Alabama Blacks Out Scholarship Numbers Citing Federal Privacy Laws; Legal Experts Disagree

This is somewhat old news, but Marquavius Burnett at The Crimson and White just wrote a nice article about the situation at Alabama regarding their refusal to disclose scholarship numbers, including an image of the document where Alabama blacks out the scholarship numbers in their annual report.  Alabama officials are saying that federal privacy laws prevent them from disclosing the number of scholarships, but law experts disagree and question why the schools that do release this information are not in violation of the federal privacy laws.

From the article:

Deborah Lane, and assistant vice president for University Relations, said in an emailed statement that privacy laws prohibit them from disclosing scholarship numbers because they can be used by a reasonable person to find out personal information about individual students.

But law experts disagree.

“This information is not confidential,” said Frank LoMonte, the executive director of the Student Press Law Center. “In fact, Alabama routinely announces the names of star athletes it has signed to scholarships…. Other schools are comfortable releasing the numbers. There is no practical way that you could match up the number of scholarships with particular athletes and, even if you could, it would not compromise any private information.”


It is really unclear as to why these numbers are being hidden.  Cecil Hurt at the Tuscaloosa News has filed a Freedom of Information Act request in order to try and obtain the official scholarship numbers, hopefully he will hear something soon so we can get this all cleared up. 

The irony in all of this is that Alabama goes out of its way to have a fax cam streaming video of the recruits names as their faxed LOI to receive a scholarship comes in on national signing day. 

The article goes on to cite the Wall Street Journal article on Alabama's oversigning:

The entire SEC, especially Alabama, has been under fire recently for oversigning in football. Under NCAA rules, it is legal to sign more players to scholarships than the limit of 85 as long as teams are not over that limit by July 31. However, The Wall Street Journal reported in September of 2010 that former Alabama players said the school tried to gain a competitive edge by encouraging underperforming players to quit the team, allowing the Tide to not exceed the limit of 85 scholarships per season.

Because the deadline to get down to 85 football scholarships is July 31, when 2010 expense reports were filed, it would not have been a violation to be over the limit of 85. In fact, LSU and Mississippi’s 2010 athletic expense reports show the schools had 91 and 89 scholarships, respectively, allotted to football when the reports were filed.



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  1. Oh… we’re talking about this again?

    Alabama is once again guilty because they haven’t proven themselves innocent? There are many reasons why an institution would rather not share information. Until someone can prove otherwise, I am going to take Alabama at their word. I wish others would give Alabama the same benefit of doubt that they give the precious Big 10 and a certain coach in the Big 10 who has proven himself to be a liar.

    • Every other Alabama public college has given the total scholarships number. The only reason to hide it is to help obscure the lies Saban has told about his oversigning.

  2. not sure you know the meaning of the word irony.

    • Probabaly not the best use of the word…it’s more interesting than ironic…it was late last night after a long day.

    • Actually, a school that has a webcam set up to instantly broadcast the names of athletes accepting scholarships refusing to release the number of athletes currently on scholarship is a pretty good example of irony.

  3. At a time when there is nothing to talk about relative to this stale subject, the author of this site decides “hey, seems like it’s about time to take another swipe at Alabama”. Josh, are you EVER going to post the link to Ohio State’s schollie numbers? I think I have seen about 50 people ask you to do it, and you have yet to produce it. Assuming you actually DO have the numbers, where did you get them? If it shouldn’t be a secret, as you seem to be claiming, then POST the freaking information here so that you can clearly establish the high ground on an issue that really doesn’t mean a hill of beans in the first place.

    Have you ever requested financial statements froma privately-owned company? There’s a reason they don’t share that information–because it’s none of your business. Who Alabama does and doesn’t have on scholarship is between the university and those athletes. This is why you can’t just surf over to an OSU athletics website and find the information there. I know you can’t really be this dense, but still you seem to insist on proving otherwise.

    • 1. The Crimson and White website is the one taking the swipe…they put the article out last night, this is just a re-post.

      2. The link that I saw was to the spring roster and it did not indicate scholarship status. We have not asked for a scholarship roster, but we can. Scholarship numbers are typically not a secret as the article above points out.

      3. Alabama is not a privately-owned company, it is a tax-exempt, public institution. This information should not be blacked out when asked for by the public.

      • I personally don’t care if they do or don’t show the numbers…. Nor do I care what the reason is. The fact of the matter is they have to comply with the NCAA rules for the 85 scholarship limit and they have to verify that number to the NCAA and I don’t see where they have to prove those numbers to the media or fans.

