Jon Solomon and Kevin Scarbinsky Talk Oversigning

Jon and Kevin both work for The Birmingham News and both have recently written some very good articles on the topic of oversigning (and yes, the al.com site search for the word "oversigning" nets 18,000+ links on the al.com website -- wow).  Scarbinsky, more so than Solomon, has incurred the wrath of Alabama fans for his comments regarding Nick Saban, so much so that subscribers have threatened to boycott The Birmingham News.  We personally commend both Jon Solomon and Kevin Scarbinsky for covering oversigning they way they have, which has been both thorough and professional.   And kudos to the Birmingham News for standing behind them. 

The writing is on the wall.  The abuse of this loophole has been uncovered for all to see and the only people defending its practice are the coaches that are exploiting it and the fans of those coaches.  Most objective, rational-minded folks see this for what it is and are against it.  

Kevin and Jon touch on all of the aspects of oversigning in this podcast.  Jump to the 10:15 minute mark to hear the beginning of their comments on oversigning.

Podcast Chat with Jon Solomon and Kevin Scarbinsky

Great work guys!!!

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  1. Greg McGarity saying that Georgia echoes Bernie Machen’s characterization of oversigning as morally reprehensible and repugnant:


    McGarity questioning the oversigning programs:

    “What kind of conversation are you having with these young men and their parents up front? Are you making them aware of all the dynamics that could occur? I think the majority of the time that’s probably not the case.”


  2. The article actually leads to what I have said. The have several proposals out there, but all any rule such as the Big 10 does is accelerate the process. As he says transfers at the appropiate time. Just meaning you announce who transferring prior to NSD or who going on a medical hardship.

    the best part is how this site in the beginning was against grayshirting now it seems to be alright if they know ahead of time. I guess when he said we told recruits upfront that depending on how things go they might have to grayshirt. I guess that is defending why he sent out more NLIs than UGA had room. And the fact that CMR is quoted saying they might have to grayshirt and than the AD says we agre with UF, but UF says they will not grayshirt.

    Again there is an issue but now what we are seeing is people creating a gray area to make it work. Those proposals he is talking about has to be approved by each university. To believe that will not be some loopholes to get around whatever they decide is being naive, just like with the 28 rule. Until the NCAA steps in and makes it unilateral accross the board for all schools whatever roster management practices people have issue with will not change and then it will only change if a strict punishment is issued. Until then anything we see in the near future is window dressing.

    • not only did UF say they wouldnt grey shirt, but Meyer just offered a grey shirt a month before he “retired” again.

    • “all any rule such as the Big 10 does is accelerate the process”

      Yes and no. The Big Ten does affect more than just the timing of the “run-off” kids.

      The current tact (of the serial oversiging offenders) is to go out and get as many kids as they can. See what you get, and then edit the team. (it is pretty much like pro ball in that regard – 400 players show up day one, then by the season you have cut them down to a 53 man roster.) Right now, the coaches can cast a wide net. For example – if they only have 10 spots, they can still go sign 28 (in the SEC) – which probably means they “offer” a few more than that really. For our purposes let’s suppose that no more than 28 offers could be out at any one time.

      Adopting the Big Ten, yes, would transfer the “run off” to prior to signing day. Which means that a coach would run off kids and take the chance that he can fill the spots. So he would in essence open up spots so that he could possibly put someone into it. He may or may not be able to do so.

      If he took the same example of 10 open spots from above – and “ran off” a few more kids (say 3, say 5). He still is only allowed to get 15 with a possibility of 3 more if the coach has good reason and the third party review board concurs. So it isn’t as though he will offer 28 (like above) and modify his roster accordingly. He would offer essentially only the amount of spaces he has (at any one time) in lieu of the maximum.

      The two are more nuanced than just saying the second adjusts the timing. The second potentially relieves the system if in both cases everyone signs as many as they can (28 and18 in these example) of 10 kids from being run off/ per team/per year. (positive improvement) It eliminates a “sign and cut” mindset from the equation. (positive improvement.) And it exposes the coach himself to risk for his actions, meaning, he could possibly run off players only to leave their spots unfilled and therein not benefit from it at all. (again positive improvement over, the no down side process of signing all I can then editing my team.)

      The numbers really boil down to a willingness to bank on the fact that you can fill a spot with equal or better talent once you’ve opened it up. Which gets to the heart of one in the hand/two in the bush line of thinking.

      So yes, the big ten rule would adjust the timing of “run-offs”, but the gestalt of it is far more potent than the limited credit you give unto it.

      • I am not disagreeing with that but unlike some on here you see what I am saying. It does set a basis but it still does not resolve everything. Maybe what needs to be done besides adjusting the timing is just max out 3 players that can be oversigned so that only 3 can be grayshirted unless 1 to 3 leave. This would limit oversigning to a more reasonal number to deal with attrition and it would force coaches to decide earlier on who is transferring or no longer playing via medical hardships. Now no excuse could be made we do not know because they do have room for error with 3 over.

  3. no big surprise about Scarbinsky. the guy used to be the Auburn beat writer, and takes every opportunity to take a pot shot at Alabama.

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