Oversigning.com
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
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
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
21Aug/1039

NCAA Gives Alfy Hill the Les Miles Treatment

The sole purpose of this site has been to expose the oversigning loophole in the NCAA rule book to the masses, identify the coaches that abuse it the most, and follow the stories of the kids that get screwed in the process.  As we near 3 million hits since this site was created in February, it is pretty clear to anyone who can type the word "oversigning" into a google search box that we have delivered on those three objectives. 

For the last several months, we have closely followed Alabama and LSU as they were both identified as teams guilty of gross oversigning of their rosters.  During that time we were able to predict with a reasonable amount of certainty the number of players LSU and Alabama would have to lose in order to remain under the 85 scholarship limit by the August 1st deadline.   The main problem we have with LSU and Alabama oversigning is that nearly all of the attrition and roster movement below took place after they already accepted over 25 signed letters of intent from new recruits.  When schools accept those signed letters of intent the recruits that sign them are bound to the school but the school is not bound to the recruit.  As we saw with Elliott Porter, LSU screwed up the signing process so badly that they had to just pull the rug out from underneath Porter, who was already on campus, and send him packing because they didn't have scholarship room for him.  Simply put when you accept more signed letters of intent than you have room for when you accept them it's inevitable that someone is going to get screwed.

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


With Alfy Hill's departure it opens a scholarship spot for Harrison Jones who just a couple of weeks ago was on the short end of the stick with regards to the scholarship numbers.  Jones was going to accept being greyshirted until January because due to Nick Saban's oversigning and the unknown status of so many of the players on Alabama's roster it appeared that there wasn't going to be room for Jones.   We'll have more on Alfy Hill in a minute.

The March to 85 - LSU

Player Position Reason for Leaving
Akiem Hicks Defensive Tackle Removed from the team - was involved in NCAA investigation
Kyle Prater Linebacker Transfer
Jhyryn Taylor Wide Receiver Transfer
Thomas Parsons Fullback Medical Hardship Scholarship
John Williams Wide Receiver Medical Hardship Scholarship
Clay Spencer Offensive Lineman Medical Hardship Scholarship
Chris Garrett QB Cut - Scholarship Not Renewed
Houston Bates Defensive End Released from LOI in April; refused Greyshirt
Elliott Porter Offensive Lineman Asked to Greyshirt in AUGUST; refused Greyshirt; released


This is in sharp contrast to how a lot of other schools manage their scholarship numbers and the signing process.  As we have mentioned several times, the Big 10 Conference does not allow oversigning, even by 1, much less 8-10 every year.  The practice has not been banned by the ACC but in looking at their numbers it is clear that the coaches and schools in the ACC exercise constraint with the regards to the signing process and outside of North Carolina (Butch Davis) and Miami (Randy Shannon), the ACC has some of the lowest number of signed players in the country.  Same with the Pac 10+2, their numbers are consistently low. 

Outside of looking to get a competitive advantage by moving out lesser players for new recruits, fans of schools that oversign often site that one of the reasons for oversigning is that coaches often don't know who is going to be eligible and they use oversigning as a way to hedge their bets against the NCAA clearinghouse, after all the loophole in the NCAA rule book allows them to do so.

Case and point, Alfy Hill.  Hill was part of Alabama's oversigned class of 2010.  He was cleared by the NCAA clearinghouse, admitted onto campus, completed 3 courses of work, and is now being told that he is not eligible because after reviewing his high school transcript a second time, the NCAA has determined that a couple of his high school courses did not meet their requirements for eligibility.  Hill has now been released from his scholarship at Alabama and will have to go to JUCO or pay his own way. 

This is one of the most bizarre situations we have seen since we really started following oversigning.  Alfy Hill is getting screwed, as is Alabama, and it is completely the NCAA's fault.  The level of ineptitude and the lackadaisical nature of the NCAA is sickening.  The entire signing and scholarship management process that is under the care of the NCAA needs to be thrown out the window and there needs to be drastic reform in order to prevent more kids like Elliott Porter and Alfy Hill from getting screwed over.  The NCAA has managed to create a system so flawed and screwed up that potential student-athletes can get screwed from either side of the equation (Porter by LSU and Les Miles and Alfy Hill by the NCAA clearinghouse).

Between coaches like Les Miles and the NCAA does anyone know what the **** they are doing?  You have coaches signing more players than they have room for and then having to cut players in order to make room and you have a governing body who cannot accurately determine if a player is academically eligible in a timely manner and leaves a loophole in their bylaws that allows coaches to hedge their bets against their ineptitude.   It is almost like the NCAA is telling coaches, "since we are not efficient enough to tell you who is academically eligible in a timely manner so you know exactly how many players to sign or who to sign, just go ahead and sign as many as you want and sort it out later."  WTF???

The combination of coaches willing to oversign and ineptitude of the NCAA is a lethal combination that results in guys like Porter and Hill getting screwed.

This by no means excuses coaches that oversign.  They know the deal and they should at least keep their side of the street clean and some do - shame on the others that don't (Les Miles, Nick Saban, Houston Nutt, Randy Shannon, Butch Davis).  After all, it is these coaches and not the NCAA that are in the living rooms of recruits promising them and their parents that they will take care of them for the next 4 years. 

The bottom line is that the entire recruiting and signing process needs to be thrown out the window and replaced with a system that permanently closes the oversigning loophole and determines academic eligibility in an accurate and timely manner.   The new system should provide coaches with the exact number of players they can sign without going over their limit (which means the number for each team will be different every year based on who each team has graduating and leaving for the NFL early) and it should provide them with a list of players cleared to be signed.  They also need to make the letter of intent a two-way binding agreement, not a one-way agreement that only binds the recruit to the school.

Filed under: NCAA, SEC 39 Comments
12Aug/1011

There is nothing wrong with Greyshirting, Les Miles

It appears that Les Miles has not taken the criticism he has received, which he was rightfully given, for the Elliott Porter debacle well and he has taken to defending the practice of Greyshirting players.   Here are a few of his comments...

He noted that Porter’s scholarship offer was still good, just postponed a semester. He said if somebody made the same offer to one of his sons, they would “certainly be disappointed that day, but recognize that, long-term, it’s not a bad thing.”

Miles said grayshirting can benefit players who could use time to allow their bodies to mature.

“He might take his time to come in shape and to benefit his body and compete,” he said.

