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.

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  1. “During their conference meetings this week in Chicago, the Big Ten addressed, among many other things, whether or not players should receive more money to help pay for everyday living expenses.”

    “Delany added that the discussions are, well, just that at this point. The Big Ten has reportedly spoken with other conferences about paying players more money, most of which said they couldn’t afford it. Paying athletes in men’s basketball and football alone reportedly could cost upward of $300,000 a year.”

  2. It appears Spurrier and the Big10 are in agreement.

    • Both change the subject in a sorry attempt to avoid talking about it. With Spurrier it’s oversigning, with Delaney it’s daOSU.

  3. I don’t get the Mark Richt comments above. He hasn’t said anything that violates the way he has handled oversigning over the years. If you don’t like his take on how he handles oversigning, then fine. But what I don’t understand is where you think he hasn’t been clear about his stance when asked? For those who may not know, he is in the camp that if Grayshirting is known by the recruit prior to said recruit signing with the school, then it’s ok because the recruit has the option of not signing and going somewhere he can get in right away. Again, whether you agree with that stance or not, I don’t care… I just don’t see where Mark Richt has been inconsistent or shifted his stance. He opposes those who get the recruit signed, then leave tell them they’re being grayshirted.

  4. “countless kids like Elliott Porter and Chris Garrett getting screwed out of their scholarships”

    Only two names? A list of kids who did not have a chance to finish their education where they started would have much more impact. How about something like this?

    Scott Burch
    Nathan Chandler
    Chris Felder
    Justice Hairston
    Warren McDuffie
    Cy Phillips
    Wesley Thibeaux
    Chris Thomas
    Larry Thomas
    Dave Vickers
    Richie Williams
    Eric Zilisch
    Chris Brevi
    George Eshareturi
    Tyler Fanucchi
    AJ Johnson
    Richard Kittrell
    Eric McCollum
    Khaliq Price
    James Townsend
    Alex Willcox
    Jonathan Zanders
    Wallner Belleus
    Ted Bentler
    Andy Brodell
    Lucas Cox
    Ettore Ewen
    Kyle Williams
    Kalvin Bailey
    Ryan Bain
    Dana Brown
    Justin Collins
    Justin Edwards
    Vernon Jackson
    Alex Kanellis
    Corey Robertson
    BJ Travers
    Marcus Wilson
    Cedric Everson
    Jacody Coleman
    Cody Hundertmark
    Jevon Pugh
    John Weinke
    David Cato
    Demarco Paine
    Jeff Brinson
    David Blackwell
    Khalif Staten
    Jewel Hampton
    JD Griggs
    Jason Semmes
    Nathan Guillory
    Abe Satterfield
    Diaunte Morrow
    Dezman Moses
    Marshal Yanda
    Anthony Bowman
    James Cleveland
    Dominique Douglas
    Arvell Nelson
    Julian Smith
    Lance Tillison
    Bryon Gattas
    Brandon Wegher
    Anthony Schiavone
    Tyler Harrell
    Josh Brown
    Matt Murphy
    Stephane Mgoumou
    Don Shumpert
    Austin Gray
    Anthony Ferguson

    Well, these went to Iowa, and it’s not a complete list. But it’s a start. Others?

    • it doesnt paint the SEC in a bad light, so im sure it is thought of as irrelevant.

    • Pick any school in the SEC west, and which list would you think is much longer?

      • Give it a shot. Who’s stopping you?

        • http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/andy_staples/01/24/oversigning-data/index.html

          It has been posted numerous times its almost laughable. Are you seriously trying to argue that there’s MORE people who leave Iowa early than schools in the SEC west? Because the numbers don’t back you up.

          • Ah, the old raw signing numbers arguement. If school A signs more players than school B, then school A must be running off more players than school B, right? Makes perfect sense…if you don’t take into account the relative number of redshirts, JUCO signees, players who don’t qualify, and players who leave early for the draft.

            Catch 5 has shown that when you remove players who don’t qualify and players who leave early for the draft that attrition rates are comparable between the SEC and Big Ten. Yes, SEC schools sign on average more recruits that the Big Ten, but the difference is due to non-qualifiers and JUCOs not forced attrition. I’ll know you’ll never accept that statement because you’ve convinced yourself that the SEC is full of evil coaches who like hurting their players, but the numbers don’t back YOU up.

            • Redshirt rates also play a prominent role. A school that redshirts 90% of its players will have, on average, 4 less open spots a year than a school which redshirts 70%. 4 extra bodies over 5 years: a whole recruiting class! Where have I heard that before…?

            • No, he did not show that. He took more guys out do to nebulous claims, which i called him on. Thats also if you don’t count non-qualifiers. But hey, i guess its okay if you sign someone and he doesn’t qualify. Almost makes you root for the guy not to qualify so you don’t get stuck. Isn’t that ironic, oversigning actually makes you root for the kid to fail/not pass his items?

              The attrition rates are not comparable. As for the numbers – yeah, its a pretty simple argument. But the facts are pretty simple in this case. But you’d rather say “well, these people don’t count for one reason or another”

              • ???

                Your logical leaps are breath-taking. Utterly nonsensical, but a truly wondrous defiance of cognitive gravity nonetheless.

