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.

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  1. Why do you want to throw away kids that did not properly focus on academics at age 14 and 15? Why must people not be allowed the opportunity to flourish as they age? Why do you cherry pick statistics in order to prove your point instead of actually offering an honest assessment of the situation?

    As Mark Twain once said, “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is intriguing, but what they conceal is vital.” Or maybe that wasn’t Mark Twain. Who really knows?

    But you deliberately twist statistics to prove your point. You are a hack. You show that supposedly, the SEC West oversigns by like 10 players a year. Then you berate the practice. Then you show a very small handful of players who claim to have been forced out (many who have supposedly had behavioral issues.) Why can’t you show 10 players on each of these teams being forced out every year instead of just a couple over history?

    Maybe it is because the majority of the oversigned players are players that everyone knows are ineligible. Even given the opportunity to JUCO, they cannot become eligible. But at least they had a chance, which is something the Big 10 does not even afford them.

    Your moral rightousness is firmly rooted in ground that is every bit as solid as the Midwest’s industrial base. Enjoy watching the rust belt become irrelevant in football, as in life. Maybe in the future you can come up with a better excuse for the Big Ten’s failures than “we are just so much more moral than they are.”

    • You’re frigging kidding me right? You must be new around here and missed last year when we tracked every single player that had to be cut in order to make room for Alabama’s oversigned class.


      The majority are not ineligible – if you were paying attention you would know that all of LSU’s oversigned class were eligible last year and that is why he had to cut Chris Garrett for not having enough want to compete and fight at LSU and also why he pulled Porter’s scholarship and asked him to greyshirt.

      Who said the Big 10 was failing? They made more money last year than any other conference and they didn’t have to oversign to do it, sounds like success to me. Oh that’s right, they didn’t win bragging rights last year so obviously they were not successful in their mission to educate kids while competing in athletics.

      • You’re frigging kidding me right? You like to get on your high horse and talk about athletics enhancing academics, amaturism, etc. But then you try to argue that the Big Ten is a success because of their profitability? That is how you judge a business, not an amature athletic conference. Wins and losses dude. Wins and losses. (Of course when you have also rans and has been divisions, we are only talking losses, so you have to argue money.)

        For example, you list Auburn as having signed more players than any SEC school from 2002-2010.

        Yet somehow, Auburn has 26 open schollies this year. How does that happen in a 25-85 situation? Did we get rid of more players than we had to? So many players that we will be unable to use all of our alloted schollies this year? Or maybe, strategic oversigning allows some people opportunities without hindering the opportunities of others, which seems to be what happened at Auburn.

        This blog is seriously just an anti Bama blog, and I am generally fine with that. But you stretch logic past its limits to get to your point.

        In the link you just cited, there were 11 players affected last year. Two had already graduated. Four were hurt. 2 were ineligible. One transferred for unnamed reasons.

        There were only 2 players that were really affected. One of them grey shirted (will get a shot next year) That leaves one player SOL. What a travesty.

        Of course, saying that one player was dropped is not anywhere near as incindiary as saying that they oversigned by 11. But hey, that is what you do.

        • “strategic oversigning allows “..”wins and losses”

          Oh brother. Another newbie.

          When you see the same the same practice from certain programs year after year and the number of kids that need to be cut, you know what is going on. There is good reason why this practice is basically limited to the SEC west.

          It was a damn injustice Northwestern did not beat you guys last year. Oh well, in a few years, your title will be vacated and you will be lonely, irrelevant Auburn again.

          • Yes, clearly the measure of a good conference is how much money they make, right? Of course, if it was the SEC saying something like that, the Little Ten would be complaining about how it isn’t supposed to be money. But this isn’t really about right and wrong, or protecting the sanctity of a system of college athletes is it? No, it is about comming up with excuses for ineptitude.

            And if you read other sources, you would see this process is in no way limited to the SEC West. In fact, the most prolific oversigner of all does not hail from the SEC. But hey, don’t let the facts stop your little pity party. You are all morally superior. That is they reason you suck. There, there little sister.

            • Money is not the measure of a good conference. You might be talking about the NFL. A good conference does it all well starting with academic success.

            • The most prolific oversigner is from Alabama, though. Coincidence?

              You are just trying to misrepresent and pick on one little point, when everyone know’s Josh’s stance.

              If your argument is so great, surely national writers would agree, but yet…crickets.

              • actually, the most prolific oversigner was Troy. Alabama was 10th on the list, behink KSU by the way. But dont let facts get in the way of your point.

              • KSU fan

                You say “If your argument is so great, surely national writers would agree, but yet…crickets”

                Actually, it is pretty easy to get a few national writers to do a piece on their indignant reactions to some horrible god awful society ruining practice. But the fact that it has pretty much just been a handful of stories here and there shows that your point is not particularly important.

                • this issue went from being relatively unknown just a year ago. Now, it is getting considerable attention (WSJ, ESPN, CFB Writers, NY Times) after the media began looking at the facts and numbers…thanks to this website. It is still a new story.

                  The issue will continue to grow, and the defenders will continue will continue to live in denial.

                  Any Championship achieved by oversigning is tainted…sorta like records that were broken during the steroid era.

            • “And if you read other sources, you would see this process is in no way limited to the SEC West.”

              FINALLY! Acknowledgement that the SEC West DOES INDEED OVERSIGN!
              “You are all morally superior. That is they reason you suck.”

              I’m not sure that I would be so willing to admit to moral inferiority, but good to see that you’re able to aknowledge what we all know to be the case! Admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery.

    • A slam on the Rust Belt. That’s a solid, mature argument. An opportunity was missed by not including the terms “flyover country” or “SEC speed”.

      If a coach knows that a player is ineligible and still signs them then that indicates that the coach has a poor eye for ability. There would be no oversigning problems if coaches would not have high-schooler incapable of “cutting it” actually sign a LOI.

      • Ineligible academically != talent.

        • My point exactly. ‘Ineligible academically != talent’ may be completely correct. There would be no oversigning problems if coaches would not have a high-schooler incapable of “cutting it” actually sign a LOI. Being unable to qualify academically to even the low standards set forth by the NCAA is an obvious sign of either not having the talent to make the grades or the not having the drive to do what is necessary to qualify academically. Not allowing so many kids sign a LOI that are questionable would go a long way to alleviating the problem. I understand when one kid may not qualify but when a coach has 5 or 6 questionable commits and needs several to not qualify then that is more of an issue.

          • I’ll grant you that one.

            Though I meant talent as more god given athletic talent, I can’t really disagree with you.

            High school was a breeze.

          • Not allowing so many kids sign a LOI that are questionable would go a long way to alleviating the problem

            That’s right, any kid who can’t pass the entrance requirements the first time around shouldn’t even go to college anyway. It is below our institutions of higher learning to do anything that encourages these people (are they intelligent enought to be a person?) to think they can make something of themselves if they apply. Why waste resources on someone who is only going to end up dropping out anyway? Oversigning is immoral, especially when many of the oversigned won’t make it school anyway. Immoral, immoral, immoral. Don’t ask why, it just is.

    • So…. university feels pressure to get their number of scholarship players down to compliance this year. (To take your example, they are over by 10) The university does what is necessary to hit the compliant 85. A few of the players that were ousted feel they were pressured/told to transfer/accept a medical scholarship. They say as much the public/media/little ole wall street journal.

      And your argument is, “well why can’t you show me 10 players that were forced out this year?” as though if all 10 are not pressured out unfairly that discredits the 3 that are???

      The premise is simple. Miss State is already over by 14 in this years recruiting class. That means, looking forward from this point they will need to shed as much. I will grant you the possibility that they might be able to do so ethically. But that would also mean that you have to grant the possibility that they will have to do so with means that are backhanded.

      If their number of returning scholarships + letter of intents = 86, 1 over the scholarship limit of 85. No one would question the likelyhood that the could get to compliance via ethical means. But the larger the number gets (returning scholarships + letter of intents) above compliant 85 the more we all have to suspect that the school is either doing something unethical (within or outside the rules) or the school is just doing something wrong.

