Bruce Feldman talks Oversigning

Bruce has written about this topic in the past, and as he mentioned in his blog, he was on the ESPN OTL Oversigning piece last year providing insight as to why oversigning is unethical and why coaches do it.

He was asked about it again recently in his mailbag on his blog and had this to say:

From @RowlffDogg Why doesn't the national media pay any attention to the practice of oversigning?

I've actually written about the subject several times and helped on a recent "Outside the Lines" segment on the issue. I was also the commentator discussing it in detail right after the near-10 minute piece aired.

One of the points I brought up on the show was about the practice of schools rewarding coaches with bonuses for signing a "top" class (either top 5, top 10 or top 25), or for landing a certain number of four-star players. With coaches having even more of an incentive to meet certain quotas and rankings, they often try to sign certain recruits that they know might have a very tough time qualifying academically.

I wrote about the "Sign-and-Place" method in "Meat Market," and for schools that deal heavily with junior college recruits, that also factors in. The process is this: Sign the shaky four-star prospect so that you can up your recruiting ranking, impress other prospective recruits, appease your fan base (and, in turn, the administration), increase your own chance of landing that recruiting bonus, and then send the players who can't get in academically to a junior college as if it's a farm system. If the kid turns out to be a complete knucklehead or flops on the field, you forget about him. If not, you didn't take up a spot for two years and then the juco coach, who is thrilled you sent him a talented player, has protected him for you and sends you back a more ready-to-play, developed prospect.


The rest is behind a paywall, so if you are an ESPN Insider (don't we all want to be?? haha) you can get the rest of his take on the topic.  For those of you who have taken the position that there is nothing unethical about oversigning, perhaps this will change your mind.

Comments (40) Trackbacks (1)
  1. I don’t like bonuses being awarded to coaches based on Rivals ranking, but I don’t know that it is unethical – I don’t think it is a wise guage of how well the coach is doing. I don’t have a problem with bonuses for recruiting, but it should be based on the team’s need and their evaluation of players and how well the coach does getting players identified by the team as high targets.

    Sign and place has been discussed here a lot, and while I do see it as an advantage for the teams that practice it, I don’t see it as unethical. The player (who is not qualified btw) gets assisted into a school and is encouraged to get a degree. If the school he is “placed” in helps him develop in a way that makes him even more desirable to the team he wants to attend, how is this harming the kid? An advantage for the school as well, yes but I am not concerned with competetive advantage – that is part of competetive sports and we’ve been over that.

    What I believe most people will agree is unethical (along with lying to recruits and offering grayshirts at the last minute) is “cutting” a player (when he has been led to believe that his scholarship was good for 4 years as long as he behaved) for performance reasons. This forced attrition is something I looked into recently and would like to point out.

    I sent the following to Joshua on April 6 in hopes he would put it up on the main page as I did not want to hijack the comments section of one of his other posts, but either he feels it does not warrant such exposure or has not found the time to put it up. I have been hinting at this info for a while and many want to see it so I have decided to post it here:

    In your contacts folder you say “We’ll read the emails from time to time and if we find something interesting we’ll post it on the site and for discussion”. I’ve compared players still on roster from the 2008 class from 3 schools, Bama, OSU, and Georgia and written an extensive comment about it. I planned on posting it on your site in the comment section, but I think the information deserves more than that. If this meets your definition of “something interesting”, feel free to correct any wrong information you may find, fix my grammer or add you own comments in there to counter my pro-oversigning slant. I realize this may not further your goal, but I found it interesting and will at least follow through with posting in the comments if you choose not to do anything with it.

