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. 

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SEC fans have long complained about the snooty northerners from the B1G claiming a moral high ground and looking down their nose while trying to push their ways on the south.  Had Jim Delany done what Mike Slive did yesterday, it would be Civil War 2.0 in college football.  You can't have it both ways SEC guys, you can't in one breath complain about Jim Delany and the B1G pushing their ways on others while claiming a moral high ground and then in another breath create new rules to deal with a problem that is most rampant in your conference and then demand that everyone else follow suit while claiming a moral high ground and labeling yourself as leaders.  That's not how you arrive at a national rule that deals with oversigning.  That is how you become hypocritical and lose the moral high ground argument.

Regardless, the mantra of this site from this day forward will be "how do we create a national rule that completely eliminates oversigning?"   The Big 10 conference went without it for 50+ years; it can be done.  We need to get back to it and it needs to be the nationwide standard, not this red herring the SEC is floating out there of a soft 25 annual cap that doesn't provide protection for the players when there are only 16 openings and a coach signs 25.

Each year, college football is becoming less and less of a regional sport.  When dealing with the competitive advantage aspect of this issue, once you have ensured that there are no loopholes for exploitation, you have to find a way to make sure everyone is recruiting and signing the same amount of players.  Up until 15 years ago, schools were only competing regionally to win their conference and go to an exhibition bowl game against another conference.  Conferences had traditional bowl games that they went to every year and that was a reward for winning the conference.  Times have changed, everyone is not competing for a spot at their traditional bowl as a reward anymore, everyone is competing for the 2 spots in the BCS national championship game and the remaining spots in the BCS bowl system.  The money is bigger and the competition is nation-wide. 

This is the great conundrum of college football.  The NCAA, BCS, TV and advertising companies are all trying to take a regional sport and make it national.  Very hard to do.  Most national, professional sports only have about 30-35 teams total and are regulated entirely by one governing body.  In college football you have 120+ teams and 3 governing bodies, NCAA, Conference, and University, and they all want to shape the rules to fit their region and their culture, while at the same time compete for the same championships and the same BCS money.  This is a system unlike any other is sports.

The only solution to continue down the path of making college football a national sport instead of a regional one is to try and develop national rules; you don't do that by having a single conference declare they are creating rules for themselves and then demand that everyone else follow.  SEC folks wouldn't stand for that for one second and the rest of the country shouldn't either.  There needs to be national discussion that brings everyone to the table to agree on a set of standards regarding the signing process.

Jim Delany is not calling a press conference Monday, but he needs to call the Mark Emmert at the NCAA and reserve his rightful spot at the negotiations table on oversigning, as do all of the conference commissioners. 

The last thing we need is for any one conference to be in control of oversigning policy creation on a national level, much less the one with the worst track record of abusing the practice.  That would be like letting Ohio State dictate national policy on selling memorabilia for tattoos, right?

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  1. Josh, didn’t the Big Ten try to push it’s signing limits in baseball on every other conference in the country earlier this year?

    • Don’t try to reason with him. He is enjoying his own delusions. The SEC is the root of all evil and the Big 10 will never do anything wrong.

    • Huge difference, B1G did not have an oversigning issue in baseball and there was zero grand-standing to make it look like they were doing something ground-breaking from a moral, ethical standpoint. It was more like, hey, we don’t oversign, have a history of banning the practice, we’re going to keep doing it that way, but we’re taking a beating in the competitive advantage column, do you think we can get the rest of the country to stop doing something unethical so that we can all compete on a level playing field? The answer was no and the Big 10 said, fine, we’ll doing it this way because it is the right thing to do for the kids, despite the competitive advantage.

      Hopefully you can see the difference there.

      If the NCAA doesn’t adopt a national rule to the SEC’s liking they will go back to their old rules and back to exploiting kids, you can mark that down. That’s why I hope we can get everyone to the table and discuss a rational solution that eliminates all oversigning.

      Here’s the bottom line Vesper, the SEC is going to have to learn to put down its crutch of leaning on academically borderline kids.

      A message needs to be sent to the kids in the states that make up the SEC that if they want to play ball in the SEC, or anywhere else, they have to be prepared academically. Ask any educator, when you bring in a borderline kid you are already putting him under tremendous pressure and most of those kids don’t make it, and then what are they going to do after the football dream dies? Quite honestly, borderline academic guys should be spending all of the time on school, not trying to go to school and work a full-time job that is playing football.