        On the otherside of that, the fans and the media are well within their right to try to pressure the university to publish those numbers, but I don’t see where that does anything to prove or disprove anything about oversigning as we all know where each school stands…

      • The link that I saw was to the spring roster and it did not indicate scholarship status

        Here is what you tweeted:

        “@CecilHurt Did Alabama pass out a full scholarship roster the first day of spring practice like Ohio State did? Just curious”

        1. Why did you call it a “full scholarship roster” if it did not indicate scholarship status?

        2. Were you being intentionally dishonest in order to pressure Cecil Hurt into putting in a FOIA request for Alabama’s scholarship numbers?

        3. Are you going to tweet a correction to Cecil Hurt? If not, why?

        4. Why has it taken you 12 days to finally respond to questions about this tweet?

        Everyone makes mistakes – I’ve even made a couple in my day. But what’s really telling about a person’s character is when he/she won’t admit to making a mistake. Is there any doubt that Josh would have let this little mistake go if a few of us had not continued to press him about it? It still remains to be seen whether or not he’ll do the right thing and tweet a correction. Another example is Michigan State player Arthur Ray. Josh has stated on this blog and on twitter that he was never taken off of football scholarship, and that’s not true. Why can’t Josh just admit to making a mistake? I guess he really does idolize Jim Tressel.

        • What I saw was a link to the spring roster and Tony Gerdeman’s count of the scholarship players, which was 84 I believe. The scholarship numbers were not provided by the university but they were not asked for them either. My tweet to Cecil was incorrect. Cecil was already working on the FOI and is frustrated that it is taking so much effort to get the numbers from the school.

          • Are you going to tweet Cecil with a correction?

            Why did it take numerous attempts to get you to admit your mistake?

          • Is Tony Gerdeman an employee of the university? Does he have access to the players’ private information.? Why is it a story that Alabama doesn’t publish its scholarship number is Ohio State doesn’t either? What are you doing here?

            • TG’s a fellow OSU blogger, I believe. (Or maybe TD ?)

              Joshua, a question on methodology:

              Where do you get official scholarship numbers for your Cup? Your methodology subtracts departures from an assumed 85, but wouldn’t it be easier just to cite the university’s quoted count if the information’s so readily available? Or is that what you’re doing?

              Just curious. Thanks in advance.

  4. Another blog entry on Alabama. I’m shocked. Glad I did all that work finding information about oversigning at Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Tulsa, Penn State, Illinois, Indiana, Rutgers, and Colorado State. Still waiting on that “quick follow up” article on Penn State that you promised on March 27th.

    It’s like I said the other day. Texas_Dawg loves claiming that oversigning must be unethical because it’s limited to a few schools in the SEC. Josh implicitly reinforces this claim by focusing almost excuslively on the SEC. Central Montana University could issue a press release stating that it’s not renewing the scholarships of their 20 worst football players because they oversigned and it would take a backseat on this site to 1 Alabama player transferring for more playing time. This site is not about oversigning. It’s not about the student-athletes. It’s about Josh’s vendetta against the SEC.

    • Either you have a short memory or you are oversensitive…


      Just one of many posts on other schools.

      • is that date, May 29, 2010…. like as in a year ago… I wouldn’t call that a short time ago… Just saying…

        • These things run in cycles, that was the last spring cycle for roster cuts. Thanks for acknowledging that we have talked about other schools.

          • I’m not one that tries to point out what OSU does wrong… I don’t really care. I don’t care if any team/school gives out that information to be honest. If they do fine, if they don’t fine. I was just saying that a year ago isn’t a short memory like you were trying to make it seem… well, maybe it is for you… but not for me.

      • 1. That was over 10 months ago. So as long as you post something once every 10 months about the possibility that other schools oversign, you’re cleared of any allegations of bias?

        2. In that blog entry, you basically said that you can’t/won’t be troubled to do any real research into other schools. Like I said, focus almost exclusively on the SEC and everyone will believe Texas_Dawg’s false claims that oversigning is exculsive to the SEC.

        3. In that same blog entry you stated that we, the readers, will have to do the research on scholarship numbers and budgets on other schools. I’ve given you lots of information on schools outside the SEC. The question is whether or not you will do anything with it.

        • Vesper–

          Since you are so knowledgeable, and cleary have a ton of time on your hands. Why don’t you create a blog that is considerably skewed against the Big 10 (or any conference of your disliking). This way we don’t have to read your personal attacks on the blogger.

          I you already have one, I am sorry that I am ignorant to that fact.

          • I’m sorry that you feel that way, but I think I will continue to post comments on this blog. If my comments bother you that much, then I suggest that you not read them.

            For the record, Josh stated that I was full of s*** after one of the first comments that I made on this blog. That’s more of a personal attack then I’ve ever levied against him.

            • Do you live in Alabama?

