Oversigning.com
11Mar/1179

Q & A with Ramogi Huma, NCPA President

Ramogi Huma reached out to us a while back when he found our site, and since that time we have been communicating back and forth on the topic of oversigning.  Just recently, Mr. Huma provided testimony in a legislative hearing in the state of Connecticut that included the proposal of Committee Bill No. 5415, AN ACT REQUIRING FULL DISCLOSURE TO PROSPECTIVE ATHLETES BEING RECRUITED TO INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER EDUCATION.  From the NCPA website press release:

"In 1973, the NCAA made athletic scholarships renewable on a year-to-year basis," Sack said. "Four-year scholarships are a thing of the past."

The result, Sack said, is that high school students and their families often are unaware when and how a college can rescind a scholarship.

While NCAA rules state that athletic aid cannot be reduced or cancelled during the one-year period of the award because of athletic ability or injury, Sack said, "the rules are murky when it comes to conditions for the renewal and non-renewal of the scholarships in the subsequent year."

"Some universities renew scholarships for four years as long as athletes continue playing and adhere to team rules," said Sack. "Others cancel scholarships for poor athletic performance or for injury."

http://www.ncpanow.org/news_articles?id=0026

The Bill also included an Article specific to oversigning:

(F) The policy of the institution of higher education regarding whether or not such institution may choose to sign more recruited student athletes than it has available athletic scholarships and the consequences to the athletic scholarship opportunities of recruited and current student athletes in such situations. 

Upon receiving word from Mr. Huma that they included provisions for creating transparency relative to oversigning (c&p from his email):

"Your work bringing the oversigning issue to national discussion was crucial in addressing oversigning in the Connecticut legislation."

We asked Mr. Huma if he would answer a few questions and allow us to share his response with our readers.  Keep in mind, while reading the Q&A session, Mr. Huma is the President of a non-profit organization with over 14,000 student-athlete members.  Therefore, he is hearing from players and parents what very few of us hear in the national media.  His comments are very telling in our opinion.

How long has oversigning been on your radar and when did it become a topic of concern?

"I bumped into oversigning.com last spring while doing research to support a bill that the NCPA sponsored in California, and the practice of oversigning immediately became a topic of concern."

The recent legislative proposal included an article that addresses oversigning and is calling for universities to disclose whether or not they engage in oversigning and what the consequences are for the student-athlete given that the institution engages in that practice. Obviously, the goal here is to help educate parents and players by forcing the universities to post their policy on oversigning on their athletic website.  From your perspective, how aware of oversigning are parents and recruits?

"Parents and recruits have no idea that oversigning takes place.  The only ones that eventually become aware are those that find out the hard way, which usually means that their school is forcing them to gray shirt or is not renewing their scholarship."

Many fans that support oversigning have a hard time believing that the practice really harms kids, we have tried change the way people think in that regard on the oversigning.com site, but yet there are still some that are not convinced.  What would you say to those people?

"Typically when schools oversign, an incoming player is gray shirted or a player already on the roster loses a scholarship.  I have personally fielded numerous calls from both categories of players from all sports who are informed that their scholarship will not be available upon arrival or will not be renewed.  All have been devastated by not only the loss of their means to earn a degree, but the deep sense of betrayal by their coach/college.  For the incoming players, many of them have to try to pay their own way through school without any guarantee that they will ever receive a scholarship.  Many of these families have not prepared for such expenses since the schools had promised a scholarship.  In addition, other previously interested schools lose interest because their rosters are already full.

For current players that lose their scholarship to make room for an incoming recruit, those fortunate enough to transfer to another school often suffer academically because many of their credits are not accepted by the new school, they have to change their major, and have to sit out a year before  competition.  Others drop out of school.  Most of these players had been promised 4 years as long as they kept their grades up and abided by team rules.  Players are not aware that a school can revoke a scholarship for any reason.  Most of the players I've spoken to have been in good academic standing, have participated fully in mandatory and 'voluntary' workouts, and have not broken a team rule.  Make no mistake, the young student-athletes and parents I have spoken are completely devastated.  That's the first time I've heard the argument that players whose scholarships are taken away or are forced to grey shirt are not harmed.  I hope its the last time.  We should be focusing on ways to solve this problem not spending our energy debating whether or not a knife wound really hurts." 

Outside of the proposed state legislation, what would you like to see the NCAA or the SEC conference do to address the issue?  The Big 10 Conference addressed this issue back in 1954 and it appears that their rules, which were slightly relaxed in 2002 to allow occasional oversigning with the understanding that everything is transparent and processed through the conference office to ensure there is not player abuse taking place to make the roster numbers work, should the SEC and the rest of college football simply adopt those rules or is something more needed?

"While the NCPA believes in and is currently pushing for better transparency on this issue,  I believe that there is a better solution.  Schools should not be allowed to sign more players than they have scholarships."

And lastly, some have made the point that closing the oversigning loophole will simply move the attrition further upstream so that the number of openings that exist on NSD are greater, essentially meaning that roster purging would take place in Dec/Jan instead of after February and before August.  A.) Do you think that closing the loophole will result in further abuses upstream, and B.) how would you address that if it happens?

A.) It is possible that some coaches would remove players from the rosters early unless 2 things happen (see B)

B.)
1. All scholarship non-seniors listed on the roster at the beginning of the season are counted toward the scholarship count on National Signing Day.  Coaches wouldn't have an incentive to purge the roster before signing day because it wouldn't allow them to sign an excess number of players.

2. Schools should have a second signing period in July to fill scholarship openings due to players who transfer, become academically ineligible, suffer a career ending injury, etc. 

With these two provisions, coaches can address natural attrition without the ability to deny a signee a scholarship or remove an existing player due to oversigning.  If all of the colleges played by the same rules, none would have an unfair advantage and players' educational opportunities would not be sacrificed.

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  1. I’ll start the obligatory blame. It’s Nick Saban’s fault! Although I have no evidence to support it. Case closed.

  2. Josh,

    Is it ok for a school to not renew the scholarship of a student-athlete who has graduated but still has eligibility remaining?

    • give it a rest.

