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.

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  1. You’re rant about the JUCO system is…interesting, and I’m not really even sure where to start. So I guess I’ll start with the inaccuacies:

    “the JUCO farm system the resides in the Southeastern portion of the country”
    “the JUCO farm systems of the south play a major role in explaining why the playing field is not level”

    Here is a list of all the JUCO football programs in the country:

    The Southeast certainly has its fair share of JUCOs, but so do the Northeast, Midwest, Southwest, and West Coast.

    As for the JUCO system being a farm system specific to the SEC, take a look at the following:

    Looking at the list of schools that have accepted commitments from JUCO players, I see reps from the ACC, SEC, Big East, Big TEN, Big 12, Pac 10, WAC, MWC, and Conference USA. But since Notre Dame and a few select other schools choose not to lower themselves to accept players unless they were national merit finalists coming out of high school, then certainly all colleges should adopt the same standard. On a related note, USC (one of the discriminating schools you singled out) signed 4 JUCO players this year, but I’m sure you’re right that they never would’ve signed Nick Fairley.

    It is interesting though that you chose Notre Dame as your shining example when you almost always use Ohio State. Surely, Jim Tressell has never stooped to signing a lowly JUCO player, has he?

    • My comment wasn’t regarding the number of juco programs around the country, it was regarding the nature of those in the southeast where they have a close relationship with SEC schools and benefit from schools like auburn signing 7-8 extra and placing them. I know there are juco all over the country.

      • and yet, vesper showed that programs all over the country sign JUCO players. Kansas St used to live on Juco players, same with Fresno St. By the way, Tressel himself has recruited many Juco players. In fact, just in December he had some JUCO players on campus recruiting them.

        • I think Tressel has brought in two Jucos in 10 years, so I don’t know about “many”

          • Didn’t that give Ohio State a competitive advantage over schools like Northwestern and Notre Dame who didn’t have any JUCO players? Guess Josh is right, the playing field isn’t level.

            • Very convincing argument….

              • Thanks, but I can’t take credit for it:

                “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”

          • i said recruited, not signed.

    • Excellent points, Vesper.

      Why have they turned to attacking the junior college system? Why is it bad all of a sudden that student-athletes are being given opportunity to get their lives in order and make it to college?

      If this is the new line of attack, then it fails miserably. Vesper just cut it off at the knees. Well done.

      So instead of having an individual who would never experience college and thus receive no higher education at all, we have individuals who receive extra instruction to prepare them for college and then are delivered to college, but because they help teams win football games it must be a bad deal. Hmmm… the anti-roster maximization argument seems to be getting closer to its true face. What could possibly be the real objection here? Hmm..

      • I’ll take a stab. The real objection is clear: SEC schools (except for Vanderbilt and to a lesser extent Florida) are bottom feeders on the academic food chain and draw students from a region of the country that is least prepared academically for top- tier higher education. Rather than pushing their schools to improve academically, SEC fans appear to revel in the fact that they can use the fact that JUCOs can easily qualify for admission at Alabama, Auburn, MSU, Ole Miss, Arkansas and Tennessee as a source of great competitive advantage. I guess it rankles others that what should be a source of shame is actually a source of pride for so many defenders of the SEC. Roll Tide.

        It is not just ND, Nortwestern does not accept any JUCOs either — because anyone who has the tickets academically will apply directly and will not need to go the JUCO route. Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin enroll a tiny percentage of students from JUCOs for the same reason.

        This is obvious, isn’t it? Couple oversigning, parking the oversigned and then admitting JUCOs and you have identified a potent source of football superiority for the SEC based on academic inferiority.

        And to be consistent, in college basketball, I rooted for Duke over UNLV in the 1990s. I am certain you rooted for Tarkanian and UNLV (“UNLV gives those poor boys a chance — isn’t it great).

        • Going WAY off topic here to correct a misperception about Duke basketball, but they used prep schools the way some SEC uses junior colleges. For example, Duke parked William Avery in a prep school to get him eligible to enroll at Duke under the NCAA’s minimum standards. Duke basketball player academics are not what you appear to think, and aren’t distinguished from the rest of college basketball in any meaningful way.

          Now, back to oversigning.

        • So, if you can’t qualify academically for the “top-tier higher education” offered only in the north, you should just resign yourself to bagging groceries as you have no place on a college campus? Yes, I do like the fact that some schools encourage some players who have underachieved to make better of themselves so that they can make it into college and eventually a better life. What is your suggestion for these players? Please enlighten me as I am at a loss. In every article on this site, oversigning is portrayed as nothing if not damaging to the players, yet when it is shown to be helpfull in getting some kids in school, the welfare of these players be damned – they are beneath you and should not be allowed on the same field as your higher-IQ athletes. Rubbish.

          BTW, how many Rhodes Finalists did your team have this year? Just wondering.

          • Wasn’t Reggie Germany a Rhoses Scholar? Prerry sure he was, Other Rhodes Scholars/Finalists include Andy Katzenmoyer and Duron Carter, just to nbame a couple.

            You guys are off the reservation. If you are trying to suggest that you have a bunch of academic whiz kids in Columbus, you are out of your mind. Here’s a quote from one of the current Rhodes candidates. I’ll leave it to you guys to figure out who it is:

            “Not everybody’s the perfect person in the world. I mean everyone kills people, murders people, steals from you, steals from me, whatever.”

