Oversigning.com
22Jul/11221

Alabama’s March to 85 Finished?

Updated with new numbers.

Here is what appears to be the final shake down on Alabama's post NSD attrition this year.  Much like last year, Alabama is one of the few teams in the country to lose double-digit players post NSD.  Quick, name another school that has lost 21 scholarships players between NSD and August over the last 2 years.  That's an entire recruiting class.  And 6 of those 21 were medical hardships.  Here is the attrition for Alabama between National Signing Day and the August deadline to get to 85 players for the last two years.  Any way you slice it that is a lot of attrition.  For comparison's sake, Penn State has had 2 players leave their program over the last two years during this period of time.

2011 The March to 85 - Alabama

Player Position Reason for leaving after NSD
Glenn Harbin Defensive Line Decided to play baseball; Link
Demetrius Goode Running Back Transfer to North Alabama; Link
Petey Smith Linebacker Transfer to Holems CC; Link
Brandon Moore Defensive Lineman Transfer to East Mississippi Community College; Link
Corey Grant Running Back Transfer to Auburn; Link
Keiwone Malone Wide Receiver Transfer to Memphis; Link
Robby Green Defensive Back Transfer to California University of Pennsylvania ; Link
Darrington Sentimore Defensive Lineman Transfer to Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Link
Arron Douglas Offensive Lineman Died during offseason; RIP, hate having to list him here.
Kerry Murphy Defensive Line Medical Hardship
Kendall Kelly Defensive Back Medical Hardship
Wes Neighbors Defensive Back Medical Hardship


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


*Wilson and Love are still with the team, they grayshirted.  They left for 1 year but returned the following.

So does this end the 2011 March to 85?  Right now it looks like 10 scholarship players are gone since NSD with 2 more suspended indefinitely waiting to be "processed."  Regardless, despite Alabama not releasing official scholarships numbers, we are able to piece together a few bits of information that make the numbers a little clearer:

1. The number of players signed this year 22 + 2 grayshirt commitments from last year = 24

2. The number of players that left last year (3 JR to NFL + 8 SR to Graduation + 1 Pre-NSD Transfer) = 12


Click to enlarge; there are 14 guys on the list of players that left last year, 6 of which are listed SQ and there is no record of any of them in the Rivals database as ever being signed.

3. The number of scholarship players that have left since NSD (see above) = 12

When you add the number of players that have left since NSD to the number of players that left last year due to going to the NFL early or exhausting their eligibility you get 24.  That's pretty damn close to exactly the 24 they signed.

Saban did mention that that Alabama was not at a full 85 last year, which we still have a hard time understanding because 2 guys grayshirted because their wasn't enough room.  Regardless, let's say there was still room for 1 or 2 under the 85 limit last year.

There are only two possible explanations for the numbers:

1. Saban did not oversign: because when he signed 24 it took him to 85 (which if you remember on NSD when Saban told the media they signed what they had room for) and the 10 departures since NSD have created 10 openings, which have not been filled by walk-ons, and Alabama will go into the season with 73 scholarship players.

2. Saban did oversign: because with only 12 departing players on NSD and only a couple of open scholarships from last year there is no way he had room for 24 guys and it took X number of the 10 players leaving since NSD in order for him to get back down to 85.  If Saban did oversign, then this is a prime example of how the new "roster management rules" for oversigning in the SEC are ineffective.  Even with signing 24, which is 1 under the 25 enrollment limit, it is very possible that Alabama oversigned -- the only way they didn't is if they played last year with 73 scholarship players, which would mean the 12 under 85 from last year + the departure of 12 to the NFL and graduation would then justify the 24 they signed to get to 85.  Then in which case, with the 12 departures since NSD, Alabama would be at 73 going into this season.  Which in turn raises the question as to why 3 guys are being moved to medical hardship scholarships when there could be football scholarships that are left unused -- don't those guys deserve better for their sacrifice, especially when the room is there?

In summary, we might not have Saban's scholarship numbers, but we feel pretty confident that we have his number down pat by now.  This is the second year that we have been able to forecast the amount of attrition to take place after NSD almost to the exact number.  Last year we nailed it on the number, this year we said 11 and there has been 12 thus far.  Not too shabby considering we don't have his numbers.

The only person that can clear this up is Nick Saban and he has the perfect opportunity to do it tomorrow at SEC Media Days.  All he has to do is come clean on his scholarship numbers.

Filed under: SEC 221 Comments
23Jun/112

The March to 85 Continues – Alabama

Looks like Bama Sports Report is going to take care of the heavy lifting this year with their complete breakdown of scholarship numbers for Alabama.  Just like last year, our numbers are nearly identical to their numbers.  They had Alabama at 96 on NSD (72 returning after seniors and juniors leaving early for the NFL declared and 24 signed including greyshirt rollovers from previous year), putting Alabama 11 over the 85 limit on NSD, which is the same number we have, 11 over.

On NSD, Nick Saban told the media that no one knows what his scholarship numbers are and that Alabama was not at 85 last year (which begs the question, why did he waste scholarships by not giving them to walk-ons to help pay for their last year?).  He also told the media that what he signed "was the number of players we could take" (see the 7:35 mark in this video for his exact words) on NSD implying that Alabama had room for everyone they signed and that any new attrition would open more spots for them to add guys later.  Alabama has officially added no one thus far, as Duron Carter's status is still up in the air and it's unclear if has signed with Alabama at this point, and 6 guys have left the program since NSD.

Interesting side note: Saban does talk for a few minutes about how he wishes certain aspects of the "business" were more like they were when he was in the Big 10 Conference, specifically in regards to recruiting a player that has already verbally committed to another school.  Those comments come immediately after his comments mentioned above and are worth a quick listen. 

Here is what the March to 85 looks like:

2011 The March to 85 - Alabama

Player Position Reason for leaving after NSD
Glenn Harbin Defensive Line Decided to play baseball; Link
Demetrius Goode Running Back Transfer to North Alabama; Link
Petey Smith Linebacker Transfer to Holems CC; Link
Brandon Moore Defensive Lineman Transfer to East Mississippi Community College; Link
Corey Grant Running Back Transfer to Auburn; Link
Keiwone Malone Wide Receiver Transfer to Memphis; Link
Robby Green Defensive Back Transfer to California University of Pennsylvania ; Link
Darrington Sentimore Defensive Lineman Transfer to Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Link
Arron Douglas Offensive Lineman Died during offseason; RIP, hate having to list him here.
Kerry Murphy Defensive Line Medical Hardship
Kendall Kelly Defensive Back Medical Hardship
Wes Neighbors Defensive Back Medical Hardship

 
Back to the oversigning.  If Saban is telling the truth and he signed "the number of players we could take" then he should have been at 85 on NSD.  Since that time, 6 guys have left their scholarships with 4 more rumored to follow.  Meaning, either Alabama is going to go into the season with 74-75 guys on scholarship or Nick Saban wasn't being completely honest when he said they signed the number of players they could take, and the attrition since NSD has enabled him to get down to 85. 

If Saban was telling the truth and he truly signed what they had room for, then Saban should be announcing 10-11 (or some number) walk-on players getting 1 year scholarships to take the place of all the guys that left and all of the scholarships that have opened up since NSD, and if he doesn't, those of you who scream about creating opportunities and maximizing scholarships should be screaming at Saban for letting those scholarships go to waste for a year. 

Pro-oversigning fans argue that oversigning enables all 85 scholarships to be used.  In a few weeks we are going to find out if all 85 are being used at Alabama or if all the attrition since signing day was required in order to get down to 85.

If the attrition since signing day has created scholarship openings and those scholarships are not given to walk-ons for 1 year until they can be given to new recruits next year, then Saban's argument about maximizing scholarships and creating opportunities through oversigning goes out the window.   You can't say in one breath that you believe in creating opportunities while in another breath let x number of scholarships go unused.   Either the attrition is going to get Alabama back down to 85 or the attrition is going to create openings for walk-ons, one or the other.   We'll see what happens.

Filed under: SEC 2 Comments
3Apr/1120

Alabama Adds #25 to Class – Where is the Room?

Alabama had 12 scholarship players leave the team (8 to graduation, 3 juniors to the NFL, and 1 transfer prior to signing day) last year; Alabama also signed 23 new players (22 on signing day and now Duron Carter) and had 2 players greyshirt last year that now count towards this class; this puts them at 25 new players this year.  On NSD, Nick Saban told the media that they signed what they could, implying they had room for 22 + 2 GS, and that they could add another player later because there were candidates for medical hardships or redshirt guys that have graduated that could be replaced.  To date there have been no announcements regarding any departures, but there have been plenty of names floated around as possible candidates.

As we mentioned a month ago, the numbers just don't jive.  If you have 12 scholarship players leave but add 25 new scholarship players, the only way you have room for them all is if you finished the previous season with 72 scholarship players.   72 - 12=60, 60 + 25=85.

