Quick Update

Update: Yet to be confirmed, but go ahead and add Keiwone Malone to the list of rumored players set to leave Alabama.  From Rachel Baribeau's twitter account:

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The March to 85 Continues – Alabama

Looks like Bama Sports Report is going to take care of the heavy lifting this year with their complete breakdown of scholarship numbers for Alabama.  Just like last year, our numbers are nearly identical to their numbers.  They had Alabama at 96 on NSD (72 returning after seniors and juniors leaving early for the NFL declared and 24 signed including greyshirt rollovers from previous year), putting Alabama 11 over the 85 limit on NSD, which is the same number we have, 11 over.

On NSD, Nick Saban told the media that no one knows what his scholarship numbers are and that Alabama was not at 85 last year (which begs the question, why did he waste scholarships by not giving them to walk-ons to help pay for their last year?).  He also told the media that what he signed "was the number of players we could take" (see the 7:35 mark in this video for his exact words) on NSD implying that Alabama had room for everyone they signed and that any new attrition would open more spots for them to add guys later.  Alabama has officially added no one thus far, as Duron Carter's status is still up in the air and it's unclear if has signed with Alabama at this point, and 6 guys have left the program since NSD.

Interesting side note: Saban does talk for a few minutes about how he wishes certain aspects of the "business" were more like they were when he was in the Big 10 Conference, specifically in regards to recruiting a player that has already verbally committed to another school.  Those comments come immediately after his comments mentioned above and are worth a quick listen. 

Here is what the March to 85 looks like:

2011 The March to 85 - Alabama

Player Position Reason for leaving after NSD
Glenn Harbin Defensive Line Decided to play baseball; Link
Demetrius Goode Running Back Transfer to North Alabama; Link
Petey Smith Linebacker Transfer to Holems CC; Link
Brandon Moore Defensive Lineman Transfer to East Mississippi Community College; Link
Corey Grant Running Back Transfer to Auburn; Link
Keiwone Malone Wide Receiver Transfer to Memphis; Link
Robby Green Defensive Back Transfer to California University of Pennsylvania ; Link
Darrington Sentimore Defensive Lineman Transfer to Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Link
Arron Douglas Offensive Lineman Died during offseason; RIP, hate having to list him here.
Kerry Murphy Defensive Line Medical Hardship
Kendall Kelly Defensive Back Medical Hardship
Wes Neighbors Defensive Back Medical Hardship

Back to the oversigning.  If Saban is telling the truth and he signed "the number of players we could take" then he should have been at 85 on NSD.  Since that time, 6 guys have left their scholarships with 4 more rumored to follow.  Meaning, either Alabama is going to go into the season with 74-75 guys on scholarship or Nick Saban wasn't being completely honest when he said they signed the number of players they could take, and the attrition since NSD has enabled him to get down to 85. 

If Saban was telling the truth and he truly signed what they had room for, then Saban should be announcing 10-11 (or some number) walk-on players getting 1 year scholarships to take the place of all the guys that left and all of the scholarships that have opened up since NSD, and if he doesn't, those of you who scream about creating opportunities and maximizing scholarships should be screaming at Saban for letting those scholarships go to waste for a year. 

Pro-oversigning fans argue that oversigning enables all 85 scholarships to be used.  In a few weeks we are going to find out if all 85 are being used at Alabama or if all the attrition since signing day was required in order to get down to 85.

If the attrition since signing day has created scholarship openings and those scholarships are not given to walk-ons for 1 year until they can be given to new recruits next year, then Saban's argument about maximizing scholarships and creating opportunities through oversigning goes out the window.   You can't say in one breath that you believe in creating opportunities while in another breath let x number of scholarships go unused.   Either the attrition is going to get Alabama back down to 85 or the attrition is going to create openings for walk-ons, one or the other.   We'll see what happens.

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Paul Johnson with a Simple Solution

Paul Johnson pretty much calls BS on oversigning and the attrition that occurs after the fact. 

“We just don’t do it,” Johnson told the Journal-Constitution. “It makes it hard sometimes to hit your target number but it is what it is. I don’t see how you can do that to kids, weed out guys for whatever reasons. No matter what anybody says, if you’re oversigning, some of that has to happen on occasion.”

That last sentence is pretty damning coming from a coach.  When asked whether or not teams who practice oversigning gain a competitive advantage, Johnson replied:

"Sure they do,” he told the newspaper. “It’s just like you take 25 kids every year and then cut the ones you don’t want.

“You do the math. You have 85 scholarships. If you’re signing 28 every year for four years, instead of 85, you have 112. It doesn’t add up. So something is happening to those guys along the way. It just doesn’t add up. You’re losing them left or right academically or for whatever reasons.”

Read more: http://aol.sportingnews.com/ncaa-football/story/2011-05-29/paul-johnson-georgia-tech-coach-says-oversigning-creates-advantages#ixzz1P7dnrfcO

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Connecticut Passes House Bill 5415

Marc has the details over at www.parentsofplayers.com regarding this great breakthrough in recruiting reform.

In a major breakthrough for what POPA calls Truth in Recruiting, the Connecticut House of Representatives has unanimously passed House Bill #5415, a state law that requires Connecticut colleges and universities to disclosure crucial facts about the scholarship it is offering to prospective student-athletes. Bill #5415, which is law effective January 1, 2012, instantly makes Connecticut the most player-friendly state in the USA.

