This article is a couple years old, back before we really latched on to the topic of oversigning and started keeping up with it, but it speaks to the very heart and soul of this website. Written by a very well-known blogger, Matt Hinton, who used to run the blog Sunday Morning Quarterback, the article is laser focused on Nick Saban's recruiting practices and abuse of the oversigning loophole. Matt now writes for Rivals and can be found here.
We are linking this for a couple of reasons: A.) because Matt put together version 1.0 of the Saban Cup and probably didn't even realize it at the time (see below), B.) to show that we are not the only ones aware of this or who have blogged about it - there are others out there who have figured it out as well and are against it, and C.) because Matt cites a suggestion made by Brian Cook, another well-known blogger who runs MGoBlog and writes for the Sporting Blog, regarding what the NCAA should do to address the oversigning issue.
"Brian's laid out a sensible policy proposal on this front: players don't have the option to break their obligation to schools; make the obligation a two-way street. When a kid signs a letter of intent, the school should be bound to show where his scholarship is coming from under the limit. If it can't, at least within two or three positions, no letter. If they anticipate a veteran also-ran or likely medical liability on the team will be willing to give up his slot, make him sign a waiver saying so before that scholarship goes up for grabs.
Coaches can hide answers from reporters, but they have to be accountable to their own players, no matter who recruited them."
Brian's solution is a little more lenient than our solution, whereas we we suggested that coaches be required to report their recruiting budget by a certain date (prior to signing day) and that becomes the number of letters of intent they can sign (maybe you throw in a petition policy where a coach could be granted x number of extra letters - maybe something like 1 per year - but it has to be absolutely clear that the extra guy signed was signed to cover the loss of another guy in the same recruiting class that didn't make it academically - a coach would not be able to get an extra letter if it meant having to take a scholarship from one of the players he claimed when he announced his budget number).
Therefore, if Saban reports 66 players on scholarship by the deadline date then he gets 19 letters of intent to work with. Gone are the days of signing and placing, gone are the days of oversigning and culling the rosters, and gone are the days of subsidizing academic and athletic attrition. And don't tell us it can't be done because programs all over the country are already doing it, just look at the bottom half of our big board. Furthermore, if you want to play the "academically impoverished" card we don't want to hear that either.
Regardless of the solution, the problem is clear, oversigning is an issue that is yet to be completely dealt with and it needs to be addressed.