    • Vesper, again, I can answer this one, but first, let me make certain I understand what you ask: after a student has received a full athletic scholarship for a four year period during which the student has participated in athletics for three years and the athlete has graduated with a BA or BS degree, does the university have an obligation to provide a fifth year of funding so that the athlete can enroll in a graduate degree program in order to provide a fourth year of athletic participation?

      Thus you want to increase the commitment by the university to a five year automatically renewed scholarship if the athlete graduates in four years instead of the current one year process? It is a lofty goal, Vesper. Clearly, universities should tie athletic participation with academic success. In the example you give, the traditional relationship between academics and athletics is reversed: the university pays for four years of academics and receives only three years of athletics. In the fifth year, the university receives its fourth year of athletics (which it has already “paid” for) only after the student graduates. Finally, I assume that the student has the right to exercise a fifth year of funding at the student’s determination.

      Unfortunately, there are two reasons why this idea, while laudable, would make poor academic policy. First, it is impossible to project whether an 18 year old will be qualified to be admitted into a school’s graduate program. No graduate test score results can be provided (GRE, GMAT, MCAT or LSAT) and the undergraduate record has not been accomplished, therefore a university could not guarantee admittance into a graduate program for a 18 year old — and if you cannot guarantee that the student can exercise his or her option for a fifth academic year, then the option is basically worthless. Which leads to a second reason why this is poor policy: it would be very difficult, nearly impossible to establish a “fifth year voucher system’ whereby the university must pay for a student to enroll in a graduate program at another university (using distance learning technologies) while playing for the current university (say play for Alabama while pursuing a MS from Auburn). There are all kinds of state laws and even federal laws that would restrict how this was implemented and in terms of fairness, you could not implement this plan until all 50 states adopted similar rules.

      Realistically, a four year scholarship will be difficult enough to get adopted, a five year scholarship might be a “bridge too far.”

      • Thanks. So you and 78Lion are on record with stating that schools are/should not be obligated to provide financial aid for a student-athlete who has graduated but has elgibility remaining.

        Now if we could only get Josh to weigh in. Funny that he hasn’t.

        • I don’t understand why you push this issue. “…that schools are/should not be obligated to provide financial aid for a student-athlete who has graduated but has elgibility remaining” is a terrible idea. I can’t believe that any reputable university would support it. Of course I oppose it. Are you in favor of this idea? It is terrible. You must mean to propose something other than what you are writing. An 18 year old signs a LOI to Michigan and if the student is injured for a year and cannot play and then the student graduates, Michigan is obligated to enroll the student in — what — the graduate program of the student’s choice? No way!! — in the graduate program of the university’s choice? No way — that does not make sense?

          Any system by which a fifth year mechanism binds a school to admit a student into a graduate program is harmful for the student and the university. It harms the student since you cannot automatically assume that someone who is admitted to your undergraduate program can be admitted to a school’s graduate program. It harms the school and the other non-athletes who are enrolled in the graduate program unless the player adds to the quality of the graduate program but since you cannot tell if an 18 year can this level of academic excellence.

          Vesper, you don’t mean “graduate” do you? If you do, this is an idea that cannot be implemented effectively: it hurts the student-athlete, non-student athletes, and the academic reputation of the university. Finally, there is zero chance that such a proposal would be adopted by the NCAA and any university that adopted this policy would be a laughingstock. If the NCAA allows six academic years to complete four athletic years, would you require a university to admit in February of his senior year of HS guaranteed admission into the doctoral program of his choice? This is nonsense.

          • You and 78Lion misunderstand me. I am not saying that I think schools should be obligated for the 5th year, but I do think that that is what Josh believes (when the school is Alabama anyway). The following is just one of several instances where he has criticized Alabama for not renewing the scholarships of graduates:

            http://oversigning.com/testing/index.php/2010/03/13/sabans-march-to-85-continues-grant-and-sikes-leave-team/

            But I suspect that Josh will continue to refuse to answer my direct questions on the matter because he knows his view will likely be in contradiction to the views of many of his supporters.

            • I don’t believe that it should be guaranteed at the time of signing because of all the reasons Rich and I have pointed out, but I do believe that should a SA take a redshirt and graduate in 4 years that he should be granted a renewal for the 5th if he gains acceptance into a graduate program and that a coach should not be allowed to deny that simply because he has too many recruits coming and needs to make room.

              • Thanks for responding. It’s interesting that you feel that the school’s obligation to a SA is for 4 years of athletic participation as opposed to 4 years of academic participation culminating in a degree. I think you’ll find that, in addition to 78Lion and rich, many other anti-oversigning proponents disagree with you on this issue.

                • When did I say that? I thought we were talking about the fifth year after he graduates…of course I think that schools should be obligated to educate the sa.

                  • Allow me to reword. You do not think that the school’s obligation ends after a 4 year education and a degree. Instead you feel the obligation only ends after 4 years of athletic participation not including redshirt years. Correct?

                  • That wasn’t much clearer, so I’ll try again. You feel that the school’s obligation is contingent on the SA’s athletic eligibility as opposed to the completion of his degree program.

              • I’m very curious as to what Mr. Hawley’s view on this issue is. Specifically, do such instances fall into the category “Nonrenewal-graduate (SAs who were not renewed because they graduated)” on an oversigned school’s roster report? If so, is that an acceptable method for making room on an oversigned roster in the view of the Big Ten?

            • I don’t believe I’ve ever implied that you think that at all. I’d be surprised that you think the kid has any rights beyond the 1 year obligation imposed by the NCAA on the school.

              • “I’d be surprised that you think the kid has any rights beyond the 1 year obligation imposed by the NCAA on the school”

                Based on what specifically? Just because I don’t believe that oversigning is inherently unethical, doesn’t mean that I think that student-athletes shouldn’t have rights.

          • I know exactly what he is getting at, Rich. There have been a couple of players at Alabama that have graduated, had a year of eligibility left, and were not renewed. I have pointed that out this site a couple of times. He’s trying to box me into a corner on this issue by getting me to say that a school should not be required to give a SA a fifth year if he has graduated, which would contradict what I have pointed out in the past regarding the players Alabama did not renew.