Does anyone believe that Alabama had only 72 scholarship players last year?  If that was the case, then why the 2 greyshirts last year because there wasn't room -- if you are at 72 scholarship players why in the world would you greyshirt 2?  The only viable reason would be the 25 limit, but Alabama had a handful of guys last year that enrolled early and counted toward the previous year, so there should have been room.  Furthermore, Alabama had a bunch of attrition last year -- we examined their roster prior to signing day and projected the number of guys they needed to lose in order to get to 85 and that was the exact number of guys they lost during the spring and summer -- so if they weren't making roster cuts to get to 85 there should have been room for the two that greyshirted last year.

We are being a little coy here, we know they didn't have 72 guys on scholarship to end the season last year.  The reality is that they are over right now, and the medical hardship, transfers and non-renewals should start to emerge soon.  

With spring practice in full swing, shouldn't anyone that is injured to the point that they can no longer participate already be on medical hardship?  Maybe there are guys that are not participating in practice right now, not sure.

All of these questions could be answered if Alabama didn't withhold their scholarship numbers information from the media, something no school should be doing.  Cecil Hurt with the Tuscaloosa News is working on this and has filed Freedom of Information requests in an effort to get scholarship numbers from the University, which is bizarre when you consider Alabama is one of the few programs around the country that runs a web cam on national signing day so that everyone can see the signed letters of intent as they come in; each time one comes in the school posts the name of the player on the fax machine so everyone can see it.  Why would you go out of your way to broadcast that information yet withhold scholarship numbers from the media when asked for them?

@TheMarchTo85 I promise we are using every FOI avenue available.

We have asked Cecil Hurt to simply ask Saban if they have room for everyone right now and from this point forward if anyone leaves will it result in Alabama starting the season under the 85 limit.  Those are questions that A.) should be asked, and B.) Saban should be able to answer.  To his credit, Hurt acknowledged our request and stated that he would follow up with Saban this week and ask questions.

Filed under: SEC 20 Comments
13Feb/1169

Competitive Advantage and Ethics, Two Sides of Oversigning

The topic of oversigning is somewhat complicated, the numbers are hard to track, especially when a school redacts them from public documents, the terms used in the recruit game are hard to understand (greyshirt, redshirt, count forward, count back, medical hardships, medical redshirts, etc), and the NCAA bylaws combined with the NLI process can make the whole world of recruiting hard to truly understand.  Most fans simply follow rivals.com and the other recruiting sites to see where their team is ranked and give very little thought to how rosters are managed and whether or not coaches are abusing the oversigning loophole or any other loophole.

This site has been the epicenter of the oversigning debate since it was launched roughly a year ago.  Since being discovered by Stewart Mandel in May of 2010, its popularity and traffic has grown to the tune of 200,000+ unique readers and 6.6 million page visits.

This is why I love the Internet. I must confess, I was not aware of oversigning.com until receiving this e-mail. (I've since seen it referenced numerous places.) Hats off to the authors. They've done a tremendous job of shedding light on a largely under-covered topic through meticulous research and easy-to-digest data. They seem most concerned with the overlooked human consequence of this practice: coaches quietly cutting loose underperforming or injury-riddled veterans to make room for a new crop of recruits. Currently, the site is closely monitoring Alabama, which, as of the most recent post, still had 91 scholarship players on its projected 2010 roster, in its "March to 85."

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers/stewart_mandel/05/26/best-conference/1.html#ixzz1DrZKoh9s

 Since that time, the topic of oversigning has been one of the more talked about topics in college football outside of conference realignment and the Cam Newton story.  As National Signing Day drew near, the oversigning drumbeat got louder and louder and the attention escalated to the point where coaches, athletic directors, conference commissioners, and university presidents were all weighing in on the topic.   The Paul Finebaum Show, a syndicated sports talk show based in Birmingham, Alabama and broadcast on Sirius and XM radio, talks about it almost daily, and in the last couple of weeks there have been days when the topic dominated the entire 4 hour show. 

Needless to say the topic is viral, as it should be.  It's a topic that is years and years overdue for the spotlight.

For those of you who are new to oversigning, there is plenty of material on the topic readily available all over the Internet.

In the past year of following and writing about this topic, we have found that there are two main components to the oversigning debate: competitive advantage and ethics.

Competitive Advantage:

Where most people get lost in this argument is in that they think that the team that oversigns the most is automatically the better team.  Often times people will say, Huston Nutt is the most notorious oversigner in the country - he signed 37 in one class, if it was such and advantage why doesn't he win the National Championship every year?  Well, it's not that simple.  You have to look at when the attrition takes place in order to determine if a coach is upgrading his roster by signing more guys than he has room for, having those guys qualify and enroll, and then having upperclassmen or guys already on the roster pushed out via transfers, medical hardships or simply not renewing their scholarship, OR, if a coach is signing a bunch of guys that won't qualify and have to go to JUCO which ultimately has no tangible bearing on the roster in the short term, a practice commonly known as signing and placing.  Nick Saban and Les Miles would be the former, Huston Nutt would be the latter, and that is perhaps why we see a difference in the results on the field, not to mention Saban and Miles are simply better coaches, much better.

There is absolutely no question that oversigning creates a competitive advantage against schools that are prohibited from the practice or elect on their own, as does Georgia in the SEC, to not exploit the loophole.

Oversigning provides coaches with the opportunity to hedge their bets against attrition, gives them leverage in the recruiting process by not being as restricted in terms of the number of players they can pursue, and gives coaches a mulligan should they miss on a recruit.   We wrote a post a while back comparing the numbers for National Championship Coaches

National Championship Coaches 2002 - 2010

Coaches Conf. 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Total Average
Saban (03/09) SEC 26 28 26 0 0 25 32 27 29 193 27.50
Miles (07) SEC 28 31 19 13 26 26 26 24 27 220 24.44
Meyer (06/08) SEC 22 19 25 18 27 27 22 17 27 204 22.66
Brown (05) BIG12 28 18 20 15 25 24 20 20 22 192 21.33
Carroll (04) PAC10 22 28 19 19 27 18 19 18 20 190 21.11
Tressel (02) BIG10 24 16 24 18 20 15 20 25 18 180 20.00

The first thing that jumps off the screen is that despite being out of college football for 2 years (2005 & 2006), Nick Saban still signed 193 recruits, which is second only to Les Miles his successor at LSU when Saban left in 2005.  Saban also has the highest average recruits per year at 27.50.   In 7 years, Nick Saban has never signed less than 25 recruits in a single year.

Let's compare that to the same set of years (2002-2004 & 2007-2010) for the coach with the lowest numbers, Jim Tressel.  Tressel signed 142 players in the same years that Saban signed 193 recruits.  That is a difference of 51 players over the same period of time, 7 years.  That is mind boggling to say the least.

Note: we would add Gene Chizik to the table above, but he only has two recruiting classes as a head coach: 2010: 32 and 2011: 24. 

Ken Gordon at The Columbus Dispatch asked former Head Coach of LSU, Gerry DiNardo, about the competitive advantage of oversigning:

"At LSU, I could do whatever I wanted," said DiNardo, now an analyst for the Big Ten Network. "The athletic director trusted me. If I signed 30, he knew I would be at 25 when I had to be. There was always a way to manage to numbers."

Then in 2002, when DiNardo was hired by Indiana, he was in for a shock. The Big Ten had the most restrictive rules against oversigning of all the major conferences.

The NCAA allows 85 scholarship players. DiNardo found that he could sign only the number of players that would bring him to 85. Not only that - he could offer only 20 scholarships.

What that meant was that if any of the 20 players he offered went elsewhere, he was short of 85 that season.

"The Big Ten puts itself at a competitive disadvantage," DiNardo said. "You would never be at 85. When I got to Indiana, the numbers were awful. We had 50-some players on scholarships. My only chance to catch up was to oversign."

Mike Farrell, national recruiting analyst for Rivals.com, said, "It's like in bowling, if your opponent gets three balls instead of two."

http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/sports/stories/2011/02/13/rules-on-oversigning-put-big-ten-at-a-disadvantage.html?sid=101

The analogies are endless, but the point remains, having the freedom to play fast and loose with the numbers when competing against schools that play conservative and tight with the numbers creates a competitive advantage.   Jim Tressel, being the senator that he is, took the high road when questioned about it:

This doesn't bother Ohio State coach Jim Tressel, though. The way he looks at it, the majority of his games are against Big Ten schools working under the same rules.

"I don't think (oversigning) is a crisis-type thing," he said. "I don't see it happening in our league that much. Sometimes in a bowl game we compete against another conference, but I've never thought we had an unfair bowl matchup because of that."

But he did make it very clear where he stands on the issue:

Tressel said his staff tries to keep the lines of communication open, so he usually has a good idea who might transfer. But in general, Tressel is in philosophical lock-step with the Big Ten. Where others consider it a competitive disadvantage, he looks at it from the perspective of making sure he treats recruits fairly.

And that means ensuring he doesn't have to sweat out a summer like DiNardo did.

"We're probably conservative in more ways than just play-calling," Tressel said, referring to offering relatively few scholarships. "We've ended up under 85, because we don't want to overcommit.

"To me, the worst nightmare would be if you have got to tell someone, 'We can't fit you.' You're talking about a young kid's life."

