Sign of the Times

This might be considered slightly off-topic in that the article we are linking doesn't directly mention oversigning, but the point we want to illustrate is that college football recruiting has become as big of a game as the actual game played on the field; it even has its own National Championship ranking on National Signing Day.  We have written about this in the past and this video of Randy Edsall is one of our all-time favorites.


Today, Matt Hinton takes a look back  at Lane Kiffen and Ed Orgeron's recruiting class of 2009 which paints an ugly picture of the recruiting "game."  Oversigning is a byproduct of this game, as is the medical hardship issue and the greyshirting issue, and the one thing they all have in common is that they lead to the exploitation of kids by coaches.  Not all coaches are this way; for every one scumbag coach that only cares about jacking up the recruiting rankings and landing a bonus or another gig because "he's a great recruiter," there are probably 3-4 or more coaches that are really sincere and really care about the future of their kids.  


That's all for now, back to working on the cup standings.

Update:  Here is another quick read about some of the craziest recruitment stories this year.  Just another example of how much the recruiting process has turned into the game.  Pretty sickening.



5 Million Hits!

This month has been amazing in terms of traffic to the site with over 1 million hits in 14 days.  Word has spread to the masses about oversigning.  Thanks to all the readers and followers who have helped spread the word -- keep up the great work!


Joseph Agnew Sues the NCAA

It is being reported that former Rice Football player, Joseph Agnew, through the law firm Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP, is suing the NCAA regarding its prohibition on multi-year scholarships.


The suit was filed in California on behalf of former Rice football player Joseph Agnew. It claims that Agnew lost his scholarship after he underwent shoulder and ankle surgeries prior to his junior year in 2008. Rice changed coaching staffs after Agnew's freshman season, when he played in all 13 of the school's games. He appealed and had his scholarship reinstated for his junior year, but he did not play football.

Agnew's suit asks to represent other former players whose scholarships were not renewed.

The suit claims that the prohibition of multi-year scholarships, along with limits on the number of scholarships each school can give out, drives up the cost of an education for student athletes. It claims a violation of federal antitrust laws.


There has been a lot of argument on this site regarding the renewal of athletic scholarships.  Some feel as though the coaches have every right to pull a scholarship and not renew solely on the grounds of poor performance on the field--most of those people are also in favor of oversigning.  Others, meanwhile, perfer that the student-athlete get a 4 year scholarship agreement and as long as the student-athlete meets certain, clearly explained criteria, he is able to remain on the scholarship for the duration.

Many have argued that athletic scholarships should be handled like academic scholarships, but there are several flaws in that argument.

1. Academic scholarships typical spell out the requirements in plain English and the recipient knows exactly what he/she has to do in order to continue to receive financial aid.  These requirements are typically the same for all persons receiving the same scholarship, and typically the requirements are based on maintaining a certain baseline GPA, course-load, etc.  Athletic scholarships on the other hand, specifically the renewal of these scholarships, are very subjective.  Furthermore, we have seen that some athletic scholarships have not been renewed because of the limitation on the number that can be given out and the coaches desire to bring in someone he thinks is more talented.

2.   The person determining (typically the head coach) who gets a scholarship or who gets renewed has a tremendous amount riding on the decision and vested interest in the renewal process.  In comparison, there is no one issuing academic scholarships with their multi-million dollar career hanging in the balance.  Coaches have a vested interest in the decision in the renewal process, something that doesn't exist on the academic side. 

Regardless, Agnew's lawyers are claiming that the NCAA is violating anti-trust laws by limiting the number of scholarships, which in turn they claim drives up the cost of a 4 year education for student-athletes. 

Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP has filed a proposed class-action lawsuit against the National Collegiate Athletic Association alleging the NCAA has conspired with colleges and universities to impose artificial limits on sports scholarships, actions the suit claims violate federal antitrust laws.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of a student-athlete who lost his scholarship after a series of injuries and a coaching change, alleges the NCAA and its member institutions forbid member schools from offering multi-year scholarships and illegally limit the number of scholarships in large part to maintain the profitability of the institutions’ sports programs, a violation of the Sherman Act’s antitrust laws.

The NCAA, whose member institutions number nearly every major college or university in the country, sets limits on the number of scholarships those institutions can grant, and prohibits schools from granting multi-year scholarships. The suit claims these limitations drive up the cost of a four-year education for student-athletes.

The prohibition on multi-year scholarships leaves student-athletes who lose their scholarships through injury or coaching fiat with two difficult options: paying tuition out of pocket or finding another college or university that will give them a scholarship, or abandon their education, the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit seeks to represent anyone who, while enrolled at an NCAA member institution, received an athletics-based scholarship for at least one year and had their scholarship reduced or not renewed, forcing them to pay tuition at a college, university or other institution of higher learning. If you have information you believe is important to the case, please contact Hagens Berman at 206-623-7292 or by e-mail at ncaa_antitrust@hbsslaw.com.


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You Must Be Kidding

In the wake of USC's NCAA violations and the penalties handed down to USC from the NCAA, it has become public knowledge that USC's Juniors and Seniors are eligible to transfer without having to sit out a year and that schools are "allowed" to contact them.  However, according to USC's true freshman RB, Dillion Baxter, several schools have contacted him to gauge his interest in transferring.  Here's the problem, Baxter is a true freshman and schools are not allowed to contact him.