              • I can tell we’re going to go around in circles again, but I’ll try to hammer this point home one more time. The specific claim that Catch 5 chose to examine was that SEC schools oversign and then run off under-performing players currently on their roster to make room for more talented recruits. This is a claim that has been made numerous times – without any evidence – by Josh and many others in the anti-oversigning camp.

                If a signee never enrolls because he doesn’t qualify, then there is no chance that he was cut for under-performing.

                If a signee opts for a MLB career instead of college football, then there is no chance that he was cut for under-performing.

                If a player leaves early for the draft, then there is no chance that he was cut for under-performing.

                Therefore, those players were not counted when examining that one specific claim. If under-performing players were being run-off by SEC schools, you would expect to see higher attrition rates when the above cases are removed from the stats, but that was not the case.

  5. Muschamp voted to keep the rules status quo as well. And Richt has not gone back on his word at all if you read his words carefully. He’s said from the beginning, his beef is coaches doing kids wrong because they oversigned. If you look at UGA’s numbers, they average giving out less than 25 a year. Richt simply wants coaches to warn the guys who may be greyshirted of that before they sign an LOI. That’s what he’s always done in the case that he’s not 100 percent sure he has room for the kid. So far, he claims that the numbers have always worked out where he hasn’t had to greyshirt anyone. So it’s not like he’s got possibly five to ten guys out there with a possibility of getting a greyshirt. And as he stated, he lets the player and the family know up front before they sign that it might be a possibility. What he wants changed is not telling a kid he’s gonna greyshirt until the summer after he’s already signed his LOI. The problem right now is not huge amounts of oversigning. The highest anyone can go is 28. The 37 of Ole Miss days are over. It’s that kids are getting “cut” like it’s a pro football team to make room for better kids.

  6. What we learned today…not much really. Just more fodder from the oversigning hype-machine. Throw a bunch of headlines, accusations and innuendo out there and see what sticks. Assume the moral high ground. When called to the carpet about errors of fact and inconsistancies, simply ignore and do not respond. Add in a few trolls from Texas Dawg, rinse and repeat…

  7. ummm, can you show me how this stance of coach richt’s is any different than what he’s said before? a link? he hasn’t changed anything. but maybe you’d know that if you’d read what he said before and not just the headlines.

  8. Apropos of nothing, I’m pretty sure GT announced they were withdrawing from the SEC before the 140 vote was taken. So even if the vote had miraculously gone their way, they still would have had to leave (don’t think an “lol j/k” would have cut it at that point). Of course everybody else got pissed at them and voted it down unanimously in the end, which I guess is what they were banking on.

  9. Looks like it’s time to post another video of Nick Saban saying “Aii-aiight” or “It’s none of your business”. Very powerful stuff!

  10. Josh, your posts have really been degressing of late. Of course I’ve always disagreed with most of your positions, but the quality of your recent arguments is really lacking of late. I hope to address in detail later, but I’ve been busy the last few days and relegated to more reading than responding.

    That said, I must ask where you get that Muschamp is against oversigning. Yes, I see where he says he doesn’t do it, but he doesn’t say he condems it. Take this statement:

    “I don’t use Viagra. That’s not something that I do; it’s not a policy of mine. I don’t take pills to help my erection; that’s not a policy of mine. That’s not something that I’m going to cross that bridge on right now because it’s not something that I do or is part of what I’m going to do”

    Does this mean that I think people who use Viagra are wrong or unethical? Does this even mean that if, in the future I have trouble in this area I won’t turn to this? No on both accounts. All Muschamp is saying is that they don’t do it – and given their geographical location within a recruiting hotbed, they do have less need.

    Now he may well be against oversigning, but the quotes you have provided do not show it and you are setting yourself up for another Richt-type swap.

    • probably because his poster boy for integrity has been caught with his hand in the cookie jar and had to resign.

    • I agree that Josh is probably setting himself up for a fall down the line with all the Muschamp love.

      If you look at the coaches he spent his formative years in big time football under (Saban at LSU, Tuberville at Auburn), they’re all guys who advocate and partake in oversigning. No doubt Muschamp himself took part in many oversigning schemes and witnessed firsthand their benefit. I find it hard to believe he won’t pull those tactics out of his back pocket when he gets the chance.

      His problem right now is that he’s an unproven head coach at a big time school, and he really doesn’t have the clout to get his way against the administration. In that situation, the wisest move is to keep your mouth shut regarding practices your president sees as morally reprehensible and bide your time. We’ll see if he’s still willing to play along after he’s won a championship or two and has some real muscle behind him.

  11. It appears that neither Georgia nor Florida oversigned this year. It also appears that each school will enter the 2011 season with 79 or fewer scholarship players. You can argue that some walk-on’s will get awarded one year scholarships, and that’s great. But the flip side is that there are 12 or more high school seniors who won’t be able to attend their dream school because the school didn’t plan for attrition. Those are the lost opportunities that Saban was talking about. You can take his comments as a shot at the Big Ten (or Florida and UGA) if you want to. But I think Saban probably agrees with Chad Hawley, Big Ten associate commissioner, that different conferences and different schools have and operate under different philosophies and that’s perfectly fine. Saban wants to have the option of providing those opportunities but doesn’t claim that his way is what works best for every school.