            To be clear, I my position is that I agree with Rich in that it is impossible to predict with 100% consistency that A) a prospect will require a redshirt year at any time during his first 4 years, and B) that he would be able to gain entrance into a graduate program. Given what we saw with Jeremiah Masoli and his ability to get into a graduate program at Ole Miss, I would say that if a player is good enough the system will find a way to get him into a program and keep him eligible.

            That said, I believe that if a SA has graduated, has a year of eligibility remaining, AND he can gain acceptance into a graduate program, that he should be given the opportunity to continue for a 4th year on the team and a 5th year in the classroom and a coach shouldn’t be able to take that away from him just because he wants to replace the player with a new recruit. To do that puts more importance on athletics than it does education and the sole mission of the NCAA and college athletics is to enhance the academic experience and maintain a clear line of demarcation between professional and amateur sports.

            The problem here is that if we go down this rabbit hole we are going to find that the academic part of the student-athlete is a complete joke. I have been talking to a few people, real reformists, and from what I have read and heard, academic fraud is much, much bigger problem than oversigning — it’s not even close.

            • If that’s how you feel on the issue, then how do you feel about Notre Dame’s policy on the renewal of 5th year scholarships?

              • As a ND fan I’ll add my two cents to this. I do not think that a University should be obligated to granting Financial Aid to a 5th year player. The University met its obligation in giving the SA a degree. They honor giving any SA the full four years, but the SA is obligated to graduate in those four years. At ND, if you don’t graduate in four years, you are not eligible to be renewed. No matter how good or bad of an athlete you are.

                I think a University should be required to honor a scholarship for 4 years. Regardless of when they graduate (3, 4, or 5 years). If the player doesn’t receive a degree in four years, too bad, the University doesn’t have to give them a 5th year scholarship. That should be a NCAA rule. Another way of limiting the damage of oversigning is by making it a two way street…

                If a University decides not to renew a scholarship for a player (or there is a medical hardship granted), they get that scholarship back the next year. Or in other words, if a coach oversigns and thinks he can trim his roster on July 31st. It’s too late. If a player is no longer with the team because of the University at any time AFTER the season doesn’t renew their scholarship, their scholarship still counts for the next season. After the next season their scholarship opens back up to another player. So, if a team forces a player off the team, they are down a scholarship for a year. And in addition to that, the player can enroll to another University and NOT have to sit out a year. They can play immediately for another school.

                On the flip side, if a player leaves a school on the SA own and transfers to another school, they still have to sit out a year AND the school can fill that scholarship immediately.

                I think this rule would eliminate oversigning because you just can’t get away with it. As soon as you oversign, you’re screwed. The only way to have any flux in your signing is with which players to ask back for a 5th year. That’s it. No “if’s ands or buts” PERIOD.

                Oh, and no more greyshirting.

            • “the sole mission of the NCAA and college athletics is to enhance the academic experience and maintain a clear line of demarcation between professional and amateur sports”

              Maybe at the beginning. But I don’t think you can’t put that genie back in the bottle.

              When I was at UNC, the Faculty Senate voted every year to return all UNC sports to “club level.” The student paper wrote snide editorials (including me), and even other professors would mock their efforts in class. When one professor wrote a letter to the editor bemoaning the lack of attendance at a lecture by Saul Bellow, about thirty professors responded with the obvious question: Who was the idiot who scheduled Saul Bellow on the same day and time as the Duke-UNC basketball game?

              I am not suggesting this makes reform impossible or a total divorce between the academic and athletic inevitable. I do think we need to start by redefining the university’s obligation to the student athlete, which begins by better insulating the kids against the enormous competitive pressures that funnel through the coaches. Follow that with some slight modifications to APR calculations, and you have a very good start.

  3. I’ve been ripped for it, but these comments outline exactly why I support a 4 year academic commitment from a school that’s independent of athletic performance for its scholarship athletes. Or NCAA coaching contracts which renew automatically above 980 APR. There’s really not an effective in-between.

    Counting the roster at the beginning of the season discourages abuses, and creating more signing periods alleviates some of the pressure, but not enough, in my opinion. For example – a July signing period creates a secondary window of movement, requiring more regulations…. These are good ideas. I’m just thinking about them out loud.

    Final question – We’ve seen universities stick by some coaches through some very trying circumstances. What’s the conference’s leverage here if a school routinely pushes boundaries? Suspension? Forfeits?

    Thanks for taking the time to put this together.

    • Why should anyone be guranteed 4 years based on what they did in high school? That invites complacency on the part of the student-athelete and sometimes the kid is a complete bust. So now the student-athlete is teflon don and there is nothing you can do about it. Then people will say you can make exceptions for specific type of behavior. And when that happens, others will just blame Alabama/Saban for running players off, despite having no evidence to support the claim. a4 year gurantee solves nothing.

      • I’ve posted on this before, and my phrasing assumes people have read those earlier posts. My apologies.

        “A 4 year guarantee independent of athletic participation” should have been my phrasing.

        In other words, once you extend the offer and the kid enrolls, he’s on the books for 4 years of school, assuming academic progress. If the coach moves him off the the roster, he’s no longer one of the 85 GIAs, but the university still has an obligation to him relative to his education. However, if the coach moves him off the roster, he can transfer without penalty to any school who wants him if he still wants to play. That prevents hoarding.

        But this leaves the kid with two options that are best for him — finish his education where he started it or move to another school to play immediately.

        • Suppose under your scenario I’m a SA who was removed/left from the football team, for whatever reason, and I did not want to transfer. I wanted to finish my degree at the school in which I originally signed. What do you mean by four years? Do you mean calendar years or four academic years? In other words, what if I want to go part-time, can I take six, eight, or more years to finish a four year degree? What about my housing and food, is that included and for how long? What if I’m a little slower academically than most or if I come from a socio-economically disadvantage neighbor/family where education was not important and I’m a little behind academically than most because of those factors? Will that factor into the four year rule? Is the four year rule a concrete rule no matter what?

  4. I read the proposed act, and I’m for it. The items included in the “Right to Know” are primarily just school policies which the schools should be discussing with recruits anyway. But what do you realistically expect a school to put for “the consequences to the athletic scholarship opportunities of recruited and current student athletes in such situations” with respect to oversigning? That’s what gets debated on this site more than anything else, so it would be difficult to develop a consenus. If you leave it up to the schools, I seriously doubt that their description of the consequences would meet your approval.