              It is pretty amazing how much time you spend here.

              • I’ll make a deal with you TD. I’ll tell you which state I live in after you demonstrate that you can treat everyone on this blog with respect long term. Deal?

              • And I find it pretty interesting that the amount of time that I spend here wasn’t an issue for anyone until I started revealing evidence of oversigning at Penn State, Illinois, Indiana, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Tulsa, Rutgers, and Colorado State.

                If you’re really as anti-oversigning as you claim and not just anti-Alabama, shouldn’t you be encouraging me in my efforts to seek out other “offenders”?

          • Daniel, surely you are not so naive as to think people who are opposed to what the author is fomenting here should find some other place to voice their opposition. That may be the most narrow-minded and simultaneously pitiable things I have seen in a while.

            • Pitiable? What…Time to put down the thesauraus.

              Vesper has more text in the comment window than the author of the blog. Certainly enough opinion left over to start his own blog, where we can criticize every line in the post.

              • Maybe you’ve never actually read any other blogs. Here’s the way it works–some people agree and some disagree. This is one of the primary concepts we have in our constitution, which you may also want to take the time to peruse. I suppose it would be great if all you had were slews of comments agreeing with the blogger’s ideas–just one big love letter, but strangely some people tend to disagree, so this results in multiple views on the SAME topic. Amazing.

                • Just looking for more “views” and less criticism. Show me in his comments in this article where Vesper has provided us with a point of view.

                  • When the person running the blog tells you that your views are “full of s***”, it doesn’t exactly inspire you to continue sharing your views, now does it?

                    • I will acknowledge your last post regarding the Equity in Athlteics Disclosure Act (EADA) report. You have in this post shown that you are capable of adding to the conversation without directly attacking the author.

                      This was the point that I was trying to make.

                      YES, I do understand how a blog works, Thanks

                    • Not sure, but your views have certainly been described accurately.

                    • Ouch, TD. You’ve wounded me deeply

                  • I think most of the “antis” view this website as a one trick pony muckraking site. It’s just that most of them are at least polite in their approach. Personally, I am not sure I see the point behind being polite. The aim of the website is not genial or friendly in any way at all, so if you disagree, which many people do, why pull any punches in your opposition? the author took the gloves off a long time ago.

                    • The reason is quite simple. If your argument is right, there is no need to attack anyone personally. Simply state your beliefs and let the strength of your convictions and validity of your supporting argument stand on their own. If you attack those that disagree personally, or stray too far off topic, you become more interested in just being argumentative and people begin to just ignore you. This does little to nothing to promote your beliefs. When others take off the gloves, it usually means you’re winning.

                    • Pretty amazing how much success this site has had for being just some “one trick pony muckraking site.”

                      Before this site, very few people were talking about the topic. Now, just over a year after it launched, we have writers and officials around the country condemning the practice and it seeming pretty likely that substantial SEC restrictions on the practice are coming soon.

                      As it has in decades past, Alabama has completely lost an argument over ethics once the discussion gained national attention. Funny how that just keeps happening. Surely it says nothing about the culture of white Alabama, of course.

                    • TD,

                      You seem to think that we Pro Oversigners are for keeping the system as it is… I think you’re missing our point. We agree that things could/should be changed and things need to be better to afford the athlete’s more control… What we disagree on is how to do that… I don’t think the Big 10 rule address the issue, nor do I think Oversigning is unethical… it’s the misleading recruiting that is unethical, which inlcudes lies about greyshirting and Oversigning… but not the use of greyshirting and/or oversigning.

    • I’m hoping Marc interjects a better persona to this site… it’s been clear for a while that Josh hasn’t been able to take a non-bias eye on the way he runs this site. After reading Marc’s site, I’m hoping things will change… but I’m not going to hold my breath or anything…

      • And what exactly would make you happy…lol.

        • Honestly…. a better focused site on oversigning… you seem to stray away from that from time to time to “punish” the SEC… but that’s my opinion, so take it with a grain of salt.

          I like Marc’s site and I like a lot of his ideas… I think/hope he will be a good addition to this site as well… time will tell.

        • To add to that… a more open view on what things can be done to accomplish the goal of helping the athletes… I feel your stance is all or nothing on the Big 10 rule.. but maybe I’m just wrong here.

          I am sure in person, you and I would agree on more than we would disagree…. however, on this blog it seems you have an axe to grind with Alabama and more specificly Nick Saban… but again, this is MY opinion and I am sure others don’t get that…. Take it for what it’s worth…

          • Ha. Nice. The “in the middle” approach.

