We are still working on the cup standings and we are working on a piece about Saban's comments regarding his numbers. We are having a hard time believing that with the addition of 24 new players (22 recruits that signed this year + 2 grayshirts from last year) that Alabama is exactly at 85 right now, which is what he implied by saying what they signed is what they had room for right now.
Saban said Alabama has signed the number of players that it could.
"We could add one or so to that, if the opportunity presents itself in the future," he said...
A cursory check of the roster shows 14 seniors, 6 of which were on the scout team, 3 juniors leaving for the NFL, and 1 transfer prior to signing day. That is a departure of 12 scholarship players. In order for Alabama to be full right now, they had to have been under the 85 cap by 12 last year. If they were under the cap of 85 by 12 then why did two players grayshirt on the last day before the deadline last year? It just doesn't add up. We're going to break it all down in a separate post.
In the meantime, here is a break down of the class signings for all BCS conferences. No surprises here. The conference with all those teams ranked in the top 15 in recruiting had the most players signed by a landslide. Again, where would all those teams rank if they were restricted to only taking what they have room for like everyone else?
2011 Recruiting Numbers - Players Signed - Big 10, SEC, ACC, Pac12
|Illinois||27||South Carolina||30||Florida St||29||USC||29|
|Ohio State||23||Tennessee||27||Virginia||26||Oregon St.||24|
2011 Recruiting Numbers - Players Signed - B12 & Big East
|Big 12||Signed||Big East||Signed|
|Kansas State||25||West Virginia||22|
Thanks to Travis, someone who actually understands the real purpose of this website, we now have some numbers on Texas A&M. The original claim from the Alabama fan was that Texas A&M was 5 over the limit with 90 scholarships at the present moment. Travis did the legwork and has provided the following for everyone:
Click the link to continue reading >>>
In a previous post, we responded to Alabama fans that were outraged by our March to 85 piece by giving them a homework assignment. The assignment was for them to bring us a BCS school that needs to shed more than 6 scholarship commitments between now and August when the NCAA will required that all teams have their rosters down to 85 players. It took a little bit of time, but we finally had a reader post a list of schools that he claims are over the limit and needs to shed players.
Here's the list from the Alabama fan:
"You want other programs? Here ya go….
LSU currently has 91 players on scholarship (Need to cut 6)
Miami currently has 91 players on scholarship (Need to cut 6)
Texas A&M currently has 90 players on scholarship (Need to cut 5)
Washington currently has 88 players on scholarship (Need to cut 3)
Nebraska currently has 87 players on scholarship (Need to cut 2)
Texas was at 88 players on scholarship, had 2 transfer, and now needs to cut 1 more."
Okay, so where do we start? First, let's get a table of the recruiting numbers for each of these schools in one place so we can easily look at them together here. This is everything from 2002 - 2010; we'll narrow this down to the numbers we need for this investigation a little later in this post.
On The Clock
Now, how do we figure out who went over the limit this year by accepting more signed letters of intent then they had room for given the number of scholarship commitments they had on National Signing day? The math is really simple, but finding the actual roster numbers for the previous year online can be difficult, which is why we are asking you, the fans of these schools, to participate and help us determine if your team went over the limit. We could do it on our own if all of these teams has a sweet online depth chart application like Notre Dame has available here; make sure you click on Roster Chart when you open the link (side note - if we had any sense at all we would build an application like this to house roster data for all 64 BCS schools and then charge a fee to access it - but as it is we barely have enough time to keep up with blog and our real lives).
Regardless, we have the number of players signed to each recruiting class (see table above), therefore, all we need now is to know exactly how many players were on scholarship on National Signing Day. Typically, this is the previous year's total number of scholarship players (which will vary from school to school because not all schools are always at 85 every year) minus graduating seniors with no eligibility left and minus juniors who have declared for the NFL draft by the deadline on January 15th. We refer to this number as the "recruiting budget."
Until we can get those numbers, let's just look at how many players each school has signed over the last 5 years. We're going to subtotal 2007 - 2009 and then add 2010 to that number and call it the subtotal for 2007-2010. We are also going to show you the 2006 numbers, which would represent the 5th year senior classes for these schools. It is very likely that each of these schools will have a few 5th year guys on their roster.
On The Clock - Numbers for 2006 - 2010
For comparisons sake, now let's look at a few teams that we have investigated in the past and that we know are not over the limit.