  5. How long has oversigning been on your radar and when did it become a topic of concern?

    “I bumped into oversigning.com last spring while doing research to support a bill that the NCPA sponsored in California, and the practice of oversigning immediately became a topic of concern.”

    This guy has an inside track to athletes that we don’t, but the first he heard of oversigning is when he stumbled across this site? No wonder he sounds just like Josh (except for the part about the B10 rules not being enough) it seems most of his information is from this site. I don’t disagree with much of what he wants to do, but to wholesale get rid of grayshirts is a bad idea in my opinion. Clean it up, make it a seperate LOI and require the recruits to be better informed by the coaches. This alone would go a long way towards fixing all of the signing day problems. Hypothetically (assuming this happens in the first place), kicking kids off the team will still happen regardless of when the scholarship count happens. The problem is not the date of the deadline, but that there are players on the team that are occupying a scholarship but not contributing on the field – right? If a coach can’t kick them and get an immediate replacement, he will do it to increase the size of next year’s class. The scholarship in that coach’s eyes is a loss anyway so losing the player won’t hurt. I think that at least in football, this is a non-issue anyway. Noone has come out saying that their scholarship wasn’t renewed – at least at any major university or even at Alabama. You can claim that kids are forced to transfer, but that is an assumption on your part and far from not renewing the scholarship.

    • Two examples off the top of my head.

      De from Miami was not renewed to make way for Henderson
      QB from LSU was not renewed.

      Both have come out and said it. Randy Shannon was mute. Les Miles claimed the kid didn’t compete.

      • You are right Lion, I did hear about those but completely forgot about them (who was it who said don’t post at midnight? Might be something to that). Even still, those are very isolated and rare instances – and the Miami one didn’t have anything to do with grayshirts. I’m open to the 4 year scholly, or any other idea that punishes the coaches for improper roster management (Miles has had more than that one instance of this) while maintaining the grayshirt. I just feel that it is a good thing that provides more options to the recruits (as long as it is done properly) and should not be discarded just because a few have abused it or others don’t utilize it.

        • I waited until the coffee kicked in this morning.

          I don’t think anybody, outside the coach and player, really knows how isolated and rare they are. I doubt there can be light shed on this as it is not something we (the outsiders) can really have access to.

          Once the process happens there really isn’t much the kid can do. Whether he speaks out or not, his matriculation at the school is over. He could bitch about it and make it a more public event and face the backlash of his coach claiming he was a lazy troublemaker. No win either way for the kid

          The best outsiders can do is expect greater transparency in the whole roster management process and continue to point to programs who’s transfers and medical exemptions far exceed the norm. I tend to think where there is smoke there is fire. Coaches that are obstinate to any visibility further justifies my belief.

          The DE from Miami was let go specifically because Miami was oversigned. The only other options was to greyshirt Henderson. Shannon wasn’t willing to do so because he had other DEs; Henderson started as a frosh.

          I think the idea of a 4 or 5 year scholarship has real merit. It brings up other issues raised elsewhere (complacency) that should be able to be dealt with in a reasonable manner.

          • For the record, the DE from Miami (Steven Wesley) received 4 full years of financial aid from Miami. I don’t think that he graduated, but Miami fulfilled its 4 year obligation to him and decided not to renew his scholarship for a fifth year.

            • The key is HE DIDN”T GRADUATE FROM DA U. Today there is no 4 year obligation. There is a yearly renewal of a 1 year obligation that may be renewed for 5 total years provided the student athlete hasn’t participated in a years on field events. Where are you getting the 4 year obligation from?

              • “Obligation” was a poor choice of words on my part. Just thought that it was worth noting that the student-athlete did receive 4 years of tuition from Miami. Personally, I don’t buy that he was cut to make room for an incoming player. Wesley had 17 career starts including 5 of Miami’s previous 6 games. If they were just looking to clear roster space, I bet there are at least a dozen players that would’ve been more sensible choices to cut than Wesley.

  6. So what?
    If the State of CT wishes to pursue this legislation, then that’s the business of CT alone.

    • its the first in many states to come

      • 2nd..California was first…but needs to be in all 50…

        To anyone who is against this:

        If this helped your son or daughter make a better decision, then why would you be against it?

          • You know Brian, I read that story a few days after signing day and it didn’t look good for Nebraska. It still doesn’t. I feel badly for the player but at the end of the day, you sign with the school and not the coach so you have to try really hard to find other reasons to attend a school other than the coaching staff. You have to ask yourself questions, like what happens if I go to this school and the coaching staff gets fired? Are they under investigation?

            I really thought about going to NC State because I would have started right away but their head coach at the time, Dick Sheridan was always rumored to be going somewhere and Coach Stallings was in his first year so I knew he would be there the majority of my career….

            There is a lot that goes into that decision. Both coaches seemed to have let him down. But such is life…

            Sooner or later a coaches reputation catches up with him. Nothing like sour apples on a team telling recruits, “Don’t come here!”…and it happens…

            • “Jackson says he still would have come to Nebraska if he had been informed of Sanders’ departure beforehand, but admitted that he didn’t “think that was right” and he wanted to know “out of respect.” – Charles Jackson via ESPN

              “I get the other side of the argument here from Nebraska’s perspective. The circumstances around any coach’s departure are going to be sensitive. In Sanders’ case, reports indicate it may be especially sensitive. ”

              –notice how Sanders might face disciplinary actions for a non football relation issue. NON FOOTBALL ISSUE. You think Pelini wanted to dismiss a coach who had developed a secondary into one of the best in the country last year? It wasnt an easy choice.

              http://espn.go.com/blog/big12/post/_/id/25337/huskers-secondary-coach-resigns

              Shawn Watson also resigned before signing day but it was not announced. He had 2 commitments to that date, Bo traveled down and told them they were making a coaching change and Watson was one of them. They both stayed committed and signed with Nebraska.

              No, they are not under investigation. There is nothing to investigate because there are no recruiting violations here. This is just dumb to even bring this up. Jackson is on record saying everything is cleared up with him and his father.