Ethics

The direction of the ethical side of the oversigning debate became pretty apparent to the general public when University of Florida President, Bernie Machen, called the actions of other SEC members morally "reprehensible," "disgusting," and "nefarious."  Those are STRONG words from an SEC President aimed directly at other SEC member institutions who are notorious for oversiging.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/football/ncaa/01/31/bernard.machen.letter/index.html

When it comes to the ethics side of oversigning you have to look at several areas: 

1. Honesty in recruiting.
2. The spirit of the NCAA rules vs. The Written Bylaws.
3. College football being "Big Business" instead of Tax-Exempt Institutions of Higher Learning.

With the increased attention on recruiting rankings, college football's second season has become more competitive than ever, especially in the SEC where the recruiting battles are just as hard fought and nasty as the actually games on the field.  Greg Doyle recently wrote about this very topic. 

Honesty in recruiting:
How honest are coaches being with recruits?  Are they telling them upfront that they plan to oversign the roster and that there might not be space for them?  Why are we seeing guys who commit and then on signing day are surprised with greyshirt offers, or even worse after signing day and after they have moved onto campus?  Is it unethical for a coach not to prepare for roster management and ensure that there is never a need to push someone out?  After all, most coaches make more than the smartest, most-credentialed professors on campus, surely they should be able to manage their roster in such a way that doesn't force them to push a greyshirt on an unsuspecting kid or push out an upperclassmen. 

Recently, Nick Saban alluded to a possible ethics issue with recruiting in the SEC when he compared how coaches in the SEC react to a verbal commitment to how coaches in the Big 10 reacted to verbal commitments when he was in the Big 10.  Paraphrasing, he said that in the SEC when a guy commits verbally he becomes a target for other schools, but during his time in the Big 10 when a guy commits verbally he was off limits unless the recruit approached another Big 10 school, in which case the coach that was approached would contact the coach the player was originally committed to and discuss the matter.  If coaches in the SEC are not handling verbal commitments ethically, according to Saban, which he admitted he was just as guilty of because of the competitive nature of recruiting in the SEC, are they handling roster management ethically with regards to the oversigning? 

Just today, Sports by Brooks published an article called: Player's Parents Outrage Illuminates Nutt's Deceit, in which he claims any credibility that Houston Nutt had left in recruiting has been driven off of a cliff.

http://www.sportsbybrooks.com/players-parents-outrage-illuminates-nutts-deceit-29491

The Spirit of NCAA Rules:
Obviously, there is a loophole in the recruiting bylaws with regards to the number of players that can be enrolled each year and the total number of players allowed on scholarship each year.  25 new players can enroll and no more than 85 can be on scholarship at one time; 25*4=100 plus any redshirt seniors obviously doesn't even come close to the 85 limit.  However, the NCAA used those numbers to provide a little bit of cushion and probably had no idea that some coaches were going to use that cushion as a way to manage their roster like a professional football team.  The Spirit of the NCAA bylaws for recruiting is that if you have 17 openings for new scholarship players then you should sign and enroll 17 new players, not 25 and push 8 guys out the door. 

The NCAA bylaws are enormous and they grow every year.  Much of that growth is in response to coaches abusing the spirit of the existing rules, such as the Huston Nutt "28 rule" because of his abuse of the signing process and the Nick Saban "bump rule" because of his abuse of bumping into recruits while visiting their coaches. 

In the Big 10 Conference, there is not a problem with oversigning.  Although schools are allowed to send out 3 extra NLI than they have room for under the 85 limit, most coaches avoid doing it at all costs.  Why??  Because they like competing at a competitive disadvantage?  Probably not.  They probably avoid it because they all know oversigning is a dirty little trick that is played with numbers in order to gain an advantage and it comes with the price tag of messing with the lives of young people.  The Big 10 Conference has embraced the spirit of the signing process by developing a culture devoid of oversigning.  It didn't happen overnight--the rules on oversigning have been on the books in the Big 10 Conference since 1954.

College Football as Big Business:
Often times, supporters of oversigning will point to the 1 year renewable scholarship and infer that college football has become big business and schools need to manage their rosters like NFL teams.   That argument falls on deaf ears because despite the growth of college football these are still institutions of higher learning, governed by an organization with a mission statement that states athletics only exist to enrich the educational experience and that the educational experience is paramount, and they enjoy a tax-exempt status that the NFL does not enjoy.  Somewhere along the line, there is a disconnect between the spirit of the NCAA's mission statement and what certain schools are doing in blatantly managing their rosters like an NFL team.  How ethical is it for a coach or school to hide behind the tax-exempt status of an institution of higher learning while attempting to run a NFL style team with roster cuts and an injured reserved list; at least in the NFL guys on the IR have half a shot at making it back.

Filed under: Big 10, Coaching, SEC 69 Comments
12Feb/1184

The Worst Article Ever Written on Oversigning

We have read a lot of articles on oversigning and listened to a lot of people talk about the topic over the last year.  The vast majority of people writing or talking about this topic don't fully understand it and the complexities involved.  Some are too emotionally charged to think clearly long enough to fully understand what oversigning is and who is guilty of abusing the practice.  Others are in clear denial that it is an issue, such as the blog Bama Sports Report. 

http://www.bamasportsreport.com/2011-articles/february/oversigning-from-alabamas-perspective.html 

Nick Saban is everybody's favorite oversigning whipping boy. It's a role he's no doubt accustomed to - he's been the internet's number two villian (just behind Hitler) since he told reporters he wasn't leaving the Dolphins for Alabama. But here's the thing. There's really nothing to see here. No one has done anything wrong. Let's take a closer look at the rules and what Alabama has done.

Saban and Alabama have broken no rules. No one has even alleged that they have. The process is pretty clear. You put 85 (or fewer) student athletes on scholarship each year, and no more than 25 can be added in a year. You submit those lists to the NCAA and everyone goes on about their way.

Translated: no rules have been broken, there is nothing here to see, and you can put 85 on scholarship each year with no more than 25 being added each year.  Wow.  Really?  Let's continue.

Last year, the SEC changed the rules to allow member institutions to only bring in 28 student athletes per class. This was mostly in response to the class of 33 Houston Nutt inked at Ole Miss a few years earlier. Big Ten fans are up in arms because the Big Ten only allows member institutions to sign the exact number that they have available. 

Why does the Big Ten do this? Moral superiority? Past abuses? The warm fuzzy feeling of getting steamrolled in big bowls? I don't know. But the SEC (and many other conferences) have chosen not to follow their lead. That it disadvantages the Big Ten is a Big Ten problem.

Ugh.  The Huston Nutt Rule was in response to his class of 37, not 33.   The new SEC rule doesn't allow member institutions to bring 28 student-athletes per class, it limits SIGNING to 28 from February to May 31st.  It in no way addresses the real issue of keeping schools from being faced with having to get rid of players because all of their new recruits that signed a LOI qualified and to enroll them all would put them over the 85 limit.  The rule change was meaningless.

Big 10 fans are not the only ones "up in arms."  The University of Florida President, Bernie Machen, was a little bent on the topic, calling it and greyshirting morally reprehensible, Mark Richt has spoken out on the topic, and there is a Twitter account called Oversigning that is operated by a Georgia Bulldog fan who is absolutely furious about oversigning and has been relentless in pestering the national media.  And as a result, the entire national media has picked up on the topic and the court of public opinion has ruled that oversigning is a slime-ball tactic that needs to go.  The issue of oversigning is not a Big 10 problem it is a SEC problem, check that, it's a problem of schools that are abusing it, some SEC schools don't (Georgia, Florida, Vandy traditionally speaking) and some schools outside of the SEC do (Miami, Florida State, Troy) although not to the tune of the SEC schools that do, and even more of a problem for schools who are abusing it and then refusing to release their scholarship numbers to the general public. 

Let's continue...

Sadly, it's a fact that public schools in Alabama and Mississippi are occasionally lacking. See our national rankings in most test scores, etc. So, more frequently than in richer, more industrialized states, kids in the south fail to qualify. It's not a fact that those in the Big Ten don't know; it's frequently used as a convenient insult. But when it hurts their argument, it is ignored.

More industrialized states?  Really?  The bottom line on this BS is that there are plenty of kids that can qualify in the south; they might not run a 4.3 40 or have freakish talent, but with all of the population shifts there are plenty of good, quality kids that can get it done on the field and in the classroom.  Coaches just need to get better at finding them and better at coaching them up.  The reason we see so many guys not getting in is because coaches go after so many kids that they know won't qualify --  they do this for a couple of reasons: to keep competitors away from them and in hopes of signing and placing them in the JUCO farm system. 

And here's the bottom line. Since Nick Saban arrived at Alabama, two student athletes have left the program without a "soft landing" - meaning fre school. Those two kids are Jimmy Johns and Jeremy Elder. They were both arrested for felonies.

Every other kid has received at least some sort of tacit nod to other programs. You can bet if Saban were poor-mouthing departures, less of them would be receiving free rides elsewhere. Either way, these are year to year scholarships. Something that isn't news to anyone. There's no obligation to renew the scholarship.