    As for Richt’s “tough talk” on oversigning lately, that was all an invention of the media. For some reason, just about everybody decided to take one or two of his phrases out of context and cast Richt as a hardliner against oversigning. I saw multiple headlines/taglines like, “Richt decries oversigning as ‘awful’, ‘wrong’”, “Richt leads the charge against oversigning in the SEC”, and “Richt on oversigning: ‘it’s an awful thing to do’”. But anyone who actually read his comments – all of his comments – realized that he was largely defending oversigning and greyshirting when used properly:

    “Not to say we haven’t gray shirted, or talked to a kid about gray shirting, but if you tell five of those guys, hey, we’ve got 20 spaces, I can sign 25 and there’s a good chance by the time school starts there will be room for you because of the attrition which seems to happen every year,” Richt said. “We tell them if there’s space for you, you come in with your class, if there’s not, we ask, are you willing to come next January? They’ll then say ‘Coach, I understand it’ and they are willing to do that. If you tell them on the front end, they understand that. That’s how we go about it if we talk to a kid about gray shirting.”

    “Almost every year there have been guys in our class in that gray shirt situation. Normally, we say you don’t have to tell anybody, just sign on Signing Day and the chances of you coming in with your class, no one’s going to know the difference, which I don’t think is dishonest with the way things are,” Richt said. “So we’ve signed guys knowing that the class is full and asked if they could come in January, but every time we’ve done that, there’s been a space and they came in with their class.”


  12. Tressel was at a big disadvantage, due to having to compete against teams that oversign. Do you think the pressure to even the odds, is what drove him to cheat? If so, that’s another strike against oversigning. It now causes the coaches that are not allowed to oversign, to cheat in other ways just to keep the playing field level.

    • hmmm, that might sound plausible, except that this is the same stuff that was going on while he was at Youngstown St. Unless the coaching environment up there is so bad too.

    • I think we can pretty well attribute all of society’s woes to oversigning in the SEC.

      You have got to be kidding us. Are you seriously trying to get traction with the notion that oversigning in the SEC is what led Tressel to be a serial cheater? I think I will get to work now on the correlation between oversigning and global warming.

    • Are you guys seriously claiming, in terms of competeitive advantage, that guys on your team selling personal items for tattoos is the same as virtually getting an entire extra recruiting class over the course of every 4 years? Good grief.

      • The only reason there is a competitive imbalance is because the Big Ten chose to put themselves at a competitive disadvantage. Which is fine, just don’t complain because everyone else chooses to operate under the NCAA rules instead of the Big Ten’s rules.

        For the record, most of the players in that “extra recruiting class” never set foot on the practice field.

  13. Jay: I lived in GA, when Tech withdrew from the SEC. It was no secret the Tech was unhappy with the SEC, especially the looming requirement that all teams play home and home games. Pesonally, I believe Tech withdrew for reasons of pride and hubris; the Yellow Jackets believed they could survive and thrive on their own, a decision that in retrospect can be seen as little more than folly – as was South Carolina’s decision to leave the ACC. All the other reasons put forward to justify TECH’s decision to leave the SEC are just that: justifications.
    Leaving the SEC was a disaster for TECH, as the population of metro ATL has increased four times since TECH left the SEC, but TECH’s average home game attendance is less than it was when the Jackets were in the SEC. Anyone who studies the college football scene in GA and the southeast can but conclude that as the situation stands, the ACC will never be the equal of the SEC. Geographically and culturally ATL is in the southeast, and TECH will inevitably be compared against the other teams in the region.
    I belive this fact must be faced: leaving the SEC was a disaster for TECH. South Carolina may have found a niche for itself after wandering for years in the wilderness, but TECH is still the odd man out, a school in a hostile area that is surrounded by bigger and stronger SEC teams.

    • Because Richt isn’t against “oversigning” as defined here – he is against the late issue of a grayshirt to a recruit – and Muschamp hasn’t come out against it either, he has only said that they don’t do it at Florida (because they don’t have to).

    • Yep. All the big talk about how “awesome” Tech was for leaving, doesn’t address the fact that they’ve been piss poor except for one year in the late 80′s, and even then they split a title I believe.

      Leaving the SEC was a huge mistake, and one I’m sure that they regret, especially seeing teams like Alabama and Tennessee easily filling 101k+ stadiums, while their home game attendance lags.

  14. If Richt and Muschamp are against oversigning, why didn’t they favor the rule changes? I see where Richt’s position was addressed, but I haven’t seen where Muschamp’s position is addressed. In fact, there are words of praise for Muschamp despite the fact that he is NOT in favor of changing the rules.

    • see above, hit the wrong “reply”

      • I guess I’m trying say… Josh is trying to put more names on his side of the argument than there really are. He likes to say that Muschamp and Richt are on his side because it makes his side look more popular… and Georgia and Florida fans join his side of the debate so they can preach about how they are morally elite (e.g. Texas_Dawg). And clearly Muschamp and Richt are the latest examples from the post above, but there are many other in the “Against Oversigning” list who are currently oversigned. The hypocrisy is deafening sometimes.