              Moving on.

              • Jackson says he still would have come to Nebraska if he had been informed of Sanders’ departure beforehand

                To borrow a quote from someone critical of Saban’s grayshirting, “what do you expect them to say?” Do you expect him to be critical of his coach now that he is on the team?

                To be sure, I don’t have a problem with what Pelini has done if it was off-field issues like it appears. I imagine that the kid does feel the way you have quoted him, I do think that Saban and his recruits deserve the same viewpoint, however.

                • I see what you are getting at here 5 but he did come out and be critical of the head coach. There are multiple write ups of him saying they broke the ‘bro code’ and him saying Pelini and Sanders did not handle it correctly. Only after he said all this did he say he still would have attended Nebraska.

                  On the surface, I dont even agree with the way this was handled but after further research I found it was off the field personal issues where Sanders was forced into a late resignation. In this case it was a sudden departure (forced resignation). As I noted in a previous post, Watson was let go and Pelini flew out to both the committed prospects to let them know the future plans. With a planned departure he handled it correctly on the surface but with a sudden departure it appears to not have been handled correctly.

  7. I believe any SA that signs with a school should be guaranteed the ability to complete his education with that school as long as he follows the rules, meets the academic requirements, etc….. but I don’t believe he should be kept on the team if he’s not living up to his responsibility to the team (hard work, participation, etc). As long as the SA is forced to stay at the school he selected coming out of high school and is forced to sit out a year if he chooses to leave, then he should be guaranteed the ability to complete his education on scholarship.

    • so basically you are saying you agree with they way Saban uses the majority of his medical hardships? Got it.

      • Should a coach be required to keep on his roster a player who has lost some measure of his athletic ability through injury and as a result no longer practice regularly or play on Saturday? If so, why?

        Middle school coaches “cut” players. High school coaches “cut” players (one even cut Michael Jordan). Professional coaches cut players.

        Why is college an exception? And why is does it remain an exception with a player whose injury permanently diminishes his or her ability to compete (versus eliminates completely their ability to compete)?

        • yep and in middle school and hs athletes werent recruited to play a sport and get their college paid for. Also it a unfair comparison because in lower education you have kids who just dont have the ability. I would say this isnt the case for a kid who has been offered and accepted a division I scholarship. If he is breaking team rules and laws then he should be cut. If a coach is making up reason to cut, then that is a problem. A scholarship athlete who is recruited to play football still helps the football team big time with all their scout team work. From them working on the scout team, making the starters better deserves a scholarship.
          I absolutely think a kid who is injured and cannot practice or perform should be given a medical hardship. Saban has a trend of offering a high number of medicals. On athlete even came out and said he was at practice and he was offered. This does not jive with the rules of the medical redshirt. How can a kid just finish practice, walk off the practice field and be approached by the coaches being pressured to take a medical hardship. This is the problem.

          • On athlete even came out and said he was at practice and he was offered

            That is untrue. You are remembering the artice the way you want to remember as opposed to the way it actually is.

          • Exactly. College becomes different because of the scholarship.

            I don’t have an issue with the medicals because the kid remains in school, creating an opportunity for someone else. The kid maintains the right to keep his free education but not a right to be on a roster. Those are entirely separate things, and the NCAA combines them solely for economic reasons.

            I just would like to see universities stand by the kids they sign to a scholarship for 4 years, as long as they make academic progress, regardless of athletic issues. They can afford it.

        • Yes I do. Pelini cannot control when a coach resigns because family matters and marital problems. Go ahead and search the internet again and notice the article where Pelini met with Jackson and his father about the situation. Obviously the situation is personal and between Sanders and his family but I am sure Pelini she some light to Jackson and his father, which is why the have come out and said its fine after the meeting….. With this being said, if there was any deception involved it probably wasnt handled right in that case. Remember Jackson was committed to play for the University of Nebraska and Bo Pelini in the first place. Jackson has a full ride scholarship, he was not popped with a grayshirt offer at the last minute and the roster of Nebraska is not oversigned. Are you suggesting the recruit was harmed in this matter?

  8. If a player is injured and can’t participate in normal football related activities he should be given a Medical scholarship and allowed to finish his education. There is no reason to keep him on the team if he is physically unable to participate. What sense would that make?

  9. Better Red: So be it, but let the initiative to change the rules come from the states and let the states accept responsibility for the consequences.

    Meg: I have no problem with your idea, but others will. The 85 scholarship rule was instituted to spread the talent around, but a secondary reason was to lower the number of students on football scholarships. Many colleges found their costs were escalating to such an extent that funding over a hundred students on football scholarships was a financial burden too heavy to bear.

    • A school such as Alabama would have no problem funding this with the revenue they generate from football. With this being said, Alabama has no problem giving a 4 year education to people who a said to still be fit to play. Notice Alabama’s 12 medical hardships in 4 years under Saban. It appears Alabama is already ok with paying for a athlete tuition at the cost to open up a scholarship.

      • 12 medicals in 4 years? The horror! Nebraska had 6 players who had the playing careers cut short due to injuries/medical issues in 2010 alone. What’s worse? 12 players with injuries put on medical hardships so that they still receive tuition or a coach who has been caught lying 3 times in the last 4 months (lying to the media to cover for his hot-head brother, lying to a US Service Member to make himself look better, and lying by omission to recruits)?

        • and the dog chases his tail once again. We went through this many times and there havent been 6 medical hardships. Not gonna waste my life arguing with someone who cant comprehend what the numbers say. The wheels on the bus go round and round.

          I will give you covering up what his brother did but the other two are just way off base. If you watch the Holiday press conference, anyone watching that could tell he was kidding about calling a play. I guess Pelini saying that and then laughing afterwards means he is dead serious. Come on Vesper, keep diggin buddy. One recruit came out and claimed he was lied to. I already posted on this board the explanation so go back and read it.

          • I’ve told you, as long as you feel compelled to make insuations based on Alabama’s attrition numbers, I’ll do the same thing with Nebraska. And if you read my post closely you’ll note that I did not say that Nebraska had 6 medicals last year. I said that they had 6 players whose careers were ended prematurely due to injuries/medical problems. Seems like a high number to me.