            You really have to be impressed. I think the biggest belly laugh I have had in years was when it was announced that this particular individual was recognized for his academic achievement. Uhhhh, OK. I am real sure that guy is Dean’s List…

  2. I see what you did there. Tubbs said that oversigning helps some players, and offered a specific example of one. Then you went on a rant about Notre Dame. Way to sidestep the issue you pretend to deal with. Is it your position that Fairley should just have been thrown away? Should he be pumping gas somewhere? Tubbs points out that Fairley will be making tens of millions of dollars due to oversigning. But that sort of diminishes your stupid point that oversigning is all bad.

    • Helped him what, make millions playing football? I thought this was about athletics enhancing the academic experience? That’s what te NCAA says. And just because 1 guy makes it through the system and becomes a millionaire football player it doesn’t mean the system is right. What about the guys that don’t make it? There are far more of them.

      • 1. How is Fairley not an example of athletics enhancing the academic experience? He would not have made it into Auburn if coaches did not convince him to go to JUCO, and then check in on him and make sure he was doing right. Seems to me that that is about as pure of an example of athletics enhancing academics as you can find. The guy played well, and because of that, he had people going out of their way to make sure he spent more time concentrating on his academics to gain eligibility.
        2. No system is perfect, and people will always fall away. But you are arguing that people who do not get it in high school should never have a chance. Why should they not go the JUCO route? Why is it any better to throw kids away because they don’t get it when they are 16 and 17, but to harbor them when they are 21 and 22?
        3. Colleges do the same things with academics. My scholly was renewable yearly provided that I maintained a certain GPA. If I ever failed to maintain that GPA, it would have been yanked. Doesn’t the NCAA say that student athletes are not supposed to get benefits not available to normal students? Wouldn’t offering students schollies predicated on performance, but then giving athletes schollies that do not similarly take performance into account favor them?
        4. Not renewing a schollie does not deny an athlete an education. Often, they still get a medical schollie. Even if not, they can apply for academic schollies, work-study, or take out the money in loans. I don’t get why we need to show them any more deference than the average student recieves. It is college. It is competitive and cut throat. And to prepare you for the world, it should be.

        • First, I would like to laugh at your comment if if wasn’t so ridiculous…

          3. Where are these performance standards written? Sure, your 2.5 GPA still qualifies you for your scholarship to Argosy? Where are these performance standards for student-athletes?

          4. Often, they get a medical schollie???? not really, most schools have limits to how many medical scholarships they can offer.

          I laugh at your sanctimony about college being cut-throat…If you ever strapped on pads at a D-1 school, you would really know what competition is about. Most people, will never see this level of cut-throat competition in their life…

          • Mario,

            With respect, don’t you think that athletic scholarships implicitly carry an athletic component to the performance standard required for renewal similar to those academic components required for academic scholarship renewal? If someone is not prepared for the competitive athletic requirements, it seems to me that another type of scholarship should be sought.

            Also, limits on medical scholarships seem to be a bad idea to me. In terms of education, medical scholarships have no bad effect at all that I can see even being argued by detractors. The student remains at his current school, but no longer has the physical burden of his sport. What do you think we’re missing?

            (Also, Mario, I don’t know if you got a chance to see, but I had a few questions about letters of intent in the previous (Bruce Feldman) thread that I’d hoped you could answer. You seem to me to be the best source here for it. Thanks.)

          • I will adress 3.

            Not all grades at all schools are purely objective measures either. And most academic schollies require at least a 3.0, not a 2.5. The grades are not objective if you are involved in a situation where the classes are graded on a curve. That smart kid in the corner blows your curve and your GPA with it. So you have to be better than those around you. Just like football.

        • craig,

          You raise a great point. Given the extremes in disparity of high school preparation received by some students compared to others, junior college is their best and likely only option, a saving grace, on the path to a higher education.

          Attacking the junior college system, as anti-roster maximizers/anti-oversigners do, because they don’t like that their favorite football teams are losing is just despicable to me.

      • Terrence Cody went from unrecruited, to JUCO, to 2nd round pick in the NFL. it happens quite a lot. It also allows players to get an education, a 2 yr degree if nothing else. And “athletics enhancing the academic experience”? Cmon now, you know better. College football is a business, plain and simple. Let Tressel, or any coach, graduate all their players but consistently finish 8-4, 9-3, but no better and see how long they last. Shoot, Cooper was practically run out of town because he could beat almost any other team in the land but couldnt beat Michigan. At least, that is the perception of everyone outside the state of Ohio.

        • But the athletic experience does enhance the academic experience for these players. Cody, Fairley, and others like them would have simply been thrown away by the academic program. They would never have had a chance. The athletic departments allowed them to strive for something better, and pushed them towards furthering their educations. How many people without the athletic abilities would have had people from these schools pushing themselves to better themselves? Even the ones that don’t make it to the league end up in school. And even if they lose their schollie, at least they are exposed to the college environment, which gives them a greater likelihood of persuing the completion of a degree.

        • Just so you know: Cooper was run out of town for lack of success in big games (Michigan and bowl games) AND because graduation rates were terrible. Do you remember the SI cover story on Andy Katzenmoyer’s pathetic grades and class schedule? That’s the lasting impression of the Cooper era here in Columbus. Academic improvement is half of why we love Tressel so much

      • Joshua,
        I am kind of new on this topic and think the things that Saban and Les Miles have done over the past year are disgusting BUT I have no idea why Tommy Tuberville signing Nick Fairley in 2007 knowing he wouldn’t qualify is a big deal at all. It seems like a benefit to me, he wasn’t taking up anyone’s scholarship at all. He wasn’t causing a player to be cut or put on medical scholarship. It was just a school formalizing a relationship with a kid and hopefully helping him in JUCO. I fail to see the issue with this at all. Can you tell me what I am missing here? Can you tell me who was harmed by Auburn signing Nick Fairley in 2007?

