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.
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.