      For instance:
      scholarships + letter of intents = 85 (not likely to pressure kids out)
      scholarships + letter of intents = 170 (there is something definitely unethical here)

      The only real question is:
      At what point do you think it is or is not a problem worth being suspicious of? Your tolerance for it is clearly higher than mine. But you still have a line.

      By the way, in order for this to be true:
      “Maybe it is because the majority of the oversigned players are players that everyone knows are ineligible. Even given the opportunity to JUCO, they cannot become eligible. But at least they had a chance, which is something the Big 10 does not even afford them.”

      You would have to show: 1.that the Big Ten has never taken a Juco kid. And 2.that there is some fundamental difference between the SEC saying, “You can come here if you get your academic affairs in order before you finish highschool,” and the BIG TEN saying, “Get your academic affairs in order before you finish high school, and you can come here.”

      But (1) The big ten does take a Juco from time to time.
      And (2) is nothing more than a chicken and egg argument. The SEC justs gets the added benefit of saying, “Don’t you want to be part of the number 1 recruiting class here at _____,” nevermind that the coach already knows half the kids don’t and won’t qualify and his recruiting class ranking is bloated by a bunch of kids who won’t be a school with him ever. (it is all clearly the most honest and upstanding approach to take – kudos.)

      • Or you could say that if a team has 10 players “oversigned”, then ten of the incoming players are told they will have to greyshirt if a spot doesn’t open up on the team. No ethical problem with this, as long as the possibility is conveyed beforehand, and I’m all for any rules that require a better job of this being done.

        I think there is a huge benifit (to the player) if they receive an offer/sign an LOI with a school even when everyone knows they won’t qualify academically. It validates that he’s good enough to play at a big school, and does a better job of encouraging him to get his grades in order.

        • Catch 5 – Wow that is brilliant. Yes – thankyou for the obvious. No one disagrees with you on greyshirting players towards next year or even early enrollees that apply towards last years class. Those things in and of themselves are all well and good. The fact that you are their great defender of those practices clearly shows that all of this debate is above your head. (don’t feel bad, ethics and morals are difficult.)

          Everyone’s real issue is with the habitual offenders. The ones who oversigned last year and this year, and will oversign again next year. When you have an answer for that predicament call me.

          Otherwise obscuring the debate with comments like, “well you can just greyshirt them.” isn’t really helping anyone who is trying to get past remedial explanations that don’t really address the issue. Let’s assume an understanding of early enrollees, and greyshirts, is a baseline of knowledge for everyone involved.

          Craig said the points against oversigning are moot essentially because no one can show that all the players who left a program (his example 10) did so against their wishes. And I refuted that as false. As though if all 10 are not pressured out unfairly that discredits the 3 that say they were?

          A very reasonable assumption that largers numbers garner more suspicion followed.

          And you come back side track junk!?

          Yes you are probably right – let’s just all assume that the kids are all lying. Their is clearly nothing to be suspicious of on the side of the universities.

          Now Step aside son. The adults are talking.

    • Hey Craig,

      You make a good point for the need for transparency. Without it you can only speculate and that leaves the door open to wrongful judgements. Win at any cost! No wonder this country is in decline and not just the Rust Belt.

  2. here you go again, pointing out only the SEC, when Staples unbiased information showed what you believe the SEC only to do, happening in every other conference.

    • “Happening in every other conference”….well, except the Big Ten. No Big Ten team on Staple’s list has oversigned. None.

      (And yes, I am a Big Ten fan….of Northwestern, who somehow managed to eek out a 34-29 record in the five year period from 2006-2010, including making 3 straight bowl games and being bowl eligible 4 straight years, despite signing 91 players during that time…..yes, you read that right — Northwestern won DESPITE having academic eligibility requirements that prohibit it from recruiting the vast majority of players, AND DESPITE UNDERsigning over the most recent 5 year period)

      • you did see Andy Staples list, that Minnesota and Illinois average over 24 commits a year for the past 5 years. at 4 years, that is 97 players. but with a maximum of 85 players at any time, how could that be? And if any players are red-shirted, they are going on 5 years, so that would be 120+ in 5 years. yes, they may be under the 85 limit, but how exactly are they doing it?

        as a side note, kudos for Northwestern. Not a traditional power, more thought of as an academic school, but has been doing very good recently. I’m a big fan of Pat Fitzgerald.

    • You have contacted Alabama to demand they stop oversigning, right, Tre? How did the call go?

  3. Josh,

    You might want to consider creating a FAQ section for the SECw fans here. Otherwise, you will be having their same failed, unethical, illogical arguments repeated after each post. Consider changing the font to Crayola, it might improve their comprehension.

    • Hey, a “write it in crayon” joke. I love it. Especially from someone who apparently does not know the difference between ethics and morals. The oversigning argument is clearly a moral argument, and not an ethical one. (Though I would argue that it is not immoral) Perhaps you should learn what the big words like ethics mean before you bash someone’s intelligence.

      • LOL.

        You might want to read a dictionary about ethics.

        You are seriously embarrassing.

      • Ethics, also known as moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy that addresses questions about morality—that is, concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice, etc.

        Do you have ethics or morals?

      • Ethics, also known as moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy that addresses questions about morality—that is, concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice, etc….(Wiki)

        Do you have ethics or morals?

        • Ethics deals with things within a system, while morality is within oneself. For me to be making an unethical argument, I would have to be arguing that someone to something that is against the ethics of the system. No one is violating the rules of the system, so what they are doing is not unethical.

          What Kentucky State is saying is that the current ethical system is immoral. There is nothing unethical being done. He just wants to yell about it being a moral outrage.

          • Amazing how you can create your own reality just based on one word in one post.

            Certainly SECw programs are violating the spirit of the rules of the broader Academic and NCAA mission, which is why even the SEC is trying to eliminate oversigning. Protecting and educating the students, not treating them as commodities, should always be the primary goal of any university.

            But it is all about wins and losses, right?

            • Given the SECw well-documented problems understanding the rules of the system, I don’t believe it is wise to follow their practice in, well, anything.

              • hmm, i dont believe anyone is following them. the only people doing anything different than anyone else, is the Big 10. And even then, Andy Staples brings up interesting numbers about 2 of their schools.

            • Just watching the world around me, I can tell the spirit of the rules are a joke, so long as someone is following the letter of the law.

              Why handicap yourself to the spirit of the law?

    • i need help because an unbiased writer (Staples) showed that practically every conference has teams that seem larger than they should? Notice i didnt say my school doesnt have larger classes, merely that every conference has teams that do. Until such time as it is deemed illegal, and my coach makes players understand the situation before they come, it is a moot point to me.

    • The reason you see the same arguments is that noone has refuted them with reasoned thought and discussion. All you get on this site is that it is unethical or hurts kids. When an argument is presented that shows differently, it is shot down and not discussed. That is not discussion, that is berating.

      • The argument was made that the schollie limit should just be raised, but none of the anti-oversigners would even respond to that because that solution doesn’t penalize the SEC.

        I need to retire from this baloney. Someone wake me up when the new rule is in place. Maybe this moron can go back to cringing when he’s over at his in-laws and they keep talking about Bama’s championships.

        • Ok – I’ll bite.

          But if I accept that a raised scholarship limit is a possible solution (with provisions to match each letter of intent with an available scholarship – eliminate the annual renewal – ie he gets a football scholarship so long as he can or will be able to participate in football and maintain all requirements of being a student at the university which gave the scholarship.)

          Then you have to accept that we do not raise the scholarship limit at all and instead simply put in place the provisions for which I probably have only briefly touched on.

          Either way the provisions are more important the number. If you allowed 130 in lieu of 85, we still have the same problem because their is a clear advantage to playing with 5 card poker when you get 8 cards and your opponent only gets 5 to make their best hand.