      • Not speaking for all schools, but athletics does help enhance the academic experience at LSU. First of all, LSU football brings in more money than it spends (via: http://espn.go.com/blog/sec, which sites http://blogs.forbes.com/sportsmoney/2011/01/26/whos-making-money-in-sec-football/), which helps the program fund its own expenses as well as those of other athletic programs. And with the current financial issues in Louisiana, the athletic department is giving the university $8million/yr (http://www.nola.com/lsu/index.ssf/2011/01/qa_with_lsu_athletic_director.html). Correct me if I’m wrong, but how is that not a direct example of athletics benefitting students regardless of athletic-status?

    • You guys are so frustrating. Tubberville says something and you lap it up. Sure, some players are helped out by the system as it currently is. Some. How many are hurt? Why is that you guys always ignore the important points being made? oh yeah, because it’s easier to do than to face the facts. There’s a reason the NCAA even established rules. There’s a reason the Big Ten established them. There’s a reason anyone with a brain is against the practice and call it unethical. They’re all wrong and you guys are right. Nice make believe world you live in. The rest of us here in reality await your return.

  3. Joshua I have a question? Why do you talk about Ohio State not oversigning back in the 50′s, and Georgia tech leaving beacuse of the process. There was no such thing as oversigning back then, as there were no restrictions to the number of scholarships given. Pleas explain. Thanks

    • http://oversigning.com/testing/index.php/2010/02/14/why-did-georgia-tech-leave-the-sec/
      Read it. An excerpt from the article, which is excerpted from elsewhere:
      “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.”

      • The point: you’re being willfully ignorant of history.

      • Yep. Right into a world of mediocrity. It’s a shame. They’d have been competitive if they’d stayed.

        Now they’re begging to get back in, and Georgia and Auburn won’t let them.

        • Who said they wanted to go back? In any case, it’s irrelevant: you’re deflecting the question. The guy made a stupid statement (there was no oversigning in the 1950s!) and he got an answer (yes there was, with the 140 rule). Your claim is interesting, and I’ll challenge it: show me a credible article published within the past 24 months saying that Georgia Tech wants to join the SEC but Georgia and Auburn won’t let them back in.

          • Well, it wasn’t in the last couple of years. It was a while back. The point is the same, nothing changed since they left till they reapplied, and yet they wanted back in.

          • it was back in the 70′s that the talk about GA Tech coming back to the SEC was going on. Bear was personally sponsoring them but Dodd believed that the Mississippi schools would block their return. But when it came time, it was told that UGA and Auburn were the main people blocking their return, since they recruit from the same base of players.

            • Okay. Let me rephrase the question: show me a credible article published within the past 24 months saying that Georgia Tech wanted (past tense) to join the SEC but Georgia and Auburn wouldn’t let them back in. If it sources dates and who specifically said no, even better.

              • There is nothing to my knowledge from the past 24 months no.

                My point was, after they left the SEC, after a few years “enjoying” independence, they wanted back in.

              • issue with that, no one is going to be on record for that. It could be used in possible law suits. GA tech could claim that UGA and Auburn limited them financially by denying them access to the SEC and their payouts, etc.

  4. It is clear who is winning this debate.

    kudos to this website.

    • lol, a KSU fan talking on this subject? Your program used to live on JUCO’s. that was about all Snyder ever recruited

    • Yeah, it is. Very clear. And Alabama fans are understandably panicked. They know what’s coming.

      • I don’t fret it at all. If the NCAA were to adopt the B10 rule, all that will happen is less borderline students will get offers from Alabama. Less academically questionable players will be assisted in achieving their full potential, and less kids will have the opportunity to play for their preferred school. Alabama will still be at the top of recruiting (as long as Saban is there) just less opportunity will be spread around.

        • Yep. Kids would get left behind. Kids that are borderline, won’t get offers, and they’ll focus on the kids that can qualify. Kids will still go to Alabama, and Alabama will still be elite.

          You know, unlike Georgia.

        • Nick saban coached under the B10 rule (34-24-1). I believe Mark Ingram (rivals #17 position rank, 180′s overall) was a late addition (oversigned) to the class. You’re right, I wouldn’t fret it at all either!

          • So Saban takes over a program that was 19-26 over the previous 4 years and gets to a 35-24-1 record and you portray that as a failure? Seems like a turn around if you ask me. Yes, Mark was a late addition, as was Julio Jones. Neither of which would have been left out had he not oversigned as they were both high on the wish list. I don’t fret it, I just don’t see the need to ban “oversigning” as stated on this site. I see as much, if not more, harm done were this to happen.

            • A turn around to what? MSU never won a conference title or a national title under Saban. Saban coached at MSU (’95-’99) for 5yrs. Let’s take a look at MSU’s record the previous 5 yrs (27-29-1) and not the 4yrs you conveniently looked at. During those 5 yrs MSU won 1 conference title. MSU had won only 6 conference titles since ’53 (joined B10) before Saban and consistently finished mid pack or below. Saban had to compete against UM, OSU, and the B10 rule for recruits. Failure? You tell me! It wouldn’t have took much for success! What I am trying to portray is maybe if the NCAA would crack down on conferences that allow oversigning and adopt the B10 rule then maybe Slick Nick wouldn’t have the advantage he has now. The NCAA started limiting scholarships in “73(105) then “78(95), ’92(92), ’93(88), ’94(85). So now there are a lot more have’s and less have not’s. But, as with a lot of NCAA rules(85 limit), there are loopholes schools have taken advantage of (oversigning), that the original rule itself wasn’t intended for, therefore you have “late additions”. So lets play poker, best 5 cards win, you play stud rules and I’ll play draw rules!