The practice is common in the Southeastern Conference, but not allowed in other conferences, like the Big 10. CBS Sports’ Gregg Doyel was particularly harsh with his critique in a column Sunday, calling Miles “a bad guy.” He had similar descriptions for others who oversign, calling Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt “despicable” and Alabama’s Nick Saban “two evolutionary stages below a lizard.”

Miles said he had not read the Doyel column but “I did get bits and pieces of that.”

“I can tell you no one is more critical of how I operate than me,” Miles said. “I can tell you the guys I visited with and I told, for the team, it might well be the best thing for you physically and might well be best for you and your health and by the count of numbers and scholarships, you might benefit the most by postponing your entrance into school."

http://www.2theadvocate.com/sports/lsu/100425914.html

Allows us to put on our Miles decoder and see if we can decipher what he said -- not sure we'll be able to make anything out of that last quote, though. 

First let us clear up some errors in Laney's original article.

1. The Big 10 has not banned greyshirting players; it is something that is watched very closely but it has not been banned.  Oversigning is not allowed, but greyshirting is allowed in the Big 10.

2. You'll have to read the entire article for this one, but in the original article the general tone is that the issue with Les Miles was the 25 scholarships per year rule and that by signing 27 he was two over the limit, hence the greyshirt offer.  While Laney is right, 25 per year is the limit and LSU was over with 27 eligible, the real issue here is the 85 limit and what took place prior to August deadline.  If you examine LSU's recruiting budget at signing day you can see that by signing 27 they were projected to be 9 over the 85 limit.  Therefore, in addition to the greyshirt offers that were declined there were a handful of other players that were removed in order to make room for 25 of the 27.  We happen to have a list handy.

The March to 85 - LSU

Player Position Reason for Leaving
Akiem Hicks Defensive Tackle Removed from the team - was involved in NCAA investigation
Kyle Prater Linebacker Transfer
Jhyryn Taylor Wide Receiver Transfer
Thomas Parsons Fullback Medical Hardship Scholarship
John Williams Wide Receiver Medical Hardship Scholarship
Clay Spencer Offensive Lineman Medical Hardship Scholarship
Chris Garrett QB Cut - Scholarship Not Renewed
Houston Bates Defensive End Released from LOI in April; refused Greyshirt
Elliott Porter Offensive Lineman Asked to Greyshirt in AUGUST; refused Greyshirt; released


When you step back and look at the entire body of work in this recruiting class you can see just poorly Miles has managed the entire process.  The only conclusion you can draw about the series of events is that Les Miles simply signs the 25 max every year and sorts the bodies out later, and until this point it really hasn't bitten him in the ass.   We have a list handy for that as well.  This is every recruiting class for Miles since 2002; some of the numbers came from his time at Oklahoma State.  Roughly a 24 average with as many as 31 in a single class.  And for just about every one of those years there are handful of BS stories about how Les got the roster down either to the 25 for the year or 85 overall.

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

Based on LSU's numbers at National Signing Day they should have signed 18 new recruits, not 27.  Had all 18 made it academically, like all 27 did, they would have all had a spot, Chris Garrett would be at LSU not Northeastern State or wherever he landed, and Elliott Porter, since he was an early verbal commitment, would be living on LSU campus partaking in LSU spring ball.  But then again, we all know the deal, you know, it's just business and all.  Plus, if Miles only signs the 18 he has room for he might miss out on a new recruit and another SEC school might get him, plus he won't have any extra players to hedge against unexpected injuries, where's the fun in that?

The Les Miles decoder tells us the following:

1. He only cares about the athlete portion of student-athletes.

2. He only reads bits and pieces of Doyel's columns.

3. He is a man with enough money to pay for his son's education and having to greyshirt would not be an issue for him.  Nothing like screwing a kid over and then telling the world that it wouldn't be a problem for him if it happen to his kids - no kidding Les, your son could go to any school in the country and you could stroke a check for the full 4 years and never even blink.  A four year education is rounding error on your balance sheet.  For the rest of the working stiffs and the underprivileged in this country who don't make $3MM  a year being a coach, having to pay for 1 semester of college can be an issue.

4. He told his players something about scholarship numbers and greyshirts, but we don't think he had any idea what he told them, when he told them, or who he told.  Reminds us so much of his explanation of the time out at the end of the LSU - Ole Miss game last year.

How can you seriously believe that he knows what is going on with regards to recruiting numbers after something like this: http://ballhype.com/video/les-miles-calling-for-spike-and-lying-against-ole-miss/

The problem wasn't that he offered a greyshirt to Porter, it was how it was offered and when it was offered, and for Miles to come out and take exception with the criticism further proves that he has no clue that he did anything wrong.  Perhaps that empty suit Mike Slive should have a talk with him about managing scholarship offers and proper etiquette when dealing with potential student-athletes.

Now let us address the greyshirting and scholarship numbers for next year.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with greyshirting a player provided there is an understanding between the school and the player way in advance.  Obviously, we want the NCAA to do something about oversigning and our hope is that by closing the oversigning loophole we create transparency in the entire signing process, especially the greyshirt process.

So here is a scenario that we would like to see happen:

A school has 18 openings that can be filled on National Signing Day because that is their established recruiting budget for the year based on who they have graduating and who they have leaving early for the NFL.  Given the 18 LOI limit, the school is given the option to sign up to a certain number of greyshirt prospects (let's say 3 per year).  These three extra players are signed to a different type of LOI that explicitly states that the school has to honor their scholarship offer the following year but the players are free to accept scholarship offers from other schools and are not bound to the school offering the greyshirt. 

This keeps the school at or under the 85 scholarship limit, allows them to sign a few greyshirts for the next year to accommodate players that are willing and able to pay their own way until the next year and obviously really want to go to a certain school, and it eliminates the Elliott Porter scenario, which absolutely has to stop.

Now for the scholarship numbers next year.

Greyshirting creates a scenario where you are counting scholarships forward.  Let's take Alabama for instance; it appears that they have 3 potential greyshirt candidates this year that will join the team next year and count to next year's numbers.  Looking at Alabama's scholarship roster it also appears that they only have 9 scholarship seniors and 5th year guys who will be freeing up scholarship room for the next recruiting class (feel free to correct us on that Bama fans).  When you subtract the 3 greyshirt players from the number of scholarship seniors for next year the number of openings looks something more like 6).  According to Rivals Alabama already has 17 verbal commitments.  Let's say there are a 5 Juniors who jump to the league, that's only 14 scholarship openings.  Does anyone think that Saban is done recruiting for the year??? 

LSU is in the exact same situation, small senior class and already over committed (verbally at least) in terms of having verbal commitments from more recruits then they have room for next year.

