In a previous post, we responded to Alabama fans that were outraged by our March to 85 piece by giving them a homework assignment. The assignment was for them to bring us a BCS school that needs to shed more than 6 scholarship commitments between now and August when the NCAA will required that all teams have their rosters down to 85 players. It took a little bit of time, but we finally had a reader post a list of schools that he claims are over the limit and needs to shed players.
Here's the list from the Alabama fan:
"You want other programs? Here ya go….
LSU currently has 91 players on scholarship (Need to cut 6)
Miami currently has 91 players on scholarship (Need to cut 6)
Texas A&M currently has 90 players on scholarship (Need to cut 5)
Washington currently has 88 players on scholarship (Need to cut 3)
Nebraska currently has 87 players on scholarship (Need to cut 2)
Texas was at 88 players on scholarship, had 2 transfer, and now needs to cut 1 more."
Okay, so where do we start? First, let's get a table of the recruiting numbers for each of these schools in one place so we can easily look at them together here. This is everything from 2002 - 2010; we'll narrow this down to the numbers we need for this investigation a little later in this post.
On The Clock
Now, how do we figure out who went over the limit this year by accepting more signed letters of intent then they had room for given the number of scholarship commitments they had on National Signing day? The math is really simple, but finding the actual roster numbers for the previous year online can be difficult, which is why we are asking you, the fans of these schools, to participate and help us determine if your team went over the limit. We could do it on our own if all of these teams has a sweet online depth chart application like Notre Dame has available here; make sure you click on Roster Chart when you open the link (side note - if we had any sense at all we would build an application like this to house roster data for all 64 BCS schools and then charge a fee to access it - but as it is we barely have enough time to keep up with blog and our real lives).
Regardless, we have the number of players signed to each recruiting class (see table above), therefore, all we need now is to know exactly how many players were on scholarship on National Signing Day. Typically, this is the previous year's total number of scholarship players (which will vary from school to school because not all schools are always at 85 every year) minus graduating seniors with no eligibility left and minus juniors who have declared for the NFL draft by the deadline on January 15th. We refer to this number as the "recruiting budget."
Until we can get those numbers, let's just look at how many players each school has signed over the last 5 years. We're going to subtotal 2007 - 2009 and then add 2010 to that number and call it the subtotal for 2007-2010. We are also going to show you the 2006 numbers, which would represent the 5th year senior classes for these schools. It is very likely that each of these schools will have a few 5th year guys on their roster.
On The Clock - Numbers for 2006 - 2010
For comparisons sake, now let's look at a few teams that we have investigated in the past and that we know are not over the limit.
Not On The Clock
And then finally, here is Alabama. Still above those on the clock and way, way above those not on the clock.
(Important: It should be noted that the 2007-2010 numbers do not include the 5th year guys from 2006. Therefore, schools that are under 85 in this column are either short-handed or they have a number of 5th year guys; schools that are way over 85 either have no 5th year guys or they have a few and the numbers are even worse.)
Before everyone gets all up in arms, there is more to this than just these numbers and this is where it gets really time consuming in trying to investigate oversigning. From 2006 to 2010 a lot of things happen to the rosters, some things are legitimate and some things are not. The numbers above are the numbers signed; we still need to know who left the team and who still remains from the 2006 class, which will give us the total number of scholarship players at the end of the 2009 season. From there we can subtract the graduating seniors and early entries into the NFL. That will give us our recruiting budget for the 2010 class.
We're not asking that you guys hunt down the back story to every single transfer (although that would be nice), all we really need is the total scholarship commitments at National Signing Day, which is what we described above. Once we have those numbers we will add the number for the 2010 class and see if it is over 85.
So there it is, we have provided a nice starting point for investing the schools Alabama fans have claimed are also guilty of oversigning players. Now we just need your help to finish up the investigation. Please post anything you have here and we'll continue to discuss.
In an earlier post, we mentioned that there was no way on earth Texas would ever go to the SEC (not that the SEC is looking to expand, but our point was that the SEC, by virtue of running off 3 solid academic universities because they couldn't see eye to eye on how to handle recruiting players and competing in athletics, does not have the entire package to offer an institution like Texas; in contrast, the Big 10 by maintaining an emphasis on academics is now poised to possibly add another powerhouse program to the conference, Penn State being the first in 1990. The last two teams to join the SEC: Arkansas and South Carolina). To further reinforce our logic, here are some staggering numbers for you to ponder.
|SEC Schools||$$$||Big 10 Schools||$$$||Pac 10 Schools||$$$|
|Kentucky||831m||Penn State||1.6b||Wash State||678m|
|Ole Miss||495m||Illinois||1.5b||Oregon State||476m|
|South Carolina||438m||Michigan State||1.2b||Arizona State||407m|
TEXAS - $16.1 billion
Regardless of where Texas might go, if anywhere, they will be the big dog on the block (sans Stanford in the Pac10) when it comes to endowments, but as you can see, Texas would definitely be more at home with the schools of the Big 10 or Pac 10 when it comes to endowments.