      What you are going to find, and what Marc is working on, is that these guys are not being educated, they are majoring in eligibility and are being shuffled through football-friendly courses. Marc is researching this at great length and working with real professional reformers on this — you will see.

      This myth of catering to the academically borderline student is going to go to the wayside. There is going to come a time that if you want to play football you are going to have to be ready for academics as well. By oversigning, schools are saying don’t worry about academics, we can sign so many guys that if a few of you fall through we’ll be okay, and those of you who make it, we’ll cluster you in football friendly courses and have you major in eligibility.

      You need to put your hatred for me and the B1G to the side and prepare yourself for a new reality. It’s coming whether you like it or not. The system we have will not continue. There are a lot of people far more influential than I am, who agree with my feelings here, that are working behind the scenes to develop proposals and really reform college athletics. It’s just a matter of time before they win. You would be better off joining the fight.

      • I lean left politically. Maybe more than left. But I don’t like Olbermann, for the same reason I don’t like Limbaugh — they incite. They distort. They decontextualize. They excuse everything on their side of the fence and excoriate everything on the other. All to generate outrage.

        But there’s a real cost to the dialogue and solution phase in that model.

        Your SEC/B1G frame exactly resembles the left/right spin models I make a point of avoiding. You went pretty much where I expected in the wake of the SEC votes, but the expected can still be disappointing.

        If all these influential people are making this happen as we speak, then your constant derision of the SEC and their fans simply becomes even more gratuitous.

        A national discussion first requires some civility and decorum. Want to be a leader in that discussion or just another two-bit agitator?

      • Good God, could you be anymore of a hypocrite? You’re going to preach to ME about the need to get over MY hatred? Tell me, Josh. Have you ever acknowledged YOUR hatred for the SEC, Alabama, and Nick Saban? If not, where do you get off preaching to othere about their biases? “That is how you become hypocritical and lose the moral high ground argument.”

        The SEC is brashly trying to push its signing limits on everyone else to mitigate any competitive advantage they might have over the SEC. The Big Ten humbly proposed changes to baseball signing limits solely “because it’s the right thing to do for the kids”. ITM was spot on with his Olbermann/Limbaugh comment. In your eyes, the Big Ten can do no wrong and the SEC can do no right.

        The fact is the Big Ten did attempt to push its signing limits in baseball on the other conferences. Contrary to what Josh claims, there was no outrage, no Civil War 2.0. It was simply voted down. And if the other conferences don’t want to adopt the SEC’s rules, then they’ll vote them down too.

      • ITM was also spot on with the “incite”, “distort”, “decontextualize” comment. Let’s look at your last 2 tweets on the sidebar:

        @toomuchpete Florida, Vandy, and Georgia don’t use #oversigning; guess they hate kids and want to hurt them too; they should join the #B1G

        Didn’t you highlight Florida for oversigning last year? And I’ve posted a link showing that Vandy oversigned this year.

        @toomuchpete #B1G coaches have the option to #oversigning by 3; they rarely use it. Guess they hate kids and want to hurt them

        Rarely use it? You’re still standing by that? Your own oversigning cup standings show 4 Big Ten schools oversigned and there are indications that at least 2 others oversigned this year.

        Incite, distort, decontextualize. And Josh knows these tweets are unconfirmed at best, compeletely false at worst. But I’m sure in his mind it’s ok because he’s fighting the good fight – just like Olbermann and Limbaugh.

  2. The racist agenda exposed. Further limiting minorities from participating in major college sports with the white presidents of the major colleges approval. You can’t relate because you don’t know what it is like being discriminated against.

    • Am I understanding you correctly that you think the new SEC legislation is going to cause SEC coaches to discriminate against minorities?

      • The white SEC presidents and the white Mike Slive voted for a rule which will disproportionally affect minorities the most. They are too enlightened and too racist to understand these new rules will allow fewer minorities into mostly white universities. Joshua has exposed his racism earlier today. His real motives are to actually take away opportunities to participate in major college sports. It is my hope that organizations such as the NAACP investigates what these white presidents at the mostly white universities are doing to minorities.

        • Really? Let’s say a university typically oversigns by 1-10 students. In a university of 25,000 students (6250 per year), you are saying that not admitting 10 minority students who most likely would have been exploited to play football and then be tossed aside before graduating to make room for the next oversigned class is racist?

          Oversigning is your solution to failing primary/secondary school system in America? You don’t find the existing difference in graduation rates of black and white athletes (both oversigning and non-oversigning schools are guilty) racist?

          This sounds like you would like to continue exploiting minorites: those whom losing a football scholarship would hurt the most. To protect minorities, we should ban oversigning.