            As for the “joke”, I’ve seen the video and, again, I think you’re giving your team’s coach a benefit of the doubt that you would never dream of giving to most other coaches. He obviously made a joke about bad play calls vs good play calls right after he made the promise, but the promise itself seemed sincere to me…seemed sincere to ET3 Ryan too. And I’ve already read your explanation with respect to the lie of omission to recruits and found it unconvincing.

            • Alabama’s 12 medical hardships in 4 years have been documented on this site so there is not arguing that. Again, Nebraska had 5 end due to injuries/medical problems but that is out of the norm. Again, data is collected and interpreted by the trends that occur. Nebraska does not have a trend, unlike Alabama. If Nebraska has a trend/average of medical hardship scholarship recipients then we can talk about that, but until then I can talk about Alabama’s trend of medical hardships.

              Keep trying to defend Alabama for their chronic oversigning by taking one or two indecents from another program and completely blowing it out of proportion.

              And of course you dont like my explanation. One player who Sanders was recruiting was not told about Sanders’ unexpected departure came out and said he was not happy. He later went on record with his Dad saying he just didnt know the entire story. If Sanders was fired because of performance, Pelini would have known about it well beforehand but that is simply not the case. Sanders messed up, was reprimanded by the University and was forced into resigning. Those are the facts.

              The bottom line here is, Sanders only had one committed recruit! Other coaches were let go and the recruits were told beforehand because it was planned. Do you really think Pelini wanted to fire Sanders? If you think that then you are crazy. No one knew what was going to happen to Sanders until the last minute.

              • No one knew what was going to happen to Sanders until the last minute…except Indiana’s head coach.

                Here’s what a more skeptical person might think went on here: Sanders screwed up sometime the week before NSD. Nebraska fired him but kept it under wraps so as not negatively hurt recruiting so close to NSD. Nebraska contacted the Indiana assistant coach about filling the open coaching spot at Nebraska. The Indiana head coach threw a monkey wrench in Nebraska’s plans however when he announced at his NSD PC that Wilson was going to Nebraska. Of course, by the time the deception is made public, it’s too late for Jackson and the other signees to reconsider their commitment to Nebraska since they’ve already signed their NLIs. Would Jackson or any of the other Nebraska recruits have signed elsewhere if they had all the information? We’ll never know thanks to Pelini’s clandestine maneuvering. Shady, shady, shady.

                Of course, I might be willing to give Pelini the benefit of the doubt like you if it wasn’t for the troubling trend of dishonesty that he has established for himself recently.

                • The Indian Coach said this on signing day. The article broke at 9pm. I believe recruits mostly have their LOI in by 10-1.

                  Pelini actually got Raymond the job at Indiana so he was in close contact through their entire coaching change. Remember Nebraska did lost their LB coach to Indiana in the coaching change at Indiana. Pelini had been in contact with Raymond through the entire process because Pelini coached with Raymond at LSU. All the other recruits have been on record of the coaching changes who were being recruited/committed to a coach being removed. Sanders ONLY HAD ONE COMMITMENT AT THE TIME HE WAS REMOVED and that was Jackson. I have said this a million times. Read a recruiting site and you will know. Sanders was removed at the last minute and the ONLY recruit he had committed found out at the last minute. He was not lied to.

                  Of course you would Vesper, and you would also try and start a trend to defend Saban and his medical hardship problem. There is no trend here. All the recruits except Jackson knew of the changes…weird because the coach he had committed to were removed at the last minute.

                  If this situation was even to be disputed, why would Pelini wait until longer to remove Jackson? He was removed by the university for ‘foul play’ if you will. They could have waited for weeks but Pelini didnt.

                  Keep up your attack on Nebraska who is not on probation, not oversigned and not starting a trend with an abnormal medical hardships such as Alabama.

                  • “why would Pelini wait until longer to remove Jackson?”
                    He probably would have if the Indiana coach hadn’t let the cat out of the bag. Once the Indiana coach publicly confirmed the message board and twitter rumors, it forced Nebraska’s hand with the Sanders announcement.

                    The actual news about Raymond to Nebraska broke on twitter and message boards on the day before NSD: http://www.huskermax.com/vbbs/showthread.php?15087-Corey-Raymond-new-assistant-coach

                    So, Nebraska had time to find a replacement for Sanders before NSD, but didn’t have time to inform their recruits? I don’t buy it.

                    You say all the recruits except Jackson knew of the coaching changes? Link? Did all the secondary recruits know they weren’t going to have Sanders as their position coach when they signed their LOI? You’ve said that the OC resigned before NSD but it wasn’t announced til after NSD. Did all the offensive recruits know that Watson wasn’t going to be their OC when they signed their LOI?

                    There’s nothing wrong with players going on medical hardship. There is something wrong with a coach who lies repeatedly.

                    • the story broke the evening of signing day.

                      He was already in contact with Raymond because Pelini go Raymond the job at Indiana and originally considered bringing him to Nebraska in the first place.

                      From Bubba Starling recruited by Watson.

                      “Starling said that he and his parents had been given a heads-up that coach Watson, and some other NU coaches, would soon be moving on to other destinations.” Speaking of Watson (OC) and Gilmore (WR)
                      “Though Starling had developed a personal affinity for coach Watson, he believes the changes are best for everyone involved.”
                      “I think it’s awesome for Nebraska,” Starling said about the new direction. “You know, I had a good relationship with coach Watson, but coach Pelini said there’d be changes coming.”

                      Since it would be redic to have a link for every recruit stating they knew about the changes I listed a few quotes from a player on record talking about the changes.

                      You are completely right! There is nothing wrong with a medical hardship if used correctly, there is something wrong having an oversigned roster leading to an excess of medical hardships.

                    • Red, if you gave Saban the same benefit of the doubt that you are allotting Pelini, you would likely not have a problem at all with his medical hardships and you certainly wouldn’t have a problem with his use of grayshirts (since we have produced much more than quotes from one recruit stating that he was aware of it). You are showing signs of hypocracy with this defense of Pelini. (Please note the use of the phrase “showing signs”) You seem to be a decent guy and I can respect (though disagree with) most of your opinions – as long as you are consistent. But to attack Saban, you make assumptions that you are not willing to consider when discussing a subject about your coach.

