Oversigning.com
5Jun/1191

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.

Comments (91) Trackbacks (0)
  1. If we are going to create a new system, why not get rid of the 85 scholarship limit. What makes that number so valuable? Why not just set an annual signing limit of (pick a number) 30 to 35. Make the grants for 5 years and allow 5 years of participation (eliminate redshirts and medicals).
    Under the system describe above the onus is placed squarely on coaches to evaluate, motivate, train and retain signees. May the best coach win.

    • I’d love to see them eliminate the 85 limit and goto an annual number. I doubt it could be any larger than 25 though as the smaller schools would vote down anything that caused them to add scholarships in order to be competitive. Another factor is the WAC/MW/MAC/Big East love the current scholarship limits as it means the traditional powers can’t sign all the prospects.

    • Exactly. If people like Marc and Josh are so opposed to roster management practices, then why aren’t they advocating an annual signing limit (I’d say 20 to 23) with no total scholarship limit? Without the 85 limit, a coach has no motivation to run off players, right?

      • THat’s a great idea… one I had never thougth of before…

      • and allow greyshirts as a seperage offer that is bound to your signing limits the next year…. you could remove the backcouting exemption, but still allow for any greyshirt to move to current year for Non-Qualifiers…

      • I say no to that. This proposal will truly encourage “hoarding talent”, with no incentive for the school to allow a player to transfer (the opened scholarship), why would a team allow a kid to transfer – especially if he’s on the hook for the full 4 or 5 years? I don’t see this as a benifit to the players.

        • There’s not going to be a perfect system. IMO a system which encourages a team to retain players is better than a system that encourages a team to get rid of players.

          • Point taken, and I would prefer that over no grayshirting – but there will always be players who think they are worthy of more playing time and if they are willing to transfer to make that happen, they should be allowed to. With the current system, the school is encouraged to assist these players in transferring, but with your proposal here, they are not. I do see the positives, and would prefer it over some as I said, but I still think tweeking the current system is better.

        • Catch, you could only Hoard what the limit is for that current class. IE, as stated above have a 23 or 25 class limit cap. That would in effect create a “max” cap of 115 if you use the 23 number… but as you lose kids in attrition you would not be able to backcount to a privious class. Basically, you could sign 23 every year and greyshirt to furture years. If a guy transfers or medicals… you just lost that spot moving forward. The increased scholarship numbers would allow you to be able to deal with injury and attrition without the need to back count.

          • I understand, and see the good points. The problem I have is that there is no reason to release anybody from their scholarship if they want to transfer. That is where the hoarding players comes in. You could theoretically have a bunch of really good players sitting the bench, with no intention of playing them. If that happens now, the player transfers to find more playing time. With no incentive to the school, they will only see that the player is a potential opponent if he leaves, and will be less likely to allow the transfer.

            No system is perfect (unless you all just let me write the rules ;) , but I prefer tweeking what we have to this.

            • There shouldn’t be any reason to release anyone from a scholarship.

              The kid signs an agreement/contract. I think if he wants to break it there should be a penalty. The one year sit rule is fine. If the coach and the player cannot come to terms on the transfer the player can still transfer, but is required to sit a year. I don’t see anything wrong with this.

              The school should have ZERO incentive to get rid of any player… and the player needs to consider the depth charts and talent level at a school BEFORE he signs on the dotted line. Granted, it may suck that a school brings in better talent ad a player gets lost in the depth chart, but that isn’t a reason to allow a free transfer to a different school.

              Now, that doesn’t stop a coach and a player from coming to terms on a transfer. The coach may stipulate that the player has to transfer to a non-SEC school or down a division if he/she wants a reease. Otherwise, the sit rule is in effect and they can transfer if they sit a year.

            • you dont have to be released to transfer i thought. You just have to pay for school yourself the next year.

      • I think experience would show that a number between 30 and 35 will be needed to maintain a roster near the 85 number. Remember kids get hurt, flunk out and run-off with their fat little girlfriends.
        Hording is a red herring. The term implies a surplus. There will be no surplus. In fact, 30 ‘ships per year may no be enough to maintain an adequate roster.

      • here is what what happen with no set total limit. The school would give 20 scholarships out, invite 84 walk ons, and grant them a scholarship after the signing period.

        • Not if the window for your annual limit spanned a calender year. 20 (or whatever number) new scholarships between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31.

    • I rarely post, but have done so twice in the past asking this very question. My argument has always been that scholarship limitations are not in the best interest of the SA. Scholarship limitations are about parity, which in is in the interest of the institutions. To make arguments about over-signing being evil is like saying we want what is best for the SA as long as it does not hurt my school. Which is to say the main goal is not the SA’s best interest, but the institutions.

      With no scholarship limit there would be no over-signing, no gray shirting, not questionable medical scholarships. The winners would be SA’s, because THEY get to choose where they want to play. It would then be up to them to decide if they were good enough to play at a specific university and up to them to put in the work to be able to compete. The schools could decide how many scholarships they could afford to offer. Yes, some schools would suffer because many of the top athletes would be going to a hand full of schools. But isn’t being fair to the student athlete what this site is all about? Or is that just a red herring?

      It is a simple solution that gives the SA a choice.

      • “Scholarship limitations are about parity, which in is in the interest of the institutions.”