Meanwhile, USC true freshman running back Dillon Baxter told the school's director of compliance that five schools illegally contacted him in the wake of USC's NCAA penalties, according to a document reviewed by ESPN's Joe Schad.

In a letter written by USC director of compliance Matt Billings to Pac-10 Associate Commissioner for Governance and Enforcement Ron Barker, Florida, Washington, Oregon, Fresno State and Alabama allegedly contacted Baxter.

The letter states in part: "I just met with [Baxter] and he told me that he received phone calls from five institutions [June 10th]. All of the institutions asked if he was interested in transferring from USC due to the NCAA decision. Would you please speak with these schools to remind them they cannot speak to this student athlete?"


Let's take whether or not schools are allowed to talk to Baxter off the table for just a second.  Here is a list of those schools the number of players they signed last year: Florida (27), Washington (31), Oregon (23), Fresno State (21), and Alabama (29). 

Do any of those schools, especially Florida, Washington or Alabama, strike you as a school that has scholarship room?  We know Alabama doesn't, they still need to shed players.  So if the report is true and they did contact Baxter, where the heck were they going to put him, or better yet, who are the going to cut from the team to get him in if he wants to come?  Same for Florida and Washington.  If these reports are true and there are schools contacting these players, which by the way are elite prospects for the most part, and they can't prove that there is an opening on the roster at the time they are talking to the players, then they should be publicly reprimanded and denied access to the players.  The NCAA has got to come up with a way of managing these situations.

Filed under: Off Topic 12 Comments

Slightly Off-Topic, But Still Relevant

The primary focus around here is oversigning, but from time to time you can't help but talk about academic standards and players qualifying when you talk about oversigning.  Those supporting oversigning often point to issues with finding enough guys to qualify academically to fill their roster.   We have mentioned here several times that we equate oversigning to hedging against attrition and how some schools have the luxury of doing it and some schools do not or will not.

Here is a prime example of how not being able to hedge can really bite you in recruiting.  Rich Rodriguez's prize recruit and the highest rated recruit for the entire Big 10 conference will most likely not play at Michigan this year, or next, or ever.  Demar Dorsey will likely not make it into school at Michigan this year, despite meeting the NCAA Clearinghouse requirements and being an NCAA qualifier.

Dorsey, the Big Ten's highest-rated recruit according to ESPN Recruiting, hasn't been allowed to enroll at Michigan, his high school coach Mark James told Corey Long.

"Demar is an NCAA qualifier with a 2.5 or 2.6 GPA and an 18 score on the ACT," said James. "But he hasn't yet been granted at Michigan."

Controversy surrounded Dorsey's commitment to Michigan when it was disclosed that he was arrested twice as a juvenile. He was acquitted on a charge of robbery with a deadly weapon in 2008 and had a previous charge of burglary dismissed.

James suggested that some of Dorsey's issues with his admission may stem from his previous transgressions with the law.

Both James and another source close to Dorsey told ESPN.com that Michigan's coaching staff is still working very hard to get him admitted.


This brings a lot of areas of discussion to the table:

1. How is Dorsey affected by this?  He signed a LOI to a JUCO as a backup plan, but you have to think the kid was excited about clearing the NCAA clearinghouse and going to Michigan.  Will he end up at another D1 school on scholarship?  Rodriguez's comments about JUCO players are pretty interesting; pretty much he is saying that if Dorsey goes to JUCO it is unlikely that he will be able to come back to Michigan because of the issues with credits from JUCO transferring to Michigan.  This sure sheds some light on the JUCO farm leagues in Mississippi.  

In November, he spoke about wanting to sign a junior college player or two but not getting his hopes up.

“There’s not a lot of transferrable credits for junior-college guys to come in here,” Rodriguez said. “Sometimes people look at that as a quicker fix. That’s not going to really be an option for us just because of the academic differences.”

From the link above to the ESPN article.

Regardless, you have to feel for Dorsey who thought he was going to Michigan and is now looking elsewhere.  A lot of this can be solved by changing the signing process - one of our readers Mario, former linebacker at Alabama, has had some great insight and good ideas in this regard.

2. Are academic requirements really different across conferences and is it true that just because a guy clears the NCAA doesn't mean he will get into school?

3. How is Michigan going to be affected by this loss?  Had they been able to hedge their attrition by oversigning, would they have taken another player just in case?

4. What kind of competitive advantage is it to be able to oversign?

5. Does Rivals and Scout include the potential to qualify as part of their rating system??? Here we have the highest rated recruit for Michigan, and the Big 10, but at the end of the day, if he doesn't qualify how high should he really be rated?  If Rivals and Scout and all the other recruiting ranking services leave out academics or the ability to qualify it should be considered just as bad as if they left out a player's ability to read defenses or run a fast 40 time.  We see now why Randy Edsall was so livid about recruiting services.

6. Are part of Rich Rodriguez's problems at Michigan related in some way to the change in culture he is experiencing?  A guy like Dorsey would be lock to get into West Virginia, wouldn't he?

This could be a crushing blow to Michigan's secondary as Dorsey was expected to come in right away and help shore up a position of need.


Off Topic – Reggie Bush Documents Public

Yahoo Sports made public yesterday documents it found during the investigation of USC's Reggie Bush receiving extra benefits.  The biggest ticket item on the list is the $757K home that Bush's family lived in shortly while Reggie was at USC; the house was paid for by New Era financier Michael Michaels.  It will be interesting to see what the NCAA does about this.


Filed under: Off Topic, PAC 10 1 Comment