Under the new law, any institution with an intercollegiate athletic program that recruits student athletes by soliciting them to apply to, enroll in, or  attend the institution for the purpose of participating in intercollegiate athletics must provide on the front page of its official athletic website a hyperlink to a page entitled “Student Athletes’ Right to Know.” This web page address must be included in any written materials provided by recruiters to prospective student athletes.


Item number 4 stipulates that schools must post on their athletic website if they practice oversigning.

4) the institution’s policy on signing more recruited student athletes than there are available scholarships and how that affects scholarship opportunities for recruited and current student athletes.

Hopefully one day there won't be a need for item 4, but in the meantime this is great for the kids of Connecticut and a great win for those who are working hard to reform college athletics. 

POPA believes this new Connecticut law takes a major step in requiring college sports recruiters to disclose many of the facts about athletic scholarships that parents of players use to choose the best school for their son. We hope other states will follow Connecticut’s lead. The next major step will be to pass an amendment to Bill #5415 that requires the same level of disclosure on academic performance and academic policies by schools.

Update: Senator Blutarsky at the Get The Picture blog with a take on the new legislation and how he feels it was watered down some before going through.  http://blutarsky.wordpress.com/2011/06/12/always-read-the-fine-print-part-two/ He's right, there were some slight changes to the Bill before it passed and it could have had more teeth, but given that this was one of the first Bill's of its kind it is still a positive step in the right direction.  Maybe we can get Marc back to comment on the changes to the Bill and what is on the horizon to further develop the legislation and have similar Bills passed in other states.

Filed under: Announcements 12 Comments

National Rule Discussion Thread

Now that the SEC has acknowledged that A.) they have a problem with oversigning and it needs to be addressed, and B.) they want to see national signing rules implemented so that they don't lose a competitive advantage to schools that currently have less restrictive rules (such as the B12), let's discuss a new set of national rules.  What is the best solution for a new set of national rules that address the three main components of scholarship signing legislation, in order of importance:

1. Student-Athlete welfare.  Prohibiting exploitation of the student-athlete.  This needs to protect student-athletes both at the front-end (guys being recruited and signed) and at the back-end (guys already on the roster from being pushed out).

2. Utilization of scholarship opportunities.  Ensures that educational opportunities are maximized and not wasted.  Giving someone a scholarship who could care less about the education they are receiving is not maximizing scholarship opportunities, it is wasting them.  The hard fact of the matter is that only a very, very small percentage (roughly 3%) of college football players will ever realize a career in the NFL.  The scholarships that are given out to kids who only care about football, yet never make it to a meaningful career in the NFL are a complete waste of the scholarship opportunity.  It would be like giving someone a scholarship to become a chemical engineer yet they never become a chemical engineer, what's the point?  There is no debate on that.  Giving scholarships to kids that can play at the college level, but are just as interested, if not more, in the education they are receiving and life after football is how you maximize a scholarship opportunity.  Not on someone majoring in eligibility in hopes of striking it rich in the NFL.  Tto be frank, that is wasting a scholarship opportunity and gaming the system by the student-athlete.  

3. Competitive equality amongst conferences.  Regulating the number of players that can be signed so that all conferences are signing the same number of recruits.  There is currently a massive gap between what the SEC signs and what other conferences sign, especially the Big 10.

The current NCAA national rule ("The 28 Rule") is completely ineffective.  The SEC's proposal of a new "soft cap" of 25 per year is also ineffective, primarily because it still does not prevent a school with 16 openings from signing 25 and going over by 9.  If student-athlete welfare is the number 1 priority then this loophole must be closed, period.  There is no need in allowing it to happen at all because it opens the door for abuse.

Summary of proposal:

1. Set January 15th as the deadline for coaches to report their recruiting budget.  Have players leaving for the NFL, transfers, and non-renewals by the coaching staff all declared on January 15th.  Make the number of openings public and approved by a national clearinghouse (see 2).

2. Create a clearinghouse for transfers and non-renewals that provides due process to the student-athlete to ensure that the student athlete was not pushed into the decision to transfer and provide the student-athlete a review hearing for non-renewals.  There is plenty of room for reform in this area, such as eliminating lack of living up to perceived recruiting potential as a cause for termination or changing the sit out rules.  Have a national panel establish the guidelines for non-renewal and have them in writing so that the SA knows exactly what can cause him to lose his scholarship.   Terminating a scholarship without cause should be eliminated.

3. Eliminate a hard cap on annual signing numbers.  On National Signing Day, whatever room the school is cleared to have via the clearinghouse, by way of declaring early departures to the NFL, transfers, and non-renewals by January 15th, is the room they get to fill with new recruits.  This number would be based on 85 as the max number of current scholarship players and signed letters of intent.  If that number is 29 and the openings come based on natural matriculation and attrition that is cleared through a national clearinghouse, then so be it, the school can sign 29 in order to get to 85.  If necessary, you could put a hard cap of 35 on the annual limit if you felt you just had to have one as a safety net, but we believe a school should be able to sign whatever they naturally have room for so long as they stay under the 85 limit at all times and so long as the number of recruits they can sign is cleared through a national clearinghouse.

4. Eliminate back counting.  Every year each school should have a full 85 man roster of scholarship players and there should be no need to try and squeeze guys in by back counting and getting them to enroll early.  