            Of course you, In The Middle, vesper, Catch5, and other oversigning defenders here want the site to change. Change to what? Well, anything other than what it is now. Especially if that change involves focusing on whatever message-diluting, totally unrelated topics you can find. Why? Because Joshua is winning, and the oversigning status quo you so greatly want is about to be taken away.

            Don’t worry, Bathel. The rules changes are coming, but Alabama will adapt and find new unethical ways to exploit rules and laws. It always does, and you will be right there arguing for the newest lines your Alabama leaders feed you.

            • See below

            • TD,

              If the rules change, I’m sure the SEC will follow those rules. Again, we are not against rule change… I’m against the rule you want to implement. I don’t think it addresses the issues at hand.

              Somehow you seem to be blinded to this whole issue. I don’t know if you’re just 12 years old or just a rabid UGA fan… but either way, you’re missing the point of our argument and casting your support to a rule that will not stop the abuse of “oversigning” in the least….

            • Josh is “winning”? Only one way to determine that, and it isn’t from people like you on this blog declaring it to be so. No, the only way Josh is “winning” anything is if the NCAA enacts rule changes. If that does NOT happen, then clearly the site is only a small voice crying out in the wilderness.

              You guys sound like Baghdad Bob when you declare “victory”.

    • The bottom line is that oversigning is now out in the public eye thanks to this site and all of the people who have written about it. It will bs dealt with and we will see changes.

      • Are you saying the ends justify the means?

      • I don’t think you’ll find many of the “pro-oversinging” posters to disagree that rules could/should be in place to make the system more clear and better for the athletes and parents… it’s not that we don’t agree that changes need to be made, it’s what YOU seem to want as a change that we disagree with…

  5. FOIA?
    they have to report their income and scholarship benefits to the IRS so it would be possible to determine any schools scholarship information, wouldnt it?

  6. Guys, last night I made a speech to 20 or so very well-heeled residents of a few gated communities in my new home town of Bluffton, SC. To give you a flavor of the event, it was held in the living room of an 8,000 sq. ft. home overlooking the marsh. Now rest assured, I don’t live in any such place; in fact, I rent 1/3 of a brick ranch down by the May River.

    Anyway, the people came to hear me talk about the way 17 year old kids from very modest backgrounds are seduced by grown men who make very nice salaries and who are evaluated by their bosses, in large part, on how many elite high school football players they can convince to come to their school.

    In my talk I included a description of many of the techniques used by these salaried adults to keep enough kids eligible to stock the scout team, the drills, and to occasionally play in a game. Oversigning is one of the techniques I describe in a talk like this. Here’s the important part: there were many self-proclaimed boosters of the University of South Carolina and Clemson in the room. They were proudly boasting of this status in the cocktail hour before the presentation.

    Before I spoke I warned everyone that they were about to learn some things that they didn’t know about corruption in the NCAA. I warned them that I was going to risk offending many people in the room in order to prove how little these well-connected people know. But I told them that at least I would prove that since they didn’t know (until last night) they couldn’t be guilty of participating in the corruption.

    My approach to this type of get together (I’ve done quite a few in the last 2 years) is to ask a random person in the room to define a term such as “oversigning” or “clustering” or “remedial education” in the context of NCAA football. When several people fail to define the technique , I ask if anyone in the room can define the term. Invariably, no one gets it right; usually no one is even close to an accurate description of what I’m about to tell them.

    My point is this: those of us on this site/blog should not be focused on attacking one another or defending one institution’s or conference’s oversigning practices. Instead, we should all agree that the solution to the problem, if there is a problem at all, is to require Truth in Recruiting and Truth in Academics and Truth in Money. 95% of these schools are public institutions. They get taxpayer money even though the guys with the most to lose (the ADs and the coaches) claim that virtually all of their receipts are from private sources and do not drain money away from the school. NOTE: This is not true. Every time a program runs short of money the university ponies up the money to cover the shortfall.

    As I’ve told you before, I have no individual dog in this fight. My alma mater is as guilty as anyone else and my guys can’t even win games doing it! My position is, a pox on all their houses. Tell us what you’re doing, what you’re really doing, and then we’ll decide how much “we” is left in our thinking.

    Each of you is a citizen with a responsibility to the least of us. Too many of these kids have just one set of skills. Those skills don’t translate into a quality life after football. If we tolerate the exploitation of these kids for our own gratification so we can say “we” about the Buckeyes or the Trojans or the Crimson Tide or the Tigers, then everlasting shame on us.

    • Excellent take there, Marc.

      Not that it matters, but what is your alma mater?

    • Very eloquent. Well said.