And again, the point here is that the Big 10 and the Pac 10, by not selling their souls for football, appear to be in very strong positions when it comes to the topic of conference expansion and sustainability.
Texas also ranks 47th in the US News and World Report rankings, which puts them right at home with the Big 10.
We found that link we were talking about earlier where Texas had already looked at joining the SEC and decided they were not a good fit. Main article here. But we found the article reading The Rivalry, Esq. about the "Death of the Big 12 Conference."
The Longhorns next turned to the Big Ten.
Having added Penn State in 1990, the Big Ten was now made of universities that, in the view of UT officials, matched UT's profile — large state schools with strong academic reputations. Berdahl liked the fact that 10 conference members belonged to the American Association of Universities.
Yet, distance remained a disadvantage. Iowa, the closest Big Ten school to Austin, was 856 miles away — but the appeal of having 10 of 12 schools in the same time zone was seen as a plus.
But after adding Penn State in 1990, Big Ten officials had put a four-year moratorium on expansion. Although admitting interest, Big Ten bosses ultimately rejected UT's overtures.
That left the SEC as a possible relocation target for the Longhorns — until Berdahl let it be known that UT wasn't interested because of the league's undistinguished academic profile. Only two of 12 schools in the SEC were American Association of Universities members and UT officials saw admissions standards to SEC schools as too lenient.
"We were quite interested in raising academic standards," Berdahl says. "And the Southeastern Conference had absolutely no interest in that."
So that's three major categories: endowments, academic rankings, and recruiting numbers (we touched on that here), where it is crystal clear that Texas is a much better match for the Big 10 than they ever would be for the SEC. "Frank the Tank's Slant" has everything else covered.
Do not fall out of your chair, that is unless you have been living in a cave lately and haven't heard the news about the possibility of Texas joining the Big 10. When the Big 10 announced that conference expansion is a topic on the table for discussion, the Internets went wild. In fact, Frank the Tank's Slant has devoted more time to it than we ever thought about devoting to the topic of oversigning. If you haven't been to his Blog, go there. It's a great read and Frank really does his homework.
Frank put together a Big 10 Conference Expansion Index, based on a scale of 1-100 with 100 being the highest possible score, in which he categorized and ranked potential candidates to join the Big 10.
In his index, Frank has Texas as the leader with an index score of 96; second in his index was Notre Dame at 91.
We're not going to go into all of the details of Big 10 expansion or whether or not we think Texas would consider joining the Big 10; Frank has more than covered all the bases and if you really want to know more about it you should check out his blog and read it.
We just want to add one thing to the discussion in terms of recruiting. In looking closely at Texas' recruiting numbers (which is an indication of how they run their program), they would fit right in with the Big Ten. Since 2002 Texas has a total of 192 commitments with an average of 21.33 per year. That would put them right in line with Michigan (195, 21.67), Penn State (183, 20.33), and Ohio State (180, 20.00), all of which rank towards the bottom of the Big 10 in terms of total numbers taken each year. In case you haven't noticed, we tend to like programs that keep their numbers in check. To see more of these numbers, click here.
Texas takes the lowest number of players in the entire Big 12 Conference; it's almost as if they are out of place with regards to where their numbers are in comparison to the rest of the conference. This tells us several things:
- They are not running players through their program; meaning they take very few risks on borderline academic players and they don't oversign players only to push out the lesser talented or injury-prone players to make room for new recruits.
- We believe that how you manage your roster is like a calling card for what kind of program you run. Texas has a pretty good calling card when you consider the success they have had on the field and the number of recruits they do it with. Compare Texas to Alabama for just a second: since 2006, Alabama has taken LOI's from 136 players to Texas' 110. Where did those other 26 players go? Did they ever make it into school at Alabama or were they cut from the team to make room for Saban's classes of 32 and 27?
- Strong academics. Texas has the best academics in the Big 12 (by a long shot) and they would fit right in with the Big 10. But how do low recruiting numbers = good academics? Maybe it's the other way around, good academics = lower recruiting numbers. Just look at our conference charts linked above. The schools with lowest recruiting numbers tend to have better, if not the best academics in their conferences. Here are some schools at the bottom of each of their conferences in terms of the number of recruits signed each year: Vanderbilt, Northwestern, Stanford, and Texas. Now compare that to the list of names at or near the top of the conferences: Auburn, West Virginia, Mississippi State, Kansas State, etc.
Missouri is another school that seems to be in the middle of the Big 10 expansion conversation. Not that a decision like this would depend on the number of recruits a school normally takes, but we did find it interesting that Missouri, if added to the Big 10, would be at the top of the board with the highest number of recruits per year. In fact, they would be tied dead even with Purdue at a 218 recruits since 2002 and a yearly average of 24.22.
Our hats off to Texas for running their program the right way and always making sure to stay within their recruiting budget. We think Texas would be an awesome addition to the Big 10, obviously they are match for each other in terms of academics, and we hope it happens. If the 3 games against Ohio State and the Rose bowl thriller against Michigan are any indication, Texas joining the Big 10 would really make things interesting.
Hook 'em Horns!