is simply a matter of ethics.  Our advice to Leather Helmet Blog is to lead the charge for the SEC East to pressure Mike Slive and the 12 University Presidents to take serious action on this issue.  No more window dressing. 

The Huston Nutt rule was an absolute joke and nothing more than window dressing sparked by Nutt mocking the rule book in front of the media; had it not been for his blatant disregard in front of the media there would be no 28 player cap.  Force them to address this issue.  Force them to make each school report their number of openings after January 15th, the deadline for Juniors to declare for the draft, and force them to only accept signed letters of intent for the number of openings they show to have on National Signing day.  Stop the SEC from being allowed to sign way more than they have room for February and then figure out how to get back down to 85 in August.  This is exactly what was going on back in Dodd's day; the numbers are just a little different.

Everyone should demand transparency in the roster management.  Bring roster management out into the light; fans want to know about it, fans like Greg Poole over at LHB.

Filed under: SEC 20 Comments

Oversigning Cup Update

Update: Iowa, Florida, Alabama, and LSU have been added.

We're making one change to the oversigning cup table; we're changing "# Signed" to "# Verbals" and will change it back to "# Signed" after NSD. 

Note to readers; when submitting your entries, please give us the data for each column along with your references.  Once we can confirm your data (to the best of our ability given our limited resources), we will add it to the table.

The Oversigning Cup - 2011

School SPES Departures Budget # Verbals Cup Points Roster
Ole Miss* 85 15 15 29 +14 Link 1 2
Alabama 84 12 (8sr+3jr+1ts) 13 18 (+2gs+3Juco)=23 +10 Link
USC** 85 25 25 (-10) 25 +10 Link
LSU 85 12 (11sr+1jr) 12 21 +9  
Arkansas 85 20 (19sr+1jr) 20 28 +8  
South Carolina 77 18 26 (30) +5  
Miss State 85 19 19 24 +5 Link1 2
Clemson 83 20 (18sr+2jr) 22 24 +2 Link
Michigan State 85 17 17 18 +1  
Ohio State 83 20 22 21 (+1Juco) 0 Link1 2
Penn State 84 14 (11sr+3dp) 15 15 0 Link
Florida State 74 13 24 24 0 Link
Notre Dame 78 18 25 23 -2 Link
Miami 85 15 15 12 -3 Link 1 2
Florida 84 18 19 15 -4  
Auburn 84 25 (22sr+3jr) 26 22 -4  
Minnesota 74 14 25 20 -5 Link
Nebraska 85 23 (20sr+2md+1tr) 23 16 (+1gs+1ms)=18 -5  
Georgia 84 25 (19sr+2jr+2dc+1ts+1md) 26 21 -5 Link
Michigan 80 14 (13sr+1tr) 19 12 -7 Link 1 2
Iowa 85 29 29 20 -9