    Here is my write-up:
    What is the #1 problem with oversigning? Don’t try to sell me competitive advantage – anything within the rules is fair game in sport. No, the point of contention that actually matters is when it screws the kids. Now, oversigning (properly done) doesn’t screw over the current recruits – assuming that players receiving possible grayshirt offers are aware of it and are fine with it. No, the ones getting screwed over are the players that have been there a couple of years, are buried in the depth chart and even though they do everything asked of them by the team, find themselves kicked off the team or forced to transfer to some Div III team where the degree he earns isn’t worth squat. You can also say that the victim is the guy with a pulled hamstring who is forced to take a medical exemption scholarship, where he stays at the school and still receives his scholarship, he is just no longer on the team. Fair enough. The lines have been drawn, and the battle has raged about whether any of this is happening. Even though no one has come forward to say that they were told they had to transfer (from Alabama) or have their scholarship cut, and even though everyone put on medical scholarships had a history of injuries, and eventually agreed with the determination, there are many who doubt the validity of Alabama’s attrition – and with much reason. When you are successful and in the public eye as much as Bama and much of the SEC these days, many will question how you got there.

    So how do we determine something truthful? We could take Saban at his word when he says that he has never removed anyone from scholarship because of athletic ability, but who will believe him? Josh has compared signed LOIs from different schools to show how many more players Bama brings in over a class’ timeframe. This would be a good comparison were all things equal, and in comparing Mich St with Bama in this year’s Cap One Bowl he comes up with a difference of 20 players over 5 classes. The problem with this approach is that when you take into account players that didn’t make it on campus (non-qualifiers, players that didn’t sign, players that didn’t fulfill the LOI by going in the MLB draft, and players not yet on campus due to current grayshirt) and players being double-counted (don’t qualify, go to JuCo, then re-sign) the difference is down to 3 (over 5 years). Not that big an advantage – but the advantage is not our main concern is it? We are looking for kids getting kicked off the team. Thus, we can deduce that Bama kicked 3 kids off the team (more) than their B10 opponent – until you realize that the Spartans don’t utilize JuCo players as much as Alabama. A JuCo transfer to a school only has 2 (sometimes 3) years of eligibility, and thus is replaced quicker than a standard player who redshirts and is on campus for 5 years. This could easily be enough to make up for these three players.

    Now, we are back to not knowing anything (unless that is enough to convince you that nothing evil is going on – not likely). How about we look at the actual recruiting class from four years ago, and see who is still on the team? If Alabama forces kids out of their scholarships at an alarming rate, their percentage of attrition will be much higher than teams that don’t oversign, right? Everyone has released their spring rosters for this year, and we can check Rivals for signing classes. A comparison of who is on the team with the signing class from 4 years ago is a more accurate measure than how many players sign an LOI. Fate has it that I have done just that for three schools that get a lot of press here: Alabama, Ohio State, and Georgia. I have looked at each school’s rosters from the 2008 season and found whatever information I could find on any player not listed from these classes on this year’s rosters. If you have any correcting information on any of these players, please correct me – all I did was a one-page google search, which usually produced fairly accurate results. Below is what I found, followed by my analysis.

    Alabama 2008 signing class, 32 signees
    Players no longer on the team, and why they left:
    Devonta Bolton: Did not qualify, went to JuCo and still not qualified.
    Terrence Cody: JuCo signee, completed his eligibility (also NFL draft)
    Marcel Dareus: Left early for NFL draft
    Glenn Harbin: Left football to play for Bama baseball.
    Destin Hood: Never played, signed contract with MLB
    Mark Ingram: Left early for NFL draft
    Chris Jackson: Transfer to Ga Tech, played in several games as a fr
    Star Jackson: Transfer to Ga State for playing time.
    Julio Jones: Left early for NFL draft
    Alonzo Lawrence: Transfer to So Miss, then to Gulf Coast C.C.
    Ivan Matchett: Medical hardship
    Kerry Murphy: Not on roster, assumed medical – played extensively when healthy
    Wes Neighbors: Not on roster, assumed medical
    Jermaine Preyear: Grayshirted, then transferred without ever counting
    Melvin Ray: Never played, signed contract with MLB
    BJ Scott: Transfer to South Alabama
    Corey Smith: Transferred to be closer to home (maybe W Virginia?)

