Oversigning Time Machine

With the SEC meetings in June on the horizon and the topic of oversigning at or near the topic of the agenda, perhaps Mike Slive and the Athletic Directors of the SEC should use the oversigning time machine and rewind the clock back to the SEC meetings of 1964.  That was the year Georgia Tech took a stand against the practice of oversigning and eventually left the conference because it would not change its recruiting rules to prevent the abuses taking place relative to signing more players than there was room for, which subsequently led to players being run off the team and out of school.

It is absolutely amazing that 47 years later this is one of the hottest topics going into the conference meetings and still an issue in the SEC.  Granted, Georgia and Florida are not threatening to leave the SEC if Alabama, LSU, Ole Miss, Arkansas, South Carolina, and Auburn don't stop oversigning, but it is clear that the battle lines have been drawn and just like in 1964 the conference remains strongly divided on the practice of oversigning. 

The Georgia Tech Alumni Magazine recently wrote a wonderful article on the 1964 SEC meetings with a blow for blow account of what happened and why GT really left the SEC -- oversigning.  Here is just a snippet of the article; we highly recommend you read the rest of the article. 

Over the years, many have debated the reason for Tech’s departure from the SEC. Some will argue that Tech athletics had begun to slip and were no longer able to compete with the other conference teams. Others will point to a running feud with the University of Alabama as the cause. Still others will suggest that Tech wanted to be an independent all along, hoping to become the Notre Dame of the South. Tech was losing a lot of revenue generated from TV and bowl rights because of conference sharing rules. As an independent, Tech would be able to keep all the money it earned.

The true reason was over something called the 140 Rule — and Bobby Dodd’s determination to have it changed.

The SEC 140 Rule placed yearly caps on football and basketball scholarships at 45 and limited the total number of scholarships each school could offer to 140. Even with the normal attrition expected from academic dropouts and other issues, simple math shows that if a school recruited its full allotment of players each year it would be over the 140 maximum.

Instead of recruiting a smaller number of athletes each year to manage the 140 maximum, many SEC schools would simply cut the scholarships of players who had not performed to expectations. Atlanta’s afternoon newspaper, The Atlanta Journal, reported “Dodd’s chief complaint with the 140 has been the alleged practice of some schools ‘running off’ recruiting mistakes to make room for new signees.”


We have long believed that the practice of oversigning is tolerated in certain areas because of a cultural mindset that believes it's okay to treat student-athletes as pawns or pieces of meat.  This is the same mindset that believes in winning at all costs because bragging rights are more important than ethics.  It should be noted, both from a historical perspective regarding GT's decision to leave the SEC in 1964 because of the oversigning issue and from a contemporary perspective from the recent comments from Florida's President and Georgia's Athletic Director condemning the practice of oversigning that this is not a North vs. South issue.  This is an issue about ethics in recruiting and the sides are Right and Wrong, not North and South.  The Big 10 Conference put its rules in place in 1954 to deal with oversigning, 10 years prior to GT leaving the SEC, and there is no record of the Big 10 having an influence on that decision in 1964.  Likewise, very little is being said publicly by Big 10 officials on this topic.  Chad Hawley has provided comments and a few coaches have answered questions on the topic or provided commentary, but by and large the Big 10 Conference is not pushing its rules onto the SEC.  Instead, the SEC is right back where it was 47 years ago, heavily divided along the battle lines of oversigning, and this time it is Georgia instead of Georgia Tech that is taking a stand with Florida at its side.

Correction: The SEC Presidents and Athletic Directors meet in early June, not July as previously stated above.

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  1. A very nice post! Good to read. You are correct that the root cause of oversigning isn’t informed by geography, but by culture, one that assigns unhealthy links between pride and winning, and self-identity and winning.

    As for the SEC being no further along in fixing this issue more than a half-century later than the Big 10 did, and nearly a half-century after the SEC had the opportunity to act decisively, it comes down to a matter of choice.

    Having aligned it’s best institutions of higher learning together, the opportunity was there to place the appropriate emphasis in the areas that represented the very best these institutions had to offer humanity in general, and the regional populace, specifically. They chose poorly, and rightfully suffer the reputation hit they’ve earned.

    The Big 10 had no special ability to see the indignities that oversigning caused, because as you noted, that view was there in SEC country as well: it just chose to do the right thing, placing the proper emphasis with their missions as educators, thereby strengthening a culture based in teaching and research, and of course, respect for all of its students.

    Quite the opposite, the SEC is gripped by a football-crazed culture that taints just about everything and everyone it touches (how else to explain the number of college presidents there who as “educators”, actually sign off on this stuff?) and leads to willful bad choices at nearly every opportunity where it’s perceived that a competitive advantage can be gained.

    It’s why this thread will shortly fill with posts from the usual bunch of oversigning defenders who will choose to see what they want to see because that is what will benefit their pride, their identity, their school and their culture.

    • A thought:

      The Big 10, to greatly expand the basic cable footprint that drives the revenue model of the Network, goes after Vandy (Nashville), Georgia (Atlanta), Florida (Miami, Tampa, Orlando, etc.) and adds another team elsewhere and expands to 16.

      The SEC loses its 3 best academically-ranked and most affluent schools, leaving the Oversigning Nine left to find their own way.

      Far-fetched, sure, but the conference is increasingly there for the gutting, should Delany & Co. be so inclined.

      • Add GT and lockup the entire ATL market; great fit academically. If the conference is still split on the issue and things get as heated as they were in 1964 you just never know.