          If its NOT an advantage, why would anyone so adamantly defend the practice?

          More importantly, if its NOT an advantage, but IT IS clearly morally suspect, why would you not want it ended as soon as possible?

  4. So basically, after a year of stating ad nauseum that the Big Ten doesn’t allow oversigning, the Big Ten does, in fact, allow oversigning. And after a year of stating that oversigning by even just 1 student-athlete is unethical, now the party line has changed to fit the new circumstances: limited oversigning is now ok…as long as there is transparency. That’s it, transparency will be our out. Because we all know from experience that whenever a big organization promises transparency, it always fulfills that promise. How do we know that these peer reviews and person-by-person accountings are even taking place? If they do take place, I bet this is how it goes down: Team X oversigned by 2 players. Player A (a junior) transferred to a Div II school for more playing time and Player B (a 5th year senior) decided to stop playing football. Numbers check out, good to go.

    So, Josh what does this peer review entail. Do they do exit interviews with the players who get forced out, I mean, transfer? Do they require a 2nd opinion from medical staff not associated with the university for any medical hardships?

    One final question, if the Big Ten feels that oversigning is as harmful and unethical a practice as you’ve always claimed, why did they change the rule in 2002? The Big Ten intentionally changed its policy from zero tolerance to 3 over. Why? And what’s to keep them froom expanding it even more in the future?

    • Maybe you misunderstood…oversigning is banned in the Big 10 in all sports. There is an exception for football, which is rarely used, that came into affect in 2002, that allows up to 3 extra. It is rarely used and very closely monitored. I’ll ask Chad Hawley as to why they changed the rule.

      The real question is why won’t the SEC follow suit and adopt the rule? They gave the biggest problem with it and this a proven solution that has worked for years.

      • I don’t know…seems like he understood to me. Oversigning by 3 is allowed by the Big 10 in football. Thisi s a website devoted to oversigning by football programs. No one is discussing other sports. How did he misunderstand?

      • Why do you insist on the SEC adopting a rule they see as unnecessary? If (as shown in the Staples article) positive results are commonplace with the practice, then it is not as evil as you portray and one that should not be ended. That is not to say that changes aren’t warranted or that the current set up is perfect – far from it, but while you point out “victims” like Star Jackson, we will look to Nick Fairly. When you focus on transfers and mythical “cut” players, I continue to see increased opportunity for more players to play for their preferred team. While you prefer a guaranteed scholarship regardless of results or effort, I prefer to have some accountability for underperformance. You see an unfair advantage where I see a willfull disadvantage by not using all resourses available.

        • Ugh…I am not the only one demanding the SEC change…nearly every sports journalist in the country and all sports fans outside of the few fringe lunatics that support teams that oversign are calling for change. Granted, this site started it all, but surely a nation worth of people can’t be wrong. I wonder if you realize just how embarrassing you look to the rest of the rational fans out there. Just quit while you are ahead. This is going to change, oversigning will be removed from the SEC. I will personally continue to run this site and fight for rule changes until it happens.

          • why do you just limit it to the SEC though? Andy Staples list shows that large signing are happening all over the country in every conference. Yet, every other sentence that comes from you says “the SEC this” or “the SEC that”. Why not base everything on the NCAA demands that all conferences do this or do that?

          • Joshua
            Your argument style seems to be in line with the other people that believe your tripe. Any time someone points to a counterexample, instead of debating them point by point, you simply say that it is wrong and everyone agrees with you. It is a rather weak rhetorical form I must say, and if you really want to maintain any credibility, you must find a way to counter the argument that the system as it is helps people who would not recieve that help under the system that you propose.

            You are not merely replacing a system that hurts people with a system in which no one gets hurt. You are replacing a system in which a small number of people get hurt with a system in which a greater number of people get hurt, although the people getting hurt under your proposed solution are a different subset of people.

            In order to have an intelligent debate on the matter, you must really directly acknowledge and counter this point. It does not suffice to merely make broad statements about morality or public opinion.

            • Having read some of your posts, I’m really glad this site gets you so angry. Change is a-comin’, bro.

              • I doubt it. It’s the wingnuts and bleeding hearts here who will be dissapointed.

                And hell, even if you get your way, guess what? That just means kids get cut right after the bowl season before NSD. No oversigning then. Congrats.

                Kids will get cut, for kids that have better talent. It’s capitalism at work. And so long as the teams that do it, win, and shine bright in competition, the free market will ensure that the talent treadmill will continue.

                So enjoy weeping and gnashing your teeth comrade.

                • At least you can admit they’re getting cut. In this sense you seem less delusional than your Confederate allies.

                  Your ire is an irregularly large maraschino cherry on the delicious sundae that is oversigning.com.

                  • I just don’t have a problem with it. If I thought for one SECOND that the kids getting cut were there to get some meaningful degree to fall back on, I’d be against it.

                    But you know, I know, Joshua knows, EVERYONE knows, that they’re not there for an education. Therefore, any claim of exploitation is moot.

                    I’d appreciate it if you didn’t refer to it as confederate. It’s like you’re hinting at racism.

                    • I disagree with you here Jason. While there are players that are there just as a means of making it to the NFL, by far the majority know they will never see it, and thus are there for an education as well as playing football. That said, I don’t have a problem with “cutting” as these players are transfers to another school where they will receive better opportunity for playing time and continue to have their education paid for. As I’ve pointed out over and over again, GSR ratings for Alabama (and most football programs) are higher than the student body at large, and yes, that included transfers so I don’t feel as though any harm is encounted by this practice.

          • Yes, the journalistic community right now is certainly in favor of banning oversigning. Of course, for the most part, the argument for oversigning and the explainations of the benifitual side of it are not discussed at all beyond the comments section of your site. The only exception to this is the Staples article you posted yesterday – I found his to be the best write on this subject to date.

            Yes, you’ve acquired a lot of national buzz with this website, and kudoos to you for that – you’ve done a good job of getting word out and your voice heard. My problem is that you have never really considered the other viewpoint as evidenced by you labeling them lunatics. When a logical point is made, it is brushed aside and dismissed, or just blanketed with the “immoral” label. When positive elements from oversigning come to light it goes unmentioned, and when it is pointed out that Nick Saban (your favorite target) is open and upfront about scholarships you completely ignore it. The problem I have with this site is that – especially now with the increased exposure – you don’t present all the facts or points of view. I know you are against oversigning, why present the other side? The answer is easy, for balance. If your position is as morally grounded as you say, presenting the opposition’s arguments would not damage the national argument would it? Why not invite one of the better pro-oversigning posters on this site (I would nominate Vesper or DC Crimson Ace) and have a debate forum between yourself and someone like Mario and these opposition representatives? Post this as one of your articles – that would go a long way in my view of making this site more valad.

            • Yeah, interesting how they haven’t changed their tune about Saban being a snake, when he’s open and honest about it.

            • Per your wishes Mr. Catch 5- here are the pro-oversigning arguments:

              1. Competitive advantage.
              2. See #1.

              (and please note that pro-oversigning argument #1 comes at the expense of kids college education. ie – how does a kid afford the tuition once his scholarship has been pulled for no reason other than someone else can contribute better to the them?)

              • maybe Sabans mom should check herself, that hasnt happened with Saban.

                • maybe Tre “should check himself”, catch 5 asked for arguments FOR oversigning. I filled that request. I didn’t realize my little Nicholas Saban (bless his pointy head) had to contribute to the pro-oversigning arguments for them to be relevant.


                  Since you brought it up let’s talk about what little Nicholas HAS done. 13 medical scholarships in 3 years? 13 more than most other teams, you say? More than combined conferences, you say?

                  Boy that is some kind of outlier. Any critical thinking human has to believe that there is something is clearly amiss there.

                  Now if you can take your tongue off my little boy for a moment you would realize that either:

                  1. little Nicholas recruits BRITTLE players,
                  2. he BREAKS them far too often,
                  or 3. he is abusing use of the medical scholarship.