    Ohio State 2008 signing class, 20 signees
    Players no longer on the team and why they left
    Nic DiLillo: Not on roster, no reason found
    Jermil Martin: Transfer for playing time
    Willie Mobley: Transfer to be closer to home (UCLA)
    Shawntel Rowell: Non-qualify? No reason found – committed to W Va in 2010.
    Lamaar Thomas: Transfer requested and granted (in Jan), no school listed
    Keith Wells: Left program, transferred to unnamed JuCo (academic?)

    Georgia 2008 signing class, 24 signees
    Players no longer on the team and why they left
    Xavier Avery: Never played, signed contract with MLB
    Marcus Dowtin: Transfer, no destination given. Some legal trouble
    AJ Green: Left early for NFL draft
    Akeem Hebron: Suspended for one year and decided to transfer. Wanted to return after his suspension but never did
    Dontavius Jackson: Suspended for 6 games, transferred instead.
    Toby Jackson: Didn’t qualify/military school
    Jonathan Owens: Medical hardship
    Makiri Pugh: Transfer for playing time
    Bryce Ros: Medical hardship
    Nick Williams: Transfer for playing time and position disagreement

    So, what does this tell us? Straight numbers look pretty bad for the oversigning team:
    Alabama – 17 players – 53% of the signed players not on 2011 roster
    Ohio State – 6 players – 30% of the signed players not on 2011 roster
    Georgia – 10 players – 41% of the signed players not on 2011 roster
    This information is not what we are looking for, however. We only want players that left the team in a way that could, in any way, be construed as being cut. Players that never set foot on campus for whatever reason do not count. Players that transfer from JuCo and use up their eligibility do not count. Players that leave early for the draft do not count. Lets take these players out of the mix and see what we have.

    Bama had 1 player not qualify, 2 players opt for MLB, 1 player use all their eligibility (JuCo transfer), 3 players leave early to the NFL draft, and one player grayshirt and transfer without ever counting against the 85. That is 8 players that we can (I assume) agree were not cut or otherwise forced from the team.
    Ohio State had one player not qualify, for a total adjustment of one.
    Georgia had 1 player not qualify, 1 opt for MLB, and 1 leave early for the NFL draft for a total of 3 players not cut.

    Modified numbers are as follows:
    Bama – 9 player attrition – 28%
    Ohio State – 5 player attrition – 25%
    Georgia – 7 player attrition – 29%

    Now, based on this unbiased information – is Alabama’s oversigning driving their attrition or is it well-managed preparation for natural attrition?

    I have completed the data with the same criteria for all teams in the SEC and B10. Some interesting items to note:
    • Confirming what we already know, SEC teams signed on average 2 more players per class.
    • Accordingly, SEC teams have a 5% higher average of players no longer on the team. As mentioned above, this is not necessarily an item of concern as many of these are JuCo transfers and NFL draftees, etc.
    • Given this, it may surprise some that the average attrition for the SEC is actually less than that in the B10 (albeit by only 1%) – meaning that you have a greater chance of leaving/getting “cut” from a B10 team than an SEC team.
    • Alabama, the posterchild for anti-oversigning zealots everywhere is barely over the average of the two conferences at 28%. Notable teams with more attrition include Georgia, Michigan State, and Northwestern.
    • The SEC boasts the lowest percentage at Vandy (9%), though Penn State is strong at 14%.
    • The SEC also has claim to the highest at Auburn with their abysmal 48%. The B10 also has some woeful stats at Iowa (36%) and Wisconsin (38%)
    • Most surprising stat? Ole Miss, renown for oversigning and utilizing sign and place, evidentially doesn’t force many kids out to accommodate it. Their attrition rate is only 19% (second in the SEC).