        • If Georgia did bolt for the Big Ten, I would just about guarentee you that Georgia Tech would be invited to join the SEC and they’d jump on it so fast it would leave the ACC wondering what the hell happened.

          • And be the lone respectable academic institution… with 9 other institutions ranked significantly lower than them in USNWR rankings. GT is #35. The next best ranked school in the conference would be Alabama at #79. That is night and day. And things get steadily worse after that.


            Georgia Tech also has a per capita endowment that dwarfs those of the remaining SEC 9:


            I think GT would be just fine saying, “No thanks.”

            • If the SEC whistled, GT would come running

              • If it came down to their choice they would go B1G for the access to reserch funds and the CIC.
                Research $$$ blows away atheltic $$$

                • ding, ding, ding, we have a winner. Athletic directors don’t make this choice, Presidents do.

                • If going to the Big Ten is clearly such a lucrative move, then why have Texas and Notre Dame both shot down the Big Ten’s advances?

                  • Notre Dame has NO graduate research to speak of, so there would be no value in the CIC to ND.

                    I don’t know for fact, but suspect Texas would have real issues in the state legislature (lots of money being threatened) if they abandoned the other Texas schools.

                    • The Texas legislature angle has been overdone. It stems from a myth that developed after the SWC’s implosion.

                      The University of Texas can do whatever it wants, and there isn’t a political coalition in the state that could stop it. It didn’t go to the B1G or Pac 10 b/c it didn’t want to. It wanted its own Network and that is now being built.

                  • Texas stood to make a ton more money via its own Network.

                    Notre Dame will likely attempt to launch the same in the near future.

                • Yep. UGA and GT could be a huge battle for B1G inclusion down the road. The B1G is going to 16 in the future. The model for the Network is just too simple. And Atlanta sits there as a huge college media market.

                  GT has the academic edge (AAU member as of 2010), but Georgia has Florida and Vandy that could team up as a 3-man team that would gut the SEC, the B1G’s biggest rival in the battle for national media dollars.

        • Word is, Oversigning.com scored a big recent victory for the cause. Are we to hear about that here soon?

      • I don’t like these16-team behemoths, but if forced on me, yeah, I think I’d take the specific addition of those three teams over almost every other school (still undecided about Texas).

        • B1G currently has 9 of the top 30 markets in their footprint (including NYC which is B1G country, as anyone who has ever tried to find a seat in a Manhattan sports bar on a fall Saturday can attest to):


          UF, UGA, and Vandy add 5 more. Nothing against GT, and I fully admit it’s a better school than UGA, but UGA captures the market for the B1G and does so with a much more lucrative athletic program. GT then is redundant in the footprint, and thus just 1 more team to dilute the revenue sharing pool.

          And even bigger than the markets addition to the B1G footprint is the gutting of the SEC. This lets Delany & Co. put a lot more leverage on ESPN/ABC in the next round of contract negotiations with them. More games, larger captive market, and ESPN/ABC’s prized SEC possession having been greatly weakened.

      • Only if the Big 10 allows Florida and Georgia to pursue separate and independent television networks. If they wouldn’t let Texas, they won’t let UF and UGa.

    • That’s par for the course on both sides of this debate. No one seems interested in any middle ground. Joshua said it best: Right versus Wrong. With us or against us. That’s just as myopic as “see no evil, hear no evil.”

      The most popular solutions proposed here just push the abuse downstream – you’re not stopping it. And frankly, I’m beginning to come to the conclusion that it’s the “competitive advantage” that really rankles people rather than the welfare of the kids.

      Iowa put 18 kids in the hospital, apparently with the strength coach’s idea of “finding out who really wants to be here.” Michigan got popped the off-season prior for abusing NCAA practice limits badly enough to spark a mini-rebellion. Roster management seems to evolve to the local environment, doesn’t it?

      Where was the outrage for those abuses? Nonexistent here. These kids are all pieces of meat. But people seem ok with that so long as it’s the same number of pieces.

      The Ed Orgerons of the world will always prey upon and abuse kids in this system – caps or no caps – because the kids have no power in this system. More player rights remains both the best long-term and the most ethical solution. Arguing about the number of kids abused is nothing more than competitive expediency.

      • Not entirely true. If rule changes forces nefarious attrition further upstream it will be detected and much more limited, so the efforts here are not in vain. Competitive advantage is a large component to the issue, but the most important aspect of the issue is the harm to kids. This site is focused solely on oversigning and it has been very successful in attacking that issue. Some people told me the focus was too narrow in the beginning but if you want to change one thing you don’t do it by attacking ten others. Oversigning is just one issue, there are A LOT more, such as the issues you mentioned. I believe oversigning.com has the right focus to attack the oversigning issue; there is no reason the other issues can’t be addressed in a similar fashion, one at a time. If this was a site that addressed all of the ills of college football at one time no one would be able to remained focused on any one issue long enough to have an impact. In short, when we are done with oversigning, it’s on to the next issue, and I can assure you the wheels have already been put into motion. I think oversigning.com is a blue print for attacking the issues one at a time in a very focused and deliberate way.

        • Another site that addresses a specific issue in a focused manner and that is relevant for this thread is: Frank the Tank’s Slant. No site discusses conference expansion as intelligently and in depth.


          I believe that the consensus on the thread is that for cultural reasons Vandy, UGA and UF would never leave the SEC.

          The money issue is a red herring. It is a cultural issue. UF and UGA might make 5-10 million per year in extra cable rights. If they expanded the BTN they would make most of that back and, more importantly, would gain tens of millions of dollars in sponsored research (which is attractive since the profit margins are impressive, you are making money for academic reasons, and therefore the spillover over is that you are becoming wealthier as a result of improving your academic reputation — truly a virtuous cycle).