  15. For all of the tough talk on oversigning that Mark Richt has been giving lately

    Are you dense? What tough talk on oversigning has Mark Richt said? Do you mean where he says that he doesn’t see anything wrong with it (as long as it’s done right)? Surely you don’t mean the quote where he was talking about springing the grayshirt on a kid at the last minute do you? You realize Saban, Nutt, etc have all come out against that as well, right? Does that mean they take a hard line against oversigning too?

    I think the disconnect here is that Richt’s (and I must wonder who else) view of “oversigning” has traditionally been different than what Josh has defined here – thus when a guy condems “oversigning”, then oversigns (see much of the B10) – they aren’t being hypocritical, they are just not “oversigning” by their definition. I would bet that most of these coaches feel like Richt and don’t have a problem with properly used grayshirts.

    “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.

    Wow, I feel like I’ve heard that somewhere before…

    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

    I don’t know about it being a shot at anybody, but you can’t deny that a school that properly manages its roster provides more opportunity than one that doesn’t. Grant me, for one moment, the possibility that Saban doesn’t cut current players, and actually does what he says – replaces natural attrition with oversigned recruits (that are aware of the possibility of a grayshirt). Any attrition over the summer at a school like Florida or OSU will result in a roster without a full complement of scholarships. While this allows for a couple of walk-ons to receive a one-year scholarship, it does not provide any new opportunity (as that player is already on the team and in school). At Alabama, Saban is able to provide an opportunity to a player not currently on the team – one that would otherwise not be there had he not oversigned. That is providing more opportunity and you can’t deny that. To simply do away with oversigning (grayshirting), you will be taking away that option of opportunity to some players so yes, you are harming them. Due to the nature of this, we will not be able to point out a victim like Elliot Porter, but we can point to who wouldn’t have benifited. Take J.P. Wilson. He grayshirted his enrollment at Bama, then went on to lead the Tide for a couple of years. His senior year they went 12-0 in the regular season, and he earned a Sugar Bowl berth. Now he is playing in the NFL (back-up QB at Atlanta). He’s a little undersized and not as strong an arm for a typical NFL QB, so it is highly unlikely he would be there now had he not played at Bama, and he wouldn’t have played at Bama had he not been able to grayshirt. I think I can say that he would have been harmed had oversigning been banned prior to his recruitment.

    • I think there is a very salient point or two in that last paragraph. It’s really not debatable that oversigning schools provide more opportunities to kids than those that don’t. They absolutely do (which is not to suggest that those who don’t are actively harming kids, as Josh suggests that Saban is suggesting).

      I think the debate is over the balance between the kids it helps vs. the kids it hurts. So I’ve taken a moment to ponder that thought. The standard editorial view of this site is that virtually every player that leaves an oversigned team’s active roster, by whichever means, is doing so because the team is getting rid of him to make way for new recruits. So that’s harmful. But again, assuming that all of those newly freed up spots are filled by new players who would not have otherwise had a spot (ergo, this process has been helpful to them), it seems to me that the help-vs.-harm ratio is something awfully close to 1:1.

      Even factoring in the sign-and-place kids (to whom oversigning is helpful) and those poor souls who catch a surprise! greyshirt (obviously harmful), both of which typically represent a minute portion of each school’s signing class, the ratio is going to remain around 1:1. It’s equal parts helpful and harmful, with the “help” skewing in favor of the recruits.

      Let’s now assume hardline legislation is passed akin to the B1G rules. The ratio remains something like 1:1, only the “help” is now skewed in favor of current roster members.

      So all of this is kind of a roundabout way to say that all the two main sides this debate seem to really be arguing over is who gets the help and who gets the harm. I think both current players and recruits deserve a better solution.

      • Amen.

      • One more positive aspect to greyshirting is a guaranteed spot at the school you want to attend. If a recruit is greyshirted, the university must put him on scholarship the next year. If you eliminate greyshirting, coaches will have the opportunity to be unethical in a more damaging way. Some students will wait a year and then not receive a promised spot in the next class. The coach will not have any responsibility to kid. This scenario won’t happen often, but it will happen.

      • Wait a minute. How is not greyshirting harmful? Its not like if a kid doesn’t get greyshirted he can’t go to any college, ever. The harm to help is 1:1? Thats BS. Screw over one kid so another can get in? And its not like the first kid can’t get in anywhere – he’s not forced out of college entirely.

        I want to get in to MIT. However, MIT doesn’t have enough room. So MIT kicks kids out, who may have been getting decent grades (not stellar), because i have higher SAT scores. Thats the equivalent here. HOW is that fair? How is that helpful overall?

        • Truly, the inability to greyshirt into School A would not preclude a recruit from attending any number of other schools. However, there is the issue of the quality of choices he has remaining outside of the school requesting that he greyshirt.

          Typically, the recruits who are asked, or perhaps in some cases forced, to greyshirt at big time schools are not the high-caliber, highly-touted guys who have offers from numerous BCS conference teams (let’s just say they wouldn’t quite be MIT-caliber in the classroom, to suit your analogy). More often than not, these kids are what you’d call “reaches,” marginal talents who might be good enough to play at that level or might not. The schools are essentially taking a chance on these kids to give them the opportunity to advance beyond what might be their station. The fact is that most of the time these greyshirt-caliber recruits do not have scholarship offers from other schools that present a comparable athletic and/or academic opportunity as the greyshirt-offering institution.