        This is one of the greatest sentences ever written on this website, by anyone. Perfectly illustrates the dichotomy at play in the NCAA. They want you to think they’re looking out for the student athletes, but precious few of the rules they’ve implemented over the years have actually been to the student athletes’ benefit.

        What about the 85 limit is good for the kids? But, by golly, ever now and then Temple is able to scrape together enough good players to get some bowl money!

        • Thank you.

          I have disliked the NCAA since the first time I had to sit through an NCAA compliance seminar as a SA. Not once did I think to myself, “I really appreciate the NCAA doing that, they are watching out for me.”

    • IMHO, 30 would work just fine. Even 28 or 25 would work. And there wouldn’t need to be a fifth year of eligibility, it would still work. Just eliminate the cap and close some loopholes.
      ~~~

  2. What would be the ethical problem with erasing the 85 cap besides hoarding? And could you not eliminate that concern by (A) limiting GIAs annually, and (B) simply removing transfer restrictions at some point as you move down the roster?

    Something like this:
    1 – 25 GIAs a year.
    2 – Program gets to “protect”… 60? 70? 80? But everyone else can transfer at will. More interested in the concept than the number at this point.
    3 – No scholarship caps on the back end. Once a kid’s in the program, he stays on scholarship if he remains in good graces on grades, graduation progress, and honor code.

    This completely removes all incentive for a coach to remove a kid from the team for the wrong reasons. Yes, it’s more expensive, and yes, Title IX doubles the cost.

    But doesn’t the 85 cap generates all the pressure here? You can write rules all day long to maintain that cap, but that seems an extraordinary amount of energy in the service of protecting a number that exists solely to contain costs.

    • Wow. ACC, B1G, SEC, all in with basically the same idea. Is that a national discussion?

    • The idea of essentially “franchising” a certain number of players seems interesting to me. Not sure how that would work, but it’s interesting.

      I do think there would have to be some alternative to a no-restriction transfer plan. As great and empowering as that would be for the kids, it would never EVER get passed, so its basically a waste of time to even argue for it. No coach in the country wants to consider the nightmare of having rivals recruiting players off his own team. There would have to be some adjustments to get anything resembling that done. Maybe the ability to “franchise” your Top 55 (or whatever the NFL roster number is) would be worth talking about.

    • Maybe (and this is just off the top of my head, it might be a terrible idea) the answer is just a certain amount of playing time after having been in the program for certain number of years. It just seems like you create new issues between players and coaches (as well as players and other players) if there are two lists of players. Yeah, everybody knows where they stand, but if a coach is basically forced to come out and say, “These are the players I can live without if I have to” that just seems unnecessarily cruel to me.

      So say if you’re playing less than x% of available time (this would have to be calculated based on your position and playing time for starters at your position at your school or something like that) you can transfer, starting in your second non-redshirt year. That % should be adjusted as your career advances, since by the time you’re a senior it’s reasonable to expect to get more playing time than you did as a sophomore.

      Again, just off the top of my head. Seems better than making the coach pick favorites though.

      • No, that’s a great thought. Favoritism would definitely be an issue. More than even that, I imagine the NCAA wouldn’t approve of a rule that would effectively create two separate classes of athlete, with the “keepers” being perceived as better than the rest.

        No easy answers here, unfortunately.

        • Leave the transfer rules as they are now… remove the 1 year renewable and make it a 4 year deal with an additional year option to the school (4+1). Allow players to be remvoed from scholarship for certain rules beign broken or grades not being maintained…

  3. The reason they leave no room for that scenario is that it doesn’t get to Josh’s goal, which is trying to limit the dominance of one conference. I don’t know if Marc shares that agenda or not, but at some level it would appear he does.

    As for the accusations of childish rants, Marc, get freaking REAL buddy. Have you not gone back and READ this blog since the very beginning? HOW MANY TIMES is Josh going to wear out these same quotes from Nick Saban? How many times is he going to refer to what Houston Nutt did multiple seasons ago? If these “rants” were one-sided attacks with no merit, then your chiding might mean something. But don’t come on here and wag your finger when the author of the flipping website has incited and picked and jabbed from the outset?

    I’ll be happy myself to stop making petty observations as soon as this blog takes on an even-tempered and reasonable tone. Until and unless that happens, the sniping and the sarcasm will continue.

    • Yeah, I was going to let that comment by Marc go, but since you addressed it, I’ll chime in too. In Marc’s defense, I doubt he’s poured through all the comment sections on this blog over the past year, so I’ll provide an example from last August under the title “Let’s talk Solutions”:

      My comment:

      Division 1 coaches are demanding, but in varying degrees. All Division 1 teams experience player initiated transfers, but in varying amounts. After 15 years as a head coach, Saban has a good idea of how many player initiated transfers he can expect each off season. He budgets that number into his next recruiting class. If there are fewer transfers than expected, then more signees greyshirt (the possibility of which was discussed with them before they signed). Sorry to disappoint some of you, but it’s just that simple.

      That’s ok buckeyeXB, keep thinking. I’m sure you’ll come up with an arguement eventually.

      Josh’s response:

      “Player initiated transfers” Sorry to disappoint some of you, but that’s just a crock of bullshit. Those “player initiated transfers” almost always come after spring camp where Saban has had an extra period of time to evaluate players. I have no problem with a player transferring, but these guys almost never announce they are transferring before signing day or when the new recruits arrive for spring ball.