Soft landing.  Really?  Going from a 4-5 star recruit at one of the premier schools on track to get a quality degree from a great school to a spot on a FCS roster and degree from a lesser school is a soft landing, provided he even makes it that far...sounds more like a shattered dream.  To be fair this isn't all on the oversigning coaches; bogus recruiting services that attempt to rank these kids are just as guilty of contributing to the rise and fall of some of these student-athletes.

It appears that The Drake Group and the National College Players Association disagree with the Bama Sports Report in the assertion that everyone knows that scholarships are 1 year renewable contracts.  Both groups were in Hartford, Connecticut testifying at a legislative hearing.

Sack, who called the proposed bill the "Connecticut Student-Athletes' Right to Know Act," said he was attending the hearing as president-elect of The Drake Group. According to the organization's website, it has a national network of college faculty that lobbies for proposals that ensure a quality education for college athletes.

While NCAA rules state that athletic aid cannot be reduced or cancelled during the one-year period of the award because of athletic ability or injury, Sack said, "the rules are murky when it comes to conditions for the renewal and non-renewal of the scholarships in the subsequent year."

"Some universities renew scholarships for four years as long as athletes continue playing and adhere to team rules," said Sack. "Others cancel scholarships for poor athletic performance or for injury."

Sack, who called the proposed bill the "Connecticut Student-Athletes' Right to Know Act," said he was attending the hearing as president-elect of The Drake Group. According to the organization's website, it has a national network of college faculty that lobbies for proposals that ensure a quality education for college athletes.

Ramogi Huma, a former UCLA football player and president of the National College Players Association — a California nonprofit made up of more than 14,000 Division 1 student athletes — also testified at the hearing and went one step further. He said the majority of high school recruits decide which college to attend based on "false information given to them by athletic recruiters."

Most recruits and their parents have no idea, Huma said, that colleges can "leave them with sports-related medical expenses, take away their scholarship for any reason, leave them with tens of thousands of dollars in educational-related expenses, and hold their eligibility and scholarship opportunities hostage when they try to transfer schools."

http://www.courant.com/news/education/hc-college-sport-scholarships-0209-20110208,0,6085518.story

And for the grand finale...

I was on the debate team in college. It paid my way. I was well aware that if I didn't do what I needed to do, there'd be no scholarship next year. Whether that was a certain amount of research or practice or keeping my grades up, I knew that there were expectations. I knew if I failed to meet those, I'd have to pay my own way. Why is a football scholarship any different?

My final thought is really this. Oversigning is legal. No matter the scenario, kids are getting free college tuition (barring felony arrests). Oversigning does, unequivocally, give a competitive advantage.

If it's legal, and no kids are harmed in the process, then the guy who's getting paid upwards of $4 million dollars a year to win football games ought to be doing it. If he's not, he's not doing everything he can - within the rules - to win football games. And that's not acceptable. That's the cold, hard, unfeeling truth here.

Debate team.  Really?  Regardless, the comparison of a football scholarship to an academic scholarship is completely laughable.  Wonder if the coach of the debate team was being paid millions of dollars based on the performance of the writer of this article.   Wonder if the debate coach faced the same level of pressure to win as Saban or Miles do?  Wonder if the debate team coach was only allowed to give out X number of debate scholarships?  What if a new debate coach comes in and he wants to clear the roster?  If a debater wanted to go to another school to debate would he have to sit out a year?  Wonder if the writer of the article signed of LOI that bound him to the school in a one-way agreement?  And lastly, how many times does a debater put his life at risk debating so that the schools, coaches, and TV networks can make millions?

That last paragraph about sums it up: to not oversign is unacceptable in this guy's eyes.  Pretty sad state of affairs.  Saban has had 12 kids placed on medical hardship scholarship, a scholarship reserved for players that are so severely injured they can no longer play football.  If Alabama were a tax-paying, private sector business, OSHA would be camped out at the corporate headquarters asking why their employees were being injured at such a higher rate than other similar businesses.  Guess this guy would give them the finger too.

Filed under: SEC 84 Comments
6Feb/11285

Alabama’s Numbers

During his national signing day press conference, Nick Saban implied that no one outside of him knows Alabama's scholarship numbers.  He also seemed rather irritated at all of the talk about "oversigning" while reading the notes he prepared regarding the controversial topic.  Judging by the national response to his comments, his message fell on deaf ears

We started writing this last night but this morning Kevin Scarbinsky put out the following article which dovetails nicely with what we have prepared. 

According to Saban, those of us on the outside of the Alabama program can't criticize him for oversigning because we don't know the exact number of players he has on scholarship from year to year.Funny thing about that. Why don't we know? Alabama won't tell us, even though we ask every year.

Birmingham News colleague Jon Solomon requests a copy of the annual NCAA revenue and expense report from every Division I athletics department in the state. One of the categories on that report is number of student-athletes on scholarship in each varsity sport.

Every Division I public school in this state provides us a copy of those reports. Only Alabama blacks out the scholarship numbers for every sport.

We know from the latest form that Alabama reported spending $3,041,356 on football scholarships for the 2009-10 academic year. We don't know how many players Alabama reported having on scholarship that year.

The News has asked Alabama several times to explain why it withholds information we believe is a public record. The heart of the explanation, from university spokesperson Deborah Lane: "Federal privacy laws prevent the University from providing the media with personally identifiable information related to its students."

http://www.al.com/sports/index.ssf/2011/02/scarbinsky_alabamas_dont-tell.html

If there are federal privacy laws that prevent them from saying who is on scholarship, then why does Alabama have a fax machine cam that displays the names of the recruits signing a national letter of intent to accept a GIA for a football scholarship?  Further, no one is asking for NAMES, they are simply asking for NUMBERS.  This is severely weakening his position that everything is on the up and up.  No one else is hiding their numbers, why is Alabama?

We tracked Alabama's scholarship numbers last year and shortly after National Signing Day last year we determined that Alabama was projected to be 10 recruits over the 85 cap and would need to shed 10 student-athletes in order to come into compliance before the August 1st deadline.  To ensure the general public that we were not being biased and that we were not pulling numbers out of thin air, we provided a link to an Alabama sports blog that provided the most detailed roster break down available anywhere on the Internet - surely the guys that cover Alabama like a blanket 24/7/365 knew what was going on with the roster, right?  Well, in light of the recent comments from Saban and Jon Solomon's request for the exact numbers...who knows. 

There are people that follow college football all day and all night, they know every name on their team's roster, what high school they went to, who they are dating, their favorite color, what position they play, where they are on the depth chart, and so and so forth.  With recruiting being such a hot topic, everyone wants to know how many openings they have for the up coming class.  We're willing to concede that perhaps the general public is off by one or two, but in order for what Nick Saban is telling us to be true everyone, including the most dedicated Alabama fans that watch the roster numbers, has to be off by double digits.  That's hard to believe unless there is a secret scholarship society at Alabama that no one knows about.

Over the next 6 months we followed Alabama's football program and tracked the attrition in an effort to see if they would lose exactly 10 student-athletes by the deadline.  We dubbed this effort the March to 85.  The following list is the attrition that took place on Alabama's roster after national signing day and before the August deadline.

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


On the day before deadline, Saban announced that 1 student-athlete would be transferring and 2 new recruits would be accepting a greyshirt.

With that announcement, Alabama was magically at the 85 number, or so everyone thought, including all of the Alabama media that follow the numbers.  Shortly after that announcement, the NCAA would rule that Alfy Hill would be academically ineligible (which was total BS on the NCAA's part with regards to how they handled that poor kid - he had already taken classes at Alabama but was ruled ineligible after the fact).  

Read more on Alabama getting down to 85 on the last day here: http://oversigning.com/testing/index.php/2010/08/04/saban-gets-down-to-85-on-the-last-day/

The two players taking the grayshirts on the last day appeared to be indication that there wasn't room for them in the current class. In his press conference this year, Saban had this to say about grayshirting:

"We have never, ever grayshirted a guy here who when he decided to come here didn't know ... that he was going to be a grayshirt whenever he committed," Saban said.

http://www.al.com/sports/index.ssf/2011/02/saban_defends_practices_of_ove.html

Read that very carefully.  If a recruit knows he is going to be a grayshirt when he commits, then why it is not announced on National Signing Day that he will be taking a grayshirt and enrolling in the following January?  We are not doubting that Saban is telling guys that a grayshirt is possible, that much has been reported already, but his comments above in conjunction with the announcement of two players accepting a grayshirt on July 31st last year sure makes it look like he was oversigned and was waiting until the last minute to see how it was going to play out before using his ace in the hole, the grayshirt.  Perhaps those grayshirts were not cast in stone on the front end, instead, perhaps they are a safety valve for the back end should everyone qualify or roster management dictate that someone has to go in order to stay under the 85 cap.

What we are seeing from some schools in the SEC is a mad scramble to wrangle in as many players as possible in order to try and keep them away from other schools, a recruiting tactic as old as the SEC itself, and the grayshirt process has turned into a safety valve for getting back down to 85 if necessary.  This is what Bernie Machen was referring to as morally reprehensible and what Mark Richt was referring to when he said that schools are offering scholarships like candy.