And come next year we'll see all kinds of transfers and hear all kinds of stories attached to them, but at the end of the day it's all garbage because regardless of how many "mutual agreements to leave" we hear the bottom line is that in the business of college football, especially in the SEC, it's out with the old, injured, and less than, and in with the new.  After all, fans care just about as much about winning the recruiting national championship as they do about the BCS national championship.

Filed under: Rants, SEC 11 Comments
5Aug/1038

Last Comment on Rod Woodson

Mark Barron from Alabama's secondary doesn't believe that Rod Woodson will be missed at all in the secondary.

And what about Rod Woodson's departure? The sophomore free safety is transferring.

"Rod's a good athlete, but at the same time, we have more athletes that can step up and play at any time," Barron said. "He will be missed, but I don't think it'll hurt us as much as some people - other people - might think."

So there goes the argument that he was too valuable to cut or that he was cut despite being soooo valuable.  Then there is this other tidbit of information...

Alabama signee Blake Sims has been cleared academically by the NCAA and will practice tonight with other Crimson Tide newcomers, according to his father.

Sims was signed as an "athlete" out of Gainesville (Ga.) High School, where he starred as a quarterback. At the time he signed, it sounded as if he would begin his college football career as a slot receiver, but his father, Sonny, said this afternoon that Blake will start off as a defensive back.

"They want him at safety," Sonny Sims said.

http://www.al.com/sports/index.ssf/2010/08/blake_sims_qualifies_at_alabam.html

Are we really supposed to believe that Rod Woodson's dismissal from the team and Blake Sims being cleared academically had nothing to do with each other?  Had Blake Sims not qualified are we to believe that Saban would have still removed Woodson from the team?  After all, no team rules were violated and he is academically eligible.

We'll need to clean up our attrition board for Alabama and remove Blake Sims and replace him with Deion Belue as #10 because he did not make it academically.

Filed under: SEC 38 Comments
4Aug/10151

Saban Gets Down to 85 on the Last Day

We'll have more on this later today, but Saban just announced that 1 player is transferring and two players are accepting a greyshirt and will delay enrollment until next year. We said months ago that Saban was over by 10 and that 10 players needed to go; until today we had 7 accounted for and today we got 8, 9, and 10.

The interesting part is that Alabama only has 9 scholarship players on their roster, and with two guys greyshirting this year that leaves only 7 openings for next year plus the juniors that leave for the NFL. Alabama currently has 16 verbal commitments for next year, so much like LSU, they are already over the limit and we will see the exact same thing next year that we have seen this year.

Update:

As we mentioned above, Saban announced earlier today that 3 guys won't be joining the team this fall, two of which have elected to greyshirt.  The one that is getting the most attention is Rod Woodson.  Here are some comments from Saban regarding Woodson and the situation:

"He will transfer and have an opportunity to do that," Saban said. "We were very helpful in trying to give him an opportunity someplace else. We wish him very well. He did a good job for us."

Multiple sources had previously indicated that academics could be an issue in Woodson's case. After the initial announcement, Saban later made it sound more like a dismissal from the team.

"I don't really feel it's a problem, when you have people in the organization who aren't accountable, how not having one would affect anything," Saban said. "We cannot make decisions about the future of players who aren't accountable for what they're supposed to do and not responsible to what they're supposed to do as a member of this team, regardless of what they issue is, behavioral, academic, football-related.

"We have a lot of good players on the team, and I would rather move somebody from another position to play where we don't have enough players than to allow somebody not to do the right things and be involved. I don't think we do anyone any good if we do that."

So did Woodson violate a written team rule or was he declared academically ineligible?  Doesn't sound like it.  Sounds like Saban simply didn't like what he saw out of Woodson, end of story.  Next.  Too bad Woodson didn't have an agent when he signed his letter of intent, maybe his agent could have negotiated a better contract for him when he signed.  That's where we are headed this this pattern, we all know it's coming. 

It is interesting that Saban refers to the University of Alabama as an "organization," he could have fooled us, we thought it was an institution of higher learning that enjoys a tax-exempt status because it exists to educate the masses.  Maybe we should start treating these schools like what they are, semi-pro "organizations," which flies directly in the face of every NCAA and University mission statement.

So here is what the final March looks like for Alabama:

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


Sometimes a diagram is better than wordy explanations; we put together two diagrams that best depict the difference between how Alabama and LSU are managing their rosters compared to programs like Penn State, Notre Dame, USC, Texas, Ohio State, and other brand name power schools.

The first is the OVERSIGNING MODEL which gives the coaching staff an extra period of time to evaluate the players and make decisions on how they are going to get down to the NCAA mandated 85 scholarship players.  This model results in mandatory roster cuts or non-renewal of the 1-year scholarship agreement.

The second is the UNDERSIGNING MODEL or the model where we have coaches who exercise constraint and ethics in the recruiting process and who are guaranteed not to have cut anyone in order to stay under the 85 scholarship limit. 

It doesn't get any more cut and dry than the two diagrams above, and as we documented this year with LSU and Alabama this is exactly what is happening right now.  Couple of things to note: both teams started with 66 players; one signed 29 and one signed 17; both ended up at 85.

At the moment what the oversigners are doing is legal because the NCAA doesn't not prohibit schools from oversigning, but we are of the opinion that they don't realize just how badly it is being abused.  It is our goal here to raise awareness about oversigning and help make the NCAA realize that they have to do something about the entire signing process - it is completely out of control and it is damaging kids.  Not to mention, the NCAA mission is..

Our purpose is to govern competition in a fair, safe, equitable and sportsmanlike manner, and to integrate intercollegiate athletics into higher education so that the educational experience of the student-athlete is paramount.

http://www.ncaa.org/wps/portal/ncaahome?WCM_GLOBAL_CONTEXT=/ncaa/NCAA/About%20The%20NCAA/Overview/mission.html

Our proposed solution has been to create a system where schools are required to declare the number of openings they expect to have before National Signing Day and be limited that number of signed letters of intent.  This number, and bear in mind we are adhering to the NCAA's mission statement that the educational experience of the student-athlete is paramount, will the number of players that have graduated and any juniors who opt for the NFL early.  That is who should be replaced, not some 3rd string DL who doesn't have the potential of the next 5* stud recruit.