      This myth you are pushing that Saban knows way ahead of time which players will voluntarily initiate their own transfers is total and utter bullshit just like all of your posts. In order to believe your bullshit we have to believe that Saban knew that Star Jackson was going to transfer back in April of 2009 when Sims verbally committed to Alabama, which flies directly in the face of the argument that most Alabama fans make that Jackson’s transfer had nothing to do with Sims committing to Alabama.

      That’s when I decided to take off the gloves. Maybe I should take the high road, but I can’t just let it go whenever Josh twists the facts or straight up lies. If he can’t make an effective arguement without doing those things, then maybe his position isn’t as strong as he claims it is.

      • Oh, wow. Now that you bring it up, August of last year was a dark time for this site. I wasn’t a participant then, but I remember all kinds of nasty things being said. Josh was kinda “off the reservation” for a little while there. It was enough to make even me, a supporter of the site’s overall goal, question what this was really all about.

        Maybe it was a case of “too much, too soon” in terms of the notoriety this site picked up in those early days and it went to his head or something, but it’s gotten a lot better since then.

        • majority of the time the COACH initiates the transfer when the player voices his his concern. Keep in mind the player can ask for a transfer put it is the coaches ultimate decision to release the player from scholarship.

    • I disagree about the motivation for being against the umbrella concept of oversigning. I don’t believe it is not to rein in the SEC. If schools in a conference want to be good in a sport, are willing to invest their time, finances and reputation in the goal of producing a winning squad — the foundation for success is strong. If schools in a conference are determined to invest the most time, the most finances and stake their entire reputation in the goal of producing a winning squad and tell their coaches to fully exploit every gray area of the NCAA rules, I have even greater confidence that on average, over time, the schools will achieve success on the field. Finally, if, for example, the alumni and academic leaders completely disregard or rationalize any negative by-products of their pursuit — such as, for example, being on NCAA probation for major violations for 19 of 20 years, then I am very confident that a school will be success. This is true whether we are discussing Alabama, Oklahoma, USC (three of the most frequent violators of NCAA Rules) or OSU (which I hope is absolutely hammered by the NCAA). Restricting oversigning will not change the current competitive landscape. It is still governed by “how low you are willing to go” and it is obvious that there is a wide variance among schools in where they will draw the line.

      Oversigning is different. Cheating will always occur. Since schools largely self monitor their own compliance they will cheapen their academic integrity, turn a blind eye to boosters, defend their athletes “who are really good kids who just made a mistake and who has not made a mistake as a 19-yr old kid”? Oversigning is one of only a few areas where it seems possible to effectively restrict the onerous practices that some schools aggressively pursue to the detriment of the student and the institution.

    • “The reason they leave no room for that scenario is that it doesn’t get to Josh’s goal, which is trying to limit the dominance of one conference.”

      Greg McGarity, UGA AD, also said the solution isn’t perfect and will require more tightening in the future.

      He must just hate SEC dominance as well, right?

      • UGA is not a part of that SEC dominance. UGA has not won a national title in football, baseball, softball, men’s basketball or women’s basketball since the mid-1980s. As I stated in another post, UGA and Florida are behind this because A) they don’t need to oversign due to the talent in their population-rich states and B) it helps keep South Carolina, Arkansas, Alabama, Auburn, Tennessee and LSU from beating them, which they do to Georgia frequently and enough to Florida to knock them out of an SEC or national title game or three.

        • And Georgia does not oversign…so they are destined to never win the SEC. It is crappy but as the rules stand this is how it is. Mark Richt could win with an extra 40 players to choose from.

          • come on Dave? Great comment. Georgia doesnt exploit recruits and drop their standards EVEN though they are in the south. They are in the south with all these borderline recruits and are still competitive, given the last 2 years.

          • Georgia does oversign.

            Georgia oversigned this year.

    • I’m advocating EVERYONE stop the petty comments.

      • Understood.

        Got an estimated date for the release of the bombshell you talked about in that radio interview a couple of weeks ago? Will it be on this site or one of your sites?

      • “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.”

        Thanks for appointing yourselves the Judge, jury, and executioner over other peoples lives. So some peoples lives are more important than others? Got it.

        • Brian, I’m not judging, sentencing, or executing anyone. I’m simply saying that not every kid either needs or wants help battling what I think is exploitation. I’m simply saying that in my experience 60-70% of the players need, want, and deserve additional protection from the exploiters. My comment about thugs and criminals is designed to preempt people from falling back on their trite, “I don’t wanna hear about helping those pampered athletes. Half of them shouldn’t even be on campus.”

          • I have actually gained alot of respect for Alabama because they have learned. Alabama has since started recruiting kids who play for ND, Stanford, Michigan, Nebraska and Vandy. I think Saban is realizing, recruiting kids out of the south with a suspect past are not not paying off for the most part, or he wants to bring up the teams GPA. Either way, he is on the right track! Knowing if kids are gonna make or not and you recruit them intentionally knowing they are not gonna make it to Alabama is the real problem.

  4. “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.”

    And this website continues along on this bizarre premise that a college scholarship is something that is guaranteed to a student out of high school based solely on work done in high school with no standards to uphold while in college.