"One of the hardest things for us to do is to evaluate and nail down who you’re going to go after, especially in our own state. A lot of the out of state teams will just come in and just offer like mad. They’ll come in and just offer like candy. Quite frankly I’m not going to name names of schools, but a lot of them will do that just to get in the fight and if the kid commits too soon and they’re not sure they want, they’ll just tell them that’s not a committable offer. Whatever the heck that means?"

Saban comments on this at the 4:15 mark in this video, where he says that recruiting is largely a numbers game and that if they want to get 30 guys they have to put 90 guys on the board.  We're not going to comment on that because Tony Gerdeman has already said all there is to say about that kind of an approach. 

Now back to the numbers.

Saban implied that this year's class of 21 (now 22) new recruits and 2 grayshirt players that carry over from last year was all they were allowed to take.  Further implying that they are currently full and that the 24 new additions now bring them to the 85 limit.  He went on to say that there might be wiggle room to get 1 more guy.

Saban said Alabama has signed the number of players that it could.

"We could add one or so to that, if the opportunity presents itself in the future," he said, presumably referring to defensive end Jadaveon Clowney, the nation's No. 1 prospect from Rock Hill, S.C. (South Pointe High School), and offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio of Hyattsville, Md. (DeMatha Catholic High School).

"We have some people who could not finish the season who will probably not be able to continue to play that can be replaced, and we have several (redshirted) players who can graduate and may not come back for the fifth year."

http://www.al.com/sports/index.ssf/2011/02/saban_defends_practices_of_ove.html

In breaking that down, he is saying that right now they are at 85 and the only way there would be room for future additions would be for future attrition.  This means two things:

1. We shouldn't see any attrition this year to free up space and get down to 85, and if we do see attrition and no new recruits are added, Alabama will operate below the 85 limit by the number of players that "create their own situation for leaving."

2. If Alabama truly had room for 24 scholarship additions, where the hell did they come from?  They had 14 seniors listed on their roster, 6 of which were listed as SQ for scout team.  They had 3 Juniors leave for the NFL draft and they had 1 player announce he was going to transfer prior to signing day, BJ Scott.  That is 12 scholarship players (8 seniors + 3 juniors to the NFL + 1 transfer).  Saban said they were not at 85 total last year, so were they 12 under the 85?  And if so, why the grayshirt announcements on the last day before the deadline.

The math just doesn't add up and it's not even close.  Compare this to Northwestern's roster situation and look at the difference in how everything is handled.

Pat Fitzgerald: "We have 85 scholarships, we had 17 to give, and we’re at 85 right now." 

Nick Saban: "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."

The SEC and the NCAA need to create transparency in the numbers and how they are managed.  As we have said all along, schools should have to report their number of openings immediately after the January 15th deadline for Juniors to declare for the draft and they should be restricted to those numbers - if there is not an opening then there shouldn't be a scholarship offer unless it is a grayshirt situation that is documented and cleared with the conference office.  Schools should be limited in the number of LOI they can send out/accept in accordance with their openings under the 85 rule, not the 25 or 28 rule, and if there needs to be an exception for up to three extra, fine, but everyone wants transparency.  Fans want it, parents and recruits need it, the coaches need it and there is no reason the numbers shouldn't be made available.  In fact, the only reason to not make them available is because you have something to hide.  The Big 10 has had this transparency since 1954, it's time for the SEC to do the same.

Filed under: SEC 285 Comments
26Jan/11137

Nick Saban Comments on the Accelerated Recruiting Time Table

According to Nick Saban, the recruiting time table has accelerated so rapidly that it is becoming increasingly difficult to evaluate recruits.  Listen to his comments at the 2:30 minute mark in this video.  Saban says he feels as though they are behind in their evaluations because of the accelerated recruiting time table. 

This is interesting for a couple of reasons.  One, you could argue that the lack of evaluation time could be the reason for oversigning: needing to run through more kids to make up for misses in recruiting.  Obviously Saban makes no bones about feeling like he is behind in his evaluations and is forced to offer kids before being fully able to evaluate them; he goes so far as to call it a problem.  Imagine the problem Big 10 coaches are having without that ability to take a few extra guys to make up for those misses in recruiting.

We actually agree with Saban here, the time table for evaluating recruits, and to a certain degree the added restrictions on contact with recruits that were put in place to curb abuses, has made it harder for coaches to evaluate players.  Some of the NCAA restrictions are an absolute joke.  However, oversigning is not the solution - all it does is give a coach a tool to help cover his own ass in recruiting.  Solutions for the oversigning problem need to include adjustments to the evaluation process.

Lastly, Saban really takes a shot at recruiting service websites such as Rivals.com for making recruiting a game and ruining kids in the process.  He blames the media as well and goes on to ask the guys interviewing them if they are proud of themselves for what they have done with the recruiting game.  Those comments come at the 5:40 minute mark. 

After watching the video, you almost feel sad for the reports who stood there and laughed at themselves being shamed by Saban.  Where is the media that covered the SMU scandal when you need them?  Those guys didn't take crap of anyone, much less a coach.

Filed under: SEC 137 Comments
19Jan/1161

Who Said That?

Several readers have asked about the quote at the top of the home page and who it belongs to.  That quote was one of the inspirations for the site and it came from none other than Nick Saban.  Here is the context from the original interview with Ian Rapport http://blog.al.com/rapsheet/2008/04/playing_the_numbers_game.html 

Today, after Alabama's last spring practice, I had one of those situations. One of the big questions, I think, for the offseason is how will coach Nick Saban whittle the roster down to just 85 scholarships? There are 66 on scholarship now, and assume 25 freshman will enroll. That's 91. So six have to go by August.

How?  That's what I asked Saban today. He was entertaining as always. Let's just say, the conversation was classic:

Me: "The numbers is issue. First, do you know, is Colin Peek on scholarship?"

Saban: (Time to play dumb.) "I don't know. You ask me, do I know..." (Bad question. Clearly, he knows.)

Me: "I think you do know." (See?)

Saban: "You'll have to ask somebody else." (Cue mischievous grin) "You're asking the wrong guy."

Me: (Alright, come on, it's getting late.) "He is, right?"

Saban: "Yeah." (Round one: Me!)

Me: (The real questions) "How are you going to handle the numbers and when do you start to worry about it?"

Saban: (Getting a little loud... What, Saban worry?) "I'm not worried about them. It'll all work out. I mean, the whole thing has a solution to every issue. You don't put yourself in a position where you don't know what's coming, then have to take it in the chops." ("Chops" is such a dad word. Not that there is anything wrong with that) "Aiight? We know how it has to be managed, and it will be managed."

(Pause)

Saban: "And you don't need to call me and ask me to write a column for you, and I won't call you and ask you how to manage our numbers. How's that?"

Me: (Deal! But when when did I suggest how to manage the numbers? If he did ask... I digress.) "I don't even have a calculator." (Can't do math without one of those.)

Saban: (The smile returns.) "You don't need one to do this."

Me: (Throwing the hands up in the air.) "So you're not going to tell us?"

Saban: "I'm not going to tell you what?" (That exit is looking mighty welcoming now.) "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."

Me: "I would never say that."

Saban: "Don't even ask. Aiight? So. (Starts to walk out, but he's got one more zinger before he leaves.) Ya know, I thought we could get this one last thing without having to..." (attempt a scolding?)

Me: (Even I start to laugh at that) "You really thought that? No chance."

Saban: (Off the podium, he can't help giggling to himself, too) "Not with you."

Media relations guru Jeff Purinton: (Escorting Saban out the door) "He (me) needed something to hold him over until the season..."

True. Good times...

Compare that with Jim Tressel's press conference video below where he discusses his numbers and how he manages them each year.  That pretty much says it all.

Filed under: SEC 61 Comments
17Jan/11115

Saban Gets Head Start on the 2011 March to 85

As predicted, Saban has started early with the roster trimming this year. BJ Scott, a key recruit in the #1 ranked 2008 class, is officially taking the Star Jackson career path of transferring down to a lower tier school, the University of South Alabama.  This first showed up on the radar here, and followed up on here.

Roll Bama Roll had a interesting take on BJ Scott:

"Nevertheless, while he never put it together on the field, in many ways Scott served his purpose. His commitment to Alabama in July of 2007 played a major role in our re-taking of the recruiting hotbed of Mobile, and his commitment also helped us sign several other heavily recruited players because he helped our recruiting efforts tremendously down the stretch. Scott never did anything as a player, but he helped push a lot of other kids to Tuscaloosa who have done very well."

http://www.rollbamaroll.com/2010/11/30/1847613/b-j-scott-transferring#comments

Being that the transfer was announced prior to signing day it's not as dubious as the transfers that come after guys spend the entire spring and summer competing for a spot on an oversigned roster.

An update to Alabama's numbers is in the works.

In reading some of the comments posted in response to the announcement of BJ Scott transferring, it's pathetic and disappointing to see the mindset of some Alabama fans when it comes this topic.

Steady up boys, this happens every year, and it happens everywhere. You have kids that don't cut the mustard, and you have to make room for others. It's a business these days. Coaches are paid 3, 4, 5 million dollars a year to win and win big.