                  Now you and I have seen Alabama’s players – they are not brittle. (besides this would be a ridiculous premise.)

                  It is possible that Saban breaks more players than the average football coach. He is top tier coach in a program that takes football very seriously. But that also describes perhaps 10-15 programs who don’t make use of the medical scholarship at any where near the same clip.

                  Which brings us to possibility number 3 – little Nicholas abuses the use of the medical scholarship. Now if only we had evidence that certain football players under his watch were pressed into medical scholarships despite their wishes. If only we had perhaps testimonials from those certain players. If only a respected media source like the Wall Street Journal would publish something like that. Then and only then we could believe that my little Nicholas would be employing medical scholarships for none other than competitive advantage at the expense of college kids.

                  It’s a shame that this information isn’t available.

                  (sarcasm sigh)

                  just in case you aren’t aware at this point, link:

                  Tre, Catch 5, you may not like it… but the simple fact is that this outlier is so out of line from the rest of the 118 samples (d-1 college football) that it suggests a problem.

                  The medical scholarship when used appropriately for someone who gets paralyzed on the field (Adam Taliofero a few years ago @ PSU) or someone undergoing cancer treatment (Arthur Ray Jr. @ MSU) is a certainly blessing. But when a kid who has the talent to play D-1 football somewhere is given a medical scholarship because he isn’t good enough to play D-1 at Saban’s school; Don’t kid yourself- the school benefits and the kid is penalized.

                  • My request is that Joshua conduct a forum where both voices would be heard from someone who believes in that point of view. He once wrote an entry about a year ago I believe where he listed the main arguments for oversigning and refuted them. It was an interesting read, but nowhere near objective as he chose the arguments for his opposition. It would go a long way toward makinng this site legitimate if he were to participate in such an exercise from time to time.

                    If there is such an obvious problem with the way Saban runs his program, then you shouldn’t bhave any problem proving it would you? Even the WSJ artical admits thateach medical was ultimately the deciscion of the player. BTW, how is it hurtfull to the player? He still gets a free ride at UA, something I was never allotted, yet I still managed to get a degree despite this obvious handicap-right?

                  • Yes, Joshua, the comments section is fine for some of this debate, but surely you know most readers don’t read the comments section. Most people read the main articles and move on. Do you not feel it would add a better sense of validity if you offered a forum with some dissenting voices? Who knows, a reasonable solution agreeable to more people could come out of it.

                    • Catch 5 suck it up and start your own website.

                      I am sure it will be great when i_love_oversigning.com comes on line and you and all the friends that join you from ALABAMA, LSU, and TROY start slapping each other on the back.

                      Think of it…
                      You can extoll about the noble virtue of oversigning.

                      You can take bets as to how high your teams will go.

                      You can talk about which players are most likely to be cut.

                      You can track which players accept their plight quietly and which ones speak out against the pressure that was administered unto them to sign their Medical Scholarship.

                      You can have great quotes from my little Nicholas Saban in response to questions about how the roster is going to get wittled down to compliance, “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.”

                      You can tell stories about how Georgia Tech left the conference years ago for a similar attitude that they found unsavory. (“Gosh Georgia tech sure is despicable!”)

                      You can speculate about whether the whispers of Georgia following are really worth their salt?

                      You can laugh at the schools/conference who try to do right by every kid they take on. We value integrity and accept the fact that if they make a promise to a kid and his parents they intend on keeping it. (“Why on earth would they bother?”)

                      You can laugh at the kids who miss the “cut.”

                      You can laugh at the gullibility of parents as your coach sits in their living telling them things like, “every kid who comes with me is part of our family, we want nothing more than to see them work hard, grow and prosper and become noble men during our time together.”

                      But most of all, you can just simply bask in the competitive advantage that is oversigning.

                      It will be great.

                      Josh has already collected all the information here on this site. All you have to do is stick in a couple headlines like, “look how great Saban is for promising more scholarships than he has to give, he sure is smart!”

                      “Some say snake, I say genius.”


                      “There is nothing about ethics in the rules.”

                      Oh I gotta tell you Catch-5, I just can’t wait to see it. Yes, It will be great.

                      It will…

                      be great.

                    • It will be great.

                      (until the NCAA does away with the disparities between the conference rule set and begins “controling” oversigning for competitive equality. Then the mighty SEC whose classes are built on academically questionable kids comes crashing down because in actuality it cannot compete on equal footing with everyone else ethical and academic standards.)

          • “…but surely a nation worth of people can’t be wrong.”

            Everyone knows that the Earth is flat!

      • I’m going to say they don’t adapt the rule because they don’t see any issue with the their application of the rule, nor do I. They are not oversigning… they are always 25/85 limit bound. If they accept an NLI that player has a scholarship applied in one of three ways… either to the previous class if they can qualify for that class, the current class, or the following class (greyshirt). Again, you cannot accept an NLI without a binding scholarship offer.

        Now, if you want to say SOME players are being mislead… I would agree. They may not fully understand what they are signing. I can agree that some restructure of the “OFFER” may need to be done to help the recruits fully understand what they are signing.

        Not all coaches are misleading players… as shown in the previous article, Nick Saban did notifiy a current recruit what he was signing and what would be required of him. He fully understood it’s a one year deal that he had to work for every year.

        NCAA rules only allow for a 1 year scholarhship to be awarded. If anything, ANY school saying they are giving you a 4 year ride is being a bit “misleading”….

    • The company line hasn’t changed by the way.

      • Oh really?

        Up until yesterday you were stumping for the SEC to pass rules that would completely stop oversigning by even one player (which you believed at the time to be the Big Ten’s official policy in football).

        Today, you are stumping for the SEC to pass rules that allow limited oversigning with “sunshine” (which you now know to be the Big Ten’s official policy in football).

        This shift exposes what I always suspcted. Your motivation does not stem from a concern for the welfare of student-athletes. It stems solely from your desire to negate the self-inflicted comeptetive disadvangage of the Big Ten particularly as it relates to the SEC. That’s all you care about. If you truly believed everything you have been saying for the past year, your proposals wouldn’t have changed overnight because you discovered your interpretation of the Big Ten rules was wrong. If you truly believed everything you have been saying over the last year, then you would be condemning the Big Ten for changing its rules in 2002 to allow oversigning. Instead, you applauded them for it. But at least there are no sacred cows on this site, right?

        • “self-inflicted competitive disadvantage of the Big Ten”

          You are correct with the above statement. I and no one would disagree.

          But… with the way you talk about it, you imply that fans of the Big Ten or any team/conference should say, “I wish my team would do more morally-questionable things. I wish my conference abused more loopholes.” in lieu of saying “I want my team/conference to always be more upstanding and morally responsible – not less”

          Which do you want of your team? your conference? you kid? your wife? your mom? your boss? your co-workers? your company? your….etc?

          Whether you concede the answer to those questions here, on an anonymous message board doesn’t really matter. You and I and everyone who will read this already know what you would say if you weren’t in the midst of online debate.

        • VESPER SAID:
          “Up until yesterday you were stumping for the SEC to pass rules that would completely stop oversigning by even one player (which you believed at the time to be the Big Ten’s official policy in football).

          Today, you are stumping for the SEC to pass rules that allow limited oversigning with “sunshine” (which you now know to be the Big Ten’s official policy in football).

          This shift exposes what I always suspcted. Your motivation does not stem from a concern for the welfare of student-athletes.”


          Come on VESPER. Politicians talk like this because they have to differentiate their positions. Black v White, Red v Blue, it isn’t ever that simple and none of us live our lives like that anyways. In truth, Governing and policymaking is a bit reactionary relative to ongoing issues.

          (Too many people in prisons?, too large a percentage of the population going to jail?, too much burden on the state? – probably means the deterrents have become too light – up the penalties, put more to death, crack down harder on root causes. On the flipside if our jails were all empty – no one would be for capital punishment.)