In addition, we recommend that the NCAA require schools to prove that there is a scholarship available before a letter of intent is accepted.  This will eliminate scenarios where coaches like Saban and Miles knowingly accept more letters of intent then they have room for when the accept them, knowing full well they have 6 months to make arrangements in order to get down to 85.  Let's be honest here, guys like Star Jackson and Rod Woodson were dead men walking the minute Saban oversigned his class...everything else is window dressing.  This will also eliminate situations like what we saw at Miami this year where they didn't have scholarship room for Seantrel Henderson when they accepted his LOI so they cut someone in order to make room after the fact. 

We know what you are thinking, "well that will just lead to guys getting cut before hand instead of after."  We have a plan for that as well, as mentioned by one of our best posters here, Mario.  Require that each player leaving a team go through an exit interview at the NCAA office where the NCAA can monitor when players are released from a scholarship and get their side of the story as well as the schools.

That only leaves one issue on the table - the 1 year renewable scholarship rule.  We are on record here numerous times that the 1-year renewal scholarship is something that needs to be addressed as well.  Granted, you need to have something in place in order to remove a player who doesn't meet the academic requirements or violates a university policy, but giving the coaches power to make judgement calls on this not the answer (and save of the BS about the appeal process and the review process by university officials outside of the athletic department). 

Bottom line, there is no reasonable excuse for allowing oversigning, especially when the results are what we have seen over the last couple of days at Miami, LSU, and Alabama.

Filed under: SEC 151 Comments
4Aug/105

LSU Over by 9

Just a quick note; we have updated the March to 85 board for LSU.  As it stands right now, they oversigned by 9 players this last season when they signed a class of 27.  They should have signed 18 recruits.  As we mentioned, it will be real interesting to see how many they take next year given they only have 9 scholarship seniors leaving the team.  They already have 16 verbal commitments (so LSU must be banking on 7 juniors leaving early for the NFL next year or a rash of medical hardships).  Here's the updated board:

The March to 85 - LSU

Player Position Reason for Leaving
Akiem Hicks Defensive Tackle Removed from the team - was involved in NCAA investigation
Kyle Prater Linebacker Transfer
Jhyryn Taylor Wide Receiver Transfer
Thomas Parsons Fullback Medical Hardship Scholarship
John Williams Wide Receiver Medical Hardship Scholarship
Clay Spencer Offensive Lineman Medical Hardship Scholarship
Chris Garrett QB Cut - Scholarship Not Renewed
Houston Bates Defensive End Released from LOI in April; refused Greyshirt
Elliott Porter Offensive Lineman Asked to Greyshirt in AUGUST; refused Greyshirt; released

Filed under: SEC 5 Comments
4Aug/1011

Elliott Porter Speaks

Elliott Porter made his side of the story public yesterday, which is a rarity because most guys that are cut like he was don't go public with the intimate details because they are still trying to find a place to land.  This is why you rarely hear a player come out publicly about being cut.  Porter, however, appears to be very upset with the situation and decided to speak frankly about what happened - kudos to him.  Here are a few of his comments and based on his side of the story Les Miles screwed him out of a scholarship at LSU.  

Elliott Porter woke up Tuesday morning planning on taking care of a few personal things and preparing for the start of pre-season camp in Baton Rouge, La., today. But a summons to Les Miles' office changed all of that.

"I got called to coach Miles' office. I had no idea it was coming," Porter said of his being asked by LSU to 'grayshirt' this season and re-enroll next year. "He just told me that they didn't have room for me. I moved out of my dorm today and I am now back home trying to figure everything out. It's been a rough 24 hours."

http://tennessee.rivals.com/barrier_noentry.asp?ReturnTo=&sid=&script=content.asp&cid=1109179&fid=&tid=&mid=&rid=

Porter goes on to make it clear that he understands now that football is just a business at LSU (see his comments after the jump).   The fact that these kids are being conditioned to think that college football is just a business is only going to lead to further problems down the road.  College football is not supposed to be a business, at least not according to the NCAA:

The NCAA espouses a collegiate model of athletics in which student-athletes participate in varsity sports as an avocation, balancing their academic, social and athletics experiences.

The NCAA is committed to the highest levels of integrity and sportsmanship, diversity and inclusion, amateurism, competitive equity and excellence in the classroom. The Association also believes in presidential leadership as the guiding force in operating athletics programs. 

Sorry but we don't see anything in there about college athletics being a business.  Note to the NCAA: Elliott Porter was screwed out of his scholarship because of the loophole in YOUR by-laws that allows coaches to accept more signed letters of intent then they legitimately have room for under the 85 scholarship limit.  YOUR loophole allows coaches to hedge their bets against academic attrition and injuries, essentially giving coaches free rein to gamble with the scholarship numbers.

More after the jump >>>

Filed under: SEC Continue reading
3Aug/108

LSU’s March to 85 is NOT Over

We have been following LSU's journey to get their roster down to 85 players ever since one of our readers started posting the details of their roster situation a while back, and with the announcement that Chris Garrett was being cut from the team we thought that LSU's march to 85 was over.  Therefore, we started looking at LSU's recruiting for next year and that is when we noticed that Les Miles and LSU were getting a jump start on screwing players next year by already having more verbal commitments then they have room for next year.

Turns out we were wrong, forget about next year, Les Miles is not done screwing players from his current roster.  Word has come out today that Elliot Porter, who had this to say about his commitment to LSU...

"I stood face to face with Coach Miles and I committed,'' Porter said proudly Saturday evening shortly after meeting with Miles during an unofficial visit to the Baton Rouge campus. "I was blown away by the campus, blown away by the school. Just everything about it, I felt at home.''

              

http://highschoolsports.nola.com/news/article/-816132523422918078/shaw-lineman-elliott-porter-commits-to-lsu/

...has been asked to take a greyshirt because LSU does not have scholarship room for him because all 27 of the players they signed have made it academically.

Due to the fact that all 27 of LSU's signees are academically qualified, there would not be scholarships available for two players.

According to sources close to the situation, Archbishop Shaw High School lineman Elliott Porter will not be with the team when practice begins Thursday. Porter was asked to take a greyshirt. However, he did not want to be greyshirted. Porter asked for and received a release from his letter of intent.

Porter will be immediately eligible at any other school. A possible destination for Porter is Tennessee. Last year, Porter made 65 tackles. As a junior, Porter recorded 85 tackles, including 20 sacks. LSU intended to move Porter to the offensive line. Porter worked out with the team during the summer.