You must "over recruit" and shuffle the dead weight around to the back of the line and/or out the door. The players know it too. They have one year on their scholarship, it's reviewed each year. It all works out, it's a plus for the young man who wants to move on so he can get playing time. It improves his chances of making the NFL draft.

It's not as heartless and cold as "some folks" make it out to be.

When I finished HS in 1971 I signed to play at Alabama. We had over 70 freshmen come in that year with 30 plus being invited and uninvited walk ons. Out of that class there were 35 scholarship and 4 became head coaches "three in the SEC and one in the Pac10" and one sports agent , who unfortunately crashed with Payne Stewart. Out of the 35 only 17 of us survived with a number transferring to Livingston, Jax State, Troy and North Alabama. I know for a fact Auburn had Dieter Brock that transferred to Jax State that year and went on to the CFL and NFL. This has been the way of college teams for ever. It is not an Alabama thing or an Auburn thing or any other college. There are a number of reasons some don't make it in a certain program and others do. It also does not matter if a coach is being paid 4 million or 50k. His intent is to win. When was the last time an AD stood up and introduced a coach as "We have hired Bubba because he is a looser and we got him cheap?". I think it is always good that a young man has options to transfer. The problem with them transferring is they are looking at it from a football perspective and not an education one. They all think they can still make it to the NFL. You can name the NFL transfers on your 20 digits. Priorities.

Part of football ...
That 5 star rating from ESPN and Rivals got him nothing....I expect more to come from Bama in the next couple of weeks with the talent still there and the amount headed in the upcoming class..
No big deal here , just like other colleges, the kid wants playing time and wont be getting it at Bama, so you end up with a transfer..
I expect Harris to be next, I think will transfer to JSU..He has talent out the arse but just can't handle the defense ran by Saban and Smart...And then there will be others
RTR, move along, nothing to see here , just the every year transfer that all D1 colleges have each and every year.

It really isn't a big deal, except to some West coast guys that hate the SEC, and the Aubies that read their blog or whatever it is. Anyway, I have heard many college coaches speak as my best friend is a HS coach and I have tagged along with him to several clinics. Most of the coaches that I have heard speak make it very clear that they tell their players out front that a scholarship offer is a one year thing. They tell them that if they don't work hard or if they don't do what is asked of them, then they may not be renewed. Scholarships are like a job, as you are getting to go to school for free, and just like a job, if you do not perform and please your boss, then you get fired.

The oversigning thing is a bunch of whining. Scholarships are a 1 year at a time deal no 4 year contract with kids leaving early, transferring a getting hurt…..I really don’t see the problem as long as its handled tactfully. The more quality players you have the more that are going to leave early…..better to have too much than not enough….

Filed under: SEC 115 Comments
15Jan/1133

Big Recruiting Weekend

Nick Saban and Alabama, despite already being on tract to having one of the most oversigned classes in the country is having one of its biggest recruiting weekends this weekend.

"The Crimson Tide will welcome 11 recruits to campus trying to land deals with some of the nation's elite high school athletes."

Wonder what kind of "deals" the writer is talking about here?

"This might be the biggest weekend since (Alabama coach Nick Saban) and his staff have been there," Bamaonline.com recruiting editor Tim Watts said. "It's certainly the biggest I remember in the last 10 years or so. Whenever you see the No. 1 player in the country coming in on a visit it's always a big deal."

So despite the fact that they have 21 verbal commitments and 2 greyshirts that count towards this class, and given Alabama has one of the smallest senior classes in the country, Nick Saban and Alabama are hosting 11 recruits this weekend.  Granted some of them are probably just taking a free trip and there is no way on earth they sign all 11 of them, but why are they even bringing anyone in when they have already exceeded their projected scholarship limit based on the same guidelines the Big 10 Conference office would use to determine if they had room for more recruits?  Why?  Because SEC Commissioner, Mike Slive, is a puppet that serves at the pleasure of the SEC University Presidents and the President at the University of Alabama does not have the guts to stand up to Nick Saban and tell him what he is doing is wrong, unethical, and would not be tolerated anywhere in the Big 10 and at several universities around the country.

Alabama also will welcome a handful of players who already have verbally committed, including Vigor wide receiver Marvin Shinn.

According to Watts and Bone, the Tide has done a good job of filling its needs. But if Alabama can add a few more commitments it could reclaim its place at the nation's overall top signing class for 2011.

We don't have a problem with bringing in guys who have already verbally committed elsewhere, that is common practice and generally accepted, but the issue is that Alabama is so far over the limit and they are hell bent on signing 25-28 and sorting it out during spring camp and summer workouts.  Chances are, the guys that are verbally committed to other schools are committed to schools that have legitimate room for them; yet here is Nick Saban and Alabama, who by Big 10 Conference recruiting rules does not have any room and would be reprimanded, still bringing in recruits and still trying to get players.

The problem is that there is so much talent available now all over the country that the recruiting game is just as much about keeping players away from rivals as it is about filling your roster needs.

The only thing that can stop Nick Saban is the NCAA and the only way to get the NCAA to stop Nick Saban is to continue to spread the word about this practice and to shame the NCAA, Mike Slive, and the University Presidents into putting an end to oversigning.

While they are at it they might want to consider monitoring coaching hires as well...

Alabama may have improved its chances to land Clowney after it hired former Clemson assistant Chris Rumph to coach the defensive line.

For those that don't know, Clowney is a once-in-a-lifetime player.  He is a game changer with raw physical ability rarely seen, even at a school like Alabama that is used to having players like Julio Jones.  Simply put, this kid is a freak and the kind of player with which you win championships.  We're sure hiring Clowney's favorite coach had nothing to do with his recruitment.  This doesn't have anything to do with oversigning, it just wreaks, but then again what doesn't about a school and coach that are habitual abusers of something that an entire conference banned and the reason Georgia Tech left the SEC back in the 1960's.

Filed under: SEC 33 Comments
8Jan/1188

Tressel on Oversigning

This is a video we posted a long time ago of Jim Tressel talking about his 2010 recruiting class.  Oversigning.com has had over 4 Million hits since its creation last February, but the vast majority of that traffic has been in the last 6 months or so, and as with any blog site content often rolls off the front page and gets buried in the archive somewhere.

With National Signing Day approaching, we thought we would revisit Jim Tressel's press conference from last year that took place just days after sign day.  The video below is about 8 minutes long, but we are only concerned with the first 2-3 minutes.

In the video, Tressel announces to the media that Ohio State had 20 vacancies they could fill with the current recruiting class.  That number, no doubt, was based on the number of seniors graduating and the number of juniors leaving for the NFL early, plus any scholarships that were banked from the previous year.

Tressel explains that one thing you never want to do is go over the limit but in order to sign everyone they wanted to sign they would have had to sign 30 guys.  The limit he is talking about is not the limit of 25 guys per class, he is talking about the 85 limit.  It is important to note that he treats signatures as enrolled players.  When he says "right now we are at 18" he is referring to having 18 kids signed not 18 kids enrolled.  Ironically, one of the kids he signed did not make it into school and that scholarship was given to a deserving walk-on for his senior year. 

The 19th player he had hoped to sign was Seantrel Henderson.  Ohio State did not land Seantrel and since they were not able to sign more than they projected to have room for they couldn't heavily recruit Seantrel and several other top OL prospects for fear of landing more than they would project having room for or having to turn someone away after an offer had been given.  Ohio State could have easily pursued 5 OL and found some pour soul(s) to cut on the bottom end of the roster, but that didn't happen and won't happen under Big 10 recruiting rules.

Notice there is no mention of medical hardships, grey shirts, cuts, transfers, etc.  Notice that he doesn't get upset with the media for asking questions about his numbers, in fact he is as transparent as the NCAA will allow him to be with regards to roster management.

Let's compare that to Nick Saban's current recruiting class, ranked #1 in the country.

Saban has roughly 8 scholarship seniors and he announced this week that 3 Juniors are leaving early for the NFL.  That is roughly 11 scholarship openings.  Let's be generous and say there are 15 openings.  His class right now has 22 verbal commitments plus two players that accepted a grey shirt offer from last year and are expected to enroll this year.  That makes 24 total scholarship commitments this year and only 15 at most openings.  There was no room to back count players to last year's class so everyone is going to count towards this year.

But Nick Saban is not finished recruiting yet.  National Signing Day has not arrived and Nick Saban is still pursuing recruits such as #1 ranked DE Clowney. 

Defenders of Saban's recruiting practices and even Saban himself will probably tell you that they have a plan and that everything is on the up and up with the NCAA.  What they won't tell you is that his plan is to exploit every known loophole in the NCAA rule book for recruiting.  Players will be moved to medical hardships, transferred, or asked to greyshirt in order to make room to get down to 85, room he didn't have when he accepted their signed letter of intent. 

There is something drastically wrong when a coach like Jim Tressel has 1 greyshirt and maybe 2 medical hardships in 10 years at Ohio State and Nick Saban has 12 medical hardships in 4 years and is looking at giving out 10 greyshirt offers this year.  It's a problem and it's real.   And LSU is no different - it's not just Alabama.