        • Weak sauce, Brian.

          The goal is not to get as many kids INTO college as possible. The goal is for them to GRADUATE, and it’s pretty hard to graduate when the coach is running kids out of the program to free up scholarships for next year’s cannon fodder.

          What good are those scholarships if they only net a year or two of education? How does that serve minority student athletes?

          • I don’t want you to think I’m jumping on you hear, Bill, but you bring up a point that often rubs me the wrong way: This idea that coaches need to graduate all their players. Hang with me here.

            I honestly don’t know of any other employee on a college campus that is expected to graduate as close to 100% of their students the way an athletic coach is. You know, if the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at LSU (or whichever college wherever) loses a comparable number of Liberal Arts majors to dropouts/transfers/major changes/expulsions as Les Miles loses football players at the end of the year, he doesn’t sweat it. It’s just considered understood that “college isn’t for everyone,” that some kids are screw-ups who aren’t cut out for the rigors and freedoms of college life, that some kids decide they’d rather major in Psychology than Ethnomusicology, that some kids will pursue what they perceive as better options in their field elsewhere, that some kids just want to be closer to home, etc, etc. Some degree of yearly attrition is considered “natural,” and all those lost students get replaced by dewey-eyed freshman and transfers within months anyway. Nobody bats an eye. Nobody accuses the Dean of not giving every student ample opportunity to graduate. In fact, the farther you go up the academic food chain, the more these guys take pride in culling the herd and only producing the best of the best graduates.

            But the FOOTBALL COACH, man, the football coach, if he sheds 8 or 9 kids a year for any variety of reasons, he’s a bad dude. He’s not making sure these kids graduate! And all this despite the years and years of the NCAA continuing to restrict the amount of time the coaches actually get to spend with their players, incrementally limiting their ability to develop them on the field (which would probably help some of these kids from getting cut) and keep them out of trouble off the field and on track in the classroom.

            I mean, could you imagine the President of the University coming to our hypothetical Dean of Liberal Arts and saying, “Hey, you know those classes your professors teach for 3 hours a week? Well, now they only get 1 hour a week, but they have to teach all the same curriculum they would have taught in 3 hours and your graduation rates need to be as close to 100% as possible or we’ll castigate you in the media and maybe even reduce your funding. Good luck!”

            The whole thing strikes me as bizarre. These sports coaches are the only guys and gals on campus charged with putting a cap and gown on as close to 100% of their charges as inhumanly possible. Not even the tweediest of the tweedy academics, who have much more to do with a student getting their name on sheepskin than a coach, face that kind of pressure and scrutiny.

            I’m not saying we shouldn’t strive to graduate as many student athletes as possible. I’m just saying the standard seems unreasonable given real-world circumstances and totally out line with the way business gets done in every other area at a university.

            In fact, this whole mandate to “graduate” athletes seems to me to tacitly imply an understanding that these kids are NOT like all the other students and that we need to make sure we rubber-stamp a diploma for them to keep this operation on the up-and-up.

            • Jay, I hear what you’re saying. You’re right that, even if a coach does everything right, not every kid is college material. There’s nothing wrong with that.

              What I don’t like is that some people (not you necessarily) praise oversigning because it supposedly gives more kids an opportunity to get an education. It doesn’t. Coaches are promising 25+ kids every year that if they stay out of trouble and work hard, they get a free college education. That simply isn’t true–no matter how many kids get this “opportunity,” only 85 can graduate every four years. Coaches are betting–and I dare say hoping–some of these kids will fail, because if they don’t, they won’t be able to bring in next year’s crop of young talent.

              But to your argument, I think you’re comparing apples and oranges. Oversigning isn’t about coaches trying but failing to get kids to study so they can graduate. Oversigning is a blight because coaches are actively sabotaging kids’ ability to get their education by running them out of the football program. Not because they’re bad students or bad teammates, but because the coaches did a bad job of evaluating the kid’s level of football talent.

              The problem with oversigning is that football coaches are taking away kids’ means of getting an education despite the fact that kids are doing no

              • So where are these kids getting kicked out? Why are attrition rates comparable between schools that oversign and those that don’t. Isn’t it possible that attrition is preparation for natural attrition?

          • It’s even harder to graduate when you were never given a chance to attend college in the first place, which the new racist SEC rules will do.