With Porter leaving, there are only two offensive linemen in the 2010 recruiting class - Evan Washington and Cameron Fordham. Washington enrolled in school last January and participated in spring practice.

http://lsu.rivals.com/barrier_noentry.asp?ReturnTo=&sid=&script=content.asp&cid=1109003&fid=&tid=&mid=&rid=

There are so many things wrong with this situation that we really don't even know where to start.  How does this even happen???  Why is this poor kid getting word at the last minute that there is not a scholarship for him?  At least Miles has enough sense to grant him a release from his LOI, but ask yourself, why is this poor kid bound to his commitment to LSU and LSU not bound to their commitment to him???  Why does he have to ask for a release AFTER they tell him that they are not going to give him the scholarship they promised him?

It would be one thing if this was the only situation to arise with LSU this year, but look at the list of attrition and the number of scholarships they have already had to cut in order to make room. 

The March to 85 - LSU

Player Position Reason for Leaving
Akiem Hicks Defensive Tackle Removed from the team - was involved in NCAA investigation
Kyle Prater Linebacker Transfer
Jhyryn Taylor Wide Receiver Transfer
Thomas Parsons Fullback Medical Hardship Scholarship
John Williams Wide Receiver Medical Hardship Scholarship
Clay Spencer Offensive Lineman Medical Hardship Scholarship
Chris Garrett QB Cut - Scholarship Not Renewed
Houston Bates Defensive End Released from LOI in April; refused Greyshirt
Elliott Porter Offensive Lineman Asked to Greyshirt in AUGUST; refused Greyshirt; released


Now add Elliot Porter to the list.

But this is nothing new at LSU, back in March we wrote a piece on Gerry DiNardo and his time at LSU and Indiana, and really nothing much has changed (sign as many as you can legally get away with and then do whatever you have to in order to get down to 85 by the fall).  Here are some of his comments regarding oversigning from an SI article a long time ago.

"There are 28 new Tigers, although some of them will not qualify academically (which will keep LSU within the NCAA one-year maximum of 25 new scholarships) and many will never contribute. 'It's a fact that only about a third of the guys you sign will end up starting, because if you get it going, you sign someone the following year that's better,' DiNardo said. 'There will be injuries, transfers, failures. There always are.'"

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1007746/1/index.htm

Perhaps DiNardo and Saban were a little better at using discretion when screwing players out of scholarship to make room for better players or when hedging their bets against academic eligibility, or perhaps there just wasn't enough media coverage of this aspect of college football recruiting.  There certainly wasn't an oversigning.com website back in those days.  

The most disturbing part about this whole story is that the schools and the coaches have all of the power and they dangle the NFL $$$ carrot out there to the recruits in order to get them to sign and to keep them from signing with someone else, and if they want to get rid of them at any time, for any reason, they can, and they do.  This is where the NCAA has got to step in and put an end to the games these coaches are playing with oversigning.  Sure, we understand that these guys are trying to ensure that they have a full roster, but at what price?  For all the MILLIONS of dollars these coaches make and given the fact that they are the adults, you would think that they would take the moral high ground and do the right thing ethically by these kids.  And where the hell are the University Presidents, Athletic Directors, and the NCAA on all of this???  They don't appear to have a problem with a coach accepting a signed LOI that binds the player to a school, only to rip it up and not honor it because he couldn't count to 85 and doesn't have enough room for everyone. 

Thankfully, not all coaches operate this way.  There are coaches who refuse gamble with lives of the kids they recruit by hedging their bets on academic eligibility and injuries.  Guys like Mark Richt, Jim Tressel, and several others around the country.

Jim Tressel was asked about recruiting numbers at the Big 10 Media Days this week, here are his comments:

When asked about the 2002 recruiting class..

"It was special, and it was 25 guys--which is an unusually high number."

25 unusually high???  Not for the SEC.  When asked about the size of his upcoming recruiting class...

..."21 or 22. That would be the lid. We never want to be in that predicament where we're close to being over, because all of a sudden you're not recruiting a guy that you said to him you're recruiting. And we've got some walk-ons that we try to help them out."

This is nothing new for Tressel, here are some of his comments regarding last year's class.  This was taken on National Signing Day.

How is it that Jim Tressel already knows EXACTLY how many spots he will have for the next recruiting class in August, yet some SEC coaches all seem to not know what their numbers will be until next August?  That's because Tressel is not gambling with his commitments and is not hedging his bets to gain a competitive advantage, something that is just a way of life in some places.

What LSU, Alabama, and other schools are doing is not only is poor taste, it cheats the game, not to mention the players that get screwed in the process.  We get all up in arms when a coach runs the score up on a weak opponent or does something cheap like call a last second time out from the sideline right before a kicker kicks a potential game-winning field goal.  We boo these acts because they cheapen the game and they are unsportsmanlike; oversigning is no different, at least for the time being until it is banned and then it will not just be unsportsmanlike, it will be illegal.

Filed under: Big 10, SEC 8 Comments
12Jul/101

LSU Starting Early on Next Year’s Attrition

We pointed out in an earlier post that LSU is already on their way to being oversigned in 2011 by having only 9 scholarship seniors on the team and 11 verbal commitments for 2011 already.  Being that they no longer need to cut players in order to make room this year, anyone they cut from here on out will make room for what is considered to be a great year for talent in the state of Louisania.  LSU averages 24 players per year and with only 9 seniors in the up coming class they have a long way to go in order to get to 24. 

Today news came out that offensive lineman Stavion Lowe is leaving the program having never played a snap at LSU.

Filed under: SEC 1 Comment
9Jul/1020

The March to 85 is Over for LSU

We have come to the end of the road for LSU's March to 85.

Reader "Homework" who has been all over the LSU numbers for us sent this in this morning.  If anyone else has more information on the details of Garrett's release from his scholarship, please post them in the comments section.  It appears on the surface, just based on the rivals piece below, that Garrett was simply mailed a notice that his scholarship would not be renewed, which prompted him to ask for a release.  Not sure if that makes sense though; why would you need to ask for a release if you have not been renewed?  

Regardless, it sure was a nice gesture on Les Miles' part to allow him to go to Mississippi State if he wants.   It is total BS how these coaches/schools can controls kids, especially the ones that are being forced out.  We're basically seeing the professionalization of college football minus the players being able to exercise their full rights as a free agent once they get cut. 

We need to gather a little more information on Garrett's situation before we blast Les Miles, but at the moment the whole thing doesn't exactly look good.  We'll try to gather a little more on this story over the weekend and post an update.  Until then you have to ask yourself the question, had LSU been restricted from oversigning their roster would Chris Garrett be leaving the program?  Also, if you subscribe to the notion that Miles knew that he was going to cut Garrett back when he was oversigning his class and basically signing a new recruit to Garrett's scholarship, then why did he wait so long to send him the notice that he would not be renewed?  Honestly, it looks like Miles just goes out and gets as many players as he can get away with and then just figures out how to get the roster down to 85.