    I have tried to conduct this survey with as little bias as possible. If anyone thinks I may be off on any team, I’ll be glad to provide a list and let you correct it. There were several players with little to no information – usually they were on the teams with smaller fan bases. In that case (for all teams) I verified that the player was listed on the roster or at least practiced with the team. If he did, he counts, if he did not then he was either a non-qualifier or gave up football/transferred without playing and did not count against attrition. The exception to this was one Ole Miss player who explicitly said that he left because they wanted to grayshirt him at the last minute. Below are two charts with the team data: (NOT is not on team)
    Class # NOT NOT pct Attrition Att. Pct
    Alabama 32 17 53% 9 28%
    Arkansas 26 10 38% 7 27%
    Auburn 29 22 76% 14 48%
    Ole Miss 31 15 48% 6 19%
    Miss St 27 13 48% 8 30%
    LSU 26 8 31% 6 23%
    Florida 22 8 36% 6 27%
    Georgia 24 10 42% 7 29%
    S Carolina23 10 43% 6 26%
    Kentucky 21 7 33% 5 24%
    Tennesse 18 6 33% 4 22%
    Vandy 22 3 14% 2 9%
    Averages 25.1 41% 26%

    Big 10
    Class # NOT NOT pct Attrition Att. Pct
    Iowa 25 11 44% 9 36%
    Nebraska 28 8 29% 5 18%
    Ohio State20 6 30% 5 25%
    Wisconsin 26 11 42% 10 38%
    Penn Stat14 2 14% 2 14%
    Illinois 28 11 39% 7 25%
    Michigan 24 8 33% 6 25%
    Mich State21 9 43% 9 43%
    Northwest20 6 30% 6 30%
    Indiana 20 8 40% 5 25%
    Purdue 26 9 35% 5 19%
    Minnesota29 14 48% 8 28%
    Averages 23.4 8.6 36% 6.4 27%

    One last stat that I happened to notice: It has been much discussed that Alabama has had more medical hardships than the rest of the SEC combined. Well, from this one class, Alabama has 3 medical hardships (two assumed for players not listed on this year’s roster) while the rest of the SEC has 10 (Auburn leads with 4). I also found that many of the guys hardest to find the reason for not being on the team were recipients of medical hardships, so this could still be low.

    • I hope to update everyone’s percentages after fall rosters are released to account for any attrition that takes place with this class over the summer. So far Florida, Ole Miss, and Iowa have each had one player transfer/dismissed that is not accounted for in these numbers so adjust accordingly.

    • If I read your chart correctly PSU had 2 no longer on the roster. Both are academic casualties.

      the Old Miss number isn’t that surprising. Nutt signed 70 or so for the sole purpose of establishing relationships with local JUCO factories. The oversigning wasn’t intended to impact the current rosters at all.

      Not sure if I agree with a recruit not counting if he didn’t play. If the kid gives up football I can understand. If he is told there won’t be room get out (don’t know if this happened, don’t know it didn’t) it should count.

    • If I read your chart correctly PSU had 2 no longer on the roster. Both are academic casualties.

      the Old Miss number isn’t that surprising. Nutt signed 70 or so for the sole purpose of establishing relationships with local JUCO factories. The oversigning wasn’t intended to impact the current rosters at all.

      Not sure if I agree with a recruit not counting if he didn’t play. If the kid gives up football I can understand. If he is told there won’t be room get out (don’t know if this happened, don’t know it didn’t) it should count.

      Would love to see statistics on those kids that were sign and place, that ultimately came back to the school that signed them. Most important one would be how many of them hold a sheepskin from that university. If the percentage is as low as I expect, it does nothing for sign and place except identify it as a further exploitation of these kids.

      • So JC kids should not get a chance at a four year school? Be held to higher standards than players that qualified out of HS?

        Exploitation? The kids are given the chance for a free education and given a stage to showcase their talents for possible future employment in NFL. What each individual kid does with this opportunity is up to them. Not sure how it would be exploitation in comparison to the four year student athletes.

        • Where did I state that they should be held to a higher standard than those qualified out of high school?

          These kids have lower academic achievement and are required to go to a JUCO. Is the JUCO preparing them for the academic rigors of a 4 year institution? Once these kids get to their school of original choice, are they any better prepared to handle the academics?

          How many of them actually get to take advantage the third year because they graduated in two versus how many are two and back to “Would you like fries with that order”?

          Don’t give me showcase their talents for the riches of the NFL. A whopping 1% make enough to not have to fall back on the sheepskin at some point. That is exploitation.

