For those who saw the entire Outside the Lines episode live on ESPN, you got a chance to hear Bruce Feldman talk about oversigning in a little more detail. Feldman is extremely plugged in on this topic; he spent an entire recruiting season with former University of Mississippi Head Coach, Ed Orgeron while writing the book Meat Market. If you haven't read Meat Market it is an absolute must read.
With his inside perspective on the recruiting process and having been in the trenches, Feldman uncovered a complete sub culture to college football recruiting, particularly in the SEC, that exposes the nasty underbelly of the motives behind many of the issues surrounding the college football recruiting process. Below he reiterates what he has said many, many times before about the practice of signing and placing and how coaching salaries are tied to recruiting rankings, etc. If you are an ESPN Insider, you can get the whole story...for those that are not here is what is publicly available:
From @RowlffDogg Why doesn't the national media pay any attention to the practice of oversigning?
I've actually written about the subject several times and helped on a recent "Outside the Lines" segment on the issue. I was also the commentator discussing it in detail right after the near-10 minute piece aired.
One of the points I brought up on the show was about the practice of schools rewarding coaches with bonuses for signing a "top" class (either top 5, top 10 or top 25), or for landing a certain number of four-star players. With coaches having even more of an incentive to meet certain quotas and rankings, they often try to sign certain recruits that they know might have a very tough time qualifying academically.
I wrote about the "Sign-and-Place" method in "Meat Market," and for schools that deal heavily with junior college recruits, that also factors in. The process is this: Sign the shaky four-star prospect so that you can up your recruiting ranking, impress other prospective recruits, appease your fan base (and, in turn, the administration), increase your own chance of landing that recruiting bonus, and then send the players who can't get in academically to a junior college as if it's a farm system. If the kid turns out to be a complete knucklehead or flops on the field, you forget about him. If not, you didn't take up a spot for two years and then the juco coach, who is thrilled you sent him a talented player, has protected him for you and sends you back a more ready-to-play, developed prospect.
It would be interesting for someone to do some research on assistant coaching contracts and see what the bonuses are and how they are tied to recruiting rankings. Feldman definitely exposes one of the motives behind abusing the signing process and oversigning student-athletes for the sake of personal gain. Guess that throws a little cold water on the notion that oversigning is harmless and attrition is natural, of course most reasonable folks already knew this to be true.