    I’m not aware of a single academic scholarship that doesn’t require a minimum GPA to be upheld. Furthermore, every other athletic scholarship works this way. Think you get to stay on the tennis or golf or swimming teams if you’re not good enough at these sports? Why does college football need to be an exception to the rule by which players can excel in high school and then take it easy for five years

    I think oversigning.com should branch out into a network of related websites. I’d be willing to contribute to one of them, overhiring.com, which chronicles companies that fire employees who don’t live up to performance standards EVEN THOUGH the employees interviewed well and were offered jobs.

    • I was waiting for the GPA argument to come out. GPA is straight forward, such as meeting a minimum 2.0 in order to be eligible. Either you have a 2.0 or you don’t.

      CFB is a different because the requirements are subjective. Example: Backup DE X for South Carolina was good enough to retain a schollie until Clowney signs a few weeks after signing day. He’d still be good enough had SC been under the 85 limit but because the class of 32 (what happened to 28) flies them over the 85, he’s not good enough.

      Your overhiring.com site is pretty funny actually, but it could only happen under this pretense. Company X has four open analyst positions so they hire four prospective employees. Two amazing employees, one good employee, and one okay employee. It turns out that another prospective employee just graduates from Harvard and by all accounts appears to have the potential to be a great analyst. Company X has filled all four positions but they bring him in anyway. The new employee is trained for a month and it appears he’s as advertised, but Company X is under strict rules that only four analyst positions remain on the payroll due to the economic conditions. What to do?

      Certain (companies) wouldn’t have brought the Harvard employee in in the first place. Other companies would retain the Harvard employee and fire the okay one, even though he’s on time, works hard, and is well-liked. The problem is his/her overall performance just isn’t as strong as some of the others. I’d certainly be interested in reading stories like these on overhiring.com.

      Aside from the examples, heaven forbid a walk-on receive a scholarship.

      • Your example of letting one go to hire the Harvard grad happens every day (although it is not always a Harvard grad).

        • Ya guys that are 55 years old. And they’re let go, “before” the Harvard grad is brought on. They don’t have tryouts to see who’s better.

          • I have seen dozens of very good employees train the new guy that was brought in only to be let go a few months later because the new guy was better, or cheaper or a myriad other reason.

            • Of course, college football players aren’t actually employees, so the comparison is kind of pointless.

              Maybe a better comparison would be a college physics professor kicking a C student out of his full class because a kid with “more potential” wants to take it.

              • Even more pointless as the physics student is paying to be there. The student being in the class is not based on any previous performance standard other than a potential pre-requisite. In fact if her performs poorly there is a likelihood the class will welcome him back.

                • Well, the student is not necessarily paying to be there, but I admit the analogy isn’t perfect. It’s far better than comparing a college student on a football team to a college graduate in the workforce though.

                  The problem to me is that some people want to look at these kids as just athletes, and ignore the fact that they are college students. If they are keeping their grades up, staying out of trouble and giving their best effort in practice (regardless of what level of performance that effort produces), I just don’t see a good reason to not renew their scholarship or whatever anyone wants to call it.

  5. “Yes, my suggestions put more burden on the coaches and will result in less than 85 scholarship kids on each roster each year.” If you let people talk long enough, they will expose themselves and their true motives.

    It finally took the SEC changing its rules, new rules implemented by white college presidents and a white SEC Commissioner, to understand the real motives behind this site. The fact is, this site had nothing to do with the fair treatment of the SA. Instead, it had everything to do with “leveling the playing field.”. It is sad but not surprising that a bunch of white college presidents from the South got together and eagerly took up a racist cause by a couple of white guys from the North. Minorities will be disproportionately affected by these new rules. The SEC successfully eliminated more minorities from even having the opportunity to attend a major college now and it did so under the “over signing” charade.

    • I think you’re just doing a parady of TD’s racism schtick. I hope so anyway. But as I told TD several months ago when he started using this angle, it really does do a disservice to all the legitimate challenges faced by minorities when someone falsely uses racism in attempt to further their pet cause.

      • This site quickly revealed it’s true motives after the SEC changed it’s rules. Here it’s dismissed as “petty comments.” In the real world, it’s discrimation.

  6. You’re never going to be able to get a transfer without a 1 year ban on playing. That would encourage coaches to poach each others athletes to find out game plans, schemes, etc. Thats the whole reason the LOI exists, partially, was to prevent coaches from stealing players from each other.

    As for the 85 schollie limit, i disagree that its bad to limit the amount of athletes on a roster. Sports are more competitive when there is a limit to how many people are on a team. Which is more competitive, the NFL or the MLB? NFL has player caps, salary caps, etc, and you have a much more talent and fairness across the board.

    Still thinking about the “signing only X per class” On the one hand, it does seem fair. On the other hand, it would reduce transfers. If a coach has to choose between athlete’s A&B, and A can go for 4 years whereas B can only do 2, he’s gonna go with athlete A a lot more than B. Not every time, but a whole lot more.

    • 1 — Game plans and schemes. Maybe but that’s not really an issue if the transfer window falls outside the season, which it would. Plus, the schemes are right there on tape. Everyone knew what Florida was running on 3rd down with Tebow. They just couldn’t stop it. I just don’t think this one really represents a danger.

      2 — Recruiting would continue, and anything that escalates that border war could be a real problem. However, a mechanism for allowing schools to protect the core of a roster — such as Marc’s 5 year/1 year split — would eliminate most of that, I think. Georgia’s not going to bother poaching a Florida B-list player, as I guess you could call it. A kid might move from Ohio State to Purdue or LSU to Vandy to go from a back-up to a starter. If so, more power to him. That’s the point.