          The loss of the greyshirt option = the loss of opportunity for these recruits. Thus, it is potentially harmful to them.

          As an example (and I really hate to bring this school up because it never ends well), look at a guy who greyshirted for Alabama last year: Ronald Carswell. What were his offers besides Alabama? East Carolina and Western Kentucky. Is there any debate which of those three schools provide him the best opportunity to develop to his fullest potential on the football field while also providing an extensive academic support system to help him succeed in the classroom? Of course, there isn’t. It’s Alabama in a walk.

          But without greyshirting, Carswell would not have that opportunity and it would undoubtedly be harmful to his future.

          (*I should note this does not represent the totality of greyshirt candidates. Certainly sometimes injury issues play a part in greyshirt decisions.)

          • And of course, sometimes Les Miles is just an idiot or an ass or both.

          • Really? So you’re saying East Carolina and Western Kentucky are terrible schools? Yes, it is SOOO terrible to get a free college education. How many regular seniors turn down full rides?

            Loss of marginal opportunity is NOWHERE near as bad as getting cut from a university because a coach couldnt properly gage your talent.

            How is it harmful to his future? He can’t get a job after going to East Carolina or western Kentucky? Really? Sure, he didn’t get his first choice. He still gets a free education, which is worth what, around 50,000$ ? Yea.

            And i would like justification of your claim that most of the grey shirts don’t have scholarship offers from other schools. I think you just made that up, but i am willing to look at any hard data you have to support that fact. Any data to support that they are marginal talents would be interesting also. I doubt that fact, but if you can back it up i’ll agree.

            • Didn’t say they were terrible schools. But in terms of the opportunities they provide for athletes to pursue their athletic interests in conjunction with their academic interests as a student athlete, they are both undisputably far below a major BCS school in terms of what they can offer. I don’t think that’s a grave insult.

              The rest of that is just you being obstinate to avoid having to engage on this topic in a less vitriolic, partisan fashion, which is tiresome to me.

              • Right. You’re saying i’m obstinate because i ask you to back up your assertions with facts. But you don’t need that. After all, a marginal education and athletic change is worth screwing over a player. You already admit that getting rid of a player for a new recruit is better.

                In your world, if i had a choice between OSU and MIT, and wanted to go to MIT, they should just drop out students to get me. You think my going to MIT instead of OSU is equal to a student being forced to leave?

                • I’m saying you’re being obstinate because you’re taking extreme extrapolations from my words that no plain-dealing, somewhat-intelligent person would make unless they were purposely doing it to be…obstinate. And I do like to think the best of the people I meet.

                  Take this little number for instance: “You already admit that getting rid of a player for a new recruit is better.” You have to be being obstinate to write that sentence. If that’s really what you got out of my little meditation on help vs. harm, then you are coming from SO far out in outer space that it’s not even worth my time or yours to continue this conversation, because you’re hopeless. There are not enough words in the world to help you understand these concepts. And I mean that sincerely.

                  But mostly I think you’re just not dealing straight. Better for you, equally as tiresome and uninteresting for me.

                • Did you read the JP Wilson example I gave in my origional post? Do you think an undersized QB like him would be in the NFL if he hadn’t played at a major program like Bama?

                  Where, exactlyh are all these players getting kicked off? Can you give any examples? Can you show where more players leave SEC teams than others? I tried and couldn’t find them. I know you don’t buy it, but I still say you can’t cut guys that aren’t on the team.

    • he could have went somewhere else,he didnt have to go to alabama,hes never gonna play in the nfl,hes there but hes never gonna play..sabans a cheat and you and the rest of turd nation know that without oversigning,bama loses on average 4 games a year…you lost 3 this year,with oversigning…get with the program,saban is the problem with football,non of this shit mattered till he came back..nobody wanted to pay players 300 a game,nobody had oversigning problems..its all nick saban,he should be the pete rose of college football…

  16. How will the SEC presidents vote on the issue?

    No one knows, but several factors must be considered. The 12-0 vote against change by the football coaches puts the presidents in a very tough position. After all, they hired the coaches; and the coaches are telling them they need the condition to remain as it is. Not one coach wants to change it.

    Generally speaking, if you hire a man, you give him broad authority to run his operation within the limits set by the organization. Now, you (the president) are telling him you want to change the rules in a way that might adversely effect his operation and performance. And this change is not driven by law – as it would be if the NCAA banned oversigning – but because of news reports that claim that certain processes, completely legal, are found to be immoral or at least unsavory by people with no direct, vested interest in the coach, the university, or the immediate organization to which the university belongs – in this case the SEC.

    Is a president willing to take the onus of change on himself? And why should he? The current situation is legally impeccable and morally disputabe; that is, no clear moral judgment can be reached, one way or another. And in such a situation, it is reguired that if there is no clear judgment exists, it must be concluded that the status quo is the only feasible solution.