        • If rule changes forces nefarious attrition further upstream it will be detected

          Kinda like this one?

          From the article:

          Ohio State has 21 oral commitments for the Class of 2011, with National Signing Day less than two weeks away, and the Buckeyes have several other recruits they are interested in. The scholarship numbers, limited to 85, are getting a little tight, so some movement with players who aren’t in the two deep is not unexpected

          No eyebrows raised that the commitments at the time of this article was only 21, but quickly rose to more than the “budget” for that year. No mention on this site about how room had to be made at the last minute for this new crop of recruits. No mention of ruined dreams or lesser education provided to Mr. Longo.

          Let me be clear, I don’t have a problem with this. The kid obviously was buried on the depth chart, and would not see the field at Ohio St. A transfer is likely in the kid’s best interest if he wants to play meaningful football, but if you look at this scenario with the same critical eyes that Josh does every transfer from Alabama, you must come to the conclusion that OSU cut this kid to make room for the incoming class – recruits that they didn’t have room for. Funny how OSU has oversigned this year, but no mention of it here at oversigning.com.

        • Perhaps we already see the upstream effects of the Big 10 Rule at work at Iowa and Michigan: “I can’t ask them to leave? Then I’ll make them want to leave.”

          You’ve done a fantastic job illuminating the problem, but the solution’s the key, and on that one you’ve been hijacked. The Big 10 Rule’s the proverbial briar patch. It does nothing to change the basic dynamic that makes such abuse across the board possible.

          You want to use all this momentum to change one rule to protect 20 to 30 kids a year – which was my rough count based on your preliminary OS Cup chart. So which rule are you going to change? Slap another silly by-law handcuff on coaches who already know how they will circumvent it? If so, you’re bringing a knife to a gun fight.

          The athletes need a gun. They need a level playing field. That’s the ONLY thing that will fix this problem — and it will fix most of others simultaneously.

          Guarantee the educational side of the LOI. It’s the solution administrators fear most, because it costs them serious extra $. It allows a kid to tell a coach to stick it where the sun don’t shine without fearing the loss of his education. It levels the playing field for the kid, which, last I checked, was where this whole thing started.

          And it completely removes the current main objection to the guarantee, which is the danger of athletic free-loading.

      • That has always been the main motivation around here is the competative advantage they feel it provides. With claims or assumptions that if these schools did not oversign they could not win. Do you not notice the ones screaming the loudest are the ones from programs or conference that have fallen out of the spotlight of CFB. I can remember 10 years ago when the Big 10 took the top spots on TV even in the south, now the spotlight has shifted and the attacks have started.

        When this site first started it even attacked the schools that grayshirted but now those same people say grayshirting is alright because their schools are doing it. In regards to not covering other topics it is because no negative image can be placed on their programs. They focus on oversigning because it attacks the most recent SEC programs that are winning. The ones that have stolen the spotlight from theirs. If it was truly about the well being of the students than every issue could be discussed but it will not. Ethical practices do not reside with one topic, but funny how some will pat themselves on the back for pointing out a misjustice but yet are quick to overlook if their team or conference does something even worse like at Iowa. Again it just demonstrates their true motivation.

        Does oversigning lead to unethical practices yes, but most on here do look to eliminate it for that. If that was the case than why so many times do they take personal shots at coaches and programs and force it to be a Big10 v SEC. Their are 6 major BCS conferences, but yet only certain schools are looked it. Is it really because they are the only ones that oversign or is it because 3 of them a recent NC.

        Now they want to believe that UF and UGA on onboard, but they may want to wait before they sign them up. Remember at LSU Will Muschamp was the main recruiter for the Saban and probably responsible for most of the oversigning at LSU, and one of the top reasons for bringing him in to UF is his ability to recruit. Everyone knows that if UGA falters again that Richt will be gone and their top choice is Kirby Smart at UA. Who again like Muschamp is the main recruiting force for UA. Lets see where those schools will be in few years regarding recruiting.

        Again their is an issue, but what I fail to see is any of the people that are so against it provide any solution to it what so ever. They just scream they cheat and win because of it, but yet offer no fix except to implement the Big 10 rule, which would only accelerate the time table for things such as transfers and medical hardships. It still will not determine was the transfer or medical something the player wanted or was pushed to. It does not stop grayshirting, but the NCAA is getting ready to eliminate that if they have their way. I know before any one says anything grayshirting is no acceptable. But the Big 10 does not stop the opportunity for malicious roster management.

        This site provides a great place for a few to come on to attack and a few to defend, but in the end very little goes to address it. But never is the question of a hardship or transfer at another school if that school does not oversign. Amazes me they will support every one without doubt. But I understand it is fans of college football who are probably some of the most passionate of all sports in the US. Any time their team is not as successful they have to find ways to justify it and it usually is at the result of another team cheating.

        • 1. The solution proposed here has always been to adopt the Big 10 Rule as a starting point and if abuse continues upstream then address it. So don’t tell me we dont talk solutions here.

          2. For the millionth time, UF and UGA are leading the charge to change the rules on oversigning, not the Big 10. No official from the Big 10 was talking about this prior to this site…this has been an issue for 40 years and the Big 10 has been resolved, for the most part, to handle their own business.

          3. 6.6 million hits and 275,000 unique is more than just a few people, and I can assure you, there are more people who are against oversigning than who are for it.