Not On The Clock
And then finally, here is Alabama. Still above those on the clock and way, way above those not on the clock.
(Important: It should be noted that the 2007-2010 numbers do not include the 5th year guys from 2006. Therefore, schools that are under 85 in this column are either short-handed or they have a number of 5th year guys; schools that are way over 85 either have no 5th year guys or they have a few and the numbers are even worse.)
Before everyone gets all up in arms, there is more to this than just these numbers and this is where it gets really time consuming in trying to investigate oversigning. From 2006 to 2010 a lot of things happen to the rosters, some things are legitimate and some things are not. The numbers above are the numbers signed; we still need to know who left the team and who still remains from the 2006 class, which will give us the total number of scholarship players at the end of the 2009 season. From there we can subtract the graduating seniors and early entries into the NFL. That will give us our recruiting budget for the 2010 class.
We're not asking that you guys hunt down the back story to every single transfer (although that would be nice), all we really need is the total scholarship commitments at National Signing Day, which is what we described above. Once we have those numbers we will add the number for the 2010 class and see if it is over 85.
So there it is, we have provided a nice starting point for investing the schools Alabama fans have claimed are also guilty of oversigning players. Now we just need your help to finish up the investigation. Please post anything you have here and we'll continue to discuss.
Update 6/1/2010: This appears to be a very popular post. It has been linked to a lot of websites over the last few days, and judging by the comments associated with the sites that have linked to it there appears to be some misconceptions as to what these numbers mean. Here are couple of things to know before looking at the original post and the numbers.
1.) The table below is not a listing of teams from worst oversigners to least (we never said it was by the way). It is simply the number of players that signed letters of intent (referred to as "commits") for each BCS school, sorted by the highest number of players signed to the lowest. Granted, there is a strong connection between having a high number of players signed and oversigning. However, not all teams that have high numbers are guilty of oversigning. One reason for this could be the use of JUCO players that only have 2 years of eligibility, another reason could be consecutive years of attrition during the regular season or after national signing day on classes that were not oversigned. For example, if a team has room for 23 guys and they take 22 and then 5 guys transfer during the spring, the team will go into the fall short 6...if this happens a couple of years in a row you could see teams with a high average number but yet never oversigned. They too have a problem but it is not oversigning.
2.) In order to determine if the numbers below indicate that a school oversigned, you need to understand what oversigning really is. It is not just having really high numbers every year and it is not having more than 25 in a single class. Oversigning is the practice of accepting more signed letters of intent on National Signing Day than you have scholarship openings for under the 85 limit when you accept the signed letters and then depending on attrition between signing day and the NCAA deadline in August to get down to 85. This is where we have pointed to Alabama as the easiest to understand example of oversigning. They had 66 players on scholarship on NSD, leaving only room for 19 new recruits; instead of signing 19 new recruits they accepted letters from 29 players. So while Alabama has lower total numbers below, they were actually more guilty of oversigning than Auburn. Auburn's issue is that they have had so much attrition (mostly academic) that they, despite having signed more players than anyone in the country, are always playing catch up. This too is a problem, but it's a slightly different breed of cat. How they have managed to avoid APR penalties is proof that the system for APR is flawed.
3.) Determining which teams oversign is time consuming process and requires some investigation. You can't just look at the numbers below and say that all the teams that have signed more than 85 players are guilty of oversigning. In order to determine who oversigned you have to look at the the 2009 team roster at National Signing Day and determine how many players are on scholarship when the new letters are accepted. This number is typically the number of scholarship players on the 2009 roster minus graduating seniors that have exhausted their eligibility minus any players that have declared for the NFL draft by the deadline on January 15th. Once you have that number you subtract it from 85 and that gives you the recruiting budget for the next class. Lastly, compare how many players a team signed to how many they had room to sign, and that is how you determine who oversigned. It's not an easy process and it is part of the reason why few people really understand this process and how the numbers really work. There will be those that point to the 1-year scholarship rule, but they fail to realize that scholarships are not renewed until July first, therefore, players with eligibility remaining are still on scholarship on signing day.
4.) The real purpose for the numbers in the table below was to show how many players were signed by each school in hopes of shedding light on the schools that are doing a good job of retaining players and keeping their numbers in check, as well as showing the schools that go through a lot more players. Yes, there are some that are guilty of oversigning, but don't go away from this article thinking that everyone over 85 has oversigned because they haven't and don't come away thinking that this is a list of oversigning teams from top to bottom.