    What would a president gain by a vote for change? Suppose he voted for change and disaster followed?
    Suppose the president of, say, AL or LSU were to vote for change and the Tide and Tigers began to lose games. The coach would be within his rights to say: all the coaches voted against the proposal but you and the other presidents voted no. Whose fault is this?
    And what would happen, if college football in the entire SEC were to tank within a few years of a rule change. Whose fault would that be? Who do you think the media and the alumni would blame?
    What do you think the response would be from the supporters of the university’s athletic program? Whose head would they want? Whose head do you think would be demanded by the Regents and the Trustees? And lets not forget that with the exception of Vandy, all the universities are public and very sustible to pressure from angry alumni.
    Lets not forget that if football coaches are replaceable, so are presidents. After all, there are any number of people who would like to be president of UF.

    Who, after all, are the presidents responsible to: the states who support them, their students, their institutions, their alumni and supporters? Are they responsible to the Big Ten and OSU? Or some abstract moral point?

    You decide.

    • If they’re voting based on their conviction that the issue embodies a moral principle, then they should vote their conscience. Period.

      We went through this in the ACC in basketball in the 80s and 90s. The old guard coaches recruited a kid and stuck by him through thick and thin for 4 years. I remember fans gnashing their teeth at Dean’s loyalty to King Rice, when some other guys in the conference would go right back out and recruit another PG if a kid wasn’t developing at the pace the coach needed. They called it “recruiting over” a kid, and UNC fans wounded by the program’s “dip” in the late 80s would get all worked up about how much more “honorable” their program was.

      Dean adjusted. He didn’t have the transfers that other programs had, and he kept graduating his players, but he was clear with recruits that he had to stay focused on the larger well-being of the program. He ended with a nice run of Final Fours and another championship.

      The fate of the SEC is not hanging in the balance. Presidents need to respect the fact that coaches cannot predict what will happen to their roster between June 1 and September 1. Coaches need to respect that university administrations need to be able to assure fans and legislators that they take their responsibility to all student-athletes seriously.

      It would be nice to see this debate impact the well-being of S-As nationwide in a positive way. We still might be moving in that direction. We’ll have to wait and see what happens tomorrow.

  17. I’m really surprised. I don’t see any contradiction in anything Richt said. If your definition of “oversigning” is that narrow, then I can’t help but wonder as to what extent you guys really understand the issue.

    The real issues have to do with oversigning with the full intent to use the back end of your current roster to filter more players through your program. Not natural attrition. Richt is right. As long as the recruit and family know up front, far ahead of signing day, there’s nothing wrong with it. That shouldn’t happen in great numbers, and it doesn’t at Georgia. Don’t think a recruit has ever had to wait.

    There is such a thing as natural attrition, and its completely honest. Georgia doesn’t ‘oversign’. The numbers themselves over the past 5-10 years prove that. The real issue is screwing kids, and there are many ways that happens. Those same numbers show us who has been doing it.

    To say that Richt and Saban are both for oversigning, is the same thing as saying that the man who pushes the old lady INTO the way of an oncoming bus, and the man who pushes the old lady OUT of the way of an oncoming bus, are both people who push old ladies around.

    To lump Richt in with the real oversigners is not only inaccurate and irresponsible, it reflects a lack of understanding of the real issue. And that is startling, considering the fine work you people have done on the issue.

    • You agree that grayshirting a kid is ok as long as he knows about it ahead of time, yet then condem Saban for his actions. Are you aware that Saban has said he has never grayshirted a kid without him knowing about it before he signed? Have you ever seen an article quoting a Saban grayshirt saying otherwise? I have not.

      • [quote]You agree that grayshirting a kid is ok as long as he knows about it ahead of time, yet then condem Saban for his actions. Are you aware that Saban has said he has never grayshirted a kid without him knowing about it before he signed? Have you ever seen an article quoting a Saban grayshirt saying otherwise? I have not.[/quote]I didn’t say anything about Saban’s grayshirting. As far as I know he’s clean on that, perhaps the only aspect of RM that he’s clean on.

        But from early indications this afternoon, it looks like Saban will be able to continue his style of RM and cut players. When he has 14 spots, he’ll still be able to sign as many as 11 over, then cut as many roster players as need be. Best I can tell, that aspect of RM didn’t get addressed.

        • Very good. Now, can you acftually show where he cuts players? Where are the throngs of players cut from his team? If he has to cut 8 to 10 players every year, why is his attrition rate (from 2008) the same as the B10 average? The B10 doesn’t oversign, so either Saban isn’t cutting players like most think, or everyone else is despite not oversigning. Which do you think, or do you have a better way of showing it?

          Btw, use “blockquote” and “” instead of brackets.

          • “blockquote”Very good. Now, can you acftually show where he cuts players? Where are the throngs of players cut from his team?”/blockquote”

            Hey, thanks for the quote tip, I’ll get it at some point.

            I’ve seen former Bama players quoted, etc., about how they didn’t really want to leave or go on medical. But I’m not going to research it. The numbers themselves speak volumes, as already pointed out. Saban signed 113 his first four years, 110 the last four.