          Rules/policymaking/policing is a moving target. But the intent generally is constant.

          Which is to say, you and I and Josh don’t have to have all the answers right now. Pinning Josh’s ears back because yesterday he stated that he wishes the Big Ten rules were firmer – then adjusting today to say he misunderstood those rules and now likes them more is just disingenuous quibbling on your part. If you weren’t too busy trying to win this argument at all costs doing so doesn’t really do anything for you or your argument. (for the record, I don’t know that Josh yesterday or any other day did in fact say (as VESPER claims) that the BIG TEN rule was inadequate – but it doesn’t matter – i will take you at your word.)

          To this point we all thought that the SEC’s new Saban Rule instituted in 2009 to allow no more than 28 signees – was essentially the same as the Big Ten’s 2002 relaxation of their rule to allow an oversigning of max 3 players.

          The article written above, illustrates that we all have been wrong. The Big Ten’s rule and the SEC’s rule are in fact not the same at all.

          The SEC rule still allows signees of 28 per year (without any justification for doing so). (Meaning 28+28+28+28=112, where 85 is the max)

          The BIG TEN rule allows only 3 extra signees above the AVAILABLE SCHOLARSHIP SLOTS (with justification to a conference board). (Meaning in any given year for example there are 70 returning scholarship players, big ten teams can sign on 18 (15+3oversigns with justification))

          The two rules are very far apart.

        • VESPER GOES ON:
          “Your motivation does not stem from a concern for the welfare of student-athletes.”

          You jump to this conclusion how? Talk about a non-sequitur.

          I will grant that as a college football fan, I and probably most of America want apples to apples competition. I don’t not want unfair competitive advantage allotted to a team or conference because their rules are not the same as everyone elses. (I also like the NFL’s salary cap) But that doesn’t discount the fact that we are against young kids being taken advantage. Hence the reason why the collective stance of most impartial observers would prefer moving towards the lauded Big Ten’s stance (still the most restrictive and most protective of the kids) than the SEC’s pre 2009 stance (no real restrictions or protections for the kids at all.)

          Stumping for or against oversigning by even 1 is sortof moot. There are reasons that a school could oversign by a few players without pulling the football scholarship of another player. Problem is, the higher the number of oversigned players, the more likely the institution has to do something detrimental to a kid. That schools are oversigning by 10, 15, 20 players without having to justify any of it, and that there are more and more kids coming out saying they were pressured to transfer/medical scholarship is the issue. Miss St is over by 14 this year alone, does anyone believe they will have a combined total of 14 kids lose their scholarship without pressure or manipulation by the university? – they may, but it certainly makes it more likely that they will have to do something backhanded. And what if the university is doing it year in and year out? Auburn signed 119 in the last 4 classes – where did 34 players (119-85 ncaa limit) go?

          The problem is more and more evidence that backhanded things ARE occurring like pulling promised scholarships to incoming (and already enrolled) freshmen (LSU), pressuring individuals to take medical scholarships despite their wishes (ALABAMA), pressuring kids into transferring out, etc.

          So yes, you are right – SOME of the “motivation does NOT stem from a concern for the welfare of student-athletes.” We do all want a system that is pretty impartially fair to all FBS teams and conferences. We do not want a system that benefits your conference alone (although I can see why you would, and why you are defending it with your life.)

          But you are just being obtuse if you don’t believe that some motivation for all of this oversigning backlash here or otherwise does come from a concern for the welfare of student-athletes.

    • The reason the B10 changed their rule was not to encourage oversigning, but to address a clear disadvantage in recruiting. The prior B10 rule prohibited sending out more NLOIs than there was projected room for. So if a team projected to have 20 spots available out of the 85 total, they could only send out 20 NLOIs. This certainly precluded any oversigning, but it also put conference schools in a real bind in recruiting. One great example of this was Ohio States class of 2002, a monster class by any measure. That year OSU had 25 slots available. Approaching signing day, OSU had 23 “firm” commits and one shaky one. The shaky one was Richard Washington who had publicly committed to OSU, but was sending smoke signals that he was considering NC State. Counting Washington, OSU had 24 commits, leaving one slot. Unfortunately for OSU, they had two strong candidates for that one slot, Buster Davis (a LB) and Derek Morris (an OT). Both were highly rated, both had not committed and both were thought to favor OSU. OSU chose to send a NLOI to Washington and Morris. They could not send one to Davis because of the B10 rule. Washington flipped to NC State, Morris signed with OSU and Davis eventually signed with FSU, from time to time claiming he would have signed with OSU if they had sent a NLOI.

      The B10 changed their rule in response to this and similar situations. The goal, IMO, was not to encourage oversigning, but to allow some leeway in situations where recruits weer holding off until NLOI signing day to commit. Obviously, the new rule has the potential to result in oversigning by three, but the controls the B10 put in has served as enough of a deterrent that it infrequently occurs.

      • Glad you posted this here; I was going to send you a message to do so but you beat me to the punch. This is exactly why the rule changed. The competitive disadvantage prior to 2002 was huge and the big 10 found a way to somewhat address it while maintaining its ethics and integrity. I am probably going to move this into the body of the original post because this is a key element in re discussion. Thanks for sharing!

  5. If you look at the Capital One Bowl, where Alabama just blew Michigan State’s doors in, the advantage the Tide had through oversigning was palpable. Only through this practice could Nick Saban acquire TWO superstar-caliber running backs in Mark Ingram AND Trent Richardson, not to mention Julio Jones and others. Only when this practice is banned outright will we know if Saban, Miles, and Nutt are truly worth the big bucks they’re making.

    • the advantage was on the Oline and Dline, that is where they blew the doors off. Any oversigning is usually about depth, not the starters. Those guys get scholarships wherever they want to go. And having 2 high caliber RB’s isnt that uncommon nowadays.

      • True, but because Saban oversigns so drastically he can have it all: both talent AND depth. In 2008 Igram, Jones, and Marcell Dareus were the last three signees of a bloated recruiting class of 32. Ingram, who was from Michigan, was being heavily pursued by the Spartans, and had not Saban so heavily oversigned he may have gone to MSU instead. Coaches who don’t oversign may have to decide between signing a running back or a lineman, where those like Miles and Saban can say “to hell with it, I can sign both, and just run off a couple of kids on the back end who aren’t panning out.”

        Conversely my favorite team, Penn State, has a modest list of 15 commits, and recently they had to tell a highly-regarded DT that they didn’t have room for him. The kid really wanted to go to PSU, and the coaches really could have used him. But at Bama it’s noooo problem, they’ll find a spot for him somehow. Somebody’s just gonna have to be sent packing.

        When you have this kind of egregious competitive disadvantage every year, no wonder Saban looks like such a friggin’ genius. If this loophole is ever closed, I guarantee he won’t seem half as smart as before.

        • I disagree, if Saban weren’t allowed to sign 32 in 2008 (many of which enrolled early and counted against the previous year where they were undersigned) the ones missing out would more likely have been players like Wes Neighbors (2 star DT), Ivan Matchett (3 star RB), or Jermaine Preyear (3 star RB). Ingram, Jones and Dareus were the last signees because they were heavily recruited and didn’t commit until signing day – that does not mean they were the last ones on the wish list, quite the opposite.

          “Penn State, has a modest list of 15 commits, and recently they had to tell a highly-regarded DT that they didn’t have room for him. The kid really wanted to go to PSU, and the coaches really could have used him”

          And you’re proud of this? Why not be able to take him on as opposed to sending him to some MAC team (or some other team he would rather not play for)? I mean, the whole oversigning argument is that it hurts the kids, right? How is this not hurtfull (by the same standards) to this DT who really wants to play for PSU and I assume from your comment possesses the needed talent? Why doesn’t Paterno let him (or one of his other recruits) greyshirt so this kid can come on board? Who knows, if someone else on the team decides to transfer over the summer, he could even join this year. The anti-oversinging crowd continues to tout their morally superiority, but comments like this show that it is not all evil – increased opportunity is a positive thing to me.

