Players are Never Harmed, Right?

Sports by Brooks ran a story yesterday on Huston Nutt's recruiting credibility being shot.

In a piece in today’s JACKSON (MS) CLARION-LEDGER by Kyle Veazey, Houston Nutt drove any credibility he had left in how he recruits and subsequently treats players off a cliff.


In the article, SBS links to an article written in 2009 about former Arkansas recruit Dan Bailey.

Bailey, who's from Mustang, Okla., had passed up a full scholarship at Ohio to accept an offer from Arkansas. Head coach Houston Nutt and his special teams assistant, James Shibest - both of whom are now at Ole Miss - told Bailey he could walk on and receive an academic scholarship that would cover tuition. Bailey, who has relatives in Fayetteville, agreed to the deal.

But soon after losing the competition for the starting job in late August, Bailey was approached by Nutt and Shibest, who told the kicker he would have to pay his own way if he wanted to play football. As they explained at the time, they didn't realize that Bailey's partial academic grant would count toward the team's 85-scholarship limit.

"It wasn't anything intentional," Nutt said in an interview with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in September 2006. "I can promise you that. I wish things had been made clearer."

Nutt told Bailey he could earn a full ride by January if he performed well on the field. But Bailey's parents were outraged. A meeting with athletic director Frank Broyles didn't mollify them.

"We told them it wasn't our fault they didn't know the rules," said Bailey's mother, Ann. "That's your mistake and it's wrong what you're doing. You just don't do that to these kids."


According to SBS, referencing an article by the Clarion-Ledger, despite the 7 players leaving unexpectedly, Huston Nutt and Ole Miss are still 3 over their limit.  Nutt encouraged the Clarion-Ledger to contact any of the 7 players who left early, only 1 could be reached and would not comment on record.  Interesting to say the least.

In our Oversigning Cup standings, which we are still working on, we had Ole Miss at +14 based on having 85 scholarship players at the end of the season and not taking into account the 7 players that left early.  In addition, we were tracking verbal commitments at the time and obviously those are not official numbers, as we also noted at the time -- the official numbers are the number of players that sign a NLI.   Regardless, we were projecting Ole Miss at +14 and according to the Clarion-Ledger there are still 3 spots that need to be cleared as there is only room for 19 of the 22 remaining players that have signed a NLI; this is after the 7 departures.  So it looks like they were over by 10, lost 7, and still have 3 to go.  That would mean that our numbers were right provided Ole Miss finished the season with 81 players on scholarship, not 85, and their real number was 10 not 14.  Note: we posted an asterisk next to the Ole Miss numbers because we were unclear about the SPES number; this helps clear that up.

To be honest, all of this would be so much easier if everyone handled their roster like Pat Fitzgerald at Northwester: "We are at 85 scholarships, we had 17 to give, and we are at 85 right now."  Case closed, no BS.  Why don't we demand this of every coach and why can't every coach deliver - 17 openings, 17 additions, end of story?

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