Filed under: Big 10, SEC 88 Comments
6Jan/1154

Alabama with Verbal Commitment #22 and #1 Recruiting Class

Alabama picked up verbal commitment #22 last night from Xzavier Dickson and they now have the #1 ranked class according to Rivals.com.  http://rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/football/recruiting/commitments/2011/Alabama-73

That commitment seems to have ushered in the departure of another commitment as one of the 22 is now headed to JUCO. http://alabama.rivals.com/barrier_noentry.asp?ReturnTo=&sid=&script=content.asp&cid=1173085&fid=&tid=&mid=&rid=

It cannot be stressed enough how much of an advantage it is for Saban to not have to work withing a projected recruiting budget like he would if he were recruiting in the Big 10 conference.  With a senior class of roughly 8-10 players and no more than 4 Juniors jumping to the NFL early, the reasonable recruiting budget for Alabama should be somewhere around 14-15 players, which is what you would expect when a school has such a small senior class.  If you go back and look at schools such as Ohio State, you will occasionally see a small class of 15 or so recruits.  That is the normal cycle of recruiting when you are not allowed to oversign.

Ohio State signed 16 recruits in 2003, 15 in 2007, and 19 in 2010.   See the pattern there; every three or four years you have a small class if you are not oversigning every year.

Alabama on the other hand going back to 2005 has had 32, 23, 25, 32, 27, 29, and is at 22 this year. 

Alabama is not done recruiting yet as there are still a few players on their board and national signing day is not here yet.   The good news is that at least the SEC will stop them at 28; even though they are already way, way over their projected budget. 

Must be nice to just go out and get 25-28 new players every year, despite what you have room for, and never get so much as a phone call from the conference office asking where you are going to put everyone.

Mike Slive and the University Presidents of the SEC should be ashamed of themselves for allowing this to continue, but to them, maybe this is just a way of life...after all, this has been going on in the SEC since the days of Bobby Dodd and Georgia Tech being an SEC member institution.  At least they had the dignity to take a stand and leave.

Filed under: SEC 54 Comments
16Dec/1052

Up to 20 + 2

Alabama landed verbal committment #20 picking up former University of Tennessee and All-SEC OL Aaron Douglas on waivers from JUCO today.  That makes 20 verbal commitments plus the 2 kids that were greyshirted last year and assured of spots in this year's recruiting class.

Anyone care to explain where all the scholarships are going to come from given that Alabama has a senior class of roughly 8 scholarship players and are looking at a max of 4 juniors jumping to the league early?

Alabama's recruiting class is ranked #2 in the country on Rivals.com, a ranking that no doubt they use in recruiting "hey, come be a part of the #2 class in the country - with you we could make it the #1 class."  But one has to question where Alabama's class would be ranked if they were recruiting within their budget and only had 8-12 commitments with very few if no additional openings?  Would they be ranked #2 in the country and selling that to prospects?  Doubt it.  But since they have the NCAA's and the SEC's blessing to accept way more signatures than they project having room for and given that they get an extra 6 months to figure out which scholarships they don't want to renew or who they are going to put on medical hardship, they have the luxury of taking way more than they have room for and taking advantage of the selling point having the #2 recruiting class in the country affords you.

Filed under: SEC 52 Comments
1Dec/1021

Reason 735,378,987,506 to End Oversigning

This is a follow up on the BJ Scott transfer story.  By allowing teams to oversign, the NCAA and the SEC office are allowing these kind of scenarios to play out. 

"Nevertheless, while he never put it together on the field, in many ways Scott served his purpose. His commitment to Alabama in July of 2007 played a major role in our re-taking of the recruiting hotbed of Mobile, and his commitment also helped us sign several other heavily recruited players because he helped our recruiting efforts tremendously down the stretch. Scott never did anything as a player, but he helped push a lot of other kids to Tuscaloosa who have done very well."

http://www.rollbamaroll.com/2010/11/30/1847613/b-j-scott-transferring#comments

If Nick Saban was bound to tighter recruiting parameters and was only allowed to take what he had room for, do you think he would take a chance on a kid like BJ Scott?

Filed under: SEC 21 Comments
30Nov/1033

Starting Early

Looks like Alabama is getting a jump start on the attrition needed to clear out enough space for their 2011 class that is projected to be drastically oversigned.  As mentioned in previous posts, Alabama has an extremely small senior class (roughly 8 scholarship players) yet they already have 19 verbal commitments and 2 greyshirt commitments to their 2011 recruiting class.

Simply put, there will have to be casualties.  Why?  Because it appears that schools like Alabama simply won't allow themselves to take a small class of say 12-15 guys (which is what they really should be taking based on the size of their senior class and the number of juniors expected to go to the NFL early).  Why?  One reason is because if they don't take a full 25-28 (regardless if they have room for them or not) someone else will get those players and oversigning is just as much about improving your own roster as it is about keeping players away from your rivals.  It comes with a price tag, however, as guys like BJ Scott and Star Jackson, once promising stars with bright futures at Alabama, end up in places such as Georgia State and South Alabama - but hey, you have to make room somehow if you intend to take the NCAA max every single year.

That is the real issue, the NCAA allows schools to take 25 new players every year, but limit the roster to 85 players each year.  The NCAA does this so that schools that have legitimate shortfalls can fill them, but the NCAA failed to realize that there would be schools out there that are going to take the max every year and push out the injured or lesser players to make room for new, healthier players with more potential in an attempt to gain a competitive advantage or to keep players from going to rival schools.

BJ Scott appears to be poised to take the first slot on the attrition list for Alabama this year.

B.J. Scott, one of the jewels of Alabama's top-ranked 2008 recruiting class, is looking to transfer and may be headed to South Alabama, according to two sources close to the situation.

According to one of the sources, who asked not to be identified, Scott has not yet been granted a release from Alabama, but a transfer could be complete by the end of the week.

The 5-foot-11, 193-pound Scott played in six games this season, recording six tackles and one interception before undergoing season-ending ankle surgery earlier this month. He was working with the first-team defense at cornerback opposite Dre Kirkpatrick in the spring, but was beaten out by junior-college transfer DeQuan Menzie in fall practice and was later passed on the depth chart by freshman Dee Milliner during the season.

Scott played in nine games at receiver as a freshman in 2008, making two catches for 7 yards, before redshirting in 2009 while he switched positions. A five-star prospect coming out of Prichard's Vigor High in 2008, he was listed as the No. 1 athlete prospect in the country and the No. 19 prospect overall by ESPN.com and the No. 4 prospect in the state according to Press-Register's Elite 18.

http://www.al.com/sports/index.ssf/2010/11/bj_scott_looking_to_transfer_f.html

Perhaps BJ Scott was not interested in a Medical Hardship Scholarship from Alabama's Athletic Department.  Perhaps due to the amount of attention Alabama has received regarding their use of medical hardships one is not being offered.

One thing is for certain, no matter what else you read Alabama has recruited over their expected budget and that will have an affect on players such as BJ Scott and the 8-10 others that will be leaving the program in order to make room for a full 25 in this year's recruiting class.

Filed under: SEC 33 Comments
29Nov/1017

Wall Street Journal – Round 2 with Alabama

Typically, this is the off season for oversigning.com as there is just not a lot of news during the football season and it's usually pretty quiet until the football season ends and the recruiting season takes center stage.  However, the Wall Street Journal seems to be busy interviewing former Alabama players regarding their departures from Alabama on the heels of Nick Saban's bloated recruiting classes.  The general thinking here at this site is that Nick Saban and Alabama (along with other SEC schools) grossly oversign their roster and find media-friendly ways to get their roster down to 85 scholarship players by the final day before NCAA violations for being over the allowable limit.  Obviously, this is done to gain a competitive advantage by sifting through more players to find the best possible players, among other reasons.

We chronicled this journey last year in our March to 85 as Saban went over his projected budget by 10 recruits and sure enough 10 scholarship players hit the bricks.  There were 3 medical hardships, a couple of academic casualties, some grey shirt players, and then the mysterious story of Star Jackson.  We were told that Star Jackson left because he wanted to go somewhere and start - he believed he had enough talent to start for another school and wanted to get more playing time in hopes of having an NFL career.  He ended up at Georgia State as the 3rd string quarterback.

Jackson's stats at Georgia State: 5/10 passing for 42 yards and 8 rushes for 17 yards for the year!!!

Does anyone honestly believe that Nick Saban would let a 3rd string QB at Georgia State take up a QB scholarship at Alabama?

Regardless, as mentioned above, the WSJ has been poking around the Alabama program and questioning former players who have left the program recently and what they are hearing from former players is not exactly complimentary.  In a previous piece, they spoke with former Alabama players who were placed on medical hardships who went on record saying they thought they were pushed out in order to make room for new recruits; one player even referred to it as a loophole that was being taken advantage of by Alabama.

Round 1: Alabama's Unhappy Castoffs

Round 2: Former Players Say Saban Twisted the Truth

 

In their latest piece, the WSJ spoke with 3 of 4 players who were announced to have been released by Alabama for violation of unspecified team rules.  Turns out there is no record of any rule violations and the players claim they left on their own free will and that Saban said they broke team rules to save face in recruiting.