      3 — Everything’s a trade-off. I bet coaches would tolerate more transfers if they gained more breathing room on the talent evaluation and development front.

      4 — NFL and MLB. They also have lock-outs, drafts, salaries, free agency, revenue sharing…. As Delaney and Smith said, not everyone can or should put as much into football as Ohio State. Competitive parity’s not the priority for me.

      I enjoy CFB, but I’m not losing any sleep over the fact that UNC can’t win more than 8 games a season. I have lost a few winks over the detour the program took with Davis and Blake, and even more over the university’s handling of the NCAA inquiry. They went so far in their efforts to cooperate with the NCAA that they did not appeal Devon Ramsey’s permanent loss of eligibility. He hired a private lawyer, who got him reinstated — no penalty whatsoever — with one meeting. That’s deplorable by both UNC and the NCAA.

      • 1. This is a bit bigger than you realize, but it also promotes trying to steal players from another team. I would rather not have college football coaches actively trying to get players from another team.

        2. Why have 1 year transfers? Thats ultimately ignoring the main reason these students are supposed to be going there: for an education. I doubt university presidents/others would ever go for a 1 year deal. To do so would be to actively say “we don’t care if you stay here and get your degree or not”

        3. Why? You’re better off signing the max and redshirting as much as possible. No reason to get a transfer unless he is really, really good. And if the school gets a new coach/you don’t work out, your kinda SOL. As i said before, a coach will take a prospective 4 year student over a transfer most of the time. The players who transfer will see the end result of that.

        4. Just because parity is not an issue for you doesn’t mean it isn’t for the millions of other fans out there. Personally, i like competitive parity, and the NCAA seems to agree by setting limits on scholarship caps. Yes, the bigger name programs have a bigger advantage right now do to facilities, coaches, etc. Imagine how much bigger that gap would grow if they had the ability to offer a scholarship to anyone.

        • “it also promotes trying to steal players from another team” — Perhaps. But it gives the S-A more freedom and more options. If we’re not willing to do that in any situation where the institution might be marginally harmed, we’re not going to get very far.

          “I doubt university presidents/others would ever go for a 1 year deal.” It’s already a 1 year deal at the discretion of the university. A 1 year deal at the discretion of both parties seems fairer. Problematic, certainly, but every idea has problems. Just because we’re used to kids being told to be the back-up and like it or sit out a year somewhere else doesn’t mean it’s the best way to do things. Everyone raises these points about relaxing transfer rules, and they’re fair points. But we treat them like they’re untouchable. Nothing gives coaches like Mangino more power than the knowledge that kids cannot leave without sacrificing an entire year of eligibility. There ARE some real gains in an adjustment of these rules. There are also losses, no question.

          “Just because parity is not an issue for you doesn’t mean it isn’t for….” I said it wasn’t THE issue, meaning priority number one. Some people here work backward from that as a top priority. Some work it in as a second priority. Both approaches have advantages and disadvantages.

          I’m not proposing unlimited scholarships. I’m thinking out loud about setting an annual signing limit and leaving it at that, which removes all incentive to shed a kid to free room for the next signing class – which happens to a degree in all programs in all conferences.

  7. 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!

    Actually this is wrong. Like NC where I live and many other states that practice At-Will employment

    —any hiring is presumed to be “at will”; that is, the employer is free to discharge individuals “for good cause, or bad cause, or no cause at all,” —-

    Also in NC employers can make you sign a non-compete agreement for employment which can restrict where you work for up to 2 years after being discharged. So not only can they fire you and not tell you why, they can also prevent you from working for a competitor for 2 years.

    • i dont agree with roster management and kids being taken advantage of, but SoccerMike is right. non-competes are very prevalent in today’s society and they do limit who and where you can work and even on what type of work.

      • Glad ya’ll beat me to that one. The parallel to CFB is incorrect as well (as I understand it). If a school chooses to not renew a player’s scholarship, is he not allowed to transfer without the one year penalty? It is only when the player transfers while on scholarship that he is required to sit a year. The reason everyone thinks otherwise is that almost all the players deemed “cut” on this site are in fact transfers by players who still have scholarship offers. If the kid were cut, he wouldn’t have to sit.

        Did I read Marc correctly? Did he really say that it is ok to take advantage of a kid as long as he comes from a wealthy family? Really?

    • You missed the point. Of course most states have employment at will. But when a rank and file employee gets terminated without cause the firing employer doesn’t get to veto where the employee gets to work next (rarely is even a high level exec with an employment contract constrained in this way).

      • Happens in broadcast all the time. But there we’re talking about highly paid “talent” who get paid to sit out the year, versus young men and women in college trying to get a diploma.

      • Contract workers face this all the time. We are often asked to sign NCA’s for contracts, sometimes for contracts as short as 6 months and frequently on 12 month contracts. There may or may not be another contract at the end of 12 months, regardless there are restrictions that we agreed to that prevent certain conditions in our future employment, usually for 2 years after the contract ends.

        So a one year scholarship (contract) with restrictions on transfer (NCA) sounds very familiar.