      Marc, I like your resistance to regional antagonisms. I see a lot of common ground in posters here once they stop asserting or defending their respective conferences. An SEC fan isn’t going to sit idly by while someone sneers that their universities are second-rate and their fans are inbred racist hicks who simply don’t give a crap. A Big 10 fan won’t sit idly by while someone accuses them of rank hypocrisy.

      When that conversation abates, both camps have a lot of passion for the game, and most demonstrate a lot of empathy for the players. But they identify with their university for a reason — they’re fans. Fans can see the cracks in the system, but they’re always late to see them in their own backyard. I remain stunned at the number of UNC fans who can’t see any culpability on UNC’s part for hiring Blake or the problems there over the past 8 months. Stunning, but it’s human nature.

      On a separate note:

      North Carolina’s new budget sheds 240,000 college classroom seats next year. What does that have to do with any of this? The resources generated/allocated by/for college athletics will receive far more scrutiny in the coming years than they previously have. That’s going put more pressure on the system to continue producing current results with fewer resources moving forward, pressure which inevitably lands squarely on the shoulders of student-athletes.

      At some point, the system (and we are the system here, to the extent our collective attention feeds the commercial engines here) has to honor the obligation to the individual SA with something more tangible than empathy and accounting procedures.

      I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.

      ITM Tar Heel

      • And yet you continue to strongly resist the proposals put forward by this site. Go figure.

        • I resist their characterization as something more than they are. How many times do I have to say it?

          • Um, that does nothing to refute what I said. So I’m not sure why you think you have to say it any more times.

            • I’m not refuting. I’m clarifying, because you consistently present things completely out of context, then you have the gall to condemn others for doing the same thing.

              Your persona on here seems a hypocrite and a bully. No cause excuses that behavior.

              I’m not “in the middle” when it comes to you, TD. You’re not oversigning. You should remember that before you turn even more people against you, and by extension, your cause. This isn’t about being nice. It’s about being credible, and frankly, you don’t have very much. I guess that’s why you limit yourself to attacking people now, because no one believes a word you say.

              Joshua has moved this issue forward. You move it backwards, far more than any of the the people you accuse of being “pro-oversigning” ever could.

              Enjoy your weekend.

            • TD, remind me again when you bring anything insightful to this site, instead of ONLY attacking other posters.

  7. Great work from an unexpected source. Good to see there are at least a few honest and thoughtful Alabama fans. Still being stonewalled and lied to by Alabama officials, but at least they are trying.

  8. The document highlighted in The Crimson White article is called an Equity in Athlteics Disclosure Act (EADA) report. Each university is required by law to annually submit an EADA report to the Department of Education. The Department of Education provides a database of partial EADA information on each university at this site: http://www2.indystar.com/NCAA_financial_reports/files/expense_description.html

    One of the pieces of information that the DOE chooses not to make available to the public is the number of scholarship athletes for each sport. So, the federal government receives that information from each university, but chooses not to release that information to the public. I wonder why. (Hint: federal privacy laws)

    Also, I found this interesting little paper from several years ago: http://www.john-martens.com/universities/financing_sports.pdf

    In the Big Ten, Penn State, Northwestern University and Ohio State refused to release full EADA information. Penn State notes that it doesn’t fall under Pennsylvania’s Freedom of Information Act
    (FOIA) and Northwestern stated that private schools are exempted from FOIA. Ohio State wouldn’t respond to a written request for the information.


    • The first link in the above post should be as follows: http://ope.ed.gov/athletics/GetOneInstitutionData.aspx

      My bad.

    • No one is asking Alabama to release the full EADA report. Just the part of the report that shows the total scholarship numbers.

      Alabama isn’t refusing to do what every other school in the state has done because it is just that much more concerned with student privacy. It is doing so because it has something to hide that the others don’t.

      • No one is asking Alabama to release the full EADA report. Just the part of the report that shows the total scholarship numbers

        I think you’re absolutely wrong with that statement. The people requesting the EADA report are usually requesting it for the financial information not scholarship numbers. They want to see how much money is generated and how much money is paid to coaches, spent on recruiting, etc… In the Kevin Scarbinsky article, he stated the Birmingham News requested a “copy of the annual NCAA revenue and expense report” not the number of football scholarships. And if you check out The Crimson White’s recent articles, you’ll see that they’ve had two recent articles that utilized the financial portion of the EADA report (“Coaches’ salaries don’t add up” and “Football anchors athletic department”).

        Alabama isn’t refusing to do what every other school in the state has done because it is just that much more concerned with student privacy. It is doing so because it has something to hide that the others don’t.

        The Department of Education has chosen to not make public the scholarship numbers reported by the universities. Are they trying to hide something too?

        • The point was that the argument here would be ended by Alabama simply providing the total scholarship numbers as so many others have. That other schools haven’t released full reports is irrelevant. Have they hidden the scholarship numbers? If so, then you have a valid argument. If not, then your argument is just one more lame spin attempt.

