Harvey Perlman, Nebraska's Chancellor, among other things, recently spoke about conference expansion and how he thinks it will affect Nebraksa and College Football as a whole. We won't go into the specifics regarding conference expansion-there is already enough speculation and plenty of other blogs already talking about it night and day-but we want to touch on something Mr. Perlman mentioned regarding the NCAA and recruiting.
“You don't know that for sure," Perlman said. “There could be some advantage to joining the Big Ten depending on what the deal is. There could be some disadvantage, too."
“They have a different set of recruiting rules than we have," Perlman said, “which might impact what we're able to do."
Finally, someone other than Jim Delany, who wrote this lovely memo to the rest of college football, openly admits that there is a difference in recruiting practices amongst the conferences, so much so that it could affect whether or not a school such as Nebraska decides to join the Big 10 Conference.
Greetings from the Big Ten Conference,
I love speed and the SEC has great speed, especially on the defensive line, but there are appropriate balances when mixing academics and athletics. Each school, as well as each conference, simply must do what fits their mission regardless of what a recruiting service recommends. I wish we had six teams among the top 10 recruiting classes every year, but winning our way requires some discipline and restraint with the recruitment process. Not every athlete fits athletically, academically or socially at every university. Fortunately, we have been able to balance our athletic and academic mission so that we can compete successfully and keep faith with our academic standards.
This is what we have been talking about the entire time on this blog. First we have the raw numbers that lay bare the truth behind oversigning, now we have someone outside of the Big 10 who has publicly acknowledged that there truly is a difference in recruiting rules for the Big 10 schools, so much so that it would influence Nebraska's decision to join the Big 10 conference if invited to do so.
Our point all along has been that the NCAA's recruiting rules were not intended to be the standard by which everyone in the country operates; the NCAA rules for recruiting are BASELINE rules that were intended to provide some sort of structure for 119 universities across the entire country. It has been our position all along that it is up to Conference Commissioners and University Presidents to further expand those rules to fit their athletic and academic missions. Based on the numbers we have shown and the research we have done, it is very clear that the SEC has done very little to expand upon those rules in ways other conferences have already. It wasn't until last year when, for perception reasons mainly, the SEC went to a 28 max rule, something the Big 10 has been doing for 10-15 years. Ironically, as our data shows, this hasn't reduced the number of signed commitments across the SEC, at least not yet.
Perlman talks about the NCAA's reach when it comes to conference expansion, but he also sheds light on how the NCAA regulates across the board:
This is a common misconception among fans and some media members, Perlman said. The NCAA isn't all-powerful.
“The NCAA certainly has an interest in conference realignment," he said, “but it's not a player.
“Conferences are independent units. The Big Ten doesn't have to come to the NCAA to get permission to do what it wants to do. The NCAA regulates around the margins."
Bottom line: The entire purpose for this blog is increase awareness as to the topic of oversigning and how all conferences operate a little differently when it comes to recruiting. Our data and research shows that the SEC signs more players than anyone else in the country, by a landslide. We also believe that kids are being done a disservice through the practice of oversigning and we believe that it has created a competitive advantage which makes competing for a national championship more about the battle of who wins recruiting than who develops talent or who does a better job coaching.
In an earlier post, we mentioned that there was no way on earth Texas would ever go to the SEC (not that the SEC is looking to expand, but our point was that the SEC, by virtue of running off 3 solid academic universities because they couldn't see eye to eye on how to handle recruiting players and competing in athletics, does not have the entire package to offer an institution like Texas; in contrast, the Big 10 by maintaining an emphasis on academics is now poised to possibly add another powerhouse program to the conference, Penn State being the first in 1990. The last two teams to join the SEC: Arkansas and South Carolina). To further reinforce our logic, here are some staggering numbers for you to ponder.
|SEC Schools||$$$||Big 10 Schools||$$$||Pac 10 Schools||$$$|
|Kentucky||831m||Penn State||1.6b||Wash State||678m|
|Ole Miss||495m||Illinois||1.5b||Oregon State||476m|
|South Carolina||438m||Michigan State||1.2b||Arizona State||407m|
TEXAS - $16.1 billion
Regardless of where Texas might go, if anywhere, they will be the big dog on the block (sans Stanford in the Pac10) when it comes to endowments, but as you can see, Texas would definitely be more at home with the schools of the Big 10 or Pac 10 when it comes to endowments.
And again, the point here is that the Big 10 and the Pac 10, by not selling their souls for football, appear to be in very strong positions when it comes to the topic of conference expansion and sustainability.
Texas also ranks 47th in the US News and World Report rankings, which puts them right at home with the Big 10.
We found that link we were talking about earlier where Texas had already looked at joining the SEC and decided they were not a good fit. Main article here. But we found the article reading The Rivalry, Esq. about the "Death of the Big 12 Conference."
The Longhorns next turned to the Big Ten.
Having added Penn State in 1990, the Big Ten was now made of universities that, in the view of UT officials, matched UT's profile — large state schools with strong academic reputations. Berdahl liked the fact that 10 conference members belonged to the American Association of Universities.