5. Limit and standardize greyshirting.  Allow a maximum of 2 greyshirt signees per year.  Standardize the greyshirt offer and have it as a separate offer with specific terms in writing that the SA understands and agrees to in writing in February.  This will eliminate last minute greyshirts after a kid has been on campus in the summer working out with the team.  Those only come because of oversigning and space issues.  Greyshirts should be for injured players or guys that need a year to develop or grow and are willing to wait until the next year when there is space under the 85 limit.  Those offers should be guaranteed spots in the next class and factor into the budget number created on January 15th.  

6.  Maximize scholarship opportunities by giving any shortfall to walk-on players.  By giving coaches the ability to sign as many players as they have room for under the 85 limit gives them ample opportunity to fill every roster spot and at no time would they have to tell a kid, "we'd love to have you, we have room under the 85 limit, but we can only take 25 a year."  It's on the coaches to make the most of those opportunities.  Any remaining openings that occur out of the ordinary, say a kid gets arrested in late July and his spot can't be filled through recruiting, coaches can give those scholarships to worthy walk-on players who would truly maximize the educational opportunity they would be receiving.  Those guys are headed on to life after football and a free year of education as a send off after 4-5 years of dedication is the perfect use of a scholarship some knucklehead lost because he was arrested.

Final thought:

You could drill into each one of these points and tweak things here and there, but at the end of the day, you have to base the number of kids you can sign on the number of openings under the 85 roster limit.  You have to eliminate the possibility of a school singing 25 guys when they only have 16 openings under the 85 limit.  This leads to the opportunity for abuse and exploitation by forcing kids into bogus medical hardships, late greyshirts, and transfers to FCS, Juco, or CC.  You also have to make sure the school can fill all of its scholarship spots under the 85 limit so that they don't have to turn kids away because they don't have room under the 25 limit.  Lastly, you have to make sure the attrition is cleared through a clearinghouse process which includes an opportunity for a review hearing and an exit interview so that the kids that feel they are being pushed out have somewhere to turn before they just accept transferring down to Juco, etc.

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Alabama’s March to 85 – 2011

Right on queue, just a couple of days after the SEC meetings in Destin where the SEC presidents voted to place a soft cap on the annual signing limits, which by the way does only a little to stop oversigning (the loopholes for counting back and forward still exist and there is nothing to stop a coach who has 16 openings from signing 25 and going over by 9, but we digress), the transfers are starting to pile up at Alabama.  No better time to put up the March to 85 for Alabama.

The real issue is that these transfers are coming after spring ball.  With an oversigned roster, you bring in the new players like Trey DePriest to compete against Petey Smith and Dee Hart to compete against Corey Grant and Demetrius Goode, look to see how everything stacks up, and then after spring tell certain players they will never see playing time.  The extra pressure the oversigning puts on the roster and the fact that no matter what, when a coach oversigns in February, someone will have to leave the team to avoid NCAA rules.   The loophole is that certain coaches have found that they can use the spring to further evaluate players and make decisions.  This is gaming the system and it is forcing kids to downgrade their athletic and academic careers simply because a coach needs to get down to 85.

2011 The March to 85 - Alabama

Player Position Reason for leaving after NSD
Glenn Harbin Defensive Line Decided to play baseball; Link
Demetrius Goode Running Back Transfer to North Alabama; Link
Petey Smith Linebacker Transfer to Holems CC; Link
Brandon Moore Defensive Lineman Transfer to East Mississippi Community College; Link
Corey Grant Running Back Transfer to Auburn; Link
Keiwone Malone Wide Receiver Transfer to Memphis; Link
Robby Green Defensive Back Transfer to California University of Pennsylvania ; Link
Darrington Sentimore Defensive Lineman Transfer to Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Link
Arron Douglas Offensive Lineman Died during offseason; RIP, hate having to list him here.
Kerry Murphy Defensive Line Medical Hardship
Kendall Kelly Defensive Back Medical Hardship
Wes Neighbors Defensive Back Medical Hardship

2010 The March to 85 - Alabama

Player Position Reason for leaving after NSD
Terry Grant Running Back Scholarship not renewed
Travis Sikes Wide Receiver Scholarship not renewed
Rod Woodson Safety Scholarship not renewed
Star Jackson Quarterback Transfer, Georgia State Div 1AA.
Deion Belue Defensive Back Academically Ineligible; headed to JUCO
Alfy Hill Linebacker Academically Ineligible; future unknown
Taylor Pharr Offensive Lineman Medical Hardship
Milton Talbert Linebacker Medical Hardship
Darius McKeller Offensive Lineman Medical Hardship
Ronnie Carswell Wide Receiver Greyshirt
Wilson Love Defensive End Greyshirt

Filed under: SEC 245 Comments

Open Letter To Petey Smith, Corey Grant, and Any Other Players Considering a Transfer

To: Petey, Corey, and Others,

If you have not yet finalized your transfer plans, we would like to strongly recommend to you that you contact Marc Bailey at www.parentsofplayers.com to discuss your rights under by-law  Marc is experienced in negotiating fair treatment for players looking to transfer, being forced to transfer, or just flat not being renewed, and he might be able to negotiate with your coaches to sign a "sit out waiver" so that you can continue to pursue your football and educational interests at the FBS level instead of going to JUCO or FCS. 