              • Gee, where did Saban go after he left MSU? Hmmmmm…

                • LSU, another team with an average-at-best record – where he turned it around, won a national title and left it in such good shape that it is still a top-10 program today despite the mis-managing oaf they have at the helm.

                  • That’s my point. I knew he went to LSU. He’s won 2 national titles in the SEC and none while in the B10 under B10 rule. Clearly an SEC advantage.

              • Loopholes? Why is there a greyshirt rule if not so a school can better manage the lesser scholarships available? Why would the NCAA “crack down” on conferences that aren’t breaking the rules? You portray Nick as “slick”, insinuating dishonesty, and having an advantage. It has been revealed more than once that he does, in fact inform his recruits of the terms of their scholarship offers where others are less open. Secondly, it is not an advantage to compete within the rules. If the B10 required its teams to go for 2 after every touchdown because they felt the 1-point addition has become too automatic, would you require the rest of the country to follow suit? Of course not. If you want to handcuff your schools then so be it, but that doesn’t mean everyone else has an advantage, the better description is that the B10 operates under a willful disadvantage.

                • The better description is that the B10 operates under an ethical disavantage. Do you really think an 18 yr old kid who’s supposed to be all everything/living in the moment and is told by someone like Nick Saban that his offer is for 1 yr/renewable would even think about being cut, and not realizing his dream of going pro! The majority of these kids are student/athletes (per NCAA). Very few of them don’t have to worry about their grades other than to stay eligible. They won’t be playing on sunday’s. They need the education. So if you’re good enough to get a scholarship from a big time coach at a major university should you lose that education because the coach was wrong? We’re not handcuffing our schools, we want to win (and do win) just not at all costs. Back in the day, when there were no limits, schools would give out scholarships to all the big time recruits they wanted then to the average recruits other schools wanted as an insurance. You know, in case they missed on somebody or to keep the little guys down. That’s how Alabama, Michigan, Ohio State, USC, Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas, to name a few, built their tradition. Take as many as we need and them some, then we’ll weed them out type of thing. Sound familar? Then the NCAA started limiting scholarships (to level the playing field) and it changed everything. The NCAA needs to step up, revise the rule, and practice what it preaches when it says “student/ athlete”.

      • Alabama fans arent panicked. We have won a title before Saban, we feel confident we can win one after. Question is, when will Georgia be relevant again?

  5. Andy Staples put out a chart of the worst offenders in an article he wrote yesterday. It appears this site is a bit biased.

  6. it does also say that Alabama Nick Saban is UPFRONT with the recruits…. They understnad what they are getting into…

    Give Saban credit. At least he tells recruits they might get cut to clear space for newer signees. When the Myrtle Beach (S.C.) Sun-News interviewed seven participants in the Offense-Defense Bowl about the topic of the one-year, renewable scholarship, only one, Alabama commitment Christion Jones, knew his scholarship had to be renewed annually. “Coach Saban told me it’s a one-year scholarship you have to work for,” Jones told the paper. “Some coaches don’t tell some kids. Some kids have to find out the hard way.”

    They are not doing anything that isn’t allowed… I understand you don’t agree with it, but I’m fine with it as I’ve been through the process myself.

    • Bathel,

      That section struck me as well. It shows that a coach can operate ethically within the system by communicating clearly with recruits/signees. Good for Saban.

      The problem, such as it exists, lies with individual coaches who fail to communicate properly, not with the practice of roster maximization/oversigning.

      • That quote leaves a lot of room for Saban to exploit players who don’t truly understand the odds and risks they are dealing with.

        But even if it didn’t, you seriously want your university having THAT as their official policy?

        Unreal. How embarrassing.

        • THAT is what you took from that quote? Not that Saban is educating his recruits so that they know what they are getting into and can make an intellegent deciscion? You read that and still see Saban exploiting players? Seems to me that he is one of the responsible ones. Yes, that is a policy I certainly feel good about.

        • Call the waaambulance. You can’t ever be satisfied, or admit that you villanized a guy, when evidence smacks you in the face.

          And I don’t mind the policy being that. It’s an ATHLETIC scholarship. Nobody is bringing these kids in to form a brain trust.

        • Each recruit and parent at some point have to be responsable for what they sign.

          I don’t believe in a cradle to grave state, so yes… I seriously would want that a my University’s OFFICAL policy… Give the kids and parents the information and let them decide what’s best for them… after all, no one is forcing them to sign on the dotted line they can always pay there own way and walk on the team and then be free to transfer or leave whenever they want.

    • Wow. Funny THAT little tidbit missed the front page.

      Looks like Saban should be removed from the offender file, since he’s being honest about the process to his guys.

  7. I notice that you make no mention of the following from this article:

    Give Saban credit. At least he tells recruits they might get cut to clear space for newer signees. When the Myrtle Beach (S.C.) Sun-News interviewed seven participants in the Offense-Defense Bowl about the topic of the one-year, renewable scholarship, only one, Alabama commitment Christion Jones, knew his scholarship had to be renewed annually. “Coach Saban told me it’s a one-year scholarship you have to work for,” Jones told the paper. “Some coaches don’t tell some kids. Some kids have to find out the hard way.”

    Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/andy_staples/01/24/oversigning/index.html#ixzz1C3z3prG8

    Since Saban gets top billing on every bit of inuendo in every article you can find, I fing it difficult to believe you didn’t read that part. When he is shown in a somewhat positive light, you conveniently neglect it. I have read comments from pretty much every commentor on this site that the coaches don’t inform the kids what their circumstances will be. Here is a solid quote from one of Alabama’s recruits that Saban was up-front with him on what his scholarship is. I have said several times on this site that oversigning is not a bad practice, it is the lying or poor management that some coaches do that hurts the kids. If they are aware of what they have to do to keep the scholarship, and coaches help the kids that don’t make it (JUCO for academic and benefitual transfers for kids wanting more playing time) then there is nothing wrong with any of this.

    Additionally, you bash Tubberville right after quoting the article showing how oversigning was helpfull in getting Fairly into school. You say “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”. We have an example of oversigning being good, and all you say is that it is bad. You can’t back up your arguments, you just keep repeating your conclusion. When I first started reading this site, you would at least give arguments to support your position, now you just keep repeating how evil it is, even when presented with positive elements from this practice.

    • I think that is the false premise here that CNS and UA waits until after they see who they bring before they decide to cut. Speculation has run rampant in that regards. Again it doesn’t matter about a recruiting budget because all that would do is what some of the schools on here people praise for their practice do and that is kick players off for violation of rules or have transfers announced prior to NSD.

      Players are informed and as that article points out C Jones was told by CNS what others on here speculate he doesn’t. So now you have a recruit incoming stating that but someone will still argue against because it helps their arguement. Just like CNS does not know who will transfer out or not coming back. Another statement made by posters on here but yet is false. Because if CNS did not know exactly how many spots there were going to be why would he tell X ward or J Pinkston, two highly recruited players we were on early, that there was no more room and that we were no longer recruiting them in the last week. He knows the numbers before hand.

  8. For the record, I like his second and third suggestions. I find no reason for the B10 rule to become the norm, but the other rule changes would provide penalties for events like the Miles-Porter fiasco of this past year. Below are the suggestions:

    “• Look to the Big Ten. That conference has no trouble with oversigning because of its longstanding rules. Maybe everyone else should simply institute the same rules. The Big Ten hasn’t tried to push its rules on everyone else, but it might be time for the conference to start. “It’s just something we haven’t been evangelical about,” Hawley said. “It’s so ingrained in our culture. It’s just the way we’ve always operated. It hasn’t been an issue that we’ve pushed.”
    As I said above, no reason to adopt the B10 rule.

    “• Take away the Letter of Intent. Membership in the National Letter-of-Intent program is a privilege, not a right. If a school doesn’t deliver on the scholarship it promised in an NLI, don’t allow that school to take part in the NLI program the following year. The NLI binds a signee to a school for an academic year. If a player hasn’t signed one, he can still be recruited by anyone. In other words, without the NLI, even players who have signed scholarship agreements are fair game for other schools until the second they set foot in a college classroom.”
    Great idea. I’ll support this with anybody.

    “• Hit them where it really hurts. Though they seem careless with their offers, nothing is more sacred to a coach who oversigns than the scholarship itself. So take away those scholarships. If a coach fails to provide a promised scholarship to a signee, he gets one mulligan. Everyone makes mistakes. Do it again, and the program loses five scholarships for a year. Do it a third time, and the program loses 10 scholarships. Use the same rule if a coach is found to be manipulating the medical hardship rule to clear the decks for new signees — except without the mulligan. A coach whose own stupidity costs his program 10 scholarships also will cost himself his job, and there will be one fewer oversigner to offer scholarships he can’t ultimately deliver.”
    Another fine idea, but the problem is how do you verify the medical hardship rule to be manipulated? In the much-publicized Alabama-WSJ article, it still states that the rulings were approved by a doctor and agreed to by the students.

    Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/andy_staples/01/24/oversigning/index.html#ixzz1C44Pnl5D

  9. Not sure how anyone can draw any conclusive statements about how upfront Saban is based on that one line.

    We do know that, without a doubt, that he is one of the worst offenders of oversigning.

    • 1. My point is partly that most people on this site have used far less to condem him. There is no evidence that he does not inform his recruits, and this is another of several that have said he is upfront. The other quotes I have read usually deal with the greyshirt possibility, this is the first dealing with the one-year scholarship.

      2. Is it an offence if it is by the rules and all parties are informed of the situation? I say no.

      • It just seems to me that it is hard to argue against his recruiting numbers.

        While it may be one tick to the positive for Saban, one vague statement does not support that proper disclosure is happening. Even if full disclosure is happening, I still do not support this practice.

        It is the system of oversigning that makes kids “find out the hard way”.

        • Let’s be clear here….

          There is no such thing as Oversigning…. you can only have 25/85 PERIOD and EVERY NLI is required to have a BINDING 1 year scholarship attached to it. You can’t have one without the other.

          Now, You may accept more NLI’s than you have room for, but the offer does stipulate that your offer may be defered to the next signing class if there is not room.

          If you sign a NLI, you will have a 1 year scholarship to that school either that year or the next… AND the school will have to make the 25/85 limits set forth by the NCAA.

          All this is stipulated in the offer letter/NLI… I think the coaches may need to do a better job of explaining this, but at some point each player/family needs to be responsible for what they sign.

          Maybe a good idea would be to have a revised NLI/Offer form that clearly states this so that their can be no question as to the knowledge of what each recruit and their parent is signing….

          • You aren’t very clear at all. Just unethical.

            • Please back up your accusations. Just declaring something unethical does not make it so. It has become the norm here to repeat the mantra even though there are many reasonable and convincing arguments to the contrary.

              • Amen to that, Catch 5. You’re correct again.