  3. We don’t think the big 10 is smug. We think you are. It’s the manner and hostility with which you approach the issue.

    • Perhaps I come across that way in writing, but those that know me, including Marc, will tell you I am far from smug, just an average guy on a mission to make a change for something I believe in. It took a lot of hard work and a lot of hours to help push this into the mainstream and get it to the point that the SEC actually acknowledged that the rest of the world is watching what they are doing.

      To be honest, it is Nick Saban that comes across as smug when he lies to the media and refuses to answer direct questions, but that’s just a personal opinion.

      • Gee (not to be ironic), I wonder how you feel now about the former coach at Ohio State and his notion that he was so above reproach that he could lie to the NCAA and get away with it. I don’t think “smug” goes far enough to describe the outrageous arrogance of that.

      • “Perhaps I come across that way in writing, but those that know me…”

        You are what you write. You think about it, you craft it — it’s you. That’s why people get so uptight in writing seminars — they are revealing something of themselves that they don’t have to reveal in normal social circumstances.

        I appreciate the demands of a blog, especially one that must as responsive to events as this one, but these are not isolated slips. It’s a specific, calculated tone, and it never deviates.

      • At first i thought you must be mentally unstable, but now you come across as an average racist with an incredibly racist agenda.

        • There may be tinges of racism (the real racism here comes from Texas Dawg, not from Josh), but the thing that has shined through from the very beginning is a very high level of misguided earnestness to somehow “win” something for the Big 10, but more specifically Ohio State. What has been clear from the time this blog first appeared is that Josh knew he had to pretend as though he had a noble goal in mind so that people wouldn’t dismiss his effort, but the purpose of it has always been to try and pull some of the SEC’s, but more specifically Alabama’s, teeth. What’s bemusing and unsettling about it is that even though the agenda is quite obvious, the mainstream sports media still picked up on the story. Poor Josh thinks it is because he is some sort of modern day CFB Woodward/Bernstein, but it’s just another “cause” du jour.

          But I really am curious what in the hell he thinks the purpose of this blog will be at this point. Unless the NCAA decides to get in the middle of this issue, and it seems obvious to me that the NCAA is letting the conferences deal with this on their own, so they will stay away from it, then he is reduced to playing Nick Saban quotes and ranting.

          He will be forced to add some sort of Jerry Springer element to this now if he wants to maintain any sort of momentum. I shudder to think what that will result in, but you can bet it will be an embarrassment.

  4. So the guy who has lectured us for quite a while now about how the SEC should adopt the B10 rules is now offended because the SEC adopted a new rule and wants the NCAA to consider it? Now that’s hypocracy.

    For the record, I don’t want it adopted. I think it is a bad rule. It doesn’t do anything to fix what I see as the problem, and only reduced the ability of the schools to keep their rosters full (and maximize opportunity to the players). There is nothing here that would have saved Elliot Porter a lot of heartburn, just more restrictions that will make what happened at South Carolina this year more possible. I agree with Josh that capping the yearly totals don’t do anything. In fact, caps don’t solve anything, even the 85 like Josh would like. If you want to help the kids and the schools, then let them sign as many as they want – but they have to have written and accepted grayshirt offers for however many they have over the limit. I beg for anybody to explain how that wouldn’t be the best solution.

    • I agree that signed grayshirt offers are a good idea, but the “sign as many as they want” part of it is a huge can of worms.

      The Team has 15 open spots for this year, but signs 25 kids, including 10 who have signed grayshirt offers. Next year, there are 20 open spots minus the 10 that will be filled by the grayshirts (because those spots HAVE to be guaranteed or you haven’t solved anything). Now there are only 10 spots available for HS seniors but The Coach signs 25 again anyway, this time 15 of them have signed GS offers. The next year, there are 18 open spots (minus 15 GS)…

      Can The Coach still sign 25 players as long as 22 of them sign GS offers? What happens when signed GS offers inevitably outnumber open roster spots? If coaches can’t reliably predict attrition from the end of one season to the start of the next, how is adding another variable (the following off-season) going to make that easier?

      I’m all for signed GS offers, but there MUST be some kind of cap on that as well.

      • Fine, cap grayshirt offers to the number of spots projected for the next year. I really don’t think that would be a problem, but extremes should always be considered, I don’t have a problem with that.

        • That’s kind of my point though. Isn’t the argument that coaches are unable to accurately project the attrition that will occur between the end of one season and the beginning of the next? How are they going to be able to come up with a number for another year later than that?

          I don’t mind grayshirting at all, if it’s not some kind of ambush thing and think that putting it in writing can only benefit both parties. I still think it should be used sparingly. Some kind of low, static cap (maybe 3-5 a year?) makes the most sense to me.

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