Please consider talking to Marc, he's a former player that understands the difficult and life-altering decisions you have to make at this crucial time in your life, and he also knows about all the tricks coaches are going to use on you to encourage you to transfer out of their program so they can get their roster down to 85 players by August.  You have absolutely nothing to lose by spending 10 minutes on the phone with him and he might be able to help you land at another SEC school or another FBS school, especially if you feel as though your transfer was encouraged in any way.   If you don't feel comfortable in talking to Marc, ask your high school coach to contact him.

Whether you know it or not, this is the time of year coaches purge their rosters to get down to the 85 limit.  Many student-athletes such as yourself often times find themselves in a numbers crunch and are encouraged to look at options they wouldn't normally look at on their own.  We don't know everything about your situations, but we know several others that have been encouraged to seek playing time elsewhere in order for a coach to get his roster down to 85.   This often times happens when a coach oversigns a roster and brings in someone he thinks is better.  Typically the coach will keep everyone through the spring, despite knowing there wont' be room for everyone in the fall, work everyone through the spring, and then after spring ball and evaluating the players he will tell certain players that they won't get playing time because they are buried in the depth chart (a chart that is oversigned always means someone has to go).  If this is the case, you have rights and you should not be encouraged to downgrade your collegiate career so that a coach can get his numbers down before the deadline in August because he oversigned in February.

To any student-athletes that feel they are being pushed or encouraged to transfer: you too should contact Marc and allow him to help you navigate the complicated waters of by-law  Under this by-law, the NCAA suggests that the student-athlete have an advocate while going through the non-renewal process of your scholarship which leads to the release so that you can transfer.  Your parents or guardians are most likely not equipped to handle this, Marc is. 

Suggestions for who should be involved:

a. Financial aid office (NOTE: NCAA legislation requires an institution's regular financial aid authority to notify the student-athlete in writing of the opportunity for a hearing).

b. Financial aid hearing/appeals committee.

c. Athletics department.

d. Coach.

e. Student-athlete.

f. Advocate for the student-athlete (e.g., parent, legal guardian, immediate family member).


Marc can help you!

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Weighing in

I'm always disappointed when the discussions of oversigning and the impact on young men's lives turns into childish rants and character assassination. You all know that Joshua and I speak for ourselves and have differing opinions about many issues. However, we agree on the most important issue: the college sports machine should not chew up and spit out young men on athletic scholarships whose only failing is their ability (or inability) to compete on the field with the team that recruited him so aggressively.

We are not too concerned with kids who are gaming the system or who prove themselves to be thugs, criminals, or miscreants. And we're not too concerned with kids who have parents and families that are capable of helping their son survive and thrive in this pressure-packed environment. We're concerned about the kids in the middle. The ones who have done nothing wrong, are doing well in school, who are good teammates and good kids.

The NCAA's current rules about oversigning, scholarship terms, eligibility, and compensation for college expenses put these kids in an environment where coaches can and do exploit them for personal gain in salaries, bonuses, and new employment contracts.

I know that this exploitation goes on in every college football conference if not in every program. It doesn't matter to me if it happens every day or just once in a while. The problem is that the NCAA's rules allow it to happen at the discretion of the coaches.

Oversigning and "roster management" goes on everywhere and it's wrong. Nowhere else in our society could an employer  1)terminate an employee without cause and 2) retain the power over where that employee can get his next job, and 3) dictate that if the terminated employee chooses to work for a direct competitor the terminating coach can dictate the employee not work for an entire year!

Surely we can all agree that this very real situation is wrong and the NCAA's rules need to be changed to make this impossible. The loopholes (like offering more LOIs than the school has openings for new players under the 85 schollie rule) MUST be stopped.

My recommendations?

  1. Create 2 types of schollie: a 5-year no-cut, no-trade deal with transfer limitations and a 1-year deal with no transfer limitations.
  2. Limit new signees to the exact number of openings being created by graduation/ineligibility/voluntary transfers/etc.

Yes, my suggestions put more burden on the coaches and will result in less than 85 scholarship kids on each roster each year. But if that's what it takes to stop the exploitation then so be it. Those coaches get paid plenty of bucks to win without doing it by exploiting kids.


Major Announcement!!!

Monday morning, Big 10 Conference Commissioner, Jim Delany, is scheduled to hold a press conference and announce that the Big 10 Conference is going to back to their pre-2002 rules on oversigning which bans the practice completely by working with a hard cap of 85, and he is going to demand that the NCAA make it a national rule. 

Okay, he's not going to do that, but imagine if he did!  Imagine the outrage around the country, especially down in SEC country if Jim Delany tried to do what Mike Slive just did, which was to push his rules on others by trying to make them national rules.

The pre-2002 rules in the Big 10 were originally created in 1956 and completely banned oversigning by limiting coaches to only being allowed to offer and accept as many scholarships as they had available under the annual maximum roster limit, in present day it is 85.  So for example, if a school had 16 scholarship openings come National Signing Day, they could offer and receive 16 signed letters of intent for new scholarships, not 37 Houston Nutt, 16.  Talk about making it hard on coaches.  Talk about working at a competitive disadvantage.  But they did it and they did it 50+ years ago because it was the right thing to do, regardless of what other conferences were doing. 

Continue reading...


The Day After The Day

Before we get started, we highly recommend that you consider using Twitter to follow this topic, it is the best place to go to get links to articles on oversigning as they come out.  It is really amazing how information flows through Twitter.  We'll try to retweet as many articles as possible so they will show up in the sidebar here so those of you not on twitter can read them.  On to the good stuff...

