Bryce Sherman Update

Brent Holloway caught up with Bryce Sherman recently and asked him about the situation with South Carolina.

Sherman, a 5-foot-4 backup wide receiver who served as the team’s primary kickoff returner last season, said he first learned his position with the team might be in jeopardy a little more than a week ago. His fears were confirmed Tuesday in a meeting with Spurrier.

“They just said they got better players over the last year,” Sherman said. “Everybody they recruited committed and that never happens. And then everybody qualified (academically) and that never happens.”

Holloway goes on to dispute South Carolina's claim that everyone has qualified, but regardless, the explanation that South Carolina gave Sherman sure sounds like the definition of oversigning, but without the real numbers it is hard to be 100% sure he was cut to make the numbers work. 

Based on Sherman's comments in this article, which are slightly different than his comments to us regarding whether or not he knew his scholarship was a 1 year renewable deal, it sounds like he knew that his scholarship was year-to-year and that everyone on the knows they are competing for a spot. 

Sherman confirmed that. He said he was aware that his scholarship was a year-to-year deal, not a four-year pact between school and student-athlete. He said players at South Carolina are also aware that they are competing for their roster spots.

”It is what it is,” Sherman said. “It’s a business. I don’t think it’s fair, but it’s not my call.”

 An astute observation for a 21-year-old. It is a business and it’s not fair. Those are the realities of big-time college athletics. But need they be?

That’s a question the NCAA needs to answer for itself. Does it want to be an organization that allows its student-athletes to stand defenseless against the steamrolling, win-at-all-costs machinery? Currently constructed, it’s a system in which rising seniors can have their financial aid pulled out from under them, or freshmen who already enrolled in classes can be told they’re no longer part of the team, not because they failed a class or got in trouble, but because the coach at their school treats a scholarship like an expiring contract and there’s a hot new free agent he’s got to make room for.


This leaves us with the debate over whether or not scholarships should be long-term details (4-5 years) like they used to be before coaching salaries skyrocketed and media/TV coverage turned into a 24/7/365 circus, or should we allow coaches to treat players like free-agents?  In the NFL, free-agents actually have an agent and the power to negotiate their best deal.  Could you imagine that in college?

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  1. FB Scholarships have been yearly since i played in the mid 70′s and they had to be renewed each and every year. the total number of scholarships were a higher number than it is today so rarely did some guys get booted unless they were flunking out or dope heads. All you “experts” really need to check your facts. None of you has ever put on a jock, i’m sure.

  2. How wrong can you guys possibly be?

    Gamecocks are at 83 scholarships right now publicly, they are going to give 2 walk-ons a scholarship for the 2011 season to bring them to 85.

    You guys are crying because Bryce Sherman did not have his scholarship renewed? He was awarded a 1 year scholarship because USC had them available, in essence, USC was nice enough to give him a free year of education at the university. He came to USC for track, was kicked off the team, joined the football team, and before his 2nd season the Gamecocks gave him a 1year scholarship because they had room available.

    Don’t you think it is possible that USC has more deserving walk-ons who should be awarded a scholarship? Bryce was a backup kick returner this season and was not going to play. However, a walk on like Jay Wooten is going to be the starting place kicker and he is going to be awarded a scholarship, probably the one Bryce Sherman had.

    Oversigning.com is always writing article complaining about numbers but now you are complaining about walk-ons not having their 1 year scholarship renewed? ARE YOU SERIOUS?!

  3. So you guys just post articles; even though they are completely wrong – then you don’t come to own up to the misrepresentation done by this website?

  4. I have only visited this site periodically as the authors have developed more and more of a bunker mentality once it was shown that Coach Tressel didn’t run the saintly program once thought. I have also resisted posting a defense of my SC program, as it is obvious that situations and comments are twisted to fit the agenda of the site: that the success of the SEC is all due to oversigning.

    However, against my better judgment, I decided to peek back following the recent news of our walk-on, Bryce Sherman, quitting the football team when his scholly was not renewed and he was told he could continue with the team as a walk-on. Needless to say, I was not disappointed in the two articles posted about the situation. Despite the fact that it will fall on deaf ears for the most part, I decided to waste 15 minutes of my life and post my own “March to 85” for SC’s football program along with comments on certain situations. Most of the notes below are from readily available info.