          • Moral superiority, no. Being ethical and obeying the spirit of the NCAA regulations, absolutely. By oversigning every year, a coach guarantees a significant number of kids will get the shaft when it comes time to make the 85 limit, often for nothing more than not being a gametime stud. It also allows teams to maintain a higher talent level by forcibly culling the herd through the use of medical redshirts (which Bama apparently foists on perfectly healthy players), greyshirts (pulling of scholarships), and “suggestions” to transfer to FCS programs. Kids who are compelled to transfer have their educations seriously interrupted (at least those who take their education seriously), as credits from the old school are not always accepted by the new, and many courses have to be repeated, resulting in graduation delays (often permanently).

            And yes, we who follow Penn State are proud of the fact that the team enjoys success without cutting corners and playing fast and loose with the rules, unlike many of the SEC schools. I’m glad they forego a kid they want if it puts them over their limit. That way they don’t have to run off any of their existing players, and the kid hopefully ends up at a program that doesn’t oversign and where he can flourish. He may even end up lining up against PSU, and that’s fine by me. I hope that when Joe Paterno finally exits the scene that he’s not replaced by some shady operator like Nick Saban.

            And I don’t think early enrollees count toward the previous year’s number, unless they signed the previous year and went to prep school or JUCO.

            • obeying the spirit of the NCAA regulations

              The letter of the regulations is enforced. You want a nebulous area where people always look at the spirit, or the intent. Good luck with that Pollyana-istic view.

              often for nothing more than not being a gametime stud.

              What other measure should there be for an athlete pray tell?

              (which Bama apparently foists on perfectly healthy players)

              Prove that they’re perfectly healthy. Prove it. Every one of them had an injury of some kind, and regardless, they weren’t going to play anymore.

              (at least those who take their education seriously)

              You’re the FIRST to admit that. I would imagine that number is much higher than the antisigners would ever admit. That the kids are there for ball, not book learning.

            • “Being ethical and obeying the spirit of the NCAA regulations, absolutely.”
              This “spirit of the rules” argument has come up a lot. I fail to see how this is accurate as the rules plainly allow all aspects of oversigning.

              “By oversigning every year, a coach guarantees a significant number of kids will get the shaft when it comes time to make the 85 limit, often for nothing more than not being a gametime stud.”
              This is plainly untrue. If a team is 5 over the limit, and noone opts to transfer then 5 players will greyshirt. If they are aware of this possibility beforehand, then they aren’t getting the shaft by delaying enrollment until spring to be able to play for their desired school. If they aren’t aware of the possibility, then I agree with you, but that isn’t an oversigning issue, it’s a team management issue.

              “It also allows teams to maintain a higher talent level by forcibly culling the herd through the use of medical redshirts (which Bama apparently foists on perfectly healthy players)…”
              This, also is untrue. Every player receiving medical from Alabama had been injured.

              “greyshirts (pulling of scholarships)…”
              No, a greyshirt is not pulling of scholarships. It is a delayed enrollment. If the school accepts the LOI, they must provide a one-year scholarship. This scholarship can be applied to the previous class provided there is room in that class and the 85 limit, to the current class, or to the next year’s class if the student waits until after the season to enroll in school (with the financial aid)

              “and “suggestions” to transfer to FCS programs”
              Yes. Do you disagree that it would benifit some players to transfer if they desire more playing time?

              “Kids who are compelled to transfer have their educations seriously interrupted (at least those who take their education seriously), as credits from the old school are not always accepted by the new, and many courses have to be repeated, resulting in graduation delays (often permanently).”
              Ok, granting you this possibility (though not the norm – at worst only one or two classes would need to be repeated) is it really that big of a detriment when the whole thing is paid for anyway? These kids still graduate faster that I did – of course I paid for my college education by working full time and taking as many classes as I could at night. If someone had been paying for mine, I would’nt have minded staying another few quarters.

              “I’m glad they forego a kid they want if it puts them over their limit.”
              I’m sure that is good consolation to the player. Especially since there is no NCAA rule that says he shouldn’t be able to be given an offer.

              “That way they don’t have to run off any of their existing players”
              As stated above, none would have to be as a greyshirt would do the job.

              “The kid hopefully ends up at a program that doesn’t oversign and where he can flourish”
              Just not the one he wanted to go to.

              “I hope that when Joe Paterno finally exits the scene that he’s not replaced by some shady operator like Nick Saban”
              So you don’t want a guy that is honest upfront with his recruits about what they are getting into? Good luck to you then.

              “And I don’t think early enrollees count toward the previous year’s number, unless they signed the previous year and went to prep school or JUCO.”
              You are wrong. See above, if the previous year’s class had room then any player enrolling in the spring can back count.

            • [quote]And yes, we who follow Penn State are proud of the fact that the team enjoys success without cutting corners and playing fast and loose with the rules, unlike many of the SEC schools.[/quote]

              remind me again how many players were getting arrested at PSU? 46 players, 163 criminal charges since 2002. I wouldnt call what they do up there something to be proud of.

        • Dareus, Jones and Ingram would have had scholarships available even if Bama had 5 to give out. they were top target, top athletes. I put it to you, find one player from Bama who said he was “run off”. Who wanted to stay and play, but was told he couldnt?

    • That’s right, if Saban had recruited less players over his tenure, Ingram, Richardson and Jones would be the first that missed out on scholarships. No, the ones not handed out would be the less academically viable and less talented athletes.

    • Saban had one moderately successful season in 5 tries at Michigan State. He was sub-.500 in 2 years at Miami.

      That’s 1 successful team in 7 years where he wasn’t able to capitalize on his greatest strength: his total lack of ethics.

      Even Barry Bonds had MVP seasons before steroids. Saban? He’s just an oversigning fraud.

      • and Bill Belichik failed at his first stop in NFL too. 2 years on a pro team, before you can fully implement your roster type, etc, on a team that has been doing bad for years is nothing to really judge. Your hatred of Saban and Bama blinds you. Purge some of that hatred, you will live longer. though if i had Mark Richt as a coach, who woefully under performs year and year, i might have some pent up hatred too.

        • Really???? Comparing the known cheater Belichick to Saban as a defense. You do realize that completely undermines your point.

          You just basically said;

          “Hey look! A cheater in another sport didn’t do well until he worked somewhere that he was allowed to cheat, so that means my cheating coach couldn’t have done better anywhere until he came here and was allowed to cheat!”

          But again, if Saban is such a great coach shouldn’t he have been able to turn the program at Michigan State into something better than what it was when he started there?

          • would it make you feel better if i used Jimmy Johnson as an example? Great coach at UM, great coach in Dallas, and did nothing in Miami. How about Mike Holmgren? Great in Green Bay, bad in Seattle. Pete Carroll was horrible with the Patriots, but better with USC and now Seattle. 2 years isnt enough time to really implement anything with any team, especially one that had been losing for years. As for turning MSU around, MSU’s record in the 4 yrs prior to Saban, 19-26, with Saban, 35-24-1. So he did make it better while he was there. Had they hired a better coach than Bobby Williams after he left, it might not have taken them so long to get even better.

      • Can you point out when Nick Saban every had more than the 25/85 limit…

        What you are saying isn’t “Oversinging”…

        EVERY NLI is required by NCAA rule to have a Binding 1 year scholarship offer with it. That offer will be applied either to the previous class if the player is eligable, the current class, or the next class (greyshirt).

        If you want to argue that SOME recruits don’t fully understand their OFFER from a school and the recruiters are not being misleading in not telling them… I would agree. That does happen and a system could/should be developed to help limit this from going on.

        However, as show in the previous article on this site… Nick Saban fully disclosed his expectatios and his offer to at least ONE recruit that was interviewed. That recuit fully understood that is offer was for 1 year and that he would have to earn it each year.