                      Vesper, you are sounding much like Joshua in this relentless attack on Nebraska. Likewise, if you granted Pelini the same benefit you do Saban, you would also not likely have a problem with it. I hope this thread is an effort to bring out this point to fans of other schools like Red, because if you are serious with this I don’t think you are being all that fair. The coaching business is a messy affair – very few positional coaches will remain at a school for more than a couple of years. The recruits need to commit to a school, not a coach – and certainly not a postional coach.

                    • Catch 5,

                      I have nothing against Nebraska. I actually like Nebraska. I do however have a problem with posters like BetterRED who make baseless allegation after baseless allegation. In my opinion, BetterRED and others feel they are justified in doing this because they have the mindset that Alabama is bad whereas their programs are good. Since Alabama is bad, it’s ok to sling accusations based solely on conjecture.

                      Here’s an example from BetterRED:

                      Come on? Saban is one of the worst oversigners out there, he has one of the highest medical hardship count in a 4 year tenure but yet you say he is totally truthful with these recruits? Wow what a homer. I have said earlier, these recruits who are on the team are never going to ‘out’ their current team/coach for these things. There are thousands and thousands of people criticizing Saban, but yet you say he always tells the truth. hahaha thats just funny.

                      I could try to convince BetterRED that he’s wrong about Saban, but there’s no way I or anyone else could prove how honest or dishonest Saban is with recruits. So, instead I show him that his own coach isn’t exactly a beacon of truth and virtue. He clearly thinks Alabama’s attrition numbers are an indictment, so I point out that Nebraska lost 10 players to attrition last year including 6 to injuries/medical issues. Invariably, the discussion devolves into a quibble over numbers as he tries to justify each example of Nebraska’s attrition or Pelnini’s dishonesty. I’m hoping that one day it will dawn on him that there are equally legitimate justifications for what goes on at Alabama, but we haven’t gotten there yet because Alabama=bad, Nebraska=good.

                      Finally, whereas I agree with you to a degree that players commit to a school not a coach, I do believe that it is wrong for a coach to hide information concerning staff changes from recruits until after NSD in order to ensure that the recruits do not waver from their verbal commitments.

                      RED,

                      It’s great that Pelini had a previous relationship with Raymond, but it’s obvious by the leaked reports that Raymond had been chosen to replace Sanders the day before NSD if not earlier. Therefore, Pelini had ample time to let recruits know of the coaching change before they signed their LOIs. It appears that he decided not to do that. Was his intention to hide the information from recruits so that Nebraska would be less likely to lose verbal commitments? Maybe not, but I can’t think of any others plausible reasons.

                      Starling knew of the imminent change at OC. What about the other recruits? I won’t ask for links, I’ll just ask your opinion. Do you think that every offensive verbal commitment was told before NSD that Watson was out as OC? What do you base your opinion on?

                    • Vesper,
                      And I actually have nothing against Alabama. I actually do have a problem against oversigning. Saban has a trend and oversigning and medical hardships, Nebraska does NOT. See the difference? No of course you dont.

                      We went rounds and round on this, Nebraska did not have 10 guys lost to attrition this year. Nebraska had 5, counting Braylon Heard. Braylon Heard should not be counted because he didnt qualify, BUT he didnt sign with another school and is currently on Nebraska’s campus after he qualified. Nebraska had an abnormal medical hardship count this year with NONE the previous 2 years. Data is judged by what trends they provide, not in one year. 12 over 4 years is a trend, not 3 or 4 in one year with NONE in the previous 2 years. Get a clue Vesper and quit trying to justify Saban’s oversigning in the process.

                    • BetterRED,

                      If you oppose oversigning, then I can assume that you oppose the Big Ten’s rule change in 2002 allowing oversigning by 3? Can I also assume that you condemn Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, and Michigan for oversigning this year? “But they didn’t oversign by as many as SEC schools”. So, at what number does oversigning go from being ok to being unethical?

                      You posted Josh’s attrition list for Alabama last year. Using that standard, Nebraska lost 10 players to attrition in 2010. 10 players. I know in your mind, there’s a legitimate reason for each and every one, and that’s fine. Just realize that there were legitimate reasons for the players that left the Alabama program as well (failure to qualify, career-ending injuries, search for more playing time, violation of team rules, greyshirts).

                      I’ll quit justifying Saban’s oversigning when you stop justifying Pelini’s lying. Deal?

                    • I personally think 1 oversigned is too much. Alabama is oversigned right now by 10 or 11? That is way too much. It just so happens Alabama is oversigned all summer until right before the Aug deadline and then they get rid of the remaining 3, this is where they problem is.

                      On Nebraska’s attrition: There was not a 10 player attrition as I will say over and over again. You are still counting a guy who qualified and is on the team, a walk-on, and a guy who was a senior who was injured and remained on ATHLETIC scholarship but chose to not seek a medical redshirt year…among others. You will keep saying its 10 when in reality it is more like 6. There is no doubt attrition happens but Alabama seems to dump a few players right before the Aug deadline. In the last four years they have and average of 3 medicals per year to add to that.

                      I personally think they should do away with oversigning by any number and grayshirting. Just get rid of it period!

                    • It just so happens Alabama is oversigned all summer until right before the Aug deadline and then they get rid of the remaining 3, this is where they problem is.

                      There is no doubt attrition happens but Alabama seems to dump a few players right before the Aug deadline.

                      It only seems that way if you don’t know the actual circumstances surrounding these cases.

                      Let’s look at these players who run off right before the 85 man deadline:

                      Alfy Hill – failed to clear NCAA clearinghouse on last day before deadline because the NCAA decided not to accept a computer course he took his sophomore year
                      Wilson Love – grayshirt; currently enrolled
                      Ronnie Carswell – grayshirt; currently enrolled
                      Rod Woodson – transfer. Saban called it a “mutual decision”. I don’t have a link so TIFWIW, but the message board rumor was that Woodson and another player were involved in an incident involving fireworks inside their dorm. Saban told the two players what their punishment would be. Woodson decided to transfer rather than serve his punishment. The other player stayed at Bama but did not play in a single game in 2010 after playing the previous year as a true freshman. It appears the punishment that the players were facing was a one year suspension. At the time of his transfer, Woodson was in a dead heat for a starting safety position. His transfer made Alabama’s thinnest position even thinner resulting in the use of a walk-on at safety in all 14 games. If Bama was going to run off a player to get down to 85, does this sound like the player that would’ve been chosen?