            Instead, I would ask you …. Bama supposedly has anywhere from 6 to 8 spots, maybe more, that they need to free up in order to accommodate the incoming signees (should they all enroll and not grayshirt). How many current roster players will not be in Tuscaloosa come August?

            And who do you think they will be? Six natural attrition spots is very rare. And each one after that makes those odds exponential. Just doesn’t happen that way, as a matter of course.

            • crap … use the “<" instead of "[" for blocking it, and omit the quotes.

              I’ve seen former Bama players quoted, etc., about how they didn’t really want to leave or go on medical. But I’m not going to research it. The numbers themselves speak volumes, as already pointed out. Saban signed 113 his first four years, 110 the last four

              You may well have seen such quotes, probably from the WSJ article that has several questionable portions. That article was written with a clearly biased view point and they obviously had a conclusion before writing it. Nonetheless, they did say they still wanted to play, and I’m sure they did. One guy even went so far as to say that he thought he could still play. No denying that, but in the end they all signed off on their medical scholarships. All of them. I haven’t seen anyone transfer from Bama, then say they really didn’t want to. If you have, then you really should bring that to light, but your unwillingness to research it may tell us how your opinion has been formed to this point.

              Bama supposedly has anywhere from 6 to 8 spots, maybe more, that they need to free up in order to accommodate the incoming signees (should they all enroll and not grayshirt).

              First off, your premise is all wrong. Bama does not need to free up any spots – IF they have done as Saban says and accepted LOIs from enough kids willing to grayshirt. Yes, 6 or 8 grayshirts is more than usual, but if you have an unusually small graduating class, with a larger one following, why not even it out a little by doing this? Who is harmed in doing so?
              That said, there are two players long rumored to be heading to a medical scholarship – neither were on the spring roster. One other player has already announced his transfer, and there will probably be one or two more before fall (just like most programs). Suddenly, they are looking at only 3 or 4 grayshirts while still having a full roster. Again I ask, who is hurt here?

  18. In the Middle: I don’t contend the fate of the SEC hangs in the balance.
    I do ask why college presidents would wish to tamper with a situation that works to their advantage in the absence of a compelling reason. I recognize that what is compelling to one may be trivial to another, but as I said, this issue can be argued both ways, as it has been on this web site.
    So, why take the chance?
    What do you gain by a change?
    Why would anyone attempt to satisfy a groups of universities (the Big Ten) and critics who don’t have your best interests at heart?

  19. I’m curious about something else. Let’s say the SEC presidents do approve some additional restrictions on roster management/oversigning. If these changes don’t go as far as Josh wants them to go, what then? Are we going to be subjected to 12 more months of having the same Saban clip posted ad nauseum?

  20. Perhaps the SEC could send a reprentative to the Big Ten. This man could sit at the feet of omniscient leaders of that august body and learn ethics and the proper way to manage a conference.

  21. i suspect the usual suspects here will always remain able to divine unethical behavior and competitive advantage in every conference but their own.

    • Not sure I agree with that, ITM, although I understand your point. I have never been interested in trying to run down another conference because I didn’t think the teams in mine weren’t able to compete. I would bet you anything that the author of this site imagines himself some sort of savior for his conference brethren, put here to deliver them from the big bad SEC, and imagines himself circling the room getting high fives after the NCAA somehow establishes new rules that will level the playing field.

      Of course it’s a little tough when your team has a 30-schollie reduction because the coach was cheating as were the players. But I digress…

    • Right. Because when it comes to oversigning, the B1G is clearly screwing kids over. Despite no evidence to the contrary, and rules against it.

      • Oh, kids get screwed in the B1G. Not because of oversigning, to be sure. But it happens in every conference. Or does that Iowa list suddenly become acceptable because another university might have a longer one?

        You may now engage in the usual rationalizations in defense of the B1G that you mock when people invoke them in defense of their own conference.

        • Nah. I had a hard enough time to prove to most of the oversigning defenders that the difference between 70% redshirt and 90% redshirt was just 1 person per class. I could take a list of everyone who has left any school over the last 20 years. Who cares? Its not revelant data. All you’ve done is show people have left iowa.

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


    B-b-b-b-but the defenders of oversigning have always claimed that it does NOT provide a competitive advantage, no? Saban is finally admitting what everyone knows — screwing over kids on the current roster to clear space for greater numbers of higher-ranked recruits gives the SEC a competive advantage. In other words, Saban is acknowledging that he supports unethical behavior which produces wins.

    • Thats because the defenders of oversigning either
      A) Are unwilling to admit that maybe the practice is unethical, because they identify with their college and take it as a personal insult, or
      B) See it as an attack by the B1G, and due to their dislike of the B1G (maybe its because they are so insecure they feel intimidated/insulted by the conference) are defaulting towards pro-oversigning.

    • So when the Big Ten decided to allow oversigning by 3 in 2002 were they supporting unethical behavior in order to produce wins?

      • No. It was to allow for extenuating circumstances, such as a when a SA is not coming to school for the fall quarter. If you read Chad Hawley’s excerpt, he states that very few B1G schools oversign per year. There is maybe 1-2 across the conference. Which is what you would expect for rather extenuating circumstances. And it also includes safegaurds against cutting players, with all the documentation required to go along with each student.