LSU coach Les Miles confirmed Thursday night that redshirt freshman quarterback Chris Garrett is leaving the football program.

Garrett had a meeting with Miles on Wednesday and asked for his release. Miles granted Garrett his release. Garrett cannot transfer to any Southeastern Conference school other than Mississippi State.

The family received certified mail last week which indicated that Garrett's scholarship would not be renewed. The head coach has the intent to have a discussion with the player and explain to him what needs to be done for him to remain in the program on scholarship.

http://lsu.rivals.com/content.asp?CID=1101349

The March to 85 - LSU

Player Position Reason for Leaving
Akiem Hicks Defensive Tackle Removed from the team - was involved in NCAA investigation
Kyle Prater Linebacker Transfer
Jhyryn Taylor Wide Receiver Transfer
Thomas Parsons Fullback Medical Hardship Scholarship
John Williams Wide Receiver Medical Hardship Scholarship
Clay Spencer Offensive Lineman Medical Hardship Scholarship
Chris Garrett QB Cut - Scholarship Not Renewed
Houston Bates Defensive End Released from LOI in April; refused Greyshirt
Elliott Porter Offensive Lineman Asked to Greyshirt in AUGUST; refused Greyshirt; released


Had LSU been restricted to signing to their limit of 85 and still suffered the same attrition as above, they would be going into the season with 78 players on scholarship.  Instead they will lose these 7 guys and still come in at 85.  What a luxury for the coaching staff at LSU to be able to oversign with reckless abandon.

Filed under: SEC 20 Comments
7Jul/1011

EDSBS with Sound Advice for Alabama Scholarship Athletes

Go here and read this for yourself.  Solid.  Be sure to partake in the comment section as well. 

Maybe this is the answer.

Side note: this is the least amount of effort ever put into a post on this site - ever.  Goodnight.

Filed under: SEC 11 Comments
23Jun/101

LSU’s March to 85 – Clay Spencer

We recently added LSU to the March to 85 list and had their magic number at 2 in order to get down to 85.  It is now down to 1 with the departure of Clay Spencer to the coveted medical hardship scholarship, which makes 3 for LSU this year. 

http://www.andthevalleyshook.com/2010/6/23/1532740/ol-clay-spencer-will-not-return-to

The March to 85 - LSU

Player Position Reason for Leaving
Akiem Hicks Defensive Tackle Removed from the team - was involved in NCAA investigation
Kyle Prater Linebacker Transfer
Jhyryn Taylor Wide Receiver Transfer
Thomas Parsons Fullback Medical Hardship Scholarship
John Williams Wide Receiver Medical Hardship Scholarship
Clay Spencer Offensive Lineman Medical Hardship Scholarship
Chris Garrett QB Cut - Scholarship Not Renewed
Houston Bates Defensive End Released from LOI in April; refused Greyshirt
Elliott Porter Offensive Lineman Asked to Greyshirt in AUGUST; refused Greyshirt; released

Filed under: SEC 1 Comment
17Jun/1015

LSU Joins the March to 85

A while back we were given a list of teams from a reader who claimed that there were other schools out there that were abusing oversigning just as badly as Alabama.  LSU was a school on that list and we asked our readers if they could help resolve LSU's numbers and determine if they have truly oversigned, and if so, by how much.  The response was excellent as one reader "Homework" broke down LSU's roster going into last signing day and provided us with some solid numbers.  Based on his numbers LSU went over their limit by 7 players this recruiting class (65 guys returning on scholarship + 27 guys signed = 92 players). 

This morning "Homework" sent us an update on LSU numbers on the heels of the announcement that 4 players will not be returning next year for LSU.  This prompted us to create a table for LSU and add them to the March to 85.

The March to 85 - LSU

Player Position Reason for Leaving
Akiem Hicks Defensive Tackle Removed from the team - was involved in NCAA investigation
Kyle Prater Linebacker Transfer
Jhyryn Taylor Wide Receiver Transfer
Thomas Parsons Fullback Medical Hardship Scholarship
John Williams Wide Receiver Medical Hardship Scholarship
Clay Spencer Offensive Lineman Medical Hardship Scholarship
Chris Garrett QB Cut - Scholarship Not Renewed
Houston Bates Defensive End Released from LOI in April; refused Greyshirt
Elliott Porter Offensive Lineman Asked to Greyshirt in AUGUST; refused Greyshirt; released


http://www.nola.com/lsu/index.ssf/2010/06/lsu_football_two_tigers_planni.html

There's that medical hardship scholarship again.  It's becoming the perfect solution to solving number issues with the roster; the player gets to continue his education on scholarship which helps the school avoid APR issues and it frees up a football scholarship to give to a new player that is not injured or injury prone.  There is no limit to the number of players you can place on medical hardship scholarships and all the NCAA requires is a signature by the player agreeing to take the medical waiver and a signature from a doctor.   

While LSU's oversigning is not quite as bad as Alabama's, it's bad enough to warrant adding them to the March to 85.  Based on the numbers from "Homework," LSU still has to players to cut loose in order to get down to 85 by the August deadline.  We're leaving two slots open in their table and will update accordingly when the news comes out.  We're also adding LSU to the magic number list.

You have to ask yourself, when looking at the schools that oversign, would this many kids be transferring or taking medical hardship scholarships if the roster was not oversigned?  In LSU and Alabama's case, had they signed the number of players they had room for on signing day and still had the same number of players leave the team, LSU would go into the season with 78 players on scholarship and Alabama with 75 players on scholarship.

The March continues: LSU 2, Alabama 3.  Here is a new big board for the teams in The March to 85:

The March to 85 - By Teams

Team Players Returning Players Signed Amount Over Players Cut Magic Number
Alabama 66 29 10 7 3
LSU 65 27 7 7 0

Filed under: SEC 15 Comments
13Jun/1051

The March to 85 – Pharr & Talbert

News came out today that two more players will be leaving their football scholarships from Alabama, OL Taylor Pharr and LB Milton Talbert are both going to take a medical hardship scholarship and finish their degrees at Alabama, just not on a football scholarship.  This makes 3 medical hardship scholarships this year. 