          4. I have an email from the President of the NCPA thanking me for the effort put forth to address the oversigning issue. He said that oversigning.com was crutial in their efforts to propose new legislation in the state of Connecticut that would require all state institutions to plublicly state whether or not they oversigning and what risks it poses to recruits. It’s not much, but it’s a step in the right direction. So don’t tell me this site is not worthwhile or effecting change.

          • No offense but every time I hit refresh to see any new post you get a hit. I could refresh this page 1 million times for you and you would be over 7 million tommorow. What does that prove.

            I have already read where the NCPA stands and they are one of the organizations currently trying to end grayshirting. So applaud any effort they put forth.

            It this site truly represents a goal to the end of oversigning why not create a thread that ask for posters ideas on how to stop it and post suggestions in that thread. Why not show a collabarative agreement to end it instead of pointing out the same info over and over and relinking the same post. Just curious. Or why not ask posters to be more civil and stop the personal attacks with name calling or is that what you want and this condones that behavior.

          • And exactly why are two SEC schools suddenly out front on this?

            By directing this solely at the SEC, you’ve in effect put Mike Slive in charge of reform. They will pass a Big 10 Rule, plus a little more, claim the moral high ground, and keep on churning the rosters.

            I don’t dispute that the site has been noticed or appreciated. But stop and think about the football landscape after the SEC adopts something along the lines of the Big 10 Rule. Imagine that day. How has the status quo really changed? The athletes still have no power. Coaches who have a vastly greater supply of potential players than supply of GIAs will continue to find ways to make sure the talent pool remains as robust as possible. Drop kids out of the depth chart entirely. Put them on the scout team. Make off-season workouts unbearable for those who will see no playing time on the other end: “We’ll find out who wants to be here!”

            That’s a shell game, not reform.

            I am not bashing your site. I think you need to think through the power you have gained and where it can be most effectively and practically wielded.

            • Like I said, this site is the beginning not the end. One by one we will flush these issues out until they are gone. This is just a start, trust me. The wheels are already in motion in other areas.

              • Key question: Do you see what happened at Michigan and Iowa as forms of roster management? Even arguably?

                Key point: you won’t have to go point by point if you address the fundamental underlying issue – which is total university control of the athlete.

                “Point by point” becomes a dog chasing its tail if you never address the root cause.

                • really? You are suggesting Iowa poisoned their athletes in order to get rid of them? Plain ignorant.

                • I am not aware of them running players off to make room for oversigned rosters, so I’m not sure I would call what happened there a roster management issue. Sounds more along the lines of player welfare and safety, which are both very important issues as well.

                • Michigan? They were busted by the NCAA. It certainly wasn’t a form of roster management because it happened in the first two years. Dick Rod had already run off the ones he wanted before the first practice. What he was doing, he was doing to his own recruits. Michigan didn’t have a full roster for the first two years under Dick.

                  He did the very same thing at WVU but nobody reported him and he got to the shredder prior to leaving.

                • Ah, then. Nice to know workouts intense enough to put 18 kids in the hospital in Iowa and spark a mini-rebellion at Michigan had absolutely nothing to do with separating the wheat from the chaff. I guess these coaches are just ignorant and cruel for no purpose. How reassuring.

                  Or perhaps you can provide plausible and good reasons for this treatment of athletes.

                  Abusive coaching seeks to intimidate players and drive off the faint of heart. It’s a practice as old as football. Red, you tell me what the strength coach meant by, “We’ll find out who wants to be here” as he deliberately pushed them through completely irresponsible workout routines.

                  These issues are directly related, whether you want them to be or not.

        • Misdirection. A classic way to get people to take their eye off the ball. I’m glad this site is focused on a very narrowly-defined aspect of college football. – oversigning.

          If you’re so worried about overtraining or extra workouts, start a site devoted to those topics. This one is about oversigning, and stays very on-topic instead of watering itself down by chasing every injustice attributed to college football. When you veer off-topic to take a shot at the anti-oversigning crowd, you sound the fool. That’s like attacking the guy volunteering at the homeless shelter for not volunteering at the food bank, too.

          There are several people on each side of the fence that are happy to debate oversigning. I find some of the ideas and discussion very illuminating. Some very well thought out compromises have been floated. And, I’m sure some movement will be made on the subject in the near future. Whether this site is spearheading the effort, or merely covering the events as they unfold, doesn’t really matter. It has been a focus for coverage and debate about the issue that is undeniable. And, if something comes out of that, if some awareness is gained, then this site has served its purpose.

          • It’s fine if people want to focus only on oversigning on this site, but many on here have turned it into an ethical debate (i.e. my school/conference doesn’t oversign because it is unethical to do so). Then we read in SI about the number of convicted criminals on school rosters. Why do Paterno and Tressel have 16 and 7 kids, respectively, on their roster with police records? Is this ethical? Frame the oversigning discussion for what it is — a competitive balance issue — not an ethical argument.

            • Make no mistake, it’s completely an ethical debate. And people’s ethics vary widely and are just as much influenced by where they were brought up as how. But, there’s no point going on about crime here, because that’s not the focus of this site. Take that to crimeincollegefootballdotcom. There’s also so many holes in that article, it’s not worth reading. But that’s another debate.

              The fact of the matter is that calling out your perceived enemy for something totally unrelated is a misdirection tactic. It’s used when the debater cannot adequately defend his own position, or cannot adequately attack the focus of the issue.

              • Actually it would be when someone that can not adequately defend their own position they personally attack another.