Now that the dust is settling on the SEC's new "roster management" legislation, the general consensus appears to be that the media is not buy what the SEC is selling.  As we mentioned yesterday, this was strictly a PR move by the conference to try and appease the media while at the same time not get on board with REAL legislation that completely eradicates the exploitation and abuse that takes place in oversigning.  Was it better than nothing, sure, but let's be honest, could they really do nothing?

Our biggest criticism is that if the SEC wants to move to national legislation on oversigning, why didn't they invite their colleagues to the table for discussion before creating what they want as the national legislation?  Why is the SEC pushing so hard for THEIR rules to be national rules?  The answer is simple, this was never about being ethical or doing the right thing, this is about competitive advantages, something coaches made very clear in their 12-0 vote to not change the rules and something SEC fans have been accusing Big 10 fans of whining about ever since this topic came up.  For SEC fans, the only reason this is even an issue is because Big 10 fans think they are at a competitive disadvantage.  Irconically, when forced to do something about oversigning, it was the SEC that showed its hand and revealed that oversigning is about a competitive advantage and if they have to give it up then the rest of the country MUST follow suit.  For months and months we heard that there is no competitive advantage in oversigning, that myth has been busted.

Could you imagine if the roles were reversed and it was the Big 10 doing what the SEC is doing? 

What if the Big 10 announced that they were going to go back to their pre-2002 rules were there was absolutely ZERO oversigning and they EXPECTED the NCAA to make it a national rule?  The outrage would destroy the sport.  Just to make sure we have this right, the conference that was the worst abuser of the unethical practice of oversigning declares that it is doing something about it and, by God, the rest of the country is going to follow along.  The funny part is that the new rules they are touting are not as restrictive as the B1G rules when you consider that if a school has 16 openings the new SEC rule still allows for 25 signees; that's oversigning by 9.  The B1G rule would only allow that school to sign 19, which is only 3 over.  If you are a self-respecting college football fan you should be insulted, especially if you are an SEC fan that really cares about the conference and the sport.

But here's the good news, and it really is good for sport of college football and all of college athletics.  The door is now open.  There is a very real chance that we will get everyone to sit down at the table and draft real meaningful rules on oversigning that addresses the problem at its root, the number 85, and yet still provides competitive equality with regards to the number of players each school is signing each year.

The NCAA has an obligation to create national rules on oversigning that make it clear that hoarding players and playing games with the numbers to gain a competitive advantage through highly unethical behavior has no place in the sport they regulate, that every recruit and current player IN EVERY CONFERENCE will be protected from forced attrition, and that every conference competing for BCS bowl spots and the money that comes with it will be on equal footing when it comes to the number of players they can recruit and sign. 

Quick Links:

Sports Blog, Get the Picture, which has been following this topic for a long time, has a nice post up on the days events and points out that Chris Low sees the shortcomings of the new legislation.  Highly recommended reading.


For a much stronger take, from a Northwestern perspective, check out Lake the Post's latest piece on the new SEC legislation.

Math. Basic math.  Per NCAA rules a team is limited to having 85 scholarship players on its roster. The biggest bullshit is the PR spin term they’re using – “roster management”.  If you follow the backchannel talk on this type of stuff you’ll know this is a direct response to the heat the conference is getting for oversigning.  Yet, somehow they’re using the scholarship cap per season as some sort of veiled attempt to be ethical. 

Finally, we stand up loud and proud for our friends at Oversigning.com who make my obsession with Northwestern football look like a mainstream action. The entire site is dedicated, passionately, to this issue.  Yesterday was the equivalent of NU going to the Rose Bowl in terms of frequency of posts and “OMG” moments.  I can’t do the blog justice as there are so many damn good points on the SEC reaction including the absolutely insane totalitarian Nick Saban stance...


The ShreveportTimes.com has a piece up on the SEC coaches losing to the SEC presidents.  Interesting comments from Les Miles and LSU AD, Joe Alleva.  Our advice to them is that oversigning college football recruits is not how you solve the problem of poor elementary and secondary education systems, in fact, by oversigning you are enabling those systems, to the degree that they play a role in preparing a kid for a scholarship in college football, to continue to fail kids instead of forcing them to improve. 

"I think there are academic risks in the SEC recruiting pool," Miles said. "And I think at times you take some of those risks with the idea that you'll have a plan B for him. Then you'll be able to direct him comfortably and delay enrollment. I think that those things are certainly healthy.

LSU athletic director Joe Alleva, a former Duke athletic director, has noticed the difference in recruiting in the Deep South as opposed to recruiting the state of North Carolina at Duke, where academic risks are usually not taken.

“You’ve got to understand, the elementary education and secondary education in the state of Louisiana is not the best in the world,” said Alleva, who wanted the limit to remain 28. “So we have kids coming out, and we don’t know if they are going to qualify or not. We don’t know if they’re going to get through the NCAA Clearinghouse and be eligible.


Filed under: NCAA 20 Comments

Jeff Schultz on Today’s Events

We'll have more later over the weekend, for now here's a very good article by Jeff Schultz at the AJC.  He hits the nail on the head.