        Also, virtual every employment contract I have seen for high level executives (and even a good many mid level) has an NC clause that addresses future employment based on time, geography, industry and client relationships.

      • maybe in Media Marc, but in the rest of the world, it does happen to the rank and file.

  8. 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.

    for the most part, I think we all agree on this point. I feel, however that our definition of this is quite different – some people like to say that every transfer from an SEC school is a player being cut, while I could say that the player is looking for a better opportunity, and his scholarship wasn’t taken away. Could you better describe this or provide actual examples?

    I know you have been working on interviewing such kids including Star Jackson formerly from Bama I believe. Have you been successfull in reaching him? How about Elliott Porter, formerly from OSU?

  9. This is the problem. There has been a ton of SEC bashing ever since they began dominating. When SEC teams – or should I say SEC teams other than Florida and maybe Alabama – were winning titles, everything was fine with the world of college football. When the lawless SWC and that USC machine was winning titles in the 70s, things were fine, they were great. When the outlaw Big 8 was winning titles in the 70s and 80s, again, everything was fine, no story here. When independents like Miami, FSU and Notre Dame won all those titles in the 80s and 90s, again everything was fine, no story here. I mean, just before the SEC’s run began, you had Miami, FSU and Nebraska winning virtually all the titles, plus a Washington team that went on probation shortly after, plus a Colorado program that was a huge mess. We love the ACC, right? Model conference? Well, each of the last 4 ACC title teams (Clemson, Georgia Tech, FSU and FSU) had probation or other scandals associated with those titles, and no one said a thing.

    But then the SEC starts winning titles, and we all want change. Reform. The BCS that everyone was just fine with in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004 and 2005 (when no SEC teams were in the title game!) became a fraud, a sham, an illegal cartel being investigated by the Justice Department. Everyone is now demanding a playoff that has never existed at the top level of the sport. People who have never attended or watched an FCS or Division II playoff game in their lives are all of a sudden experts on how that model could be adopted with no problem (I attended an FCS school, and have real reservations about that).

    And now, “roster management” rules that have existed ever since the NCAA began instituting scholarship limits – and have been exploited, misused, abused or whatever by many a program in that time – all of a sudden now it is a problem? How convenient! This blog, to its credit, acknowledges to be motivated in part by the competitive advantage that the SEC has over the Big 10. But I respond … why did the Big 10 start caring about a competitive disadvantage NOW? The Big 10′s last national title? 2002, before the SEC run, granted. But before then? 1997! And before then! 1968! So you win 3 national titles in like 45 years, but you JUST NOW start noticing that you are at a competitive disadvantage? What about the 30 year gap between 1968 and 1997?

    Ah, but it wasn’t SEC teams winning those national titles, was it? Or at least not very often, and when it was, it was Bear Bryant and Alabama. When it was Oklahoma, Nebraska, USC, Miami, FSU and Notre Dame winning those national titles – when it was Notre Dame beating you Big 10 guys up in the regular season and USC hammering you guys in the Rose Bowl – that was OK. But when it because LSU and Auburn winning national titles, well then that is when something foul was afoot, and reform should take place to restore the natural order of things, right?

    Sounds like it to me. Just like it sounded when one loss USC getting left out of the title game in 2003 was an outrage (even though they still got the AP title!) while UNDEFEATED Auburn’s going 13-0 was A-OK. You guys sat around and said NOTHING in the 1970s when the SWC was literally buying championships, or getting the death penalty trying. You guys said NOTHING in the 1980s and 1990s when Oklahoma, Nebraska, Colorado, FSU and Miami were literally bailing their players out of jail on Friday night in order to have them on the football field on Saturday. You say yourself that “We are not too concerned” about that.

    But a team telling a kid that his ONE YEAR RENEWABLE SCHOLARSHIP (that is right, NCAA scholarships are for one year only, and you are asking them to make them 4 year scholarships) isn’t being renewed because he will never crack the two deep for that program, so he is free to transfer anywhere else that will take him is doing is what is evil? That’s funny. Look, why don’t you guys hire better coaches than Gary Moeller, Bobby Williams, John L. Smith, Tim Brewster and Earle Bruce, beat the SEC under the rules that currently exist, and THEN demand reform?

    You say that oversigning has always been a problem in the SEC? Well, that’s fine, but it is mighty funny that it was only when the SEC started winning national titles that anyone cared about it. So come out and admit the real problem: you guys are sick of a bunch of aggie schools from the south outperforming elite national universities like Michigan, USC and Texas, as well as traditional powerhouses like Ohio State and Oklahoma, and want a playoff, hard scholarship limits, conference expansion, anything to make it stop. Why can’t you guys (or if not YOU guys then SOMEBODY) just go back to BEATING the SEC like you did in the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s? As recently as the 1990s, Nebraska, Miami and FSU routinely humiliated the SEC (except in title games!). Beat the SEC and THEN impose changes on them. Otherwise, it is just sour grapes.

  10. Another issue: the Big 10 rule wouldn’t help matters anyway. The reason is that coaches would just start running off players earlier. Players would be told to get lost at the end of the fall semester or see their transfer options limited to some Division II school in South Dakota. That would free up slots for national signing day. Or coaches would get rid of kids an entire year earlier, plus rely more on JUCOs that have only 2 years anyway. So long as schools aren’t required to keep a kid for 4 years, there will be a way around it, and the result will be Saban running off even more kids and doing so sooner, so his roster will be either JUCOs, or kids who were able to make the two depth deep chart by the end of their sophomore season.

