Based on this string of twitter messages, South Carolina appears to be putting the screws to Bryce Sherman. There is a 99.9999% chance that the "behind the scenes" stuff is oversigning and the numbers crunch. In reading South Carolina sites, there really isn't another reasonable explanation.
This is yet again another example of coaches not being honest and upfront with kids, but who can blame them with the pressure to win and the money involved being so great that they don't have a choice, right? All it takes is one school in a conference to abuse oversigning and next thing you know nearly everyone else is having to do it in order to compete. It's a slippery slope that often leads to stories like Bryce Sherman.
The guys over at GarnetAndBlack.com have it right, Bryce Sherman deserves better than this.
However, at the same time, Sherman was committed to this football program. After he earned his scholarship and worked hard to retain it, we owed him better than this. Now, after pouring his soul into the program, he'll have to pay out for his final year of college, simply because he wasn't going to get much playing time and because we signed more players than we had room for. Presumably, it's too late for him to find some other school that will give him a scholarship, considering that we waited until this late to cut him. His options are limited.
Why does this happen???
The answer is simple. South Carolina, by current SEC rules and NCAA rules, is allowed to sign up to 28 players in a single class regardless of where that puts them with the 85 limit. This opens the door for abusing the numbers and abusing kids like Bryce Sherman. Most likely, South Carolina signed more than they had room for and they had to wait until now to find out who is going to be eligible. Why?
“It's also different recruiting in a lot of the SEC states than it is in other parts of the country in that coaches are dealing with a larger pool of at-risk students academically. Granted, it's not politically correct to say that, and coaches are hesitant to say it publicly. But just about all of them deal with it in the SEC, and often it's a guessing game down to the last minute about whether a handful of players in each class are going to qualify academically.”
By allowing Steve Spurrier to oversign and by scholarships being only 1 year renewable contracts, kids like Bryce Sherman are being held hostage and kept in the dark until the coaches find out who from the incoming class is going to qualify. If everyone qualifies then someone has to go, and in the end, a good, unsuspecting kid who has done everything that has been asked of him is cut loose by a coaching staff and school that has made money of his efforts and dedication while operating as a tax exempt entity with the stated purpose of providing higher education. And the kicker, that tax exempt entity (the university) is governed by another tax exempt entity with the stated purpose of ensuring that athletics are integrated into the educational process for the sole purpose of enhancing the educational experience.
Everything about this situation is wrong and the new SEC rules on oversigning are not going to stop it completely because the SEC did not address oversigning by capping the annual signing limit at the number of signed LOI that it takes to get to 85 when you combine the signed LOI with the number of players on scholarship when the LOI is signed.
The NCAA has got to step in and put a complete end to these scenarios, even if it takes completely restructuring the scholarship program. Next year's Bryce Sherman is counting on them to live up to their mission statement.
Perhaps without them he would be playing golf instead of pulling scholarship offers at the last minute.
But hey, time heals all wounds, right? Are academics in South Carolina really that piss poor?
Hope Mike Slive is proud.
Last year we saw Les Miles play Russian Roulette with his recruiting numbers in hopes that a certain number of incoming recruits wouldn't qualify because if they were to all qualify LSU wouldn't have room for everyone under the 85 limit. Everyone did qualify and consequentially student-athletes already on the roster had their scholarships yanked from them because it was the only option Les Miles and LSU had left to avoid going over the 85 limit.
It appears that South Carolina is in the same boat this year, but in an attempt to curb the amount of forced attrition they will need in the spring and summer, South Carolina decided to fax a letter to the high school of a couple of its recruits the day before signing day to let them know that they would not be receiving a letter of intent to sign.
But Mauldin didn’t end up signing with South Carolina as expected. He found out via a letter faxed to his school the day before national signing day that the Gamecocks would not have room for him in their Class of 2011. South Carolina signed 31 players on national signing day and added one more — Jadeveon Clowney, the nation’s No. 1 prospect — on Feb. 14th.
Mauldin wasn’t the only to be left at the altar by the Gamecocks. Linebacker Jordan Montgomery of Groveland, Fla., was also left hanging despite being committed since August.
“I kind of feel like I’ve been shoved away,” Mauldin told me recently. “Then again, on the other hand, I realize that I wasn’t academically eligible and I understand that was on my part. And I can’t really use the times I’ve been through as an excuse for that. It’s all right.”
Never mind that a number of South Carolina’s prospects also have not met entrance requirements.
We have said all along that oversigning has as much to do with keeping kids away from other schools as it does filling your own needs and building depth through forced attrition. These kids are being treated like pieces of meat and they are no match for the slick-talking, NFL dream-selling recruiters that are paid big money to secure the commitment of kids with the kind of family background as Mauldin -- go read the full story about his background, the poor kid has been through enough in his life, the last thing he needs is a bunch of slime ball recruiters telling him everything he wants to hear and then pulling the rug out from underneath him at the last minute. It's just a sad, sad story. Why did South Carolina wait until the day before signing day to tell these kids they would not be receiving a letter of intent to sign? If there were questions about academics, did they just arise at the last minute?
This is probably part of what Urban Meyer was talking about in his latest comments about the direction of ethics in recruiting. Let's hope the kid makes the grades and lands on his feet somewhere and really makes something of himself despite the huge disadvantages he has had in his life to this point.