Filed under: Quick Links 11 Comments

Chess not Checkers

Our overall take on the situation:

This proposal was a reaction to all of the bad publicity (which to be honest started right here at oversigning.com), and while it does attempt to curb some of the excesses it does not address the core issue of oversigning, which is preventing schools from signing over the 85 limit.  Ridding a conference of the abuses that place because of oversigning is a process that requires building a culture throughout all of the conference sports; clearly the legislation that was passed today does NOTHING to address oversigning in baseball which is just as bad, if not worse than football, and proves that if the SEC University Presidents truly believe in what they say about oversigning and its morally reprehensible actions they would not tolerate it in baseball.  Baseball was never addressed by the SEC because we never addressed it here, well we did once, but that was a long time ago.

You see while they have been playing checkers by floating out a Red Herring with their 25-28 rules, we have been playing chess by getting them to admit that oversigning is wrong, morally reprehensible, and not to be tolerated in college athletics.  Eliminating exploitation through oversigning is a cultural and ethical decision, and if you don't believe in it then you put things in place to eliminate it everywhere in your athletic programs.  SEC officials told the world today that they don't believe in it, yet they never addressed it in regards to baseball, and that is because we never attacked it here and there was no bad publicity regarding oversigning in baseball.  There is no argument that can be made against that statement.  Their move today was based on bad publicity, not a desire to rid the conference of a culture of oversigning and exploitation.

Update: The main point we were trying to make here is that the new "roster management" legislation is the result of bad publicity, not because the SEC administrators woke up one morning and decided to reshape the conference's philosophy on oversigning and player exploitation.  Although we started the ball rolling in a major way by launching this site, it took national and local sports writers, ESPN's OTL, bloggers, sports-talk radio hosts, fans posting on message boards, and a lot of other people to make this happen. 

Going forward:

Another tactical error on the SEC's part today was demanding that the NCAA institute their new oversigning rule nationwide.  This opens a whole new can of worms.  Just like the SEC would not allow the Big 10 rule to be pushed on them, the Big 10 should not allow the SEC to raise the bar nationally to allow more oversigning than the Big 10 currently allows under their rules that address the 85 limit.  This is the first step in getting the NCAA to the table and to start discussions about true national, NCAA rules on oversigning. 

It is our hope they can find a happy medium that first addresses and eliminates the exploitation and morally reprehensible actions, and secondly creates a completely level playing field where every conference is signing players the same way.  It's going to be a tough task, but with everyone at the table it can be done.  Had the Big 10 pushed for this it would have been rejected because no one would want their ultra restrictive rules pushed on them, but by Slive, out of fear that they might lose their competitive advantage, demanding that the NCAA adopt their new rules nationally, he has opened the door for more substantive discussion.  Surely the SEC doesn't think it is going to do what it wouldn't allow the Big 10 to do, push its rules on everyone else, right?

From here on out we'll be focusing on the national discussion to come up with new national rules for oversigning, rules that won't allow what these will when a school has 16 openings and can still sign 25 guys and cut 9, but instead provides for fair and equitable treatment for the players and competitive equality for the schools and conferences.

We're probably going to start talking about oversigning in baseball now too.

Stay tuned...

Filed under: Announcements, SEC 14 Comments

Myth: Removing Oversigning Removes Educational Opportunities

Nick Saban and other SEC coaches, as well as SEC fans, want you to believe that by removing their ability to oversign you are going to eliminate educational opportunities for recruits.  Hogwash.  What they are afraid of is having to tell a kid they want that they don't have room and then have that kid go to a rival school that does have room.

Removing oversigning doesn't eliminate educational opportunities, it realocates those opportunities in a way that prevents student-athletes that are already receiving the opportunity from losing it.  The real problem SEC coaches and fans have is the reallocation of those opportunities.  In order to believe that removing oversigning removes educational opportunities, you have to believe that if a recruit is unable to go to the school on the top of his list because they don't have room for him that he will not go to college at all and will have no other offers or opportunities at other schools.  Myth.

If a school has 27 openings, but can only sign 25 it will leave two scholarships that coaches will have to give to deserving 4th or 5th year walk-on players for one year until the next recruiting class comes around and they can sign a new recruit with the intention of keeping him for the next 4-5 years.

For some reason, fans seem to think that all walk-on players are rich and don't need a scholarship, and that they are just being used as tackling dummies for the fun of it.  Not true.  There are walk-on players that are every bit as needy as scholarship recruits; the only difference between the two groups is talent and in some cases there are walk-on players that are actually better than some that are on scholarship.

Scholarships will not be wasted, period.  In fact, some coaches say that the greatest joy they get is from being able to award a scholarship to a deserving 4th or 5th year senior as a reward for all their hard work, dedication, and doing things right in the classroom and off the field.

Filed under: Rants, SEC Continue reading

Red Herring Alert!!! It’s Not About 28 or 25, It’s About 85!!!!!

The last two days of quotes and responses from SEC coaches, athletic directors, and now university presidents and the president of the NCAA Mark Emmert, have made one thing crystal clear, they either do not fully understand the issue of oversigning or they are using the hard cap of 25 as a red herring to divert the average fan's attention away from the real number that counts, 85

University of South Carolina President, Harris Pastides said today that he hopes that whatever the SEC does that the NCAA will force the rest of the country to follow along.  First off, his comments indicate that the competitive advantage aspect of the oversigning issue is much more important than the ethical treatment of players.  Secondly, Harris Patides obivously knows nothing about how the Big 10 Conference handles oversigning, because if he did he would realize that they have been 50+ years ahead of the curve on this issue.

"We'd love the SEC to play a lead role in doing the right thing," Pastides said. "We would hope the NCAA would adopt whatever we would do. That's where our ADs and coaches are. They don't want us to be so far out in front that we're the only league that clamps down on that."