The medical hardship scholarship term basically means that the player is being removed from his football scholarship because he has been deemed unable to compete because of medical injury but will continue to receive grants-in-aid from the university to continue his education for the full 4-5 years.  Like many other provisions provided by the NCAA, the medical hardship (or waiver to use their terms) is a good thing and a safety net for student-athletes injured while playing.  However, much like the by-laws for signing players, there is a lot of confusion surrounding medical waivers and there is no centralized control or oversight.  Basically, each school is responsible for managing this on their own and all the NCAA needs is the required paperwork, which is nothing more than a signed release from the player and a doctor on the school's medical staff.

Bryan W. Smith, M.D., Ph.D., FAAP, believes that there is cause for reform in the area of medical waivers as there is a lot of confusion regarding the required paperwork as well as maintaining proper documentation.

http://www.collegeathletictrainer.org/newsletter/getfile.php?fetch=1_2_1

Judging by this document released by the Big 12 Director of Compliance, Keri Boyce, it appears that all that is required is contemporaneous medical documentation, a player's signature, and a doctor's signature.  No exit interview, no second opinion.  The only option the player has is to not agree to sign the waiver. 

https://admin.xosn.com/pdf6/104652.pdf?DB_OEM_ID=600

Shouldn't the NCAA, with all of it's billions of dollars, provide some sort of centralized clearing house for medical waivers?  We hate to sound cynical here, but this sure looks like yet another loophole to move players off of their football scholarship and free up room for new recruits.  What's the old saying, "abuse breeds control." 

Furthermore, regarding Alabama's situation, just look at the list below and imagine how depleted their roster would be if they were required to sign only the number of players they have room for on signing day.  Had Alabama signed 19 instead of 29 and then suffered the same amount of attrition, they would be going into the season with 78 players, which is roughly the number with which Auburn went into last season.

The March Continues - the magic number is now 3.

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


We're still digging up the rest of the names from the 2009 list of attrition - if you have anyone to add to the list please post it for us here.

Attrition

2007 (25 Players Signed) 2008 (32 Players Signed) 2009 (27 Players Signed) 2010 (26 Players Signed) 2011 (22 Players Signed +2 GS)
Crump - quit football Johns - arrested, cocaine Dial - grades, juco Grant - not renewed Glenn Harbin - baseball
Elder - armed robbery Bolton - grades* Moore - grades Sikes - not renewed Demetrius Goode - transfer
Fanuzzi - transfer Hood - MLB P. Hall - transfer Div II McKeller - medical hardship Petey Smith - transfer
Hester - transfer Jackson - transfer Burnthall - quit team Jackson - transfer Brandon Moore - transfer
Lett - medical hardship Lawrence - transfer Fanney - transfer Sims - din't qualify Corey Grant - transfer
McGaskin - grades Lewis - grades Cardwell - not renewed Pharr - medical hardship Arron Douglas - died
Murphy - grades* Matchett - medical hardship Higgenbotham - transfer So. Ala Talbert - medical hardship Robby Green - released
Ricks - grades Neighbors - bryant scholarship Kirschman - not renewed Woodson - not renewed Kerry Murphy - medical hardship
Tayler - transfer Preyear - kicked off team Hester - medical hardship   Kendall Kelly - medical hardship
Farmer - transfer Ray - MLB     Wes Neighbors - medical hardship
  Smith - transfer      

Filed under: SEC 51 Comments
2Jun/10112

The March to 85 – Blake Sims

Just a quick post, but word just came out that Blake Smith will delay his enrollment until next year pending some academic work that he needs to do over the summer.  This puts the number at 5.  Here are the casualties thus far:

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

Update 6/2/2010: Just to put this year into context with the previous years, here is what we have been sent on 07, 08, and 09.  We just added 2010.  Supposedly there are more guys that need to be added to the 2009 list but we haven't received those yet.

Attrition

2007 (25 Players Signed) 2008 (32 Players Signed) 2009 (27 Players Signed) 2010 (26 Players Signed) 2011 (22 Players Signed +2 GS)
Crump - quit football Johns - arrested, cocaine Dial - grades, juco Grant - not renewed Glenn Harbin - baseball
Elder - armed robbery Bolton - grades* Moore - grades Sikes - not renewed Demetrius Goode - transfer
Fanuzzi - transfer Hood - MLB P. Hall - transfer Div II McKeller - medical hardship Petey Smith - transfer
Hester - transfer Jackson - transfer Burnthall - quit team Jackson - transfer Brandon Moore - transfer
Lett - medical hardship Lawrence - transfer Fanney - transfer Sims - din't qualify Corey Grant - transfer
McGaskin - grades Lewis - grades Cardwell - not renewed Pharr - medical hardship Arron Douglas - died
Murphy - grades* Matchett - medical hardship Higgenbotham - transfer So. Ala Talbert - medical hardship Robby Green - released
Ricks - grades Neighbors - bryant scholarship Kirschman - not renewed Woodson - not renewed Kerry Murphy - medical hardship
Tayler - transfer Preyear - kicked off team Hester - medical hardship   Kendall Kelly - medical hardship
Farmer - transfer Ray - MLB     Wes Neighbors - medical hardship
  Smith - transfer      

We'll have more on this later when we have more time.

Important Side Note:  Brian Davidson, from NCSA (National Collegiate Scouting Association) has contacted us regarding future opportunities to cross link sites and help educate each other on this topic of oversigning.  We're going to pursue that with them and hope to have something more on that soon.  In the meantime, we encourage our readers to visit their site.  http://www.ncsasports.org/

Filed under: SEC 112 Comments
18May/1031

The March to 85 – Star Jackson

We called this about a month ago when Star Jackson was held out of practice for a few days for "academic" reasons.   (Pictured is Star Jackson announcing his commitment to Nick Saban and Alabama).

Comments from Nick Saban regarding the situation:

"Star Jackson has done a fantastic job in our program, made a tremendous amount of improvement. We hate to see any player leave the program, but quarterback's kind of a unique position where one guy can play, and we have a lot of competition there right now. Greg's the starter coming back, AJ has done a fantastic job of improving, Phillip Sims came in at mid-semester and showed a lot of promise this spring.

"Star has made a tremendous amount of improvement and done a very, very good job. But I think sometimes when quarterbacks can't see the light at the end of the tunnel in terms of when they might be able to play, they get a little antsy and might want to go someplace else. Star and I have discussed it, and we're going to help him do what he feels is going to make him and his family the best decision for his future."

http://blog.al.com/bamabeat/2010/05/nick_saban_on_star_jackson_we.html

How can Nick Saban say that he hates for any player to leave the program?  He oversigns his classes by 10 players nearly every year which means that players are going to have to leave in order for Alabama to stay under the 85 player limit.  Nick, if you hate to see players leave the program then quit signing more than you have room for every year and no one will have to leave unexpectedly, or at least not as many.  This is poppy cock BS. 