                Anti-roster maximizers continue to spew dismissals and insults with less and less reasoned backup. They even fail to answer direct questions about their vague, speculative claims.

                Thanks for calling it out.

            • Can you please explain how telling a recruit of what can happen and what is expected of him is “unethical”?

              I would agree that a recruiter that lies or that hides what they are offering is being unethical and maybe there should be some rules in place to help these recruits understand the ins and outs of these commitments…

              However, if anything, a school that promises a 4 year scholarship is being unethical…

        • I’m not disputing the recruiting numbers – Saban “oversigns”, no doubt. My stance is that if the player is told where he stands, and is given everything he is promised during the recruiting phase, then there is no foul. As pointed out by Ace several times, the issue is not with the “oversigning” rule, but rather the management practices of the head coaches. This is why I like the last two of Staples’ suggestions – it actually punishes the schools when they mis-manage their recruiting, but keeps the rules that actually benifit the players.

  10. What bad about the JUCO system is not the way it exists, but to the extent it does. It effectly circumvents NCAA scholarship rules, by allowing teams to stockpile tons of extra recruits. Now some of the new laws will slow that down, but not eliminate it altogether.

    I agree with many posters that the JUCO system is good for some athletes. I jsut think it si unethical the use the system as your personal farm team.

    The best way to fix the probelm is to make LOI’s binding for 4 years. If your recruit doesn’t make it in to the school, tough luck, you just wasted a scholarship for the next 4 years. You could increase the scholarship total up to 95 to adjust for attrition, and maybe add some rules for actual medical harship, transfers, ect. This way schools don’t sign players untill they know they can get into the school.

    • “I jsut think it si unethical the use the system as your personal farm team.”

      I guess I should proffread better…

      I just think it is unethical the use the system as your personal farm team.

    • it isnt a personal farm team. Players that go to JUCO or even Prep school, are allowed to go to any team they want without repercussion. If a player doesnt want to go the school they signed a LOI with, they can change where they go once eligible without issue.

    • You do understand that ever NLI has a binding scholarship offer with it… you can’t have one without the other. If a kid does not qualify and therefore cannot accept the scholarship… he isn’t bound to the NLI. He can go to Juco and then go to any school he so desires after he becomes eligable…

  11. It would be far more interesting to see a journalist (or Staples) do some research into the life outcomes of those players who are signed and placed in JUCO/Prep/whatever school, versus those who were not given that opportunity, ignored by all coaches due to lackluster high school academics, and fell out of the system completely (maybe focus on Midwestern kids of similar socio-economic backgrounds).

    That would tell me if the sign and place JUCO system is effective or not. Don’t forget that a 2-year Jr. College degree looks better than a GED.

  12. Notre Dame has never had a JUCO player, ever.”

    A bit of trivia here, but Notre Dame has had one player in the last 50 years who came from a JUCO. It should be noted that his circumstances were rather unique.

    Larry Moriarty was a fullback from Santa Barbara, CA whose father and grandfather had played for ND. Larry was offered a scholarship to ND in 1977; however, due to illness (I believe it was some sort of serious infection), he was unable to enroll. After a long recovery process, he regained his health and enrolled at the local JUCO, Santa Barbara JC, and played a year of JUCO football. In 1980, he took ND up on their scholarship offer, and enrolled as a 22 year-old sophomore. He had a pretty good junior year and a very good senior year, and was drafted by the Houston Oilers in the 5th round of the 1983 NFL draft. He played six years in the NFL for the Oilers and the Chiefs.

    So, if you’re ever asked “Who was the only JUCO football player to ever play for Notre Dame?”, you’ve got the answer.



  13. It is not a coincidence that poorer states have the university systems that oversign in college football. I also do not think it is a coincidence that the wealthier states, with larger institutions, or institutions with larger endowments make up the ground that avoid oversigning.

    Here is an example of a circumstance that is being ignored by this topic:

    It has long been understood at the University of Georgia that a football scholarship is not the only means of paying for college. UGA can only give out 25 scholarships, but it can give out an infinite number of HOPE scholarships to fund a free education for additional football players. These individuals do not count against the 25/85 rule until they actually play. Until then, they are the so called talented “walk-on” player, who is on the total roster. (You will notice that a large number of schools have a roster in excess of 100. It is not uncommon for the number to range as high as 120). Once there is a deficiency in the 85 limit, these individuals are often given designation as a scholarship athlete, thus relinquishing other funding, if the coach does not elect to bring in a larger class that could be subject to the 25 limit.

    In short, many schools have more than 85 scholarship athletes on their roster, because the school has access to alternate funding. This alternate funding does not exist at many of the smaller schools, or the schools that rely upon funding from the poorer states (i.e., Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, etc.). If you examine the endowments of other schools, you can find numerous football players who have alternate educational funding. It should also be noted that these indivduals with alternate education funding, also are permitted to share in many benefits that are granted to the football scholarship enrollees. (Food, medical care, tutoring, etc.)
    It should also be noted that an individual can sign a letter of intent, and turn down said scholarship, while still attending school and while still playing football. You can always pay your own way, or rely upon the HOPE scholarship. Of course, once you play, the school is limited to the 85 limit. However, it isn’t the players who actually play that is at the center of this controversy. It is the backup players, the so-called “depth” that exists due to oversigning.

    It could be argued that UGA doesn’t oversign, because UGA does not have to oversign.

    • This is interesting, but numbers to support the arguments would be better. I’m generally opposed to oversigning, but if this is something that other schools are still skirting around (and I suspect they all do to some extent anyway), they need to also be exposed. If the Big Ten is taking advantage in the ways you suggest larger universities may, they should also be singled out. But before we can do that, we need numbers.

