We'll have more on this later today, but Saban just announced that 1 player is transferring and two players are accepting a greyshirt and will delay enrollment until next year. We said months ago that Saban was over by 10 and that 10 players needed to go; until today we had 7 accounted for and today we got 8, 9, and 10.
The interesting part is that Alabama only has 9 scholarship players on their roster, and with two guys greyshirting this year that leaves only 7 openings for next year plus the juniors that leave for the NFL. Alabama currently has 16 verbal commitments for next year, so much like LSU, they are already over the limit and we will see the exact same thing next year that we have seen this year.
As we mentioned above, Saban announced earlier today that 3 guys won't be joining the team this fall, two of which have elected to greyshirt. The one that is getting the most attention is Rod Woodson. Here are some comments from Saban regarding Woodson and the situation:
"He will transfer and have an opportunity to do that," Saban said. "We were very helpful in trying to give him an opportunity someplace else. We wish him very well. He did a good job for us."
Multiple sources had previously indicated that academics could be an issue in Woodson's case. After the initial announcement, Saban later made it sound more like a dismissal from the team.
"I don't really feel it's a problem, when you have people in the organization who aren't accountable, how not having one would affect anything," Saban said. "We cannot make decisions about the future of players who aren't accountable for what they're supposed to do and not responsible to what they're supposed to do as a member of this team, regardless of what they issue is, behavioral, academic, football-related.
"We have a lot of good players on the team, and I would rather move somebody from another position to play where we don't have enough players than to allow somebody not to do the right things and be involved. I don't think we do anyone any good if we do that."
So did Woodson violate a written team rule or was he declared academically ineligible? Doesn't sound like it. Sounds like Saban simply didn't like what he saw out of Woodson, end of story. Next. Too bad Woodson didn't have an agent when he signed his letter of intent, maybe his agent could have negotiated a better contract for him when he signed. That's where we are headed this this pattern, we all know it's coming.
It is interesting that Saban refers to the University of Alabama as an "organization," he could have fooled us, we thought it was an institution of higher learning that enjoys a tax-exempt status because it exists to educate the masses. Maybe we should start treating these schools like what they are, semi-pro "organizations," which flies directly in the face of every NCAA and University mission statement.
So here is what the final March looks like for Alabama:
2010 The March to 85 - Alabama
|Player||Position||Reason for leaving after NSD|
|Terry Grant||Running Back||Scholarship not renewed|
|Travis Sikes||Wide Receiver||Scholarship not renewed|
|Rod Woodson||Safety||Scholarship not renewed|
|Star Jackson||Quarterback||Transfer, Georgia State Div 1AA.|
|Deion Belue||Defensive Back||Academically Ineligible; headed to JUCO|
|Alfy Hill||Linebacker||Academically Ineligible; future unknown|
|Taylor Pharr||Offensive Lineman||Medical Hardship|
|Milton Talbert||Linebacker||Medical Hardship|
|Darius McKeller||Offensive Lineman||Medical Hardship|
|Ronnie Carswell||Wide Receiver||Greyshirt|
|Wilson Love||Defensive End||Greyshirt|
Sometimes a diagram is better than wordy explanations; we put together two diagrams that best depict the difference between how Alabama and LSU are managing their rosters compared to programs like Penn State, Notre Dame, USC, Texas, Ohio State, and other brand name power schools.
The first is the OVERSIGNING MODEL which gives the coaching staff an extra period of time to evaluate the players and make decisions on how they are going to get down to the NCAA mandated 85 scholarship players. This model results in mandatory roster cuts or non-renewal of the 1-year scholarship agreement.
The second is the UNDERSIGNING MODEL or the model where we have coaches who exercise constraint and ethics in the recruiting process and who are guaranteed not to have cut anyone in order to stay under the 85 scholarship limit.
It doesn't get any more cut and dry than the two diagrams above, and as we documented this year with LSU and Alabama this is exactly what is happening right now. Couple of things to note: both teams started with 66 players; one signed 29 and one signed 17; both ended up at 85.
At the moment what the oversigners are doing is legal because the NCAA doesn't not prohibit schools from oversigning, but we are of the opinion that they don't realize just how badly it is being abused. It is our goal here to raise awareness about oversigning and help make the NCAA realize that they have to do something about the entire signing process - it is completely out of control and it is damaging kids. Not to mention, the NCAA mission is..
Our purpose is to govern competition in a fair, safe, equitable and sportsmanlike manner, and to integrate intercollegiate athletics into higher education so that the educational experience of the student-athlete is paramount.
Our proposed solution has been to create a system where schools are required to declare the number of openings they expect to have before National Signing Day and be limited that number of signed letters of intent. This number, and bear in mind we are adhering to the NCAA's mission statement that the educational experience of the student-athlete is paramount, will the number of players that have graduated and any juniors who opt for the NFL early. That is who should be replaced, not some 3rd string DL who doesn't have the potential of the next 5* stud recruit.