                I have never had an issue defending what I believe or support. My issue is with people that want to be ethical when it is convient. It is not misdirection, but a search for truth.

                A poster will claim their only concern is the ethical issues with oversigning and nothing to do with their favorite team they support. So if that is the case and they really are concerned for the ethical debate as you say, than they would not condone any behavior that thier team might do that would be considered unethical. I mean if you really are ethical it should be about everything, not as a convenience when helps berate another team or conference because of your passion for your own team. That demonstrates very little in regards to ethics and what is in the best interest of a player.

                Misdirection is when presented with an issue on here and instead of answering it by showing you do not condone it because it is unethical, instead personally attack people or use this is about oversigning not that issue copeout.

                • Crime rate, training practices, graduation rates, etc. have nothing directly to do with oversigning. Until you can prove a link you are just making the “my school does bad stuff, but so does yours” argument. Where’s that get us?

                  I continually read posts that boil down to nothing more than that, and it really detracts from the actual debate – on both sides. If people could refrain from the name-calling and misdirection, a true debate could be had.

          • Hilarious. This is what happens anyone brings up a tangential topic (and you should look up the meaning of tangential if you don’t understand it) where the Big Ten is a transgressor–”that’s not relevant to the SEC bashing that we’re doing here”. Seems we have another debate team member that will also be a victim of oversigning.

      • I agree with you that if the NCAA eliminated oversigning tomorrow we’d just see a lot more players “transferring” in January. And I freely admit that at least a part of my concern with oversigning is because it puts my favorite school at a competitive disadvantage against the SEC.

        In the end these facts don’t really matter because the practice of oversigning creates an atmosphere where it is a certainty that schools will have to kick kids off the a team to get to 85. In a world without oversigning this would occur “upstream” a lot less frequently.

        • But that is not true. With proper roster management and use of grayshirts, no player has to leave the team, even if the school oversigns. If any rules need to be changed, they need to focus on assuring that grayshirts are administered properly and in a reasonable time frame. Simple as that, more education for the recruit.

      • [blockquote]The Ed Orgerons of the world will always prey upon and abuse kids in this system – caps or no caps – because the kids have no power in this system. More player rights remains both the best long-term and the most ethical solution. Arguing about the number of kids abused is nothing more than competitive expediency.[/blockquote]Very well said, and what I have been sayign for a long time. I think the Big 10 rule doesn’t address the issue and only treats the symptoms… not the root cause, which in my opinion is knowledge and balancing power betwen the schools and the recruits, families and players.

        It is clear that Josh has toned down his bias toward the SEC and Alabama (although it is still there) which I think only helps his cause, but it is a shame that many other posters on here (both pro and con) can not get past their own bias.

      • I think you bring up some valid points. Being an OSU fan I don’t care if there is a competitive advantage or not I still expect my team to win. I would hate to think that my coaches and players would buy into that mess and use it as an excuse if they did lose. But, I think that why those things aren’t mentioned here is because this forum is uniquely devoted to the practice of oversigning. And you are correct that there should be outrage on the conditions that lead to Michigan sanctions and the hospitilization of the Iowa players, but once again I think those posts are probably made on other sites by posters on this website, but not necessarily on this one.

        • The point is not that this site should be an avenue for anything other than oversigning, but I myself find it hard to listen to someone preach ethics when presented with other ethical issues that they do not show concern for. It is sort of like the person who is a faithful christian on Sundays when they arrive for church but act differently the other 6 days of the week.

          I understand the ethical issue with oversigning, but fail to understand how some posters can be part time in their ethical practices.

          • Maybe I’ve missed the post, but I didn’t read anything that resembled condoning what went on at Iowa. As I understand it, each of these student/athletes have the option of getting out of their scholarships without any impact (don’t have to sit out a year).

            I just wish they would have done a bit more than a blood test. But that debate is for yet another site to take up.

            • 13, not 18. Brain fart. Sorry.

              Not sure what you mean by that relative to the blood test. There were no drugs in the kids’ system.

              Dennis Dodd thinks they might be able to transfer, if they pursue it with the NCAA. No clear precedent on that one – an expert called it “a coin flip” – and who’s going to push it with a coach hanging a scholarship over their head?

              Iowa again had several December and January suspensions and transfers this year — seems to be an annual ritual. Iowa was conducting these workouts in January in advance of Signing Day. Iowa remains compelling evidence of how roster management might work in a system of caps effective as of Signing Day.

              I am not saying this justifies oversigning. But oversigning doesn’t justify turning a blind eye to this sort of thing, which seems to resemble the very “upstream” abuses that critics of the Big 10 Rule predict and that Joshua assures us he will turn his attention once the SEC adopts said Big 10 Rule.

              My point remains — you’re not eliminating any abuses. You’re just rearranging the furniture.

              • There were no drugs in their system from a blood test. Other test might yield different results.

                Compelling evidence? Transfers that I know of:

                Jewel Hampton – wasn’t going to get medical clearance after two years worth of knee injuries and want to continue playing.

                Wegher took a year off from the team to deal with personal issues and decided it would be best to leave the state.


                Robinson has been in trouble for the better part of his career, suspended multiple times and finally kicked off the team.

                DJK – suspended for the bowl game – senior with no further playing time.

                That’s three running backs on a team with 4. They had to play their bowl game with 1 running back on the roster, a true frosh.

                That’s your compelling evidence of roster management at Iowa? Really?

      • Only Sith deals in absolutes! Abolish oversigning! Allow only 1 grayshirt! A compromise on both sides.