Back to the original post:
The results below should come as no surprise to anyone who reads this site or knows anything at all about oversigning, but we thought we would post them anyways. The chart below shows the average number of players signed per team by each conference for 2006-2010 and the table below the chart shows all of the BCS teams and their numbers (note the total and average columns in table are just for 2007-2010 so that you can get an idea of what each school has done in just the last four recruiting classes).
There is really not a lot to say here that hasn't already been said. However, these numbers do give us a pretty good indication of exactly who is doing the best job of recruiting and retaining players at a high rate. The NCAA needs to do something to rein in some of these schools that are simply abusing the spirit of recruiting student athletes. Although there is a NCAA By-Law that states that football scholarships are 1-year renewable contracts, we all know the true spirit of scholarship athletics is to recruit players with the intention of developing them over a 4-5 year period and making sure they graduate from your school. These numbers make it pretty clear who is operating within that spirit and who is simply running through players with a win at all costs mentality.
Recruiting Numbers 2007 - 2010
|Teams||Conf.||2006||2007||2008||2009||2010||07-10 Total||07-10 Average|
Note regarding data above: The Total and Average columns are for 2007-2010; we included 2006 numbers just to show how many players were signed prior to the current 4 year rosters. The theory here is that if a team signed 115 players in four years, like Ole Miss did, and signed 30 the year prior to that, you have to imagine that they have a few 5th year guys who red-shirted. So in addition to 115 new players in 4 years, you should have a handful of 5th year guys as well. This just further exposes the oversigning of players relative to taking 5th year guys into account.
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.
Here are all the schools from the BCS conferences (and Notre Dame) and their recruiting numbers for 2002 - 2010. We previously had this broken down by conference, but finally got around to putting all the data into one table for easy reference. This table is sortable so knock yourself out.
All BCS Schools
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.
We have already compiled recruiting numbers for schools and conferences, see our "Recruiting Numbers" link above for that data, but now let's take a look at the numbers for National Championship coaches from 2002-2010. Make sure to read our footnotes at the bottom regarding the data in the table below.
National Championship Coaches 2002 - 2010
The first thing that jumps off the screen is that despite being out of college football for 2 years (2005 & 2006), Nick Saban still signed 193 recruits, which is second only to Les Miles his successor at LSU when Saban left in 2005. Saban also has the highest average recruits per year at 27.50. In 7 years, Nick Saban has never signed less than 25 recruits in a single year.
Let's compare that to the same set of years (2002-2004 & 2007-2010) for the coach with the lowest numbers, Jim Tressel. Tressel signed 142 players in the same years that Saban signed 193 recruits. That is a difference of 51 players over the same period of time, 7 years. That is mind boggling to say the least.
And to further put that into perspective, only 4 BCS programs in the entire country have signed fewer players than Ohio State's Jim Tressel, Stanford (170), Georgia Tech (177), Wake Forest (174), and Northwestern (170). Notre Dame tied with (180). For Jim Tressel to win a NC, compete for 2 more, and win the Big 10 Conference 5 Times in a row with those kind of numbers is simply amazing. The same goes for Pete Carroll, although his numbers are just slightly higher, and what he did at USC. Imagine if either one of those coaches had an extra 40-50 players to select from or to use in order to fill in gaps from unexpected attrition such as career ending injury.
Click the link to continue reading >>>
Draw your own conclusions...
Conference Comparisons 2002 - 2010
|Average # of Total Recruits Signed Per School:||227||219||215||208||199||199|
|Total Players Signed:||2,727||2,629||1,737||2,084||2,196||2,394|
|Highest Single School Total:||253||243||235||235||218||225|
|Lowest Single School Total:||191||192||201||170||170||174|
|# of Times Over 25 in Single Class:||54||37||23||28||18||22|
|# of Times 28 or More in Single Class:||33||24||14||14||5||10|
|# of Back to Back Classes of 25 or More:||35||24||11||8||6||5|
The ACC is now on the board. When putting all of this together we really didn't know what to expect; we knew that the SEC signed a lot of players, but we had no idea just how many and we certainly didn't expect such a wide margin between SEC and the ACC. The numbers are staggering.
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!