          • If that is how you feel, then the whole of college football is exploitation – and I know many feel that way, but I think it to be a bit extreme. The players are given a chance at an education for their talents on the football field. There is no guarantee – and many don’t make it completely through but they were given the opportunity. Many students in the general student body flunk out as well and by some measures, football players actually rate higher than the general body. I don’t know how JuCo fits in with that though.

            • For those schools where the student population graduates at a similar or lower level than the athletes, it isn’t exploitation. It’s all we can demand. One can argue that the athletes have better access to tutors and people monitoring their progress. Others will counter that they spend much more time in football related activities that take away from their time to be students. Call it a wash and expect the same as the general student population.

              For those where the percentage is lower for the athletes, it raises the question of exploitation. I don’t have hard evidence, but suspect the numbers for JUCOs is borderline criminal.

              • Using your criteria (graduation gap between student-athletes and all students), the following schools are the most exploitive with respect to football:

                UCLA (-37%)
                Texas (-29%)
                Georgia Tech (-29%)
                USC (-25%)
                Cal (-24%)
                Texas A&M (-21%)
                Michigan State (-20%)
                Oklahoma (-18%)
                Virginia (-18%)
                Clemson (-17%)
                Maryland (-17%)
                BYU (-16%)
                Michigan (-16%)
                Wisconsin (-15%)
                NCSU (-15%)


                Cal (-59%)
                Virginia (-57%)
                Michigan (-52%)
                Maryland (-50%)
                UCONN (-45%)
                USC (-44%)
                GT (-42%)
                Georgia (-42%)
                Arizona (-37%)
                Auburn (-37%)
                Florida (-37%)
                Texas (-36%)
                Arkansas (-36%)
                Baylor (-35%)


                USC (-42%)
                Texas (-35%)
                Arizona (-29%)
                NCSU (-27%)
                Miami (-22%)
                UCLA (-21%)
                Texas A&M (-20%)

                USC and Texas both showed up on all three “graduation rate gap” lists – football, basketball, and baseball. The worst “graduation rate gap” in each of those three sports belongs to a different Pac 10 school – UCLA has the worst graduation rate gap in football, Cal has the worst gap in basketball, and USC has the worst gap in baseball. Would Pac-10 Commissioner Larry Scott care to comment? Mr. Scott is a very sharp guy and must be reading these statistics…and wincing.


                Were these the schools you were expecting?

                • First, I have seen the list and it is excellent work. Second, within-school comparisons versus overall student body rates are tricky. Looking at the list, if Notre Dame had a 80% graduation rate in football, they would have a significant gap since their overall graduation rate is phenomenal. Thus, schools that are mediocre in overall graduation of their student body have a better chance to avoid detection. If you graduate 65% of your overall student body, you would have to grad 28% of your football players to top the list. 28% is possible but it is unlikely in this post-APR world.

                  I think you would have to have multiple indicators. One that should be included is AA vs. non-AA graduation % by sport — not vs. overall student body or a program’s overall athletic grad rate.

                  • general student population grad rates a private institutions are different than state run schools. I expect the institutions would have similar expectations for their student athletes, so the direct comparison is relevant. If ND has exceptional general grad rates yet lower for the football team, I would question them more than if Texas graduated 10% of the general population and 11% of the athletes. percentages were used for illustration and humor purposes only!

                • Not surprised by many; some were surprising. I’ve given up on Basketball with the one and done rules in place. Academics are an afterthought for far too many to make any comparison useful.

                  Shame the analysis didn’t show the best or if any graduated at a higher level than the general population.

      • Sorry, the chart did not print well, it looked right when I copied it into the text box…oh well.

        PSU had two guys leave the program, no real reason was given so they are counted against their attrition numbers. They were AJ Price (granted release from the team which to me means he asked to transfer) and Mark Wedderburn (no info found, could have been academic, medical, or just gave up football…) If you have better info on their departures, let me know.