      • Why should people want “middle ground” when the solution is so obvious and has been shown to work very well in the Big 10?

        • Works great at Iowa, doesn’t it? Michigan, too.

          TD, check the number of suspensions and transfers for Iowa in the 8 weeks after the end of the regular season and prior to Signing Day. Bears a strong resemblance to the March to 85, doesn’t?

          And no, if you don’t care about the kids, then middle ground remains entirely unnecessary.

    • A school choosing to leave a conference is their right. They need to look out for what is best for them. I have no ill will toward GT for leaving for what ever reason, nor would I begrudge UF, Vandy or UGA if they choose to leave the SEC.

      These schools may feel it is not good for them or anyone else to “oversign”; however, that doesn’t make them correct. The rules allow for it and have been changed several times since the “140″ rule and they have not changed the fact that they allow for it. I think that speaks to some of this.

      Now, can it be abused… sure. I don’t think you can create enough rules to stop any abuse. Teams will find ways to skirt or bend rules to give themselves the best advantage they can to win. I don’t think this is something you can legislate your way out of.

      What I would like to see, as has been said many times… is rules that would give more information more clearly to the recruits and the familes making these decision. Their education is the only way you’ll be able to limit abuse.

      Now, as for grayshirting to the next class… I have no issues with a team if they want to use a “future” scholarship to recruit a kid from the current class to be a part of the next year class. This HAS to be done upfront to where the kid and the family KNOW this is what is being offered. I think this can be HIGHLY benifitial to the school AND to the kid, if it is done properly.

      Medical Hardships, as said before can be abused… but I would rather err on the side of the doctors than the feelings of the kids. I would love to see an independant review of each hardship case, but I don’t see the NCAA taking that liability.

      Transfers, the only way to stop abuse here is to give kids 4 year scholarships and require that they meet mininum practice guidelines. I’m not sure how to set those, but if a kid is willing to sweat it out and ride pine… he should have that chance… BUT he should be allowed to transfer when get gets barried in the depth chart. I a sure there are several ways to make this more fair.. I’m not sure I am sold on one idea yet.

      As for the Big 10 rule, it sucks… for both the school and the players being recruited. I personally don’t find it to be a very effective or fair rule. I think it puts the Big 10 at a disadvantage for sure, but by their own doing…. not the SEC nor the NCAA. They have choosen to implement that rule and have to suffer the consequence of it, much like GT leaving the SEC had to deal with whatever came from leaving. I admire their stand and do not wish any will ill on the Big 10… but I DO NOT want to see the NCAA implement a Big 10 type rule across the NCAA.

      Some posters on here have been great, both pro and con… some have sucked both pro and con. I think Josh is well within his rights to speak out for what he feels needs to be changed… even with a bias against Alabama. This is not a NEWS site. It is an opinion site. I don’t have the same opinion and I disagree/dislike the clear bias shown toward Alabama, but that’s his view to express.

      Finally, let me say I do hope new rules are implemented to help the recurits and players understand and give them more control in what is happening. I think only good can come from knowledge. Let’s hope both sides can come together and agree on what is best for the recruits.

  2. Good stuff.

    Small correction: SEC presidents and ADs meetings are in early June. (The football coaches/media meetings are in July.)

  3. Who can I email to actually correct the numbers you report for South Carolina.

    Its comical that this website tries so hard to portray a point but fails even harder to report the facts.

  4. Oversigning.com clearly neglects the difference between total commits and players that enroll and is mathematically flawed as a system of reporting numbers.

    Below is a breakdown of University of South Carolina Gamecocks from the years 2007-2008-2009-2010. Oversigning.com reports that USC’s number for that time span is 106 players. Now I will show you why it is irresponsible to use a system like the one Oversigning.com uses and then present it as fact for the whole world to read.


    Oversigning.com lists USC with 31 players.

    The real number which should be reported is 24 players. (# of Players ENROLLED)

    Of those 7 that make up the difference: Akeem Auguste, Eric Baker, and Antonio Allen failed to qualify and went to prep school. This is important because now these 3 players will be counted on oversigning.com as not only part of the 2007 class but also as part of the 2008 class. How does that make sense? How can you count a player twice and try to present to the public that USC has signed 106 players when already 3 of them are counted twice. This happens every year and is one of the biggest flaws with the way Oversigning.com presents their numbers.

    Of those 4 players that remain: Mat Williams and Sam Pope left campus before class started because USC was just not the right fit for them personally.

    Of those 2 players that remain: USC could not get Akree Smith and Michael Bowman enrolled in to school. This created a stir and also caused Spurrier to lash out at the admissions department. This was a bad look for the University, I will not deny that. However, admissions changes were made because of this process.


    Oversigning.com lists USC with 23 players.

    The real number which should be reported is 19 players. (# of Players ENROLLED)

    Of those 4 that make up the difference: Chaz Sutton and Ronald Byrd failed to qualify and went to prep school. This is important because now these 2 players will be counted on Oversigning.com as not only part of the 2008 class but also as part of the 2009 class.

    Of those 2 that remain: Elliot Williams had to go to JUCO at GMA.

    Of the 1 player that remains: Darrell Simmons had legal trouble and was unable to enroll.

    To illustrate a point, over the years 2007 and 2008, USC ENROLLED 43 players but Oversigning.com has reported to the world that USC has signed 54 players. Already we are at an 11 player difference. Of those 11 players, 3 of them have been counted twice by Oversigning.com from the 2007 class and now appearing in their numbers for the 2008 class.


    Oversigning.com lists USC with 29 players.