                      Like I said, you only think that Nebraska has legitimate reasons for attrition. You give your team the benefit of the doubt but assume the worst when it comes to Alabama.

                  • see this is where you assume and you wrong. Natural attrition occurs and is completely acceptable with any team. The kicker in this situation is the oversigned roster. Teams who are not oversigned have no reason to make up reasons to ‘get rid’ of a kid. This is the big difference. Do you really think if Julio Jones would have been part of the “fireworks incident” he would have received a year suspension? No! Saban would not get rid of a star player like Jones to cover the 85 scholarship limit.

                    • What assumption did I make? I provided the circumstances surrounding the departure of players from the Alabama program. You assumed they were run off. I provided information contradicting that assumption.

                      So Saban was looking to get rid of a player and he arbitrarily chose a player who was in a dead heat for a starting spot at the team’s thinnest position instead of one of a dozen others players who was destined to ride the bench? I’m sure Saban was thrilled at the prospect of playing a 5’9 172lb walk-on with no game experience instead of a 5’11 200lb 4-star with game experience. If you really believe that, then you should have no problem believing that Nebraska ran off 10 players last year so that they could sign 20 players last month instead of 10.

              • Pelini is obviously running a shady program as has been well documented on this site.

  10. Better Reg: The funding problem isn’t centered in Alabama. The Crimson Tide has enough money to fund football scholarships, as does GA, Carolina, FL, Clemson, TN, etc. However, the same cannot be said for Duke, Vandy, and many other schools, public and private. The drive to reduce the number scholarships was motivated in large part by a need to reduce costs.

    • yes this is my point exactly. They are willing to ‘take a hit’ if you will for taking a chance on recruits in order to get them off scholarship to make room for others.

  11. BetterRed: That’s simply the consequences of the system the NCAA insisted upon. Many colleges cannot afford to keep an extra 10-20 players on football scholarships, if those players are not athletically capable of contributing to the program. And anyone familiar with recruiting knows that colleges can conduct the most extensive evaluations of a high school player and still not be certain that the player will produce in college. Take the Clowney kid who signed with the Gamecocks. For all the hoopla about him, for all the recruiting reports, he may bomb in college. No one knows – even him – how he’ll perform in the SEC.
    Its simply a matter of money. And its not the smaller, private schools alone who suffer. UCAL Berkeley has eliminated men’s baseball (and several other varsity sports) because of the funding crunch.
    Now, I don’t blame -what is the name – Title 9 for this problem, but the number of scholarships given women has (and rightly so) escalated over the past decade. Most schools cannot fund scholarships at a relative parity between men and women and keep 105 men on football scholarships.
    Something has to give – and its those who can’t or won’t produce, mostly in football because that’s the money and the numbers are. Sad but true.

    • Yes I know all about cutting programs. UNO a school in Nebraska just announced it is moving to Division I but cutting football and wrestling. Their wrestling program has won 8 national titles and 3 out of the last 5. They have a built a dynasty and say they need to cut it in order to make room for mens soccer, wtf? They are going to cut a dynasty to make room and start up a mens soccer team….oh and by the way, last Saturday the UNO wrestling team got done winning another National Championship. On the bus ride home, they learned of the news their program would be cut. Is that right, heck no its not. What about the athletes? They said they would honor their scholarship by paying for their school but WHAT IF they want to play sports? This is along the lines of putting a kid on a medical hardship when it is truly not warranted. He is taken care of academically but they dont want them on the team. Complete bs.

  12. BetterRed: I agee its not “right”; but then neither is it “wrong”. All man made events that effect people adversely are not issues of “right and wrong”. Some events are simply the consequences of forces that compel people to act in a manner that would be undesirable in other circumstances. This isn’t to argue for relative morality, but it is to argue that a “no exceptions” policy in all circumstances is puerile.

    As to putting a kid on medical hardship if unwarranted – again its undesirable and institutions should deal with this on a case by case (or university by university) basis. But do we need hard and fast NCAA level rules? I think not. The NCAA has enough difficulty enforcing the currently existing rules. Do we really want NCAA inspectors pawing over a kid’s medical records to decide if a medical hardship was warranted.

  13. Gosh, it’s been a whole week since any new articles were posted. Wonder why that is? Maybe it’s because of the NCAA BB tourney?

    I guess there’s really not all that much going on in college football right now, except for this one program where the head coach is now suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season along with five of his star players. Seems that he violated NCAA Byl;aw 10.1. It further seems that of the 12 coaches that have been previously found to have violated this Bylaw, 11 were either fired or resigned?

    But let’s not focus our attention on the programs with head coaches running amok and breaking NCAA rules. Let’s focus on the one’s that are being accused of violating the SPIRIT of the rules. A far more worthy pursuit, no doubt.

  14. Headscratcher: Perhaps you’d explain your interpretation of the “spirit” of the rules and how they differ from or expand on the letter. Then, tell us why your explanation of the “spirit” should be forced upon others. Then, delineate for us your credentials (or authority) to decided such issues.

  15. Yeah, I’m also curious how long the author thinks he will have to lay low before he starts trying to get the focus back on oversigning? Another week? Will the press be done talking about ACTUAL cheating instead of accused cheating by then? I don’t think so.

    Maybe one of the author’s supporters that isn’t an Ohio State fan, and can therefore carry the mantel of this without looking like a hypocrite should take over on this board. As long as this cloud is hanging over the Buckeye program–and it will be for the foreseeable future–continuing to try and hammer the SEC for their “ethics” looks like a joke.

  16. Or perhaps there’s no point wasting time posting with the NCAA tournament raging. “If a tree falls in a forest….”

    Saw Pearl was fired today.

    Here’s hoping OSU’s 60% 3-point shooting last weekend becomes 20% next weekend (assuming Carolina’s freshmen and sophomores can get past Marquette). Go Heels.


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