If Nick Saban were running an airline company instead of a football team it would be like him saying he hates that on every flight 10 people won't be able to board because he sold more tickets than he had room for on each flight.  The difference is that in the airline business, victims of overbooking have legal rights and are compensated for their inconvenience.  The harsh reality of the situation is that no matter what, Saban has accepted 10 more LOI than he has room for and some how, some way, people have to leave or pay their own way or Alabama will be penalized by the NCAA for having too many players on scholarship.

Maybe the Star Jackson transfer is legit, but the simple fact that Saban has to shed players in order to get down to 85 makes it very, very hard for us to believe that he did all he could to talk Jackson into staying and being a part of a NC contending team and getting his degree from the University of Alabama.  We understand that guys want to play and they want to start, but why in the world would you willingly transfer from the defending NC team to go play 1AA ball?  Look at Matt Cassel the guy rode the pine at USC behind Heisman winning quarterbacks, yet he was able to get a starting quarterback gig in the NFL. 

Let's go ahead and say that the transfer is legit and Jackson truly wanted out on his own accord and that it makes perfect sense for him to go play 1AA ball instead of continuing to be coached by the best coaching staff in the country with the best facilities in the country, etc., etc.  Sometimes kids just want to transfer.  Fine.  This is where the competitive advantage aspect of oversigning comes into play.  Had Saban not been oversigned on his roster and Jackson transferred, he would be left with a scholarship shortfall and reduced depth at the quarterback position.  This is usually what happens to the rest of college football coaches that don't oversign.  They get left short-handed.  But we can only assume they do it (not oversign) because they don't have it in them (even if they are allowed to - like Mark Richt) because they are ethically opposed to the practice  or they are just not allowed to oversign because of conference rules.  Either way, it creates an uneven playing field.  There are some coaches who are sweating over every roster spot hoping and praying no one gets hurt, everyone is academically eligible, and no one leaves the program to transfer to a 1AA school, and then there are those who are trying to find loopholes and tricky ways to shed scholarship commitments because they have oversigned.

If you are new to the site, click the tag for "The March to 85" and read up.  For those of you have been around for a while, the magic number is now at 6.  There's a new Widget at the top of the sidebar for a special someone who suggested it earlier today, and below is the updated table for the March.

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

Filed under: SEC 31 Comments
12Apr/106

March to 85 – Watch List Update

It appears the Robby Green issue has been resolved.  Green will miss the 2010 season serving a 1 year suspension for violation of undisclosed NCAA rules violations; he will remain on scholarship and is permitted to participate in all team activities with the exception of playing in games. 

This means the magic number is still at 7.  We currently have Star Jackson on the watch list and would not be surprised to hear that he is transferring to somewhere like Jacksonville State. 

A new name has emerged on the watch list, Milton Talbert.

"The worst injury news to date has been with Milton Talbert, the rising fifth year senior. No one really knows what is wrong with the Mississippi native, but he has spent much of the spring on an exercise bike and has not participated in any of the contact drills to date. Given that he doesn't look to have any great chances for meaningful playing time -- Talbert, unfortunately, could probably qualify as the poster child for the tweener 3-4 end / linebacker -- I expect that it is only a matter of time at this point before we have an announcement that he will be going on a medical scholarship. I certainly hope that is not the case, mind you, but I'm afraid to say that at this point it certainly seems like an inevitability."

http://www.rollbamaroll.com/2010/4/12/1416204/spring-practice-news-and-notes#storyjump

Side Note:

It seems as though Alabama fans no longer wonder how the numbers are going to work out, having experienced Saban's practice of oversigning over the last 4 years they have now become accustom to the attrition and the roster cuts.

"As I understand the situation, we now have 75 kids on campus on scholarship after adding the midterm entries and subtracting the couple who have announced they won't be a part of the 2010 team. We still have 18 fall entries but a couple may not qualify. So, 75 plus 18 is 93 and we over by 8 which must be accomodated with greyshirts, more attrition or failure to qualify. That should not be a problem. There are a number who are obvious candidates for attrition and at least one grayshirt candidate and at least two who may not qualify.

At this time of the year, I used to wonder how in the heck Saban was going to balance the checkbook. After you see him do it a couple of times, you can see the outline of how this will work out."

http://www.tiderinsider.com/mb/msg/9311113.html

Filed under: SEC 6 Comments
9Apr/101

The March to 85 – Robby Green

It's official, Robby Green has been suspended by the NCAA for an undisclosed reason, which many believe to be failing a drug test.

ROBBY GREEN TO MISS 2010 SEASON

University of Alabama junior defensive back Robby Green has been declared ineligible to participate for the 2010 season by the NCAA. Green will be eligible for practice and will remain on scholarship during the suspension.

“Even though we are very disappointed we will continue to support Robby in every way possible,” said Alabama Crimson Tide head football coach Nick Saban. “He’ll practice and do all the other things with our team in terms of classes and workouts, but just won’t be eligible to play in any games this fall. His attitude has been outstanding through this and his effort in practice has been very good as well. Even if he isn’t playing, he can still have a significant impact on our team by helping out the younger players in the secondary and competing against the offense to make them better. We look forward to having Robby back on the field next fall for his senior season.”

http://capstonereport.com/2010/04/09/official-alabamas-robby-green-out-for-2010-season/5673/comment-page-1/

This definitely makes the March to 85 very interesting.  First of all, the burning question we have is why is Saban keeping him on scholarship?  Did the NCAA mandate that Green has to remain on scholarship when they handed down the suspension or is Saban and Alabama afraid of blacklash or APR penalties if they just cut him loose?

Obviously Green is an asset and was expected to step into the starting safety position in Saban's defense, but given the numbers crunch Saban and Alabama are in, they could not afford to lose a player and at the same time not free up a scholarship.  Fortunately for Alabama, they have tons and tons of raw talent in the secondary, and just to make sure they have enough debth, which they do, they have been trying out WR Julio Jones at safety and corner.  The bigger problem for them is the number 85.

The magic number is still 7.  We are taking Robby Green off the watch list, leaving only Star Jackson.  It's going to be interesting to see how the oversigned roster of 95 works it way out in the end.

Filed under: SEC 1 Comment