      • I can only give you my anecdotal evidence, because these are not numbers that are disclosed in an easy format. In fact, most of the oversigning numbers utilized by this website are speculation. They are educated guess, and probably correct, most of the time; but they are still only guesses. There is no way to determine whether an individual who signs a LOI actually receives a scholarship, or decides to pay their own way.

        Furthermore, most schools will not reveal any individual students financial information. Private schools do not even publish coaches salaries. It is going to take someone significant time and money to research this issue. The oversigning issue is easier to review because of the LOI. However, Army had something like 55 LOI last year. Just an example of how the LOI has very little meaning. There are numerous ways of gaining an appointment to USMA, most of which have nothing to do with football. There is nothing that prevents you from obtaining an appointment, and from signing a LOI.

        The only easily available numbers are the total roster number. These are numbers I got of the internet. Either Rivals.com or the teams own website. Interestingly, you will find that these numbers constantly change, and no one website is always accurate. For example, the total numbers for Texas and Ohio St. and Arizona St. change constantly (even while the season is underway).
        Alabama: 110
        Ohio St.: 120
        Arizona St: 94
        Michigan: 117
        Florida: 117
        Auburn: 113
        Oregon: 117
        Boise St: 109
        TCU: 124
        Texas: 121
        Stanford: 107
        Vanderbilt: 96
        Notre Dame: 107
        Nebraska: 153

        It should be noted that Nebraska has long fostered a large walk-on program. It has been my opinion that it began to permit Nebraska to keep instant talent in state, and allow them to spend scholarships on out-of-state talent. I have only anecdotal evidence that many walk-ons at Nebraska receive scholastic assistance to pay for their education.

        I had a full baseball scholarship. After the coach was sure that I was going to consistently qualify for the Georgia HOPE scholarship, my scholarship was cut in fraction. I didn’t have to pay any more, because of the HOPE, and the fractional loss was compiled with similar individuals to give a full scholarship to an incoming freshman. We had other teammates who received citizenship scholarships, legacy scholarships, or academic scholarships. Almost everyone on the team had a full scholarship. In baseball, you can only have 11.78 scholarships. As you can tell, the roster of a college baseball team is more than 11.78. Thus, we actually had more individuals on scholarship than other baseball teams. From word of mouth, it was always understood that this practice was carried over to all sports, and was learned from other schools. For example, Notre Dame’s current baseball roster is 36.

        I believe an academic scholarship and an athletic scholarship are comparable. My older brother was on an academic graduate school scholarship, tied to participation in specific scientific research, that developed a significantly profitable patent for Vanderbilt. Once again, his scholarship was a yearly renewable, and he often complained of the competition between the graduate students to keep their scholarships, and their place in the program. Not everyone was able to keep this specific scholarship. Fortunately, Vanderbilt appears to have a large endowment, and those students who left the program were able to find other scholarships to pay for school and graduate with their graduate degree.

        Overall, I see this as a fluid issue, with schools making choices based on resources. I understand the BIG-10’s position on this issue. They have a financial, and student population, advantage over schools throughout the country.

        Oh, and even though the Ivy League doesn’t give away athletic scholarships, their academic standards and their endowments allow member schools to issue free educations for students if their families cannot afford tuition.

        Oh and for those of you who think football players should be paid. It should be recognized that those schools with large endowments can give away scholarships on top of the athletic scholarship. This is dependent upon the extra scholarship, and does not violate NCAA rules. I had teammates and friends within the athletic department who pocketed money in the $1,000s from extra scholarships.

        • According to NCAA rule you cannot receive any benifits above the cost of the school…

          A student-athlete shall not be eligible to participate in intercollegiate athletics if he or she receives financial aid that
          exceeds the value of the cost of attendance as defined in Bylaw 15.02.2.”

          If you were a recruited player in Baseball and the coach substituted the Hope for your scholarship, then it still counted toward the 11.78 limit… the difference is that funding didn’t come from the schools budget. IE the school saved money, but not a scholarship.

          • Seems there may be an exemption to that rule…. I’m not as knowledgable on this part of the rule so I’ll need to research it a bit… but here it is…

            “ Exceptions.
   Academic Honor Awards—Based on High School Record. Academic honor
            awards that are part of an institution’s normal arrangements for academic scholarships, based solely
            on the recipient’s high school record and awarded independently of athletics interests and in amounts
            consistent with the pattern of all such awards made by the institution, are exempt from an institution’s
            equivalency computation, provided the recipient was ranked in the upper 10 percent of the high school
            graduating class or achieved a cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.500 (based on a maximum
            of 4.000) or a minimum ACT sum score of 105 or a minimum SAT score of 1200 (critical reading
            and math). (Adopted: 1/12/99 effective 8/1/99, Revised: 1/14/08 effective 8/1/08, 1/16/10 effective 8/1/10)
   Additional Requirements. The following additional requirements shall be
            met: (Adopted: 1/12/99 effective 8/1/99)
            (a) The awards may include additional, nonacademic criteria (e.g., interviews, essays, need
            analysis), provided the additional criteria are not based on athletics ability, participation or
            interests, and the awards are consistent with the pattern of all such awards provided to all
            (b) No quota of awards shall be designated for student-athletes;
            (c) Athletics participation shall not be required before or after collegiate enrollment;
            (d) No athletics department staff member shall be involved in designating the recipients of such
            (e) Any additional criteria shall not include athletics ability, participation or interests; and
            (f ) There must be on file in the office of the director of athletics certification by the financial aid
            director or the chair of the financial aid committee that such awards are part of the institution’s
            normal arrangements for academic scholarships, awarded independently of athletics
            Financial Aid
            ability, participation and interests and in amounts consistent with the pattern of all such
            awards made by the institution.”