        What I’m looking for is forced attrition, and you can’t force a kid off the team if he isn’t on it. I only found one instance of a kid being told there wasn’t room and he was counted (Hunter Miller at Ole Miss) as forced. In the other (very few) cases of players never being on roster, most were academic and never practiced or played so they couldn’t be forced off the team.

        The grad rates of all the players, including JuCo would be interesting but I’m not getting into that one, though I disagree with your conclusion here. The school provides the opportunity for a degree, it is not guaranteed. The school needs to assist as much as it can, but they can’t make the grade for him (ask Auburn how that turns out). I would expect that you would find that most JuCo guys don’t make it back, and the ones that do, do as well or maybe a little lower than the rest of the team – I would like to see this though.

        • Both were academic. Price would have had the opportunity to medical as he was hurt during his tenure, but couldn’t.

          • We are arguing semantics as I count both in the attrition percentages – a player that could have been contemplating a transfer may have decided to stay due to this players academic failings. In my search for forced attrition you must look for deviations from the standard, so all natural attrition must be counted as well.

            As for AJ Price, here is the article I relied on: http://blog.pennlive.com/patriotnewssports/2010/05/price_becomes_second_receiver.html

            redshirt sophomore receiver A.J. Price was granted his request to be released from his scholarship, according to Penn State spokesman Jeff Nelson. “A.J. is no longer with the team,”… A Reston, Va., native, Virginia could be a possible destination for Price. He received an offer to play for the Cavaliers coming out of high school, but the Cavs have since gone under a coaching change, firing Al Groh following last season and hiring Mike London. However, Anthony Poindexter, who recruited Price to Virginia, is still on the coaching staff

            I don’t know why he would need to be released from his scholarship if he were an academic casualty. Perhaps he was still qualified, but struggling. Perhaps (playing devil’s advocate here) JoePa needed one more space in next year’s class and asked him to leave. We don’t know so he gets counted – same with Wedderburn and those from other teams with similar circumstances. I counted the guy from Bama that gave up football for Bama baseball. If they practiced on the team (giving the coaches a chance to evaluate them) and left the team except as described above, they count.

            • Sometimes a story is in the paper that protects the player, put in by the player. This is one of those cases. This story has nothing from PSU in it, nor would it.

              Here is a better story http://jcfootball.scout.com/2/1018759.html

              Price signed with Penn State after finishing off a standout career at South Lakes (Reston, Va.) High School, but after two years in Happy Valley, he was unable to stay qualified.

              “I wasn’t disciplined and I didn’t stay eligible,” Price admitted to JCFootball.com recently. “I just got behind and couldn’t catch up and you can’t be on scholarship if you aren’t academically eligible.”

              After looking around, Price chose to head to Dean last spring in an attempt to get his academics in order so he could have another shot at playing D-1 football.

              So far this season, Price has done nothing to diminish his status as one of the most explosive JUCO wideouts in the country by posting 20 receptions for 510 yards and 6 touchdowns.

              I’m not arguing that either of the PSU players should not be counted. They should. Your original post “If he did, he counts, if he did not then he was either a non-qualifier or gave up football/transferred without playing and did not count against attrition.” I stand corrected as your determination of inclusion or not was based on not having any information on the kids in this instance.

              • Like I mentioned earlier, medical and I should add academic problems are the hardest information to come across, as it really isn’t the public’s concern, and several times blogs like that one are all I could fine. Also, as I said, I only did a brief google search so I make no representation that everything is exact. Thanks for the correction. With both of these losses being academic, PSU stands without any players seeking to leave or being dismissed due to team rules. That is quite rare – though they did have an extremely small class that year.

                • While it is a bit smaller than normal, PSU does not average the max like many other schools. More like 18-20 per year.

                  This year they will lose at least one to transfer and possibly two.

    • Do you have a college degree? If so, from what school(s)?

      • What difference does it make whether I have a degree or not, or even what school that degree comes from? Some of the smartest and most successfull people I know never went to college so I don’t know what relevance that has to do with anything. If you find fault with the information I compiled, then you are welcome to correct it, but the level and source of my education has no relevance on the accuracy of this information.