    Look, Bill Snyder used JUCOs to build his program up from nothing, because he figured that having a JUCO contribute for 2 years and then replacing him with another JUCO was preferable to having a guy who wouldn’t produce at all for 4. People don’t talk about this, but Bob Stoops used the same approach to rebuild Oklahoma from a total absolute mess to winning a national title in 2 years (Stoops was a Snyder assistant at Kansas State) and then switch back to relying on mostly high school talent once the ship was righted. When you add to it the fact that you can recruit JUCOs after their first year and still have them for 3 years (like Aaron Rodgers, or would have been like Rodgers had he not left Cal early), or you can stockpile JUCOs by redshirting them, you’d wonder why more schools aren’t doing it, because JUCOs are an excellent way to weed out the obvious academic and character risks, as well as guys who were “products of the system” in high school.

    So, run off a sophomore and replace him with a JUCO, or let him sit around 2 more years? Hmmm … which do you think that Saban, who now at least waits until kids are juniors or seniors, is going to choose?

  11. Gerald:

    Great stuff. Josh won’t address comments like yours because he believes the righteousness of his cause supercedes the clear homerism that he is practicing. My guess is that every REAL journalist that has picked up on the “cause” has the ability to see this as well. But it’s a classic left-ish “let’s help poor kids” thing that plays extremely well in the media. As I have gone back and looked at the original two or three months worth of entries on the blog, it’s clear to me that Josh’s whole reason for starting the blog in the first place was that he was bitching so much about SEC dominance on one of the Ohio State forums that the forum told him he either had to go use his anti-SEC energy somewhere else or face expulsion from their board. This is his way of trying to “win” something for the Big 10 and redeem his obsession in some odd way.

    I really like it when his ochort Marc decides to try and “shame” people out of objecting to this sort of bull.

  12. What if programs could offer up to 4 years of guaranteed aid, instead of the semi-renewable 1-year offers used today?

    An elite recruit would surely get full 4-year offers from everyone, but a marginal recruit might get a 1-year offer from Michigan, a 2-year offer from Purdue, and a 4-year offer from Ball State. An improvement for student athletes. Players weigh their options and choose their risk level and fit based not just on football. Coaches, likewise, have to take into consideration risk: character, academics, etc. – but can still offer an opportunity to all kinds of people. Once they sign a recruit for say a 3-year offer, his scholarship ‘counts’ for the next 3 years, and can be renewed after that.

    The NCAA’s role would be the same – make sure no more than 85 scholarship-years have been offered (and accepted) for a given calender year.

    More of a free-market without the gray-shirting, medical-red-shirts and other roster shenanigans that go on today.

  13. Today a promising linebacker — Petey Smith — declared that he would transfer from Alabama because he didn’t want to wait for PT (those were nearly his exact words). His departure followed that of a promising running back — Demetrius Goode — who said a few weeks ago essentially the same thing. These two follow the medical scholarships given to starting defensive lineman Kerry Murphy and 4-star recruit Kendal Kelly who apparently covered up the fact that he had serious medical issues in high school (yes, that devious Saban is forcing his starters to transfer to make room for untested, high school kids.) These players followed the decison of highly recruited linebacker — Glenn Harbin — deciding that, hey, this football stuff is hard. I really would rather play baseball. And, all of these followed three juniors deciding to leave early for the NFL (that Saban is a master of getting kids to declare early for the NFL so he can beat the scholarship rules). Well, let’s see. By my count thats 8 players that left the program, and if you haven’t figured out yet, I think you guys are a bunch of self righteous blowhards who couldn’t be night mangers at the stop and rob much less run a prominent college football progam. Oversigning is no different that the farmer planting an extra tomato plant to account for damage done by insects and animals. It’s easy to sit back and criticize the farmer for waste when all you do is bloviate. You remind me of Teddy Rosevelt’s speech to the French.

    “It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”

    You know neither victory or defeat. You simply sit in your comfortable chair and post on your website,
    and anyone who listens to you is as worthless as you are.

  14. Marc, ( I assume you wrote the original post since you refer to Josh. I really wish you guys would sign your post or better yet get more appropriate software for this site).

    To broadly argue that SA’s are exploited is hyperbole, as much so as those that complain that SA’s have it easy and are pampered. The truth of the matter is somewhere in between. Are there flaws in the system? Absolutely. Are there coaches that have some unethical practice? Yes. Do SA’s deserve a better than they are getting? I sure think they do.

    But to argue exploitation in terms of over-signing and to make the argument that over-signing should be eliminated because it hurts the kids is intellectually dishonest.

    Arguing to do away with over-signing because it is a competitive advantage is intellectually honest and I could understand this site promoting that as the primary reason. But there are a few flaws with that argument as well.

    But to argue that over-signing is the root of the problem is wrong. What causes over-signing? What causes roster management by these coaches? It is the scholarship limitations. If there were no limitation on the number of scholarships there would not be over-signing. With no scholarship limitations there would be no need for roster management, no one would be running players off or putting them on medical scholarships to make room.

    If the interest of the SA is what important, then make the argument that is is better to have 130-140 SA’s on scholarship rather than 85. Argue that scholarships should cover the total cost of attendance rather than the current scholarship limitations. Argue for changes that are really a benefit to SA’s.