          • That would be true,

            If I was good enough to play. I never suited up for a game. HOPE paid for school, and the remaining fraction paid for room/board/books. The big thing was that I got to continue to receive the free health care that went along with being on the team. It was essential.

            I’m not saying that I new players that had scholarships that individually exceeded “the value of the cost of attendance…” What I’m saying is that they had an athletic scholarship, a citizenship scholarship for books, and also an academnic scholarship for partcial payment of education. Athletic scholarship paid for everything, and they pocketed the rest.

            Maybe there is anther rule to void this out…possibly, we are talking about 1990-1994. But it was done. Thinking about it. I’m not sure if the school would have know. If you get a citizen ship for $500 from your church to pay for books. How would the school know, if the money was not proceessed by the school.

            • The rule as it stands now seems pretty clear (as clear as the NCAA can be that is)…

              It does say… ” plus any other financial aid unrelated to athletics ability up to the cost of attendance.”

              I know when I was recruited, they were very careful to make sure they know about any and all money I was receiving for aid… That was in 1990, but I can’t tell you what the rules were back then… just that they wanted to know if I was receiving any additional aid.

              Now, you are correct… I don’t know how they would know if you were receive more add, but my guess is if they found out you they would mark you ineligable and then reduce your scholarship in kind to be in line…. then appeal for reinstatement.

              • Ya. At some level, all we have is anecdotal evidence, since we have all seen things that don’t seem to match up with the alleged rules that everyone spouts off without disclosing them.

    • This is Absolutly not true… Any Scholorship counts towards the 25/85 limit… If you are on the roster and you have ANY scholarship… it is counted toward the 25/85.

      • Um, no. It is true. Until you play a game, you do not count against the 25/85 because you can be counted as a walk-on. You do not have to be listed as part of the team. You can practice, you can be on the practice squad, you just cannot suit up for a game. (see University of Alabama and their Bryant Scholarship and the story of Wesley Neighbors – which appeared on this website about a year ago.)

        • The Bryant Scholarship can be used for Recruited or Non-Recruited players at Alabama… It is considered a non-athletic scholarship as it’s requirements is that your Father played or Coached for Bryant AND is avalible to both Athlete and Non-Athlete, male or female. There is no requirement that you play a sport. However, as mentioned below…

          If the athlete is a Recruited player and plays in the first two years he counts toward the 25 limit of the class he was recruited and the 85 limit. If he plays in the 3rd year he counts only toward the 85 limit.

          If he is classifed by the NCAA as a Non-Recruited player… can play day one and doesn’t count toward any numbers.

          Also, if recruieted or non-recruite player pays his own way and forgoes any aid (as serveral Bama players are said to be doing), then they don’t count toward any numbers either.

          From what I can tell from the NCAA rule, Hope would count as Institutial aid… but it gets a bit unclear so an argument may be made that it wouldn’t…

      • Sorry, I wasn’t clear….

        Any Recruited player on ANY scholarship counts toward the 25/85 limit… You can have an Unrecrutied Walk-on not count toward the 25/85 limit, but if he does play he starts to count. If he is recruited by the School… he counts toward the 25/85.

        • Um…once again. You don’t count until you suit up for a game. You can be a part of the team in every other way. You can have a scholarship, paid by whomever. But you are not part of the 25/85 until you suit up. (or whatever techincal and/or procedureal step that takes place behind the scenes when you suit up).

          This permits every team to have an unlimited number of so-called “walk-ons.” Of course, “walk-on” only pertains to the fact that you do not have an athletic sholarship. In effect, a scholarship has the same effect of your parents paying for your education.

          • I’m sorry, you are correct. It’s been a while since I looked at the rules… I was thinkging of it a bit different.

            If you are a Recruited Walkon and play in the first two years, you would count toward the recruitment class number of the year you were recruited (ie th 25 limit). If you play in the third year, you are exempt from the 25 limit and only count toward the 85 limit. If you are a unrecruited player…. do don’t count toward any number regardless of if you play… That last part seems a bit unusual, so I’ll have to look at it a bit more.

    • Hope scholarships only available for residents of GA.

      • Very true,

        But other schools have other means. Florida has BrightFutures. Harvard almost guarantees a scholarship, out of its endowment most times, for those individuals who are admitted and can show proof of financial need. Anecdotally, I heard financial need was considered to be somewhere less than $50K, and could rise to as high as $80K depending on circumstances. Of course, that is merely a word of mouth story. While I have no reason not to believe the source, it doesn’t make it true. However, I have heard of Vanderbilt, Stanford, and Michigan dipping into their endowment to fund scholarships for citizenship – which is merely a code word for we are giving money to anyone we like.

  14. I believe both Miss. and La. have Hope type scholarships.

  15. Hi,
    Quick note. LSU had 85 scholarship at teh begining of Spring 2010. With teh departure of QB Zach Lee plus 11 senors graduating plus 2 Juniors (PP and Steven Ridley) going to NFL it gives 14 budget.

  16. Stop Crying. The SEC is the best conference in College Football. The Big 10 boys are trying to explain why they can not compete. Offers are for 1 year at a time. If a player does not pan out then get rid of him. If you are not productive in your work place you will be let go. No matter what you do. When players leave early no one tries to stop them by saying “you signed for 4 years”.
    It is because offers are from year to year.
    SHUT UP already

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