        NCAA rules DO NOT allow for any scholarship to be for more than 1 year.

        If a player understands that fact, then I have no issues with him signing his NLI and then being cut latter or being greyshirted…. In the end the recruit does have the option of NOT signing a NLI and walking onto the team and paying his own way if he doesn’t like the laungue/requirements of the “OFFER/NLI”

      • Spurrier and Patrino sucked in the NFL too, as did Pete Carroll in his first go around. What’s your point?

    • “If you look at the Capital One Bowl, where Alabama just blew Michigan State’s doors in, the advantage the Tide had through oversigning was palpable.”

      Here are Josh’s recruiting numbers for ’06-’10:

      MSU 28 23 21 23 21 = 116
      UA 23 25 32 27 29 = 136

      The implication is that Alabama has had an additional 20 players over these 5 classes to pick and choose which ones to keep and which ones to discard. The reality is that out of those 136 “signees”, at least 17 were never a part of Alabama’s football team and therefore afforded Alabama no competitive advantage in the Capital One Bowl or any game for that matter (1 never signed, 7 failed to qualify, 2 opted for Major League Baseball careers, 5 are double counted, and 2 from the 2010 class greyshirted and therefore were not part of the team leading up to and including the Capital One Bowl).

      There could be more than 17, but I only counted the ones that I was sure about.
      I know nothing about Michigan State’s personnel, so if any of their 116 never made it onto the team, then feel free to chime in.

      So that makes for a whopping 3 player differential that actually set foot on the respective teams’ practice fields when comparing the 2010 Michigan State and Alabama football teams. Not sure that classifies as a “palpable” advantage.

      This also illustrates how misleading raw stats can be without context.

      • All this time and you still don’t get it.

        “at least 17 were never a part of Alabama’s football team”

        Yet Alabama still managed to be at 85 scholarships strong. Had it not been for oversigning Alabama would have been a 17 man roster deficit, instead they were able to hedge against attrition and ensure they have a full roster. That’s the whole damn point.

        • Wait, I thought the whole reason for the Big Ten’s 2002 change was so that Big Ten teams could hedge their bets in order to ensure that they had full rosters. At least that was the way it was presented by NavyBuck (remember that whole Davis, Morris, Washington example?) and you seemed to agree. So, it’s ok when the Big Ten endorses it, but not ok otherwise?

        • So, Alabama had 17 players that never made it, weren’t cut, and weren’t medically hardshipped, and you STILL have a problem?

          Which is it for you? Harm, or just hating that Saban can plan for attrition, and the Big 10 keeps you from it?

  6. So, essentially, the point made by this website and its supporters is as follows: the Big 10, because it doesn’t oversign, should by all rights suck in head-to-head matchups against the SEC; the Big 10, based on recent head-to-head matchups such as MSU vs. Alabama, does indeed suck; ergo, the Big 10 does not suck.

    Got it. Thanks for the clarification.

  7. First off I am a huge Bama fan born and raised. Secondly I am probably going t catch a lot of flack for this, but here goes. Oversigning is a very unfair practice and rules need to be implemented to either limit or end this practice for good. I don’t think it should have to be completely done away with just limited similar to the rules the BIG 10 has implemented. As far as oversigning giving an edge to one team I just don’t understand how you can use Alabama as an example for that. In the Capital One bowl we won the game on defense how many of those players were even garnering conference attention this year? Two Marcell Dareus and Mark Barron. Everyone else was either an up-and-comer (Courtney Upshaw) or a bust (Dont’a Hightower). Same with the National Championship last year we had the depth, but nobody on defense save for Rolando McClain was a complete game-changer. Everyone else just played well as a unit. This year proved what I thought about Mark Ingram all along, he is a great back, but with his lack of blistering speed and agility he needs an excellent line to block for him. This year he didn’t have a superman o-line and better defenses stopped him. (South Carolina, Michigan State, LSU). I don’t even think he should have won the Heisman Ndamukong Suh was a much more dominant player. Back to the point though. Oversigning should be contained and scholarships handed out should be handed out for two years not just one. That allows players who can’t cut it academically to try their hand at JUCO before coming to an FBS school. Most starters I think you would agree are Juniors and Seniors so that also helps cut down on cutting players just to make room if they are on Sch. for two years instead of one they actually get a chance to improve and fight for time on the field. I know there are problems with this idea, but no idea is perfect, and they all have problems. That is just the best solution as I see it. Everyone will see it different.

    • dude, you obviously arent a Bama fan. Hightower isnt a bust. He is a player coming off major knee surgery and playing out of position. He was at all-american status the year before, until he got hurt.
      And Ingram has shown his speed many times, he isnt slow by any means, and everyone agrees he has one of the best side-step, instant acceleration moves around. There is a reason he is the projected #1 RB in the draft. His 40 speed of 4.45 is .1 seconds slower than the fastest RB last year.

      As for Suh, he dominated 2 games, Ingram dominated against top level competition all year. Suh had 6 games with no sacks, 6 games with 1 sack and then his great game against Texas which is all anyone ever remembers.

      laugh, a Bama fan. Maybe you should learn more about the team you say you are a fan of.

      • for one, Suh was a defensive run stopping tackle, not a pass rusher. How many D tackles do you know who have half the tackles and sacks as Suh did last year. Everyone who know football knows a D tackles job is to take up blockers and clog the middle and NOT make the tackle. Alabama’s offense caters to the running back putting up huge numbers. Igram wasnt even the best running back last year, let alone the best player.

        • he wasnt the best running back? who was? dont say Gerheart, he out rushed Ingram by 200 yards, but he also had 72 more attempts, and also played deep into 4th quarter blowouts, whereas Ingram sat most 4th quarters. He could have easily passed Gerheart in yards and TD’s.

      • State your opinion and throw your stats up, but do not question my fandom. I know quite a bit about this team try me. I don’t question Hightowers ability as a tackler and a playmaker. I question his leadership ability and his future potential. He has plateaued and has no room for improvement now with a bum knee. He was projected to be the instant replacement for Rolando McClain and right now most Bama fans would agree that was a big hole in the defense this year, an unquestioned leader. Mark Barron is good but he is not Rolando. I doubt we will see another Rolando for a long time. As for Ingram there are a lot of projected #1′s out there that never do anything in the NFL. Have you ever heard of Ryan Leaf. The Chargers sure wish they hadn’t. If he is the first back taken and he goes anywhere that plays a fast-paced offense he will be considered a bust. Anyway it wasn’t only Ingram that struggled this year it was the entire rush game. Trent had very few yards and you can’t blame that on injury as his came in the last half of the season. He was already struggling when he hurt his knee.

        Sure Suh didn’t dominate every game, but neither did Ingram. Ingram took over one game that was South Carolina. The other 100 yard games he had I credit an amazing offensive line who just played well together.

        I leave it at that don’t question my fandom I know quite a bit about Alabama football, and I was just stating my opinion. State yours and leave it at that. Don’t question my fandom because my opinion differs.

    • Michigan State? Really? Michigan State couldn’t stop our 4th string running back in an obvious mercy-up the middle-run out the clock play. The only thing stopping Ingram in that game was Nick Saban. While I agree whole heartly that the O-line has more to do with a RB’s success than the individual, but the lack of production early in the year could likely be assigned to the knee surgery and a different style of play calling. Toward the end of the season, he was showing the speed and burst that made him the Heisman winner. While I will not go as far as to question your fandom, I will question your judgement in this post.

      Sorry for the diversion from the topic at hand, but I couldn’t let that lie.

  8. You know, when you break down both sides, you have one side that is trying to protect the student and college athletics, and the other side is interested winning titles.

    No wonder the SEC fans are losing this argument.

  9. Just face it Big 10,11,or 12 or whatever you are. You just suck compared to the SEC!!!!!! Why? It’s not oversigning, i will not even say speed, but climate. These boys down south work out in 100 plus heat all summer. That was the difference in the capital one bowl. Nick Saban knew that and even stated that after the game. BTW go back and look at the different body builds by position of the alabama players vs. Mich st. players. You will notice how cut those bama boys are. That cant happen by oversigning, that’s just hard work in the weight room in some of the best facilities money can buy.