          • Not sure why this is hard so hard to grasp, but when Penn State, Northwestern, and Ohio State refused to provide their EADA reports, they did effectively hide their scholarship numbers. Unlike Alabama, they just hid their financial information as well.

  9. Man, one negative thing about alabama and half the +oversigning posters start screaming bloody murder. You would think Saban was a cross between Ghandi and MLK.

    • Wouldn’t that be Tressel?

    • Luke,
      Who is screaming bloody murder? The anti-oversigning zealots are typically the people who have the most emotionally-charged rants devoid of fact (especially Texas_Dawg). Vesper, Catch, and a few other people have defended very logically. Your post serves no purpose but to attempt to downplay their well-reasoned arguments as emotional defenses. That actually is ironic.

      • Have you ever stopped to consider how badly your side is losing this argument in the public sphere? Why is it that Alabama is always on the losing side of ethical debates in this country? Why do outsiders always have to change rules to force Alabama to improve its behavior?

        • TD, I’ll address your argument regarding the issue of oversigning because, again, you’re trying to make an ad homimen argument by attacking Alabama’s past. But you also make another fallacious argument: argumentum ad populum.

          In the 1800s people believed that bloodletting cured many illnesses… And the widespread belief that the earth was not round persisted for most of recorded history? Should we give in to popular belief? Is the majority always right?

          Also, Alabama is NOT the worst offender. Why does Alabama get the most attention? Jealousy?

      • So saying the “precious big 10″ and a big 10 coach who has proven himself to be a liar is a very logical, well reasoned argument? Please. Pot, meet kettle.

        And i haven’t seen any fair logic to back up any of those assumptions. But go right on ahead believing that.

        • What assumptions?

          FACT: Tressel lied.
          FACT: Tressel cheated.
          FACT: OSU and Tressel are two of the biggest positive examples cited within this forum.

          The argument that I’m making is that Tressel, who is unquestionably a liar and cheater is treated with higher regard on this forum than Saban. Everything that Saban does is questioned (i.e. blacking out parts of documents). He is automatically guilty; his motives are always negative.

  10. Charlie9: You just don’t understand: criticism of Alabama (and by extension most of the SEC) is matter of culture. Those from the Midwest (and other regions) cannot abide the notion that colleges in the poor, benighted South can dominate college football. SEC dominance simply offends their sense of how the world ought to be. If you doubt that re-read the way they suddenly shifted their comments to academics when the argument against oversigning turned against them.
    Rather than simply admit that colleges in the SEC (and the rest of the South) play very good, very competitive football – that at this stage is simply the best in the country – Big Ten devotees (esp those from Ohio State) search for some excuse, some nefarious plot that gives the SEC an advantage.
    I have a good friend, a devout alumnus of Mich State, who blames intergration for the decline of Big Ten football. As he claims, “Our football really went downhill after southern schools began to recruit black talent.”
    Of course, my friend would never admit that southern schools, esp Alabama, had very good football teams before integration, as to do so would destroy his carefully constructed image of Big Ten superiority.
    I haven’t talked with my friend about “oversigning” but I’m certain he’ll agree its a situation that requires immediate action, maybe legislation by Congress, a Supreme Court decree, or a resolution by the UN.
    And if the “oversigning” situation is resolved to his satisfaction and if schools from the South (esp Alabama) continue to dominate college football, I’m certain my friend will discover some new and illegal activity that gives SEC schools some sort of edge.
    Charlie9: get used to the criticism of Alabama. You can’t change these guys. They need to blame someone for the decline in Big Ten football, and “oversigning” or “grayshirting” by the SEC is just a handy scapegoat.

    • As an Alabama fan…let’s remember that the SEC is just on top right now…. these things have a way to going in cycles and I expect another conference to be atop the BCS in 10 years…

    • Very well put, Octavian.

      And just as a point of information, I want to make people aware that I celebrate Alabama’s losses as thoroughly as anyone… no offense to Alabama fans. I don’t like Alabama’s dominance, but I respect it. I don’t like Saban, but I respect him. I just want to make sure that people understand that my defense of Alabama has nothing to do with me being an Alabama fan… because I’m not.

    • Octavian:

      Very well stated. Several people have promulgated this view since this site first appeared. In this specific case, the author seems to feel that he has “found” something that he can use to tear down a school and a conference, and it’s quite obvious. I remain amazed that so few people don’t see this site for just what it is. And it is truly alarming that one misguided zealot can spend so much time on a self-imposed “mission” like this.