    85: Beginning of 2010 pre-season
    77: By the middle of September, SC was down to 77 scholarship athletes due to 7 transfers/quit football, 1 dismissal, 1 medical redshirt and 1 walk-on awarded a scholarship
    59: 17 scholarship athletes graduated and 1 junior declared for the draft
    57: 2 players transferred after the season and prior to signing day
    61: 4 players signed and enrolled early in January to count back (since only 17 of the previous year’s 24 commitments enrolled due to academics, there was plenty of space)
    86: SC “signs” 28 as permitted; 3 don’t qualify academically so only 25 will enroll. Of note, 2 other players were not allowed to sign LOIs due to the numbers
    83: Walk-on scholarship not renewed; 2 others given medicals
    84: Basketball player who played only basketball his freshman year but wants to now play both must count against football

    • The first shot across the bow will be on the 8 players who quit/transferred/were dismissed from the team during 2010; that must be some part of plan to manage the roster. Of course, the first rebuttal is that several of these players moved during preseason/early season, not exactly the “roster-trimming” time noted on this site (i.e. they were still on scholarship and would have been had they chosen to stay). Playing time was an issue for a RB who found himself 4th string after the arrival of our freshman RB (with the former transferring to another D-1 school in Louisville). A couple were walk-ons who had been awarded scholarships the previous year (and still were on scholarship) but were also well down the depth chart. At least 2 others had well-documented off the field issues that warranted dismissal.
    • The next shot will likely be the 2 players who quit after the season and before signing day. I honestly don’t know much about their stories other than one was a WR down the depth chart and the other had only spent one season on the team as a redshirt OL. Both went to 1-AA schools.
    • Now comes the big shot: SC is an “oversigner” because they have 32 athletes sign LOIs, well over the 25 permitted each year. Let’s look at it in two ways:
    o First, the numbers in “buckets.” SC complied with all rules. They had 4 sign early as they only had 17 enrollees the previous year (this site would tell you that number was 23). They signed 28 (permitted) and enrolled 25 (also permitted). No one who signed a LOI was gray-shirted. To be fair, I am sure the coaching staff spoke to several of the players about this possibility given they “oversigned” by three and the staff has gone the grayshirt route 3 times in the first 7 classes.
    o Second, they exceeded their “budget” when the extended 32 LOIs, taking that number to “+4” or 89 (this site would tell you that number is +6). This is a fair note, although SC has a history of taking chances on athletically-gifted but academically challenged players to be competitive on the football field. In the 4 years prior to this year, the program has had at least 5 students each year not enroll due to academics and had 3 in this class. This practice of academically-marginal student athletes is much debated on this site but personally, I believe some level of this is OK, PROVIDED any potential grayshirt candidates are told early in the process where they stand.
    • Related to signing day, two athletes were told they would not be able to sign LOIs due to numbers and where they fell in the class academically/athletically. One remains a SC target and is going to prep school. The other (because he had not signed) ended up signing with Louisville. I know Spurrier was vilified for the latter. Of course, ignore the fact that the kid was a “diamond in the rough” kind of player who was from a troubled background and with questionable grades. Prior to SC’s involvement, the schools recruiting him were Middle Tennessee State, Troy and South Alabama. After our involvement, Kentucky and Louisville got involved. Because we didn’t sign him, he was able to sign with Louisville. Uhhh, I hate to tell you but this is the system you are advocating: don’t sign the questionable guys and let them keep their options open.
    • Now to the shot of the week: Bryce Sherman. A walk-on who did not have his scholarship renewed. First, how about some basic research before you throw any article up here that you think supports your cause. He is a WALK-ON who was awarded a 1-year scholarship for his hard work last pre-season; he is not a scholarship player coming out of high school who fully expects (and should) a 4-5 year ride. Spurrier has never been shown to be a coach who yanks scholarships from high school kids he recruited. Yes, he has had 36 players by my count leave the program at SC before their eligibility was up. Of those, 7 were medical hardships (which at basically one a year doesn’t seem out-of-whack for a sport like football), many were well-documented drug, grade and other off the field issues, and the remainder were with players who inevitably transferred down or quit football altogether. More importantly, so now the coaches, if they have extra scholarships because of attrition and want to reward a walk-on with a scholarship, now have to guarantee that scholarship for the remainder of that student’s eligibility? Seriously?? Sorry, that is a stupid standard and will lead to coaches forfeiting scholarships each year rather than giving a free year to a walk-on. On the walk-on front, Spurrier has awarded at least 22 scholarships in his first 6 years at SC to walk-ons. These were 1-year deals which in several cases were extended for 2+ years when he had availability.
    • Finally, the 2 medicals. One is a OL that is going on his 5th year in school and has never even lettered due to various injuries (and if you knew anything about our program, our weak link the last 4-5 years has been the offensive line so we will take a look at anyone who can help there). The other is a LB with at least 3 years in the program who the coaching staff consistently mentioned as gifted every preseason with hopes he could contribute, only to have him sidelined with injuries.