    • What is the excuse for Arkansas losing to Ohio St.? Or LSU to PSU last year?

    • So, since 2000, what is the SEC record against the Big 10. I’ll let you in on something, in bowl games it is close to .500 (it is .566 or 17-13). I would hardly call that domination by the SEC.

      If the players are *SO* much better in the SEC, why is the record of the two conferences close to being .500?

      And really, it can’t happen by oversigning; so, with oversigning a coach would never cut a player that wasn’t as dedicated to their strength and conditioning program as an incoming player? Is that what you are really trying to say?

      So please, answer my questions and defend your point logically? I’ll wait, but I’m sure I will only get silence.

      • conferences average out top to bottom. also, look at the competition.
        Cotton Bowl = Big 12 #2 vs SEC #3/4/5
        Outback Bowl = Big 10 #3 vs SEC 3/4/5
        Chik Fila Bowl = ACC #2 vs SEC 3/4/5
        Music City = ACC#6 vs SEC 6/7/8
        Papajohns Bowl = Big East 5 vs SEC 8/9

        in fact, if you look at the Big East bowl schedule, they all have higher ranked Big East teams playing lower ranked opponents. That kind of slants the board in the favor of the Big East to begin with.

        Hyundai Sun Bowl Pac-10 #3 ACC #4 / Big East #2 / Notre Dame
        Champs Sports Bowl ACC #3 Big East #2 or ND
        Meineke Car Care Bowl ACC #5 Big East #3
        New Era Pinstripe Bowl Big East #4 Big 12 #7
        BBVA Compass Bowl Big East #5 SEC #8/9
        Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl Big East #6 C-USA #5

        so if i were you, i wouldnt be talking the Big East up quite too much.

  10. The only reason this is being discussed is because fans want to WIN! If a fan’s team isn’t winning it all, those fans must find a reason. Obviously the sponsors of this website feel that OVER SIGNING is giving other teams a competitive advantage. Quit the crap about “the poor student athlete is getting screwed”. That student athlete is getting at least some of his education paid for based on his athletic ability. Many others have to work and pay for it themselves. This isn’t about the “poor student athlete that couldn’t make it on the football team”; it’s about the fans that want to WIN. If a student on an academic scholarship doesn’t maintain a specified grade point average, they lose their scholarship. If a student doesn’t contribute to the team, why should they retain their scholarship? But quit trying to take the moral high road.
    ( REPLY )

    • Yes Meg, it is about student athletes getting screwed, the fact that oversigning does create an uneven playing field is of secondary importance to this site (if I may be bold enough to speak for the owner).

      Yes, if a student on an academic scholarship fails to keep their grades up, they lose their scholarship. But guess what, that is a well defined metric that all parties know going into the agreement for the scholarship. But with athletic scholarships at schools that are allowed to oversign, there is no predefined metric for what will cost a player their scholarship. See the difference?

  11. You are fooling yourself if you believe the owner of this site is concerned about the student athlete. I have read most of his articles and the vast majority of the comments and this site is about the difference between the Big 10 and the SEC on how many NLOIs can be offered. The owner of this site believes that this so called “oversigning” puts the Big 10 at a disadvantage on the playing field. That may very well be true and the Big 10 can change it’s rules anytime it wants to. He would like readers to believe the issue is “unfair treatment of student athletes” and hopes to sway public opinion using that argument but this site is about “winning” on the field pure and simple. I have no problem with creating a level playing field but I do have a problem with the way the issue is being presented by this site.

  12. The NCAA rule is that a scholarship is a year to year offering. If the Big 10 wants to apply a more stringent definition of the rule, that is their privilege. But there is nothing wrong with the NCAA rule. It forces students to fight for their scholarship each and every year–the same as any person does in real life. We work hard to retain our jobs, retain our position in society, retain an academic scholarship, etc… Why shouldn’t an athlete have to do the same thing? The assumption is that the SEC creates better quality depth by not renewing scholarships of non-performing players. What is wrong with that? You will answer that the scholarship should be for 4 years and just because a player isn’t the best at his position he should still be retained because its the “fair” thing to do because that is what the Big 10 decided. If the Big 10′s rule shouldn’t be followed by all schools, the the NCAA should change it’s rule to mirror the Big 10′s rule. Then it would be “fair”. Until that happens, every conference should follow the NCAA’s rule and there is nothing unethical about following the rule. That would make the owner of this site happy and his beloved Ohio State can win it on the field once again because that is what this is all about—-WINNING!

  13. No wonder the BIG 10 sucks every year.

  14. Some of you may have seen Dave Matter’s article in the Columbia (Mo.) Tribune about oversigning. I wrote him a note asking about Josh’s background and Matter’s inability to get Josh to respond to an interview request. Here was his response:

    “Very interesting. It’s obvious the author of the site has something personal against Saban/Alabama/the entire SEC. I was disappointed that no one ever responded to my interview requests, but oh well.
    thanks for the note.”


    • I tried to respond but couldn’t and I have 3 failed email responses that were bounced back from his email server to prove it. I tried to email him three times with no success. If I spent all day responding to media requests I would have to quit my 9-5 job. I tried to reach him and couldn’t. The reason the site appears to be bias against the sec is because they are by far the worst offenders.

      • That’s interesting, because I had no issue at all. Exactly why is it that we haven’t seen you speaking in any of these articles? Don’t you want to get the issue out there? It sure seems like you are avoiding something.

        And your last observation is so ridiculous as to barely merit comment other than to say that someone who is a journalist by vocation has seen right through your paper thin veneer. You’re quite incapable of staying on topic, as is evidenced by your constant personal attacks.

        • How is this for interesting?

          This message was created automatically by mail delivery software.

          A message that you sent could not be delivered to one or more of its
          recipients. This is a permanent error. The following address(es) failed:

          SMTP error from remote mail server after RCPT TO::
          host mail.columbiatribune.com []:
          550 ip address access denied

          —— This is a copy of the message, including all the headers. ——
          Date: Sun, 23 Jan 2011 16:07:35 -0500
          Subject: Re: Oversigning story
          From: joshua@oversigning.com
          To: “Matter, Dave”

          I tried to respond to him 3 times and got the above error message.

    • http://mbd.scout.com/mb.aspx?s=145&f=3154&t=7099459&p=8

      Hoss, did you know there is a guy that said the very same thing, word for word on the Ohio State board at Scout? Quite a coincidence huh?

    • Hoss,
      You wouldn’t be the same guy who posted this, would you?


      1) Oversigning is not against the rules. Speak to the NCAA about that.
      2) The guy who writes the blog is as I described. An Ohio State fan who couldn’t give a crap about these kids. I don’t give a rat’s ass if you don’t like my approach.
      3) I will write every media outlet that publishes an article that mentions his website and tell the truth about him. I have already done so with the WSJ, SI, the Columbia Tribune, and anywhere else I have seen the name of the website. If this guy ever wants to take the next step to getting the word out, he will have to go public. He can’t hide in his wussy little hole much longer.

      I see it’s just killing you DSB to see this site progress. Guess what, all of your wildest dreams are going to come true soon. Due to the popularity of the site and the nature of the topic, I have been contacted by people from all walks of life, some of them happen to be very influential and very interested in taking what I have started here further.

      They are all very interested in this topic and want to join the fight – they see the injustice and they know what I know and see it for what it really is. So go ahead and write every media outlet in the country – tell them all that “yeah, oversigning exists and it’s real, but that guy who runs that site is an Ohio State fan with an agenda.” I’d bet the farm that it nets nothing more than a token reply saying, “thanks for the message.”

      And by the way, I banned your new IP and your new name.

  15. Joshua,
    Wow! You don’t like what people have to say so you ban them?

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