This morning, we received a forwarded copy of this email from Mr. Hawley from one of our readers and we were able to confirm that it did originate from Mr. Hawley, and that we had his blessing to share his thoughts on the topic of oversigning with the rest of our readers.
From Mr. Hawley:
I appreciate your interest in the issue of oversigning. As you may know, the Big Ten is philosophically opposed to the practice of oversigning in all sports, and our long-standing rules in this area reflect as much. Consequently, we are pleased to see that the conversation regarding oversigning appears to be picking up steam nationally. We’ll continue to monitor that conversation, and when given the opportunity, we will continue to share our position that our approach better serves student-athlete welfare.
I do believe that we are heading in the right direction nationally. For example, there is now an NCAA rule in football—effective for the first time this year—that limits the number of prospects who may sign National Letters of Intent with an institution (28 during the regular signing period). In general, the NCAA rule is not as restrictive as Big Ten rules, but again, it’s a step in the right direction—we voted in favor of the rule and will continue to vote similarly in the future.
I can’t say whether the day will come when NCAA rules prohibit oversigning in any or all sports, but we obviously would welcome such a day. Continued pressure from the media and the public certainly help the cause.
I hope this is helpful to you. Again, thank you for your interest.
Things are moving in the right direction, but there is still a lot of work left to be done. Setting the cap at 28 does not eliminate the problem, as we have seen in the SEC, but is a move in the right direction. It should be noted that the SEC, the biggest offenders of oversigning, does not have supplemental rules in place to safeguard their student-athletes from oversigning and situations such as what Elliot Porter and Chris Garrett went through this past year.
The associate commissioner has been gracious enough to extend an invitation for further questions and we are working on that now and will share his response as soon as possible. In the meantime, we thought this was relevant and worthy of sharing.