    The real number which should be reported is 25 players. (# of Players ENROLLED)

    Of those 4 that make up the difference: Ben Axon had legal trouble. Leon Mackey, Duane Chisolm, and Charles Holmes all failed to qualify. All 3 players had to be sent to JUCO.

    This brings our running total to 15 players that Oversigning.com is off by and brings our total for the 3 years to 68 players enrolled by USC from the years 2007-2008-2009. Furthermore, Oversigning.com has included Chaz Sutton and Ronald Byrd in their 2009 numbers bringing the amount of kids counted twice to a total of 5.


    Oversigning.com lists USC with 23 players.

    The real number which should be reported is 18 players. (# of Players ENROLLED)

    Of those 5 that make up the difference: Brandon Golson, Kelcy Quarles, and Brison Williams all failed to qualify and enrolled in prep school. Kelcy Quarles and Brison Williams will be counted twice again by Oversigning.com when they report the numbers for South Carolina’s 2011 class bringing the total to 7 players who USC enrolled in prep school for a semester and later enrolled at the university for January of the following year. Brandon Golson elected to sign with the Univ of Louisville.

    Of those 2 that remain: Javon Bell and Du’Von Millsap did not qualify and had to go to JUCO. Because JUCO is a 2year process, it remains to be seen if either player ultimately ever ends up at South Carolina.

    This brings our running total to 20 players that Oversigning.com is off by and our total for the 4 years to 86 players enrolled by USC from the years 2007-2008-2009-2010. Ultimately when Oversigning.com decides to print their 2011 numbers for USC and they include Kelcy Quarles and Brison Williams, it will mean that Oversigning.com has counted 7 kids from USC signing classes twice in their numbers. It also means that over a 4 year period, USC enrolled 86 players to the University of South Carolina, a far cry from the 106 reported by Oversigning.com. Lastly, it also means that over a 4 year period, USC average number of enrolled players is 21.5 per class and not the bloated 26.89 players that Oversigning.com tries to portray to the public and media.

    It is easy to make a list of total commits and decide that schools are “oversigning”. It takes a lot more knowledge, time, research, and requires one to not have a motive when doing research to actually go through and portray accurate numbers to the media and public. It is laughable that Oversigning.com is actually being taken seriously when it took me all of 45 minutes to show why this website is mathematically incompetent of presenting a case against “oversigning” as a practice. Is every school doing this practice like South Carolina is doing it? No, but that is why it is even more laughable to paint every school with the same paint brush. USC has held up their end of the bargain with the kids they offered scholarships to, provided that they hold up their end of the bargain and qualify whether it be through prep school (SAT Scores) or JUCO (grades are too bad for prep). Its pretty cut and dry and just goes to show you how irresponsible reporting on an issue can be dangerously reported and interpreted as fact by those who do not spend the time to research and report accurate information.

  5. In the first place, UGA and UF are not going to leave the SEC; and in the second place, if they did leave, they’d join the ACC. Neither school is a geographic fit for the Big Ten, and the addition of UGA would give the ACC something it wants desperately: a corner on the Atlanta market.

    But this is the reality: UGA and UF may be unhappy with the oversigning situation, but their unhappiness is driven by the relative weakness of their football teams. If both schools were at the top of the conference, neither would care a hoot about oversigning.

    In any event: why should anyone want to adopt a Big Ten rule? To would be as foolish as it was for the ACC to adopt the 800 rule.

  6. Joshua: why would you stop reading? Is the content of DavidS post too complicated for you?

    Do you want to know the actual facts about oversigning or do you want to hold onto your own opinions, regardless of facts?

    • You’re kidding right? I’ve been over that stuff a thousand times…with regards to counting we count every signed NLI for every school the same way. If a kid signs in back to back years he is counted twice. It is done that way because the NLI requires that he sign a second time because the first one was voided when he didn’t qualify. In terms of signing within your limit it doesn’t matter that a guy signed the previous year. If you have 17 legit openings you should get 17 NLI, regardless if a kid signed one last year. If you don’t understand this you don’t understand what oversigning really is, and furthermore, if this site were wrong then how do you explain all of the comments from Florida and Georgia , as well as everyone else around the country. Have all these brilliant people been hoodwinked into believing in a fallacy? The problem is real, high school coaches are say they don’t trust coaches, teams have left conferences over it, and presidents are screaming about it — now tell me, did we do all of that with this blog? The damn Internet didn’t even exist in 1954 when the Big 10 banned the practice.

      • I for one don’t have a problem with the way Josh compiles his numbers. He defines his meaning of “oversigning” on the site and as long as he’s consistent he is fair. If a recruiting class signs 27 players then you are within reason to present that as such – regardless of how many qualify/enroll/go to JuCo. I do have a problem with how Josh presents these numbers at times. When he rants about how unfair it is that SEC schools sign so many more players than other schools, he completely ignores that he double counts many players (ie, JuCo players who sign with two different classes) as well as players that fail to qualify and never set foot on campus. If you want to be accurate/fair in this representation, you should adjust these numbers for this when presenting that argument.

    • You wouldn’t have asked that question if you understood the (in)significance of looking at the the “enrolled” number. You have a lot of catch-up reading to do (not Josh)…

  7. Josh: Believe me, if GA and UF dominated the SEC. neither would care a whit about oversigning.
    The Big Ten can do what it wants; no reason exits for others to copy it.
    If you think that the SEC should follow the Big Ten’s self-imposed rule, tell me why.
    In reality, its time for the Big Ten to change. If they haven’t changed since 1954, its about time they entered the modern world.