In addition, we recommend that the NCAA require schools to prove that there is a scholarship available before a letter of intent is accepted. This will eliminate scenarios where coaches like Saban and Miles knowingly accept more letters of intent then they have room for when the accept them, knowing full well they have 6 months to make arrangements in order to get down to 85. Let's be honest here, guys like Star Jackson and Rod Woodson were dead men walking the minute Saban oversigned his class...everything else is window dressing. This will also eliminate situations like what we saw at Miami this year where they didn't have scholarship room for Seantrel Henderson when they accepted his LOI so they cut someone in order to make room after the fact.
We know what you are thinking, "well that will just lead to guys getting cut before hand instead of after." We have a plan for that as well, as mentioned by one of our best posters here, Mario. Require that each player leaving a team go through an exit interview at the NCAA office where the NCAA can monitor when players are released from a scholarship and get their side of the story as well as the schools.
That only leaves one issue on the table - the 1 year renewable scholarship rule. We are on record here numerous times that the 1-year renewal scholarship is something that needs to be addressed as well. Granted, you need to have something in place in order to remove a player who doesn't meet the academic requirements or violates a university policy, but giving the coaches power to make judgement calls on this not the answer (and save of the BS about the appeal process and the review process by university officials outside of the athletic department).
Bottom line, there is no reasonable excuse for allowing oversigning, especially when the results are what we have seen over the last couple of days at Miami, LSU, and Alabama.
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.
If you haven't read the news, Michael over at Braves & Birds - The Atlanta Sports Blog has been reading our site and decided to write an essay on the topic of oversigning and the nature of our website. Michael is an Attorney from Atlanta, Georgia, we on the other had are not attorneys (we didn't even sleep at a Holiday Inn, but we're going to give this a go anyways), but we did we bounce emails back and forth with Michael and he seems like a personable guy, not to mention he has been blogging since we were in diapers.
So let's take a look at the article.
"I've been reading Oversigning.com over the past few weeks and enjoying the discussion. The authors there take a much harder line on oversigning than I would and at times, their writing devolves into unhinged attacks on the SEC from every angle. (Comparing endowments? Really?) In those instances, they come across as excuse-making Big Ten fans who want to justify the fact that SEC teams have won more national titles in the past four years than Big Ten teams have won in the last forty."
Yeah, we're pretty hardcore on the topic of oversigning. People write about it from time to time, especially during the off-season and around signing day, but we are the first and only website completely dedicated to the topic. Why? Two reasons: 1.) During the 2007 during the National Championship game, we saw a graphic that showed the number of players signed in each of LSU's and Ohio State's previous 5 recruiting classes: LSU 28, 26, 13, 26, and 26 = 119 and Ohio State 16, 24, 18, 20, and 15 = 93. A difference of 26 players, or essentially an entire recruiting class. That raised an eyebrow. It was the first time we could remember a broadcast ever showing those kind of numbers. 2.) A couple of months later we saw Nick Saban on ESPN battling it out with a local sports reporter over his recruiting numbers which led us to this link. That raised a second eyebrow. The thing that really got us going was Nick Saban saying:
"It's none of your business. Aiight? And don't give me this stuff about the fans need to know, because they don't need to know."
Something about that has always bothered us. It wreaks of someone having something to hide.
Unhinged attacks on the SEC. Have we attacked the SEC, probably so, has it been unhinged, no not really. If we were attacking the ACC for oversigning, then it would be considered unhinged, but to take the conference with the worst problem with oversigning to task is not unhinged attacking in our opinion. Calling out the SEC for running off Georgia Tech, Tulane, and Sawenee isn't really all that unhinged either, in our opinion, it's more like factual history. The post regarding endowments was a follow up on two fronts: 1.) Texas joining the Big 10, and 2.) The SEC running off academic universities because of disagreements on athletic competition, specifically football, and how that has left them poorly positioned in terms of adding a powerhouse like Texas who wouldn't consider joining the SEC back in the 90's because of the poor academic standards. Again, those are facts, not unhinged attacks.
Click the link to continue reading >>>
We found the list below posted over at shaggybevo.com. Basically, this is Nick Saban's attrition since 2007 (this is not all of it, just what was listed at shaggybevo.com).