  11. I can’t believe that any SEC fan is foolish enough to believe that in five years (or maybe less) the conference will dominate college football as it does now. All SEC fans know how competitive college football has become.
    Who would have thought five years ago that GA or TN, not to mention FL, would struggle as they have in the last couple of years?
    The difference between the Big Ten and the SEC is not the quality or quantity of players but the level of competition among the teams. I hate to be nasty but with the decline of MI, Big Ten is a one college show. OSU dominates the Big Ten in a way that no SEC team – even FL during the time of TT – ever could.
    No SEC team can afford to fall asleep for a moment, as if you do, another team is lurking around ready to hammer you, as GA has learned to its sorrow the last year or so.
    I’m not AL fan, but neither do I have any “grievance” against the Tide. I don’t rejoice in their losses, except when it effects – directly or indirectly – my alma mater. My feelings are not a matter of good conscience or even good sportsmanship; I know a strong AL makes for a strong SEC. And good high school players like to play against other good high school players – and AL can’t sign them all, even with the nefarious practice of “oversigning”, “grayshirting”, or a “JUCO farm system”.
    More importantly, to paraphrase Bear Bryant, Talent will take you only so far. At some point desire takes over.
    So, no matter how many five star recruits Saban signs, he’s got to turn them into players.

  12. Seriously. I just don’t get the loser attitude about this website. This website demands that each school should except mediocracy from the SA. If a guy sucks, for whatever reason, then he should be cut and replaced for someone better If you are afraid of being cut, if you want to play for a team that does not demand excellence, then sign with Ohio State or Georgia. That is what makes Ohio State and Georgia what they are – A 2nd tier program. If you want to win championships, and are not afraid of competition, then sign with that school. No matter what, you will be a winner, even if you are cut. That is the real world. Being cut can actually make you better and demand more from yourself. Instead, this site wants to except mediocracy as it’s standard.

    • Interesting to see the new turn in the conversation. Now it is demonstrating a “loser attitude” if you don’t cut SAs. So the thread is returning a greater emphasis in explicitly treating SAs as “at will employees.” First, with all of the anti-trust issues that the BCS, the NCAA and College Football are facing, adopting an explicit “at will” standard will not help their defense of the status quo. Second, the point of disagreement between me and the last dozen posts is very simple: I push for increasing the integration of academics and athletics at universities, not supporting the trend of the past five decades to treat the two as more and more as two separate domains. You might believe that wins and gaining approval from ESPN commentators is the mark of success for your school. I don’t. It would be a mark of shame for me if my alma mater graduated 30% of its bball players or was on major NCAA probation for 19 of the past 20 years. I don’t care if it is Big Ten or SEC, I can’t stand fans who want athletes to be treated as at will, contract employees. I have been employed by a Tier 1 university for 23 years and we do not treat our student body or our alums in the manner many you want men’s basketball and football players to be treated. In addition, I note that in general, the “Olympic” sports athletes are not treated in the way you condone for the bball and football. These players are part of an academic institution whether most you wish to deny it or not.

  13. In addition, my youngest kid is a full-scholarship athlete in an Olympic sport at an ACC school who was national champion in high school and competes like crazy (like the “real world”). The program is top tier and: graduates its players, does not recruit kids who cannot make the grade academically, does not encourage its recruits to go to a JUCO instead of preparing better for college academics, and does not encourage its scholarship athletes to “major in eligibility.” What is so bad about what I just described? Why should it be supplanted by how a football program is run at Ohio State or Auburn? The quality of the football might decline a bit and ESPN and CBS might be displeased, but is it ultimately the case that the true “Overlords” that you want to satisfy are the Entertainment channels? It is not my goal.

    • YOu are as naive as the day is long. It’s great that your kid is a scollie gymnast, or miler, or whatever he/she is, but you are being just foolish if you think most D1 footbal and basketball players are not there to become pros. THAT is what they are there for, whether you wish to deny it or not. And your drum pounding is not going to change that.

      • That is false. Most D1 football and basketball players are not there “solely to become pros” most people on a team won’t make it in the NBA/NFL. You just assume they all are

        • Whather they WILL become pros is far different than what they aspire to be. Most kids on the two-deep have been stars all their lives, and they most definitely think they can play pro ball. Do they get disabused of thqat notion somewhere along the line? Yes, many of them discover that they don’t have what it takes. Many also take their school seriously. But any of you guys who think it is up to YOU to try and clear the way for these kids to focus on school are living in a dream world.

        • Whether they WILL become pros is far different than what they aspire to be. Most kids on the two-deep have been stars all their lives, and they most definitely think they can play pro ball. Do they get disabused of thqat notion somewhere along the line? Yes, many of them discover that they don’t have what it takes. Many also take their school seriously. But any of you guys who think it is up to YOU to try and clear the way for these kids to focus on school are living in a dream world.