  8. Josh: don’t be afraid.
    CHB: actually, the only number that is significant is the number actually enrolled.

    • No it’s not…no one is going to enroll more than 85 because the NCAA will penalize them — that is the whole reason for the attrition to make room for the oversigned rosters. You seriously need to consider another hobby, you are out of league here. I have been studying this for years…I know what I am talking about, otherwise you wouldn’t be here, no one would.

  9. If you’ve been studying this for years, your time has been wasted.

    As I said before, if you have credible allegations of violations of NCAA rules, report the schools.
    If not – that is, if the schools are acting within the rules but in a way you dislike – you have several options. You can persuade the NCAA to change the rules. You can persuade the conferences to change the rules, you can persuade a university to adhere to a different standard – or (and this I recommend) you save your indignation for another topic.

    No moral issue is involved here.
    If you believe so, you adopt the attitude that Bobby Dodd adopted (and I read the article in the GA Tech alumni rag) : a mindset of sanctimonous arrogance and a determination to force others to play by self-imposed rules.

    By the way: I enjoyed the unspoken conclusion at the end of the Tech article: what school playing major college football other than the Insects from the Institute can claim that the current avg attendance at home football games is less than in 1964?

    If anyone deserves such a ignominious condition, its GA Tech.

  10. “If not – that is, if the schools are acting within the rules but in a way you dislike – you have several options. You can persuade the NCAA to change the rules.”

    The fact that you bring this up just demonstrate your lack of understanding of this entire website. No one is saying that anyone has broken the rules. No one has broken any rules. Even Houston Nutt hasn’t broken any rules. The entire discussion is about whether or not the rules themselves are fair.

    I guess it comes down to one question. Is Division-I football basically a farm system for the NFL that happens to have a school attached? Or are these Universities first that happen to have students who compete as athletes?

    That’s the bottom line. If you think that USC, Texas, OSU, Florida, etc. are basically an NFL minor league team, then of course oversigning makes sense. Your job as USC is to win championships without breaking the rules. No one would ever criticize the New England Patriots for dropping their 2nd and 3rd string running backs to pick up more talented replacements. So why would you be angry if USC has 10 scholarships left and offer 19 if their intent is to drop 9 of their current players? That’s not breaking the rules. That’s just trying to win.

    But then there are some of us who still think D-1 football is played by scholar-athletes who are students first, football players second. And maybe some of those students chose to accept their offers because of a desire to actually attend school and get a degree there, not just compete for the Heisman and get drafted in the first round.

    If you think college football is about football, then oversigning makes total sense. If you think college football is about college students playing football, then oversigning is abhorrently immoral.

    No one says anyone is breaking the rules. It’s a higher level, philosophical question about what we really value in college sports.

  11. If no one has broken the rule, you have nothing to complain of.
    Fair to whom? Certainly, I agree that the Big Ten schools have put themselves at a disadvantage, but the disadvantage is slef-imposed.

    The status of Division I college football in relation to pro football is irrelevant. Each sport stands on its own.

    Of course, these athletes are students first. If they could not be enrolled, if they did not go to class, if they do pass their class work, they cannot play. But they are more than simple. average students who happen to have certain physical skills, given the fact that they receive the potential (not the actual but the potential) for a free college education in exchange for sweat.
    Any other view is naive and unrealistic.

    College footbal is about winning (within the rules) – as is college basketball, baseball, field hockey, lacross, etc.

    Please go back and read my post about the exchange between Harold Abrahams and the Cambridge dons. Your post read as silly as do their censures of Abrahams.

    Save the philosophy for Berkeley coffee houses.

    • “Fair to whom? Certainly, I agree that the Big Ten schools have put themselves at a disadvantage, but the disadvantage is slef-imposed.”

      This just goes to show that we’re looking at this issue from two completely different levels of perspective. You think this is about being fair to the Big Ten?! Ha. This has nothing to do with the Big Ten.

      It’s about being doing what’s right for the student-athletes.

      “If no one has broken the rule, you have nothing to complain of.”
      “College footbal is about winning (within the rules) – as is college basketball, baseball, field hockey, lacross, etc.”

      Yeah, well segregation, marital rape, and lynching were all within the rules at one time. That didn’t make them ok. You’re way out of your league, brotha. This conversation ain’t about football. It’s about values and principles.

  12. “What’s right for student athletes”: a very noble sounding phrase.
    I suggest you talk with a few recruiters. Most will tell you that almost all these kids are very street wise. They – especially the good ones – play the recruiting game for all its worth.

    By what stretch of logic do you jump from segregation and marital rape to “oversigning”? The first were laws enforced by the coercive power of the state. The second was (is) and act of physical violence.
    If you can’t see the difference between #1 and #2 and “oversigning, the university you attended cheated you.
    And lynching was never legal. The horror is it stems from its complete illegality.

    What values? Yours are – and I still refer to Harold Abrahams statement – “the archaic values of the prep school playground.”

    These “principles” of yours have been concocted in your own mind, brotha.
    And thank God I’m not in your league, whatever that is.

  13. Oversigning.com hates the underprivileged

  14. Why do you keep including Auburn. Gene Chizik has not oversigned, we have been under 85 since he got here and will be significantly under this year with all the attrition(injuries, arrests, early departures, we only signed 24 this year). Tubberville got sloppy and lazy at the end but that was the past. To keep lumping Auburn in with oversigners is a bit sloppy on your part. If Chizik starts oversigning, then by all means throw us under the bus, but until then you are spreading falsehoods.

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