    In closing, I have posted before (but will note again): I am not part of the coaching staff at SC so I am not 100% sure they are above board in their treatment of all student athletes on the football team. However, there appears to be ample evidence that supports the basic story about Spurrier as a coach: he is a straight-shooter who will give you his opinion and depending upon whether you like him or not dictates whether you feel he is an arrogant SOB or amusing/interesting. He does this when speaking about games, teams and players. On the latter, this extends to player’s abilities. He is not one for pulling punches about where you stand on the depth chart and is famous for it with regards to QBs. This will inevitably lead to players leaving once they know where they stand. At their base, ALL transfers are forced out regardless of school and situation. Yes, it is reprehensible if a coach directly tells a player to transfer (or uses actions to do so) but even a player who chooses to leave because he is #4 on the depth chart is technically being forced to leave by the coaching staff (lack of playing time is the #1 reason any kid quits a team or sport, from Pee Wee up though college). Inevitably, if the player leaves your school, the coaching staff did nothing wrong; but if he leaves my school, my coach is a scumbag. Oh, and by the way, the guy who leaves almost without exception feels he wasn’t treated fairly by the coaching staff (some are just more vocal than others).

    Spurrier has never had a program hit with any NCAA violations (the closest he has come is that we had a knucklehead on this year’s team who was a friend of the UNC players and went to the party in Miami; Spurrier kicked him off the team when he found out despite the fact he was our starting tight end and 2nd or third leading receiver from the previous year). At least at SC, he has been quick to dismiss players from our program that run afoul of drug/legal issues, regardless of their ability to help the team. On the issue of recruiting, the M.O. on Spurrier is that he actually doesn’t try “hard enough” on the recruiting trail (i.e. he would rather be playing golf than recruiting 24/7) and as a consequence, we are constantly having our backyard picked by Alabama, Tennessee, UGA, Florida and FSU. Specifically on the issue of “oversigning”, I look at the history of grayshirts, scholarships awarded to walk-ons and the context of academic causalities that never enroll and believe that Spurrier appears not to be the offender you think/hope he is.

  5. Why are you criticizing South Carolina for this story, but defending ohio state for the same thing? A little hypocritical if you ask me. You even turned off the comments section on that story, i guess because you were getting too many comments pointing out that fact.

    And by the way, i am not a gamecock fan. They are to football what brittney spears is to music!

  6. no body from Oversigning.com wants to comment on this because they know it is a bunch of crap

  7. wow…noticed that the comment’s per article here have basically dried up. I guess this site is finally dying.
    It was a good idea initally until the constant, blatant SEC bashing & the obvious OSU/Big whatever they call it today love finally drove off the objective, rational CFB fan…

    Nice work… another promising site ruined by jealousy & arrogance…

  8. The Big Spur is reporting that Senior Walk-on kicker Jay Wooten will be placed on scholarship this fall.

    If true, it sort of changes the complexion of the Bryce Sherman oversigning “scandal.”

  9. Since this site is so quick to post news that supports the premise of oversigning, how about an article that provides a rebuttal to shots previously taken.

    Two articles still on page 1 speaking to Byrce Sherman’s treatment (a walk-on given a one year ride and then not renewed) but none noting that Spurrier is granting a scholarship to another walk-on. I will make it easy, you can cut and past this article from David Porter at GamecockAnthem.com.

    Wooten earns scholarship

    Senior kicker Jay Wooten was awarded a scholarship for his final season at Carolina Monday afternoon. The former walk-on received the scholarship based on his play on the field.

    “”We put Jay on (scholarship),” Spurrier said. “He’s going to be our kicker this year – definitely field goal and extra point and possibly kickoff, although Joey Scribner-Howard has done well.”

    Spurrier also took the time to explain the program’s policy on walk-on players earning scholarships.

    “We like to put walk-ons on scholarship,” Spurrier said. “It always seems a lot clearer when we put a player on that only has one year left. It’s usually easier that way. When we put players on that has two or three years left we always tell them that this is a one-year deal. We’re not obligated and you’re not obligated to three years or whatever like that. If we don’t renew a player it’s simply because it’s not available that year. If a walk-on player goes on scholarship he definitely knows it’s a one-year deal.”

    Spurrier was criticized by the media and opposing fans earlier this year when Bryce Sherman announced he was leaving the team because his scholarship was not renewed. Many said Spurrier was sacrificing Sherman in order to sign better players. According to the policy that was not the case at all.

    “If a walk-on player goes on scholarship, he definitely knows it’s a one-year deal,” Spurrier said. “When people say they can’t play and we’re getting rid of them, they’re telling a fabricated story like some of them do a lot anyway. The walk-on kids that get scholarships know they’re one year and if they’re not renewed, they’re supposed to understand that.”

    Naturally the players that are signed right out of high school do not have the policy. When a player signs to play football at South Carolina, he’s on scholarship until he graduates or loses it due being dismissed from the team or failing to qualify academically.

    “The guys we sign as freshmen coming in we’re pretty much committed to them,” Spurrier said. “For example, (former offensive lineman) Ryan Broadhead didn’t ever play here and he was on scholarship for four and a half years.”

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