The topic of oversigning with the intention of signing and placing recruits in JUCO schools in the southeast has been a heavily debated topic here at oversigning.com. Numerous SEC coaches have publicly defended their practice of signing and placing kids they have oversigned into JUCO schools, including Auburn's former coach Tommy Tuberville, who claimed he oversigned every year as a head coach. Huston Nutt was trying to setup his own little farm league in the JUCO system when he raped the signing process a few ago and signed 37 recruits, 12 of which he knew had no shot at qualifying.
Our position has been that coaches abuse this practice in order to hoard recruits and keep them away from rival schools. As SportsByBrooks.com is now reporting regarding HBO's upcoming special on business and ethics in college sports, we see why SEC coaches, specifically Auburn's ex-coach Tommy Tuberville, liked to oversign and place the non-qualifiers in JUCO.
Kremer voiceover: “Raven Gray was a top (Auburn) recruit in 2007, he says people affiliated with Auburn would visit him at his junior college and press the flesh there too.”
Kremer to Gray: “How much do you think you got?”
Gray: “Twenty five-hundred to three thousand dollars. Loyalty is the key. This man give me money I’m going to be loyal to him and go to Auburn.”
Kremer voiceover: “And he did go to Auburn but got injured before he ever played a game.”
According to Raven Gray, people affiliated with Auburn would visit him and bring him money while he was in the JUCO farm system.
Folks, the entire system is broken and the sport that we so dearly love is on the brink. The writing is on the wall -- this is going to get worse before it gets better and unfortunately oversigning and the ancillary filth that comes with it is just the tip of the iceberg.
Gene Chizik and Auburn made a concerted effort this year not to oversign their roster. Coming off of a year (2010) where they signed 32, in large part because they were well below the 85 limit in 2009, they signed 24 recruits, which appears to be 2 less than they could have signed based on the number of players that departed last year and the number of players they had on scholarship at the end of the season.
With the numbers already low due to the dismissal of Eric Smith for violation of team rules and a checked past that included a couple of arrests, Auburn suffered a huge loss of 4 players due to being arrested for armed robbery and other felonies. This alone puts them roughly 7 under the 85 limit, and if that were not enough, yesterday Chizik announced that 4 more players are not currently with the team. If in fact they are gone for good that would be 9 players since national signing day and it is very possible that Auburn could start the season with 74 scholarship players -- unless some of those scholarships are given to deserving walk-ons on a one-year basis or unless Auburn is able to sign someone from JUCO at the last minute.
Auburn Attrition 2011
|1||Eric Smith||Violation of team rules|
|2||Mike McNeil||Armed Robbery|
|3||Antonio Goodwin||Armed Robbery|
|4||Shaun Kitchens||Armed Robbery|
|5||Dakota Mosley||Armed Robbery|
More after the jump...
In case you missed it, Auburn and Northwestern played each other in the Outback Bowl last season. And although there were 10 turnovers in the game, it was one of the more exciting and fun to watch games in the bowl season last year.
It just so happens that Auburn and Northwestern have something else in common. They appear to be on the opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of recruiting numbers, with Auburn having signed 253 players since 2002 and Northwestern 170.
According to the link in our previous post, Auburn seems to be playing catch-up with their roster depth due to the recruiting practices of Tommy Tuberville. Although one has to wonder, with an average of 28 recruits a year, how in the world could you ever have a problem with your roster? For right now, it's irrelevant. The bottom line is that Northwestern, numbers-wise, was in the same boat as Auburn if you buy into the argument that although Auburn signed a bunch of players they were still short-handed when they played Northwestern because none of them made it into school or were able to stay in school.
From 2005 - 2009 Auburn signed 134 players; Northwestern signed 94. That's a difference of 40 players.
So let's say all 40 of those "extra" players didn't make it into school at Auburn and all the players Northwestern signed stayed in school. That puts Auburn and Northwestern on level footing in terms of numbers.
Now let's look at what the two schools/coaches did in the 2010 recruiting class. Northwestern signed 17 players, Auburn signed 32.
Why is there such a drastic difference between the way these two programs operate? One reason is that Northwestern operates according to the principles and philosophies of the Big 10 Conference while Auburn does so according to the principles and philosophies of the SEC. Another theory is that Auburn is trying to keep up with the Alabama's, Florida's, and the LSU's, all of which are loaded with talent and seem to sign a lot more players than the teams Northwestern is trying to keep up with (Penn State, Michigan, Ohio State, and Wisconsin).
Again, the numbers are very interesting. Where would Northwestern be if they were able to bring in 32 players this year, back count a hand full to the previous class, and take a full class of 25 guys? We'll never know because it will never happen.
The most important question in all of this is, where did all those players go who were one time Auburn players/recruits? What are their stories? Have they gone on to be successful, productive members of society or are they just drifting around somewhere?