NCAA President Mark Emmert, who met with SEC presidents and chancellors today, said it's possible the league's position on oversigning could become national legislation.

"It's certainly an issue that's more important to the SEC right now than other conferences," Emmert said. "So if they come out with a good position, it may well be one that could become a national standard."

"We certainly know that our football advocates would prefer there's a so-called level playing field," Pastides said. "I think the challenge is do we go first and hope (the nation) will follow? And what if we go first and they don't follow? Do we go back to 28? Nobody sees that happening."


The lead role???  Are you kidding.  The Big 10 Conference banned the practice of oversigning in 1956 and only relaxed its rules slightly in 2002 to allow for 3 over a school's limit with tons of transparency.  The SEC is not taking the lead role here folks, they are playing catch up ball.

The key element that is lost on so many involved in this topic is that you have to address this at the 85 total limit, not the annual 25 limit.  If a Big 10 school has 16 roster openings to get to 85 on national signing day then they can sign up to 19 new recruits, provided there is proper documentation and approval from the conference office.  That's it, they can go three over the limit of 85.   

If the NCAA tried to force a hard cap at 25, a school with 16 openings could still sign 9 over the 85 limit by signing a class of 25.  How does that address or even curb oversigning?  It doesn't.

Setting a hard cap that remains static every year is not the answer, and it will never be the answer because the number of openings each year fluctuates.  Schools are allowed to have 85 scholarship players every year; some years schools will have 16 openings some years schools will have 25.  Therefore the limit needs to fluctuate with the amount of legitimate openings at national signing day and it should be based on getting to 85, not 25.

But what about attrition after national signing day?  The vast majority of that can be mitigated, as rules tighten on oversigning so will the recruiting practices.  Fewer borderline kids will be recruited because the expectation on STUDENT-athletes will be that they have to be prepared for college, remain eligible academically while in college, and not just gifted athletically.  A lot of the attrition that we see post national signing day is forced attrition due to oversigning, so all of that will be gone.  The rest, coaches will just have to deal with.  They can award a 1 year scholarship to a deserving walk-on and fill the slot next year with a new recruit they expect to have for 4-5 years.  This is a perfectly workable solution that eliminates the exploitation of players through the oversigning loophole.

When you demand excellence from student-athletes you will get it (just ask schools that are already doing it: ND, NW, PSU, Vandy, etc), but when you have a system that says to the student-athlete that they don't have to be prepared for college when they come in, they don't have to take classwork seriously when they get there and they don't have to keep their nose clean because they can easily be replaced via oversigning, you have a system that goes against everything college athletics is supposed to be about, which is the enrichment of the educational experience through competition in athletics.  We didn't make that up by the way, that is supposed to be part of the mission of the NCAA.

As fans and alumni, we should demand more from university presidents, they should demand more from athletic directors, they should demand more from coaches, and coaches should demand more from student-athletes.  To do otherwise by exploiting a loophole such as oversigning in order to run through kids in search of the best football talent is what is really hurting kids.

Filed under: NCAA, SEC 17 Comments

Best Oversigning Video Ever

We can't seem to get the video player to embed in our page here so here's a direct link to the video on Brook's site. 


There are several key elements in the video.  The money shot comes at 1:35 mark when Saban tells Ian Rapoport the numbers are none of his business and no one needs to know and the fans don't ask.  My how times have changed.  Why didn't Saban defend his oversigning practice as good for kids at this point? 

Another key element in the video is Mark Richt's comments about oversigning where he claims that other coaches are not being ethical when they oversign.

Filed under: SEC 5 Comments

What We Learned Today

Today was, by far, the busiest day for oversigning news since national signing day.  As you already know, the SEC coaches met today in Destin, Florida and briefly discussed how to divert the attention away from oversigning by having Steve Spurrier announce that he and a few other coaches think they should pay 70 players on each team $300 per game.  Didn't see that coming did you?  We didn't either, but nicely played by the old ball coach.

“They can give it to their parents for travel, lodging, meals. Maybe they could take their girlfriend out Sunday night or Saturday night and so forth,” Spurrier said. “A bunch of our coaches felt so strongly about it that we’d be willing to pay. Seventy guys, 300 bucks a game. That’s only $21,000 bucks a game.

“I doubt it will get passed. But as coaches, we make all the money, as do universities and television, and we need to give more to our players. That was just something we need to get out there.”


It's statements like that from Spurrier that remind us that coaches should stick to the X's and O's of football and leave the rest to school administrators, conference commissioners, and the NCAA.

Back to what we learned today. 

Yes, the SEC coaches did meet today, and yes, they did discuss the topic of oversigning and conducted a vote on the proposal drawn up by the SEC athletic directors and approved by the conference commissioner, Mike Slive.


Typically that indicates an undefeated regular season and a trip to the SEC championship game for the right to win the next National Championship, on this day, however, it meant that all 12 SEC coaches are against the new legislation that would attempt to curb oversigning and address the other roster management areas that have become a concern. 

Not that we expected them to vote in favor of the new legislation, but for those of us who are against oversigning and want to see it removed from college athletics there is still hope.  The coaches are not going to be the ones giving the final vote, and for good reason because if that were the case Houston Nutt would vote to set the signing limit at 80, Spurrier would vote to pay players out of his own pocket, and Saban would vote to have the bump rule reinstated.  We have no idea what Les Miles would vote for because it is impossible to figure out what goes on under the hat.  