        • Well, for one thing, it would make sense that you would care a lot less about the reputation of a university in which you have no personal stake. A school that’s really nothing more than a football team for you. Something to drink to on Saturdays and what not.

          • So what? It has already been established that most of the pro-oversigners here, and in particular the author of the site, have ties to Big Ten schools. Are you suggesting that this is all right, but if you oppose it, or provide information that would cast doubt on much of the “information” that has been posted here, and also attended a school that has been the target of the site’s vitriol, then that somehow renders that information suspect? Get serious. You are quickly becoming the least credible poster on this site, if you don’t already hold that distinction.

      • This is pretty useless. Make a point or don’t post.

    • C5 – I just did Iowa for 7 years, and I didn’t track down each kid’s story. What a huge amount of work.

      In some ways, it lends credence a growing suspicion — expanded and/or longitudinal comparisons just don’t give the same sort of sexy contrast as a year-to-year gross, combined with the assumption that all signed kids enroll and play.

      I agree completely on the issue at hand, which is protecting the educational interests of the players. That’s something this site has clearly advanced, for which Josh entirely deserves a ton of credit.

    • Excellent work Catch5. One correction. Wesley Neighbors was on the roster last fall (2010). He did receive playing time on specialty teams. However, even if he were not, he would not count against attrition rates for scholarship athletes.

      He was on Bryant Scholarship, which is awarded to the children, grand-children etc. of players that played for coach Paul Bryant. It is awarded to athletes on occasion, but usually goes to non-athletes.

      Wesley did not and will not count toward scholarship limits. The Bryant Scholarship is not an athletic scholarship and is considered institutional aid. ALL colleges have institutional aid programs and walk-on athletes are allowed and do take advantage of them at every university. There is often a great deal made of the Bryant Scholarship (including on this site), but it is no different from any institutional aid at any university. The fact that it is named after Coach Bryant is used in conjecture that Alabama is somehow cheating.

      Wesley will not count toward scholarship restrictions because 1) His scholarship is institutional aid, not an athletic scholarship. 2) He was not recruited by the University of Alabama. 3) He did not compete on the playing field during his first 2 years at the University (meaning he did not play in a game).

      All of which is by the book for the NCAA.

      • A few additional notes:

        Wesley was not on the spring roster. He did not participate in spring football due to injury.

        As a walk-on his spot on the team is ALWAYS in jeopardy because of limitations on the number of walk-on players a team is allowed to carry on the roster. When I played there was no such limit on walk-ons and I feel this change to limiting walk-ons is one of many things that the NCAA has done that is not in the interest of players.

        Since Wesley could not participate this spring that may be the reason he was not listed on the spring roster. I know there is a fall participation limit of 105 before classes begin, I am not sure what, if any limit exist during the spring.

        • The problem with that is that he is listed by Rivals as signing an LOI, which is my first criteria for counting the player. He participated with the team and is no longer on the team, so he counts against Bama’s attrition. I see where you are coming from but I must be consistent (as I was with Glenn Harbin who is still on scholarship, but playing baseball instead.)

      • One thing you neglected to mention is that the Bryant scholarship, while considered institutional aid, is unique in that the only requirement for eligibility is being born to a parent that played for or coached under a former coach. Similar type scholarships programs were attempted to be created but the NCAA banned such programs.

        It certainly is unique.

        The late Charlie McClendon, a former Louisiana State coach who played for Bryant at Kentucky, established a similar scholarship endowment at LSU to benefit his former players.

        Such programs, however, were later banned by the NCAA, which calls them an “extra benefit” and a recruiting inducement.

        Still, the grandfathered Bryant Scholarship lives on.


        • Actually I did mention that requirement in my second paragraph. And it is not the only requirement, but it is the only one that gets much attention.

          I read the article in the article you posted. I am not sure what the specifics of the McClendon scholarship are, but it is still granted. And if it follows NCAA rules I am sure it is available to athletes. As is the Charlie Pell Scholarship at Florida, which also goes to former players. So the Bryant Award is not unique.