        • At the risk of going around in circles again, at least 6 Big Ten schools oversigned this year, so excuse me if I’m skeptical about the whole “seldom used” claim. And how did the Big Ten safeguards prevent Indiana from having to shed two players last summer in order to get down to the 85 limit?

          • You have no data to support that. According to Chad Hawley, only one institution oversigned. And no offense, but I tend to believe him more than you

    • How do you come to that conclusion? Few people say there is no advantage to oversigning, that seems evident, but advantage does not equal unethical behavior. If you can explain how the proper use of grayshirts is unethical, I would love to seeit – noone here has been able to do it yet.

  23. Luke: I disagree with your assertions.
    I don’t consider oversigning to be unethical. If my alma mater was to engage in an unethical action, I would be the first to criticize it. But I believe the universities I attended have complied with NCAA (and conference) regulations. That’s all they are required to do. Period. They have every right to manage their rosters as long as they do so within national rules.
    They are not now or will they ever be required to comply with self-imposed rules devised by others who are outsde the conference. If my alma mater was to do so, I would be angry at the stupidity of the university.
    As for the B10. I could care less what its members do or what rules they impose on themselves – as long as they comply with NCAA requirements. In fact, until this issue raised its ugly head, I thought very little of the B10. The competition for the conference championship meant nothing to me. Actually, the only B10 game I can remember watching was the Mich State-Notre Dame game – and that was decades ago.
    As far as I’m concerned, the B10 can stuff its rules for all I care and can go off and live in its own little world – as long as it doesn’t attempt to bother others.

    • You’ve already stated you thought very little of the B1G. That would be B. Oversigning is not an issue because the B1G is pushing it, its mostly due to college football fans and other parties who care about the well being of the student athlete. Is there any evidence/data out there showing the B1G proposing to the NCAA that all other conferences use their mandate? Nope.

  24. Luke: Your concern for student athletes is commendable but misguided. These individuals are pampered beyond any reasonable comparison with ordinary students. If you want to concern yourself with individuals attending college, I suggest you find ways to ameliorate the situation of those who lack scholarships, who must work to support themselves while they attend college, and who need 5-6 years to graduate.

    Or if you prefer a group for whom sympathy can be stirred more readily. Perhaps you and Josh should take up the cause of veterans recently released from the military after multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are certainly a group that needs assistance to attend college. And they’re far more deserving of assistance than any student athlete I can imagine.

    You know you’re right: the B10 isn’t proposing that other conferences adopt its policy, at least as far as I’ve read. Perhaps the B10 knows its policy is a relic from another era and wants some sort of excuse to repeal it outright, rather than continue to devise ad hoc exceptions.

    But I read today that the B10 does like one new idea that’s been advanced. News reports indicate that B10 officials have endorsed Steve Spurrier’s proposal to pay athletes.

    Is paying athletes going to be the next cause – the nexty great moral issue – championed by those “who care about the well being of student athletes?”

  25. Assuming that Richt actually does as he says, I don’t see anything wrong with his use of grayshirts. If the kid knows up front that he does not have a guaranteed spot that year and wants to go there anyway, where’s the harm? It’s only in cases where the offer becomes a grayshirt at the last moment (Porter) that there’s harm done. If the transparency Richt preaches is enforced, grayshirts need not be a scummy practice.

    I think the best way to handle it is to separate out normal LOIs and grayshirt offers, something like this:
    1) An LOI is binding on both parties for at least the first year except in case of academic ineligibility or criminal behavior and GUARANTEES a scholarship. Both the 25 and 85 limits apply to these at all times, and a player who has not run out of eligibility is assumed to remain on the 85 list unless explicitly removed; if removed, a player cannot be readded at the same school without counting toward the 25 limit again (this is intended to prevent the practice of accepting a full 25, going through spring practice, and then cutting players).
    2) A grayshirt offer is binding on the school for a scholarship starting midyear if the student enrolls. The student can void the grayshirt offer to take a normal LOI at any school. These are limited by the 25 and 85 rules as well, but they can count toward either year’s 25 (as now) and do not count toward the 85 until after the season (when the present seniors will no longer count because their eligibility will have expired).

    For example:
    A) You have 65 returning scholarship players, of whom 11 are seniors. You can offer 20 LOIs plus five grayshirts counting toward this year. If additional players leave, some or all of those five grayshirts can then be promoted to full LOIs – but not until those players leave.
    B) You have 70 returning scholarship players, of whom 9 are seniors (unusually high attrition/early entry among your would-be seniors, but nearly full classes behind them and few players redshirting). You can only offer 15 LOIs + 9 grayshirts. If one of the would-be seniors declares for the draft, you can promote a grayshirt to an LOI but you’re still stuck at 24 total offers because of the 85 limit (your total for the following year would be the current 61 non-seniors + these offers). (If an underclassman leaves, however, you’d be able to add an LOI to get to 25 total offers.)

    This wouldn’t make it impossible for coaches to cut kids just because they can (no rule that wouldn’t have serious unintended consequences can manage that), but it makes it riskier to do so because you can’t sign the player that would take his spot (and thus run what are effectively tryouts in spring practice) until you’ve cut them.

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