The three players said they believe Mr. Saban falsely portrayed the circumstances of their departures to protect the image of his program. Mr. Saban had previously come under scrutiny by the media for offering scholarships to more incoming recruits than the school could accommodate under NCAA scholarship limits. This relatively common practice, which is known as "oversigning" is not prohibited by the NCAA. It allows a coach to improve his roster by giving him a larger pool of talent to choose from. But it also eventually forces the coach to get rid of a few scholarship players he no longer wants—which can put him at risk of scaring away future recruits.

If Mr. Saban had said the players decided to transfer because they didn't believe they would have a chance to play at Alabama, the players said, it would have provided ammunition for rival coaches competing for the same recruits. But if the players were seen as disciplinary cases, they said, Mr. Saban's recruiting methods wouldn't be viewed as the problem. Mr. Saban, Mr. Preyear said, "was just making himself look good for the media, and making us look bad."

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704243904575630593438793612.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_editorsPicks_1#articleTabs%3Darticle

Stay tuned in on this topic as it is very likely that the WSJ is not finished with the topic of oversigning or the University of Alabama.  With recruiting season approaching and schools like Alabama and LSU already positioned to oversigning in large numbers given their relatively small senior classes, we anticipate a good bit of news on the oversigning front in the coming months.  Of course, all of that could be avoided if SEC coaches simply state up front before national signing day what their number of openings are (85 - [# of Seniors + # of Juniors going to the NFL early]) and then sign what they have room for on National Signing Day.

Filed under: SEC 17 Comments
10Oct/1016

Interview with Tim Hyland

A few months back, oversigning.com was approached by Tim Hyland at about.com to do a question and answer session on the topic of oversigning and about the creation of this website.  This interview was prior to the Wall Street Journal's piece on Alabama's players admitting they felt a little bitter about being pressured into taking medical hardship scholarships to free up roster space for oversigned recruiting classes.  Had that story broke prior to our interview session with Tim Hyland, it probably would have been included in one of the answers.

Be that as it may, here is the link to the interview. 

http://collegefootball.about.com/od/rulesofthegame/a/Oversigning-College-Footballs-Hidden-Problem.htm

 If we had to summarize the interview and give a bulleted list of the points we were trying to make it would look something like this:

  • Nick Saban's comments about the fans not needing to know about his recruiting numbers or how he plans to get down to the 85 limit is what really sparked our interest in this entire topic.  This article is what started it all.
  • SEC by far signs the most players and abuses the oversigning loophole the most.  When you see one team from one conference sign 15, 20, 17, and 19, and then another team from another conference sign 32, 23, 25, and 32, something is wrong with the system.  To be clear, this is an SEC issue with the exception of a few other programs throughout the entire country.
  • The purpose of this site is to raise awareness to the topic of oversigning and hopefully help get it removed from college football.  
  • Oversigning is not a rules violation, which is part of the problem.  It is a by-product of the NCAA's 25/85 scholarship limits and their recruiting by-laws.  Oversigning is a loophole that is being exploited.
  • Oversigning creates a competitive advantage by allowing coaches access to a larger pool of players, hedge against academic and medical attrition, and ensure that they maximize the full 85 scholarships by forcing out lesser players to transfer to lesser schools or pressure kids into taking medical hardship scholarships to free up roster space, much of which we saw at alarming rates this preseason.
  • It is our opinion that no coach should have to "get down" to 85 scholarships after national signing day.  They should sign what they have room for and encourage who they have to stay and get better (unless the kid is a criminal or not making the grades) by coaching them up and making men out of them instead of just throwing them off on another coach - after all they thought enough of them when they signed them.  Coaches are paid millions of dollars to evaluate talent, why should we give them an out if they miss on a guy? Why should we allow them to get rid of student-athlete simply because they don't pan out to be as good as a coach thought they would be?  If a coach has a shortfall due to unexpected attrition, then he can give those scholarships to deserving walk-on players in their 4th or 5 th year as a reward for all their hard work.
  • Lastly, we hope the NCAA takes a long hard look at the oversigning issue and revamps some of their recruiting by-laws to include a lot more transparency in roster management.  The LOI should be a two way binding agreement.  Perhaps scholarships need to go back to being 4 year deals instead of one.  Each school should only be able to sign what they have room for on National Signing Day.  There needs to be an exit interview for all players transferring and especially all players placed on medical hardship scholarship in order to determine if they felt like they were wrongly pushed in that direction. We will know when this problem has been solved when we see teams like Alabama and LSU, who both have very, very small senior classes on scholarship and are only losing roughly 8-12 scholarship guys next year, sign classes in the 8-12 range  - as it stands right now they are both on track to sign 20+, and you can rest assured that we will see all kinds of crazy stories next spring between signing day and August when both teams shove guys off in order to make room for the new load of recruits.  

Thanks again to Tim Hyland for his interest in the topic of oversigning and for reaching out and giving us the opportunity to answer some questions.  If you haven't visited his blog, we encourage you to - Tim does a great job covering college football.

Filed under: Feedback 16 Comments
7Oct/10102

Georgia and Alabama

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.

http://www.dawgsonline.com/2010/08/26/80-scholarship-players-the-flip-side-to-oversigning/

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.

Filed under: SEC 102 Comments
5Oct/1044

Don’t Blame the Coaches

Here is a decent column written by Gary Laney, sportswriter for The Advocate, and although the overall tone of the column is one that excuses the actions of the coaches, Laney does admit oversigning is an issue in the SEC. 

http://www.2theadvocate.com/sports/lsu/100504484.html

He basically acknowledges that oversigning creates a competitive edge and that it's a problem specifically in the SEC, but he says don't blame the coaches in the SEC, blame the NCAA rules.

Increased costs come with increased expectations and increased pressure to win.

If Miles doesn’t oversign, Nick Saban will (and he does) and LSU will lose some competitive edge in the process. You can’t let that happen, not when 9-4 doesn’t do the trick.

That’s not an ethical defense of oversigning, nor is it a defense of how LSU handles oversigned players. The point is when you look at the context in which it happened — high pressure to win and rules that allow it — you should only be surprised if it doesn’t happen..

So I guess we should be surprised that it doesn't happen in the rest of the country?  Or should we not be surprised that it is happening in the SEC?

He's right about it being an advantage, and we are seeing it on the field with Alabama over the last few year and we saw it at LSU and other places, but not all the blame should go to the NCAA.  The athletic directors, university presidents, and the mighty Mike Slive are just as much to blame as anyone at the NCAA office -- this is happening under their watch and they could stop it completely.  That won't happen though.  This is a problem that dates back to the 1960's with the SEC and it would take extreme pressure for them to address it on their own without being forced by the NCAA.

As it has been mentioned here before, this (oversigning) was the reason behind Georgia Tech leaving the SEC.

From the book Dodd's Luck written in part by former Geogria Tech head coach Bobby 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.

A vote was to be taken by the presidents of the colleges on the issue, and Dodd made it clear, Tech would have to leave the SEC unless the rule was changed. Dodd said he would live with 10, 20, 30, 40, or even 50 recruits per year as long as he did not have to chase any of his players off.

The presidents were split six for Dodd’s position and six against. Bear had promised Dodd he would get his president to vote for Dodd’s position, which would have changed the rule. When the meeting was held, Bryant did not show up and the Alabama president voted against Dodd’s position and the 140 Rule was upheld. Tech’s president immediately walked to the podium and announced Tech was withdrawing from the SEC. Bryant never told Dodd why he reneged on his promise.

Perhaps we need a modern day Bobby Dodd to step in and put his foot down.  Mark Richt would be our choice given that he does not oversign players -- maybe Urban Meyer has enough pull to get it done, he doesn't oversign any where near the level of Saban and Miles.

Filed under: SEC 44 Comments
30Sep/1064

There will be no Stopping Nick Saban; Lands 19th Commitment Today

As mentioned, Alabama only has roughly 8 scholarships Seniors on their roster (including 5th year guys), yet they landed their 19th verbal commitment today.  Guess there will be 11 Juniors leaving early for the NFL because there is no way the rash of medical hardships could continue again this year, no team is that unlucky for that long.  

Of course, we all know that Saban told Jones that his scholarship offer is conditional and could turn into a grayshirt offer based on who in front of him qualifies and who currently on the team suffers a career-ending injury, and we all know he made sure to tell the parents of Jones that his scholarship is just a one year deal that might not get renewed.

UPDATE: Make that 21 commitments given that there are 2 guys from 2010 that accepted a grayshirt from last year's class and will count towards 2011.  Thanks for the correction Vesper.  So there are 19 new commitments and 2 grayshirts, and only 8 scholarship seniors.  Nick Saban is on pace to oversign worse than Huston Nutt did when he signed 37 and only had room for 22 - he was 15 over his budget, if Saban signs a full 28 he will be 15-20 over depending on how many juniors leave early for the NFL.  Yep, the SEC really solved that oversigning problem when they set the limit to 28 per year!

Filed under: SEC 64 Comments