In a previous post, we responded to Alabama fans that were outraged by our March to 85 piece by giving them a homework assignment. The assignment was for them to bring us a BCS school that needs to shed more than 6 scholarship commitments between now and August when the NCAA will required that all teams have their rosters down to 85 players. It took a little bit of time, but we finally had a reader post a list of schools that he claims are over the limit and needs to shed players.
Here's the list from the Alabama fan:
"You want other programs? Here ya go….
LSU currently has 91 players on scholarship (Need to cut 6)
Miami currently has 91 players on scholarship (Need to cut 6)
Texas A&M currently has 90 players on scholarship (Need to cut 5)
Washington currently has 88 players on scholarship (Need to cut 3)
Nebraska currently has 87 players on scholarship (Need to cut 2)
Texas was at 88 players on scholarship, had 2 transfer, and now needs to cut 1 more."
Okay, so where do we start? First, let's get a table of the recruiting numbers for each of these schools in one place so we can easily look at them together here. This is everything from 2002 - 2010; we'll narrow this down to the numbers we need for this investigation a little later in this post.
On The Clock
Now, how do we figure out who went over the limit this year by accepting more signed letters of intent then they had room for given the number of scholarship commitments they had on National Signing day? The math is really simple, but finding the actual roster numbers for the previous year online can be difficult, which is why we are asking you, the fans of these schools, to participate and help us determine if your team went over the limit. We could do it on our own if all of these teams has a sweet online depth chart application like Notre Dame has available here; make sure you click on Roster Chart when you open the link (side note - if we had any sense at all we would build an application like this to house roster data for all 64 BCS schools and then charge a fee to access it - but as it is we barely have enough time to keep up with blog and our real lives).
Regardless, we have the number of players signed to each recruiting class (see table above), therefore, all we need now is to know exactly how many players were on scholarship on National Signing Day. Typically, this is the previous year's total number of scholarship players (which will vary from school to school because not all schools are always at 85 every year) minus graduating seniors with no eligibility left and minus juniors who have declared for the NFL draft by the deadline on January 15th. We refer to this number as the "recruiting budget."
Until we can get those numbers, let's just look at how many players each school has signed over the last 5 years. We're going to subtotal 2007 - 2009 and then add 2010 to that number and call it the subtotal for 2007-2010. We are also going to show you the 2006 numbers, which would represent the 5th year senior classes for these schools. It is very likely that each of these schools will have a few 5th year guys on their roster.
On The Clock - Numbers for 2006 - 2010
For comparisons sake, now let's look at a few teams that we have investigated in the past and that we know are not over the limit.
Not On The Clock
And then finally, here is Alabama. Still above those on the clock and way, way above those not on the clock.
(Important: It should be noted that the 2007-2010 numbers do not include the 5th year guys from 2006. Therefore, schools that are under 85 in this column are either short-handed or they have a number of 5th year guys; schools that are way over 85 either have no 5th year guys or they have a few and the numbers are even worse.)
Before everyone gets all up in arms, there is more to this than just these numbers and this is where it gets really time consuming in trying to investigate oversigning. From 2006 to 2010 a lot of things happen to the rosters, some things are legitimate and some things are not. The numbers above are the numbers signed; we still need to know who left the team and who still remains from the 2006 class, which will give us the total number of scholarship players at the end of the 2009 season. From there we can subtract the graduating seniors and early entries into the NFL. That will give us our recruiting budget for the 2010 class.
We're not asking that you guys hunt down the back story to every single transfer (although that would be nice), all we really need is the total scholarship commitments at National Signing Day, which is what we described above. Once we have those numbers we will add the number for the 2010 class and see if it is over 85.
So there it is, we have provided a nice starting point for investing the schools Alabama fans have claimed are also guilty of oversigning players. Now we just need your help to finish up the investigation. Please post anything you have here and we'll continue to discuss.
Harvey Perlman, Nebraska's Chancellor, among other things, recently spoke about conference expansion and how he thinks it will affect Nebraksa and College Football as a whole. We won't go into the specifics regarding conference expansion-there is already enough speculation and plenty of other blogs already talking about it night and day-but we want to touch on something Mr. Perlman mentioned regarding the NCAA and recruiting.
“You don't know that for sure," Perlman said. “There could be some advantage to joining the Big Ten depending on what the deal is. There could be some disadvantage, too."
“They have a different set of recruiting rules than we have," Perlman said, “which might impact what we're able to do."
Finally, someone other than Jim Delany, who wrote this lovely memo to the rest of college football, openly admits that there is a difference in recruiting practices amongst the conferences, so much so that it could affect whether or not a school such as Nebraska decides to join the Big 10 Conference.
Greetings from the Big Ten Conference,
I love speed and the SEC has great speed, especially on the defensive line, but there are appropriate balances when mixing academics and athletics. Each school, as well as each conference, simply must do what fits their mission regardless of what a recruiting service recommends. I wish we had six teams among the top 10 recruiting classes every year, but winning our way requires some discipline and restraint with the recruitment process. Not every athlete fits athletically, academically or socially at every university. Fortunately, we have been able to balance our athletic and academic mission so that we can compete successfully and keep faith with our academic standards.
This is what we have been talking about the entire time on this blog. First we have the raw numbers that lay bare the truth behind oversigning, now we have someone outside of the Big 10 who has publicly acknowledged that there truly is a difference in recruiting rules for the Big 10 schools, so much so that it would influence Nebraska's decision to join the Big 10 conference if invited to do so.
Our point all along has been that the NCAA's recruiting rules were not intended to be the standard by which everyone in the country operates; the NCAA rules for recruiting are BASELINE rules that were intended to provide some sort of structure for 119 universities across the entire country. It has been our position all along that it is up to Conference Commissioners and University Presidents to further expand those rules to fit their athletic and academic missions. Based on the numbers we have shown and the research we have done, it is very clear that the SEC has done very little to expand upon those rules in ways other conferences have already. It wasn't until last year when, for perception reasons mainly, the SEC went to a 28 max rule, something the Big 10 has been doing for 10-15 years. Ironically, as our data shows, this hasn't reduced the number of signed commitments across the SEC, at least not yet.
Perlman talks about the NCAA's reach when it comes to conference expansion, but he also sheds light on how the NCAA regulates across the board:
This is a common misconception among fans and some media members, Perlman said. The NCAA isn't all-powerful.
“The NCAA certainly has an interest in conference realignment," he said, “but it's not a player.
“Conferences are independent units. The Big Ten doesn't have to come to the NCAA to get permission to do what it wants to do. The NCAA regulates around the margins."
Bottom line: The entire purpose for this blog is increase awareness as to the topic of oversigning and how all conferences operate a little differently when it comes to recruiting. Our data and research shows that the SEC signs more players than anyone else in the country, by a landslide. We also believe that kids are being done a disservice through the practice of oversigning and we believe that it has created a competitive advantage which makes competing for a national championship more about the battle of who wins recruiting than who develops talent or who does a better job coaching.