    But if it is more important to have parity and competitive equality, keep focusing on over-signing.

  15. If you dropped the 85 cap tomorrow and simply went with the annual signing limit, you would eliminate the pressure to create room for an incoming class. That pressure exists in all programs and simply manifests itself in different ways.

    Much like the proposed “full cost scholarship” alterations, the BCS schools could afford this easily, despite their protests. Yes, it would be difficult for some of the smaller programs in the Sun Belt and WAC, but it would also be difficult for Appalachian State, who runs a very successful FCS program. To use a racing analogy, if the top 2/3 of your field can run safely at 200 mph, then at what point does restricting the cars to 180 for the bottom 1/3 become a competitive liability for the sport itself?

    The 85 cap hails to a different era in college athletics. Title IX’s settled legislation, for the most part. The financial resources in the Big 6 conferences have become almost absurd. Donor bases are funding collectively billions of dollars in stadium improvements and facility renovations across the sport.

    In other words, the time is right to rethink some old rules and question whether or not they still serve the larger interests of the institutions or the SA. And the 85 cap seems to coming up a little short on both counts.

    More kids on scholarship at NW. That’s a good thing, right?

    • i agree. How about no cap, but limit to 20 players signed a year. yes, it does raise the “cap” to 100, but we all know that teams will have players that will quit, fail academically, etc. The subsequent scholarships could be used on walk ons, and maybe you allow JUCO’s extra leeway on the 20/year count, to help with players that have proven themselves academically and are eligible for big time college.

      • Tre, why cap it at all. Why not give SA’s the opportunity to go to the school they choose regardless of numbers?

        • Because mid-majors would suck. Not saying I agree but that’s why they limited schollies in the first place.

          • I understand why the limited scholarships, to benefit smaller or less powerful institutions so they could increase their revenues by becoming more competitive. But in doing so they have restricted student athletes choice and freedom. Attempting to create institution parity makes SA’s more of a pawn in the system. If the primary concern is about the SA’s then parity should take a back seat to what is fair for the athlete.

          • That’s the racing analogy. All this furor over the right of San Diego State, Tulsa, Florida Atlantic, and North Texas to offer the same number of scholarships as USC, Oklahoma, Florida and Texas?

            I don’t really know the history, but it seems to me the shift to 85 was motivated at least in part by cost-containment, especially in the wake of Title IX. For the leagues with billion $$$ TV contracts, that seems less of a concern these days.

      • Sounds nice, but you are dooming every kid who is not a sure thing academically.

        • so they either go to a JUCO and get grades up, or they are admitted as a risk, and they have time to get their grades up, they just cant play.

          • i remember back in the day, John Copeland from Bama, wasnt allowed to play his freshman year because of his grades coming out of school. He ended up getting his degree early, and was also a starter on the 92 championship team.

            • That’s kinda my point Tre. The current rules don’t penalize schools if a guy doesn’t get in (if they oversign, they still have a full class). What is being proposed here will result in a less-than-full class with every recruit that doesn’t qualify. A school may be willing to roll the dice on one or two iffy guys, but not many – and offers to guys who everyone knows won’t qualify will be thrown out the window. Some will think that a good thing, but I feel that the encouragement those guys get helps a lot of them through JuCo (not wanting to open up the Sign and Place argument again)

              Under this proposal, it it entirely likely that Copeland is not offered at Bama, and is left on his own to get qualified. Then whether or not that happens is beyond speculative and purely imaginative.

              • Yes, but C5 Josh isn’t worried at all about thisd scenario, as I know you know. He is concerned only about trying to level the playing field between the SEC and the Big Ten. He is more than happy to accept any collateral damage like this while he is also hiding behind his anonymity.

  16. Josh, can you please edit your banner on the right side of the home page. It lists Jim Tressel as a coach who publicly denounces oversigning.

    He’s not really a coach anymore. While he does have moral and ethical problems with the issue of oversigning, he apparently has no morals or ethics in any other facet of his program. Weird.

  17. Tweet from Josh:

    guys like petey smith are the guys saban should be fighting the hard to keep and to educate

    Saban couldn’t keep Smith from leaving anymore than Fickell could keep Pryor from leaving. Someone must’ve sold Pryor on a bogus NFL pipe dream.

    • No, Pryor was asked to leave because he sold his signature for thousands of dollars…keep up.

      • Dorian Bell?

      • I think we are going to find out that this entire program (OSU) has been rotten to the core for YEARS. This oversigning thing is going to look like trying to go after a five year-old for cheating at tag when it’s all over. It makes it even funnier when the OSU author’s response to his own program going down is to take another shot at Bama. I think that speaks volumes.

      • Has he admitted to that? I know it is obvious, but has he come out and said it? If not, why not suspend him from the team instead of kicking him off? That way he could finish his education. That’s what is more important, right?

        While I’m here, I’ll second Vesper’s call for Dorian Bell. Any attempts to contact him?

  18. If the NCAA raised the number of scholarships back to ninety-five (95) then your suggestion would be fine. But, because of normal attrition and students failing to qualify academically, your plan would place coaches in the untenable position of never being able to take a “chance” on a kid who might not qualify.

    Many kids just don’t apply themselves and are right on the cusp of qualifying. Your plan would essentially cut-off their opportunity to get an education.


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