  14. Rich2: There is nothing “bad” about your son’s situation; in fact, his situation is in the ideal world one to which all scholarship students should aspire. Notice, I said “in the ideal world.”
    In reality, the vast, vast majority of high school athletes will for any number of reasons never achieve what your son has. They are not capable of the academic rigor of Duke. Are these young men and women to be excluded from a chance to play college football (or any other sport) simply because they scored 850 or 950 on the college boards rather than 1300?
    Lets not forget that most of the universities these young men attend were founded as public institutions. They reflect the society that designed and funded them. They were intended to educate the average or above average student. Do you contend that these public institutions should be precluded from fielding athletic teams because their students do meet the minimum academic standards of Duke or Stanford?
    In fact, as you well know, most (but not all) of the best athletes – especially in football and basketball – come from socio-economic backgrounds that are less and sometimes far less than ideal. Not every basketball player can be Grant Hill. In fact, only a few will be. Are those young men who were not fortunate enough to born into a mddle or upper middle class family simply to be ignored by college recruiters?
    Once colleges in the South ignored the excellent football and basketball talent simply because it was played by those with black skins. Do you suggest we return to that sort of system again, but using academic excellence rather than skin color as the deciding factor?
    To criticize ESPN or CBS is foolish. They are business entities. Their job is to present the best entertainment available. If they don’t, someone else will.

    • “Once colleges in the South ignored the excellent football and basketball talent simply because it was played by those with black skins. Do you suggest we return to that sort of system again, but using academic excellence rather than skin color as the deciding factor?”

      Actually, yes. But only because universities get tax-preferential treatment because their primary mission is further academic ends. Reasonable people can disagree about what level of academic excellence is necessary for a student to be admitted to a school. But to ignore academic factors completely, or to make them practically irrelevant as long as athletic production is maximized goes against the entire basis of higher education.

      Or, alternatively, let the universities relinquish their favorable tax treatment and then allow them to run as quasi- semi-professional developmental leagues. You can’t have it both ways.

  15. Bama fans are hilarious. They jump all over any unproven accusation against an opponent but if its negative about the great Bama then they need all proof signed, notarized and sent in triplicate. The only reason to black out the numbers is so you can hide your dirty deeds.

    • Funny, you accuse Bama fans of unproven accusations, then proceed to make an unproven accusation. That said, look to your next post about ignorance being everywhere. This same premise can be applied to fanatical behavior which which also spans geography and is certainly not something that Bama fans have exclusive rights to. BTW, if you are referring to Newton, or the other recent Auburn problems, the national media and non-SEC fan bases are as loud as anybody I’ve encountered.

    • Slowbro, you must be new here.

      When Alabama student-athletes transfer, many of this forum assert that it has to do with Saban’s oversigning agenda.

      When any non-SEC school (including OSU, the forum favorite) has student-athletes transfer, it is explained away as natural attrition.

  16. I do like how vesper got under your skin tho, that was funny. He has a point, this is a very anti-SEC forum. And to Texas_Dog, really, a shot at Alabamian’s? I assume you are from Texas, the state where a gay man was dragged to death? There are ignorant people all over and prejudice comes in many forms.

  17. JMan: The tax treatment of colleges and universities is irrelevant to this matter. The colleges under discussion here were not founded to make money. And though it may seem that athletics dominates college life, anyone who has attended a major university knows how little athletics effects the life of the average student.
    Football at my alma mater is a big thing, but I can tell you from first hand experience that the average student’s contact with college football consists on sitting in the stands on Saturday afternoon, if he or she is lucky enough to get a ticket. Or if a ticket can’t be procured, watching on TV or listening on the radio. Otherwise, class life goes on regardless of who wins or loses.
    No one has suggested ignoring academic merit, but SA’s are not recruited to shine in the classroom. They are recruited for their athletic skills. As SA’s they are expected to perform at an acceptable level in the classroom, but no one exects the kids to enroll in an honors college or prepare themselves for a career as a nuclear engineer; a few will, but the vast majority won’t. If you are unwilling to accept this, you will doom yourself to constand frustration.
    By the way: what is the “basis of higher education?” Before you answer, remember, this isn’t Europe. Universities in the US have a much broader “basis” than does Oxford, Heidelberg, or the Sorbornne.

  18. Blacking out the numbers makes no since. I work for a University and my salary must be posted for all to see. If you do the math it looks like they have about 120 football scholarships. Here are the numbers I get when I do the math:

    football 120
    baseball 13
    basketball 15
    golf 6
    swimming 12
    tennis 6
    track 22

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