          As for the Bryant Scholarship, it meets the NCAA requirements for institutional aid and if a player meets the requirements, he is not counted agains the scholarship limit, like Neighbors. But not all players meet the requirements. Just a few years ago a kid named Deaton or Keaton (something along those lines) was a “counter” against the 85 limit.

          Here are the NCAA Bylaws that are pertinent.

 Other Permissible Financial Aid. The following sources of financial aid are also permitted:
          (a) Financial aid received from anyone upon whom the student-athlete is naturally or legally dependent;
          (b) Financial aid awarded solely on bases having no relationship to athletics ability;

 No Athletics Aid—Certification Required. A student-athlete (except for a recruited football or basketball student-athlete) who does not receive athletically related financial aid per Bylaw 15.5.1-(a) through Bylaw 15.5.1-(c) but receives institutional financial aid (as set forth in Bylaw shall not be a counter if the faculty athletics representative and the director of financial aid that the student-athlete’s financial aid have certified was granted without regard in any degree to athletics ability. The certification shall be kept on file in the office of the athletics director.

    • Methinks thou dost protest too much. Criminy – who has time to read all that and hunt down the B.S.????????

      • Someone who is tired of empty accusations being thrown around, and who couldn’t find such data anywhere else. It took some time to compile, but I feel it is important information that is not being looked at by people who claim kids are being kicked off of some teams but not others.

  2. Incidentally, I AM an Insider. Here’s the rest of his post:

    Another key: Because the recruiting cycle has been moved up so much earlier, teams are taking recruits with less of a formed picture academically. They’re borderline. Maybe they’ll make it in, maybe they won’t. Schools hedge their bets by taking commitments from other prospects, knowing they have lawyered-up language to provide them an out in the scholarship letters in the event that they end up “in a best case scenario” on signing day where their recruiting cup runneth over.

    I know of one case in which an athlete said he was pushed out for no apparent reason, but then I was later told by a member of that staff that the player was always “a list guy,” meaning he was repeatedly in trouble for academics. The schools are sensitive about discussing that publicly for legal reasons. Now, is that spin control or revisionist history? It is hard to say, but I know it’s really complicated.

    One FBS program I know of has the policy that the program has to keep a file on a kid, so if the team opts to not renew his scholarship, it goes through a school review in which it submits the reasons, which would either be academics-related or drug/alcohol/discipline-related. How good a player he may be cannot factor in. But I’m told that school’s policy isn’t the norm among FBS programs. The business part of this is that you’re talking about one-year deals in essence. Sometimes schools are reluctant to push a kid out more because of the backlash it might cause them down the road, especially if they want to recruit in that kid’s area in the future.

    Wow. It seems Feldman was actually willing to dig into the reason the kid in Paragraph Two left rateher than just ascribing it to the nefarious intentions of the school. Imagine that.

    • Sorry, the recruiting cycle hasn’t moved up. Signing day is still reasonably close to where it has always been. Test scores and grades still come out at the same time they always have. That excuse doesn’t wash.

      Feldman also said that the Paragraph two school’s approach was not the norm. Imagine that!

      • No. What he’s saying is that sometimes the answer isn’t cut and dry, which is what this site seems to want it to be.

    • One example (which is noted as atypical) is not representative of the whole industry – and to claim otherwise is a euphemism for a lie.

  3. College coach contracts are public record. Feldman calls giving these bonuses ‘a practice’, but he has never cited a contract, college, or coach that has received these.

    I’m not saying they don’t exist, but really, Feldman needs to either step up with some sort of evidence or needs to qualify his statement that coaches get paid ‘stars bonuses’ as a rumor.

    • And which ratings do they go by… ESPN, Rivals, Scout… maybe if we knew which ones they used we could also put to rest which Rating service is the best ;)

      I would find it hard to believe that schools are using Scout, Rivals and ESPN to tell them what is a 5 star player…

  4. I will tip my hat to the SEC for leading the nation in consecutive national championships. I will also boo and hiss at the fact that they lead the nation in oversigning, and imply a causality.

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