|2007 (25 Players Signed)||2008 (32 Players Signed)||2009 (27 Players Signed)||2010 (26 Players Signed)||2011 (22 Players Signed +2 GS)|
|Crump - quit football||Johns - arrested, cocaine||Dial - grades, juco||Grant - not renewed||Glenn Harbin - baseball|
|Elder - armed robbery||Bolton - grades*||Moore - grades||Sikes - not renewed||Demetrius Goode - transfer|
|Fanuzzi - transfer||Hood - MLB||P. Hall - transfer Div II||McKeller - medical hardship||Petey Smith - transfer|
|Hester - transfer||Jackson - transfer||Burnthall - quit team||Jackson - transfer||Brandon Moore - transfer|
|Lett - medical hardship||Lawrence - transfer||Fanney - transfer||Sims - din't qualify||Corey Grant - transfer|
|McGaskin - grades||Lewis - grades||Cardwell - not renewed||Pharr - medical hardship||Arron Douglas - died|
|Murphy - grades*||Matchett - medical hardship||Higgenbotham - transfer So. Ala||Talbert - medical hardship||Robby Green - released|
|Ricks - grades||Neighbors - bryant scholarship||Kirschman - not renewed||Woodson - not renewed||Kerry Murphy - medical hardship|
|Tayler - transfer||Preyear - kicked off team||Hester - medical hardship||Kendall Kelly - medical hardship|
|Farmer - transfer||Ray - MLB||Wes Neighbors - medical hardship|
|Smith - transfer|
* = guys who were resigned later so they get counted twice by websites like oversigning.com.
Quit - 1, kicked off - 2, Other Scholly - 3, Transfer - 7. MLB - 2, Grades - 8
Couple of things to note here:
1. Where would Alabama have been had they taken normal numbers and still suffered the same attrition? Or would they have had the same amount of attrition? Those are the primary questions. Had Alabama signed a normal amount of players (18-21) and still had kids transfer out, commit armed robbery, and fail to make their grades, there would be gaping holes in the roster that would have crippled the program for years.
Let's break it down by class: let's say in 2007 Alabama signs 21 guys and suffers the attrition of 10 players, that puts that class at 11 players; in 2008 let's say Alabama signs 25 in order to make up for the attrition the previous year, but suffers the attrition of 11 players, that puts them at 14 players.
The last time Alabama had back to back season with less than 20 players you have to look at 2002 and 2003, 19 & 19; that was the last time they were unable to sign extra players because of scholarship reductions. Here's their record: 2002: 10-3, 2003: 4-9, 2004: 6-6, 2005: 10-2, 2006: 6-7. 2007: 7-6. Could you imagine if they had to deal with only 11 & 14 players in back to back classes because of all the attrition? They wouldn't win a game.
2. How did Nick Saban miss on all these guys - he is regarded as one of the best recruiters in the country? Or, is it that Saban just runs through more players and the cream rises to the top? That has to be the case because we have already documented that he signed roughly 35-51 more players than Brown, Tressel, and Carroll.
3. Why does this even happen? Schools all over the country such as Notre Dame, Penn State, Ohio State, Texas, USC, etc. do not need to do this. Is it because the available talent pool is prone to that much more attrition and without oversigning to cover for it Alabama would be dead in the water, or is it because they prefer to go through more guys just to keep them away from the competition? Our historical research showed that they used to do it (oversign) for both reasons.
And for those that argue "those extra guys don't count because they didn't make it into school or they transferred out," we say, if they don't count then why sign them to begin with? Take normal numbers and deal with the attrition - why should Alabama, or any school for that matter because this is not about singling out Alabama this goes for any school, be allowed to subsidize its attrition while other schools take normal numbers and either avoid attrition by taking better quality (academic and character) guys or "take it in the chops," as Nick Saban would say, meaning if they have attrition then they have a hole in the roster until they can fill it with the next recruiting class. How is it that these other schools only take 18-22 guys every year and still compete on the same field for the national championship as a team that takes 28-32 and culls down their roster? You can thank the NCAA for allowing the oversigning loophole to exist, then you can thank the conference commissioners and athletic directors for allowing their schools to exploit the loophole, and finally you can thank the multi-million dollar coaches who exploit it. Hopefully one day you can thank us for helping to eliminate this from college football all together.
Bottom line: Either Alabama takes extra players to cover the expected attrition because they have to given the pool of players they have to select from, which means if they took regular numbers they might not be able to field a team, or Alabama takes extra players in order to have a larger pool of players to pick from thus pushing out lesser quality players by way of medical hardships, transfers, poor grades, violation of team rules, or armed robbery. Those are the only two reasons and neither of them are appealing. Anyone who thinks otherwise either doesn't get it or has an agenda.
One last comment on this. If Alabama (and other SEC schools) truly take more signees because the pool of players they have to select from dictates that they need to take extra to account for the mass numbers that won't make it academically, isn't that an indication of a much bigger problem? And what kind of message is it sending to kids? Shouldn't the message be: "if you want to play football here you need to be squared away academically or we can't even afford to look at you as a prospect."
We continue to hear that Alabama was on probation and scholarship reductions in 2002-2003 and that is why their numbers are so high.
We'll keep this brief and to the point. If Alabama's numbers are so high because they were on scholarship reductions, then what were the schools listed underneath them on, double secret scholarship reductions? We searched the Internet and couldn't find where the NCAA dropped the hammer on any of these schools for recruiting violations. If you guys find something we missed let us know.