Yet, distance remained a disadvantage. Iowa, the closest Big Ten school to Austin, was 856 miles away — but the appeal of having 10 of 12 schools in the same time zone was seen as a plus.
But after adding Penn State in 1990, Big Ten officials had put a four-year moratorium on expansion. Although admitting interest, Big Ten bosses ultimately rejected UT's overtures.
That left the SEC as a possible relocation target for the Longhorns — until Berdahl let it be known that UT wasn't interested because of the league's undistinguished academic profile. Only two of 12 schools in the SEC were American Association of Universities members and UT officials saw admissions standards to SEC schools as too lenient.
"We were quite interested in raising academic standards," Berdahl says. "And the Southeastern Conference had absolutely no interest in that."
So that's three major categories: endowments, academic rankings, and recruiting numbers (we touched on that here), where it is crystal clear that Texas is a much better match for the Big 10 than they ever would be for the SEC. "Frank the Tank's Slant" has everything else covered.
They all have something in common, well actually several things in common. For starters, all three schools were, at one time, members of the SEC. In fact, not only were they members, they were all charter members of the SEC when the conference was created in 1932.
Sewanee (The University of the South) left in 1940.
Georgia Tech left in 1964.
Tulane left in 1966.
Note: (In a previous post, we documented one of the main reasons why Georgia Tech left the SEC - basically they were unhappy with the gross oversigning of recruits. Our reason for that post was to serve notice that oversigning is not a myth and not something we made up out of thin air. Oversigning is real, and its historical roots are located in the heart of the southeastern conference.)
Back to the similarities: All three schools also have very high academic standards (US New and World Report Rankings):
Sewanee - 36th
Georgia Tech - 38th
Tulane - 50th
Click the link to continue reading >>>
Do not fall out of your chair, that is unless you have been living in a cave lately and haven't heard the news about the possibility of Texas joining the Big 10. When the Big 10 announced that conference expansion is a topic on the table for discussion, the Internets went wild. In fact, Frank the Tank's Slant has devoted more time to it than we ever thought about devoting to the topic of oversigning. If you haven't been to his Blog, go there. It's a great read and Frank really does his homework.
Frank put together a Big 10 Conference Expansion Index, based on a scale of 1-100 with 100 being the highest possible score, in which he categorized and ranked potential candidates to join the Big 10.
In his index, Frank has Texas as the leader with an index score of 96; second in his index was Notre Dame at 91.
We're not going to go into all of the details of Big 10 expansion or whether or not we think Texas would consider joining the Big 10; Frank has more than covered all the bases and if you really want to know more about it you should check out his blog and read it.
We just want to add one thing to the discussion in terms of recruiting. In looking closely at Texas' recruiting numbers (which is an indication of how they run their program), they would fit right in with the Big Ten. Since 2002 Texas has a total of 192 commitments with an average of 21.33 per year. That would put them right in line with Michigan (195, 21.67), Penn State (183, 20.33), and Ohio State (180, 20.00), all of which rank towards the bottom of the Big 10 in terms of total numbers taken each year. In case you haven't noticed, we tend to like programs that keep their numbers in check. To see more of these numbers, click here.
Texas takes the lowest number of players in the entire Big 12 Conference; it's almost as if they are out of place with regards to where their numbers are in comparison to the rest of the conference. This tells us several things:
- They are not running players through their program; meaning they take very few risks on borderline academic players and they don't oversign players only to push out the lesser talented or injury-prone players to make room for new recruits.
- We believe that how you manage your roster is like a calling card for what kind of program you run. Texas has a pretty good calling card when you consider the success they have had on the field and the number of recruits they do it with. Compare Texas to Alabama for just a second: since 2006, Alabama has taken LOI's from 136 players to Texas' 110. Where did those other 26 players go? Did they ever make it into school at Alabama or were they cut from the team to make room for Saban's classes of 32 and 27?
- Strong academics. Texas has the best academics in the Big 12 (by a long shot) and they would fit right in with the Big 10. But how do low recruiting numbers = good academics? Maybe it's the other way around, good academics = lower recruiting numbers. Just look at our conference charts linked above. The schools with lowest recruiting numbers tend to have better, if not the best academics in their conferences. Here are some schools at the bottom of each of their conferences in terms of the number of recruits signed each year: Vanderbilt, Northwestern, Stanford, and Texas. Now compare that to the list of names at or near the top of the conferences: Auburn, West Virginia, Mississippi State, Kansas State, etc.
Missouri is another school that seems to be in the middle of the Big 10 expansion conversation. Not that a decision like this would depend on the number of recruits a school normally takes, but we did find it interesting that Missouri, if added to the Big 10, would be at the top of the board with the highest number of recruits per year. In fact, they would be tied dead even with Purdue at a 218 recruits since 2002 and a yearly average of 24.22.
Our hats off to Texas for running their program the right way and always making sure to stay within their recruiting budget. We think Texas would be an awesome addition to the Big 10, obviously they are match for each other in terms of academics, and we hope it happens. If the 3 games against Ohio State and the Rose bowl thriller against Michigan are any indication, Texas joining the Big 10 would really make things interesting.
Hook 'em Horns!