The Georgia-based website, LHB, has been a supporter of this site since its creation. We recently received an email from its owner, Greg Poole, regarding his concern that should Georgia lose Mark Richt that the new coaching staff would use oversigning in order to keep up with the Alabama's and LSU's of the SEC West.
Obviously, Poole and many Georgia fans take great pride in not oversigning. Many of the SEC supporters that we have on this site are Georgia or SEC East fans being that the East does not oversign to the extent of the West. This is not something new with regards to the state of Georgia or the issue of SEC West teams abusing oversigning. We wrote a piece a good while back when we were first investigating oversigning regarding Georgia Tech's departure from the SEC. Here are a couple of lines from that piece for those who don't want to read the entire entry.
This is a quote from Bobby Dodd's book, Dodd's Luck.
"Another issue of concern for Dodd was Alabama's and other SEC schools' over-recruitment of players. Universities would recruit more players than they had roster space for. During the summer practice sessions, the teams in question would cut the players well after signing day thus preventing the cut players from finding new colleges to play for. Dodd appealed the SEC administration to punish the "tryout camps" of his fellow SEC members but the SEC did not. Finally, Dodd withdrew Georgia Tech from the SEC in 1963. Tech would remain an independent like Notre Dame and Penn State (at the time) during the final four years of Dodd's coaching tenure."
Georgia Tech, a charter member of the SEC, withdrew from the SEC in large part because of the oversigning issue back in 1960's (yes we know about the fight with Alabama and the broken jaw, but that was only part of the issue according to Bobby Dodd in his book). This problem, while greatly diminished from back in Dodd's day, still has not been completely eradicated.
More from Dodd...
"Bobby Dodd insisted there was no other reason he left the SEC, other than the 140 Rule. The 140 Rule stated a college program could only have 140 football and basketball players on scholarship at any one time. The teams were allowed to sign up to 45 players a year, but could not exceed the 140 Rule.
Dodd would not allow any of the football players choosing Tech to be dismissed from Tech, because they were not good players. Dodd said, “it is not the recruits fault for not making the squad, it was the coaches fault for misjudging their talents”. If a recruit came to Tech, he would stay on a football scholarship until he graduated.
Dodd would sign about 30-32 players a year to meet the guidelines, but the other schools in the SEC were offering 45 scholarships a year. Those players, not good enough to fall under the 140 Rule, had their scholarships withdrawn and sent packing before the end of each year. Dodd insisted, the recruiting of athletes by this method amounted to nothing more than a tryout for a scholarship.
Dodd thought it unfair and would not withdraw scholarships from his players. He wanted the SEC to limit the amount of scholarships to about 32 per year. This would keep the other schools from offering 45 scholarships, picking the best, and sending the rest packing.
Maybe it is time the University of Georgia takes a stand like Georgia Tech did back in the 1960's. It's pretty clear that Georgia fans see oversigning for what it is and are against it; they see the harm it causes, the lying required to make it happen, and the competitive advantage that is gained through its abuse. All of that has been well documented and is indisputable. This is simply a matter of ethics. Our advice to Leather Helmet Blog is to lead the charge for the SEC East to pressure Mike Slive and the 12 University Presidents to take serious action on this issue. No more window dressing.
The Huston Nutt rule was an absolute joke and nothing more than window dressing sparked by Nutt mocking the rule book in front of the media; had it not been for his blatant disregard in front of the media there would be no 28 player cap. Force them to address this issue. Force them to make each school report their number of openings after January 15th, the deadline for Juniors to declare for the draft, and force them to only accept signed letters of intent for the number of openings they show to have on National Signing day. Stop the SEC from being allowed to sign way more than they have room for February and then figure out how to get back down to 85 in August. This is exactly what was going on back in Dodd's day; the numbers are just a little different.
Everyone should demand transparency in the roster management. Bring roster management out into the light; fans want to know about it, fans like Greg Poole over at LHB.
We stumbled across a nice little article over at DawgsOline.com on Georgia's scholarship situation and how it compares to a school like Alabama that oversigns.
The discussion of oversigning and grayshirting and all of the tricks used to get to the magic number of 85 scholarship players isn’t new. It shouldn’t be easy to forget that these are young men with educations and futures at stake, but we do. Even the console game with the NCAA’s name on it demands that you outright “cut” players. I’d much rather my program undersign than oversign and have to yank or defer a scholarship, but there is definitely a tradeoff and a cost for not playing the game.
The advantage isn’t just the two or three players signed over the limit by another program. Remember that Georgia has at most now 80 players who were considered scholarship-quality when they signed, and the 87 or 88 at the other school all merited an offer. So the difference is more like seven or eight players versus a program that oversigned by a couple. Eight players from an 85-man roster is just under 10% of the team. It’s a third of a recruiting class for any given year.
Of course Mark Richt didn’t know that he’d be five scholarships under the limit. Owens and Banks had battled injuries for a while, but you can’t anticipate a medical disqualification. You can’t foresee the backup QB’s spring break indiscretions. It does seem to be a given though that there is some amount of attrition each year. Every coach has to play inventory manager and balance the 85 scholarship limit against his best guess at attrition. It’s clear though that some are more aggressive at chasing that limit, and it’s not hard to be cynical about how some of the “attrition” eventually comes about.
Again, I’d rather be a little under the limit rather than over because of the human element. It’s all business, but that’s not what coaches say when they’re in the living room. But we can’t ignore that under the current rules coming up five short of the limit isn’t all that great of a situation either. It’s a great story for the deserving walk-ons who see their effort recognized, but 80 scholarship players is borderline probation.
The cost for not playing the game (oversigning) that they are referring to is Georgia's 1-4 record vs. Alabama 5-0 record.
Kudos to Georgia and Mark Richt for standing tall and refusing to abuse the oversigning loophole, despite having to compete in a conference where oversigning is the order of the day. And Kudos to DawgsOline for being on the right side of the fence here!
DawgsOline takes a rather conservative approach to the numbers by only comparing Georgia's situation to a school that oversigns by a couple; the results are much different when you compare them to a school like Alabama that is oversigning roughly 10 a year, as is LSU, Ole Miss, etc.
So not everyone in the SEC is willing to wallow in the slop with Nick Saban, Les Miles, and Huston Nutt, the three amigos of oversigning.