Instead, the university presidents will get the final vote on Friday and that will be the one that counts.  If we had to guess, the coaches already know which way this is going to go and they are just making sure all of their fans know that they did not vote to have restrictions placed on their recruiting habits.  Kind of sets up nicely down the road should the new legislation pass and have the affect that Saban thinks it will have on the conference:

"In my opinion," Saban told ESPN.com, "it (cutting signee numbers) would really affect the quality in our league."


Mark Richt

For all of the tough talk on oversigning that Mark Richt has been giving lately and all of the praise he has received for said tough talk, when he voted in favor of the status quo today it could only mean one of two things:

1. He already knows the outcome (that the presidents are going to vote in favor of it) and he doesn't want to piss the rest of the other coaches off by being the one guy who voted in favor of the new legislation, or...

2. He has been talking out of both sides of his mouth in order to project a certain image.

Either way, Richt missed a golden opportunity to be regarded as the second coming of Bobby Dodd and we are moving him out of the list of people against oversigning.  It would have been perfectly acceptable for Richt to say that the same thing Muschamp said today, but instead Richt went back on his previous stance by saying he's okay with oversigning as long as everyone knows what's going on up front.  We have always had a lot of respect for Mark Richt on this site for his previous stance on oversigning -- it would have been nice for him to take a stand, publicly, in front of his peers.

"We don’t over-sign," Muschamp said. "That’s a policy we have at the university. We’ve been successful, so it’s not an issue for us."


We'll be moving Muschamp to the "against oversigning" list. 

Nick Saban

This should probably go in a separate post, but we'll put it here to help curb the outrage from Alabama fans.  Saban raised some very interesting points today with his remarks to the media after the meeting where he blamed them for the increased scrutiny saying:

"You all are creating a bad problem for everybody," Saban told reporters. "You're going to mess up kids' opportunities by doing what you're doing. You think you're helping 'em but you're really hurting 'em. It took one case where somebody didn't get the right opportunity. You need to take the other 100 cases where somebody got an opportunity."


So let's get this right, by the media analyzing what is going on with oversigning and documenting the stories of guys like Elliott Porter, Steven Wesley, and Chris Garrett, just to name 3, and how those kids were completely screwed by oversigning, it is now responsible for creating a problem for EVERYONE.  Really?

The general consensus of the media is that oversigning has to go, both for reasons of ethical treatment of players and competitive equality.  Georgia's AD and Florida's President both support this position and have done so publicly, so it's not just the media.

Essentially what Saban is saying is that to not oversign is harmful to kids -- those are his words.  That should be taken as a direct shot at the Big 10 Conference and its coaches -- in Saban's view they are hurting kids and robbing them by not oversigning. 

Ironically, Saban coached in the Big 10 for several years and there is no record of Saban lobbying to put an end to the injustice and harm that not oversigning was doing to kids while he was in the Big 10.   And based on how strongly he feels about this injustice, it's odd that he hasn't started a campaign to rid the rest of college football of the injustice of not oversigning kids.  Surely if he feels this strongly about it he would call out coaches around the country for not oversigning, "look guys, you are ruining lives by not doing this -- you can't do this to the kids, it's not right!!!!"

That's what he is selling -- are you buying?  We're not.

Oversigning was probably never even on Saban's radar until he landed at LSU and found out what a powerful tool it is for roster management.   Gerry DiNardo didn't realize what a constraint the B1G rules were until he came to Indiana from LSU -- he was the one that lobbied to have the rules relaxed in 2002 so that he could oversign by 3, not Saban.

Regardless, Saban wants everyone to believe this is a problem created by the media; he's dead wrong, this has been an issue for decades, the media is just finally bringing it to the forefront.

SEC University Presidents

It all comes down to the university presidents.  In 1964 the SEC university presidents were faced with the exact same dilemma, yes we've been down this road before, oversigning is not something that just starting being an issue here recently, and they voted in favor of not changing the rules for oversigning.  The numbers were slightly different back then, but the general principles were the same.  Coaches were signing way more guys than they had room for and then kicking the ones they didn't want to the curb. 

The SEC presidents at the time were torn over the issue with the vote being split down the middle. 

A vote was to be taken by the presidents of the colleges on the issue, and Dodd made it clear, Tech would have to leave the SEC unless the rule was changed. Dodd said he would live with 10, 20, 30, 40, or even 50 recruits per year as long as he did not have to chase any of his players off.

The presidents were split six for Dodd’s position and six against. Bear had promised Dodd he would get his president to vote for Dodd’s position, which would have changed the rule.

When the meeting was held, Bryant did not show up and the Alabama president voted against Dodd’s position and the 140 Rule was upheld. Tech’s president immediately walked to the podium and announced Tech was withdrawing from the SEC. Bryant never told Dodd why he reneged on his promise."


The SEC Presidents have an opportunity to send a message and right the wrongs that have taken place since that decision in 1964.  Oversigning is not an issue that Nick Saban created, it's a systemic problem that is as old as the conference and has resulted in countless kids like Elliott Porter and Chris Garrett getting screwed out of their scholarships to make way for new, better players. 

On Friday we'll find out who really is in control of the SEC, the coaches or the Presidents.  For the sake of college football let's hope it's the Presidents and they vote to push through the new legislation.

Filed under: SEC 75 Comments