A few months back, oversigning.com was approached by Tim Hyland at about.com to do a question and answer session on the topic of oversigning and about the creation of this website. This interview was prior to the Wall Street Journal's piece on Alabama's players admitting they felt a little bitter about being pressured into taking medical hardship scholarships to free up roster space for oversigned recruiting classes. Had that story broke prior to our interview session with Tim Hyland, it probably would have been included in one of the answers.
Be that as it may, here is the link to the interview.
If we had to summarize the interview and give a bulleted list of the points we were trying to make it would look something like this:
- Nick Saban's comments about the fans not needing to know about his recruiting numbers or how he plans to get down to the 85 limit is what really sparked our interest in this entire topic. This article is what started it all.
- SEC by far signs the most players and abuses the oversigning loophole the most. When you see one team from one conference sign 15, 20, 17, and 19, and then another team from another conference sign 32, 23, 25, and 32, something is wrong with the system. To be clear, this is an SEC issue with the exception of a few other programs throughout the entire country.
- The purpose of this site is to raise awareness to the topic of oversigning and hopefully help get it removed from college football.
- Oversigning is not a rules violation, which is part of the problem. It is a by-product of the NCAA's 25/85 scholarship limits and their recruiting by-laws. Oversigning is a loophole that is being exploited.
- Oversigning creates a competitive advantage by allowing coaches access to a larger pool of players, hedge against academic and medical attrition, and ensure that they maximize the full 85 scholarships by forcing out lesser players to transfer to lesser schools or pressure kids into taking medical hardship scholarships to free up roster space, much of which we saw at alarming rates this preseason.
- It is our opinion that no coach should have to "get down" to 85 scholarships after national signing day. They should sign what they have room for and encourage who they have to stay and get better (unless the kid is a criminal or not making the grades) by coaching them up and making men out of them instead of just throwing them off on another coach - after all they thought enough of them when they signed them. Coaches are paid millions of dollars to evaluate talent, why should we give them an out if they miss on a guy? Why should we allow them to get rid of student-athlete simply because they don't pan out to be as good as a coach thought they would be? If a coach has a shortfall due to unexpected attrition, then he can give those scholarships to deserving walk-on players in their 4th or 5 th year as a reward for all their hard work.
- Lastly, we hope the NCAA takes a long hard look at the oversigning issue and revamps some of their recruiting by-laws to include a lot more transparency in roster management. The LOI should be a two way binding agreement. Perhaps scholarships need to go back to being 4 year deals instead of one. Each school should only be able to sign what they have room for on National Signing Day. There needs to be an exit interview for all players transferring and especially all players placed on medical hardship scholarship in order to determine if they felt like they were wrongly pushed in that direction. We will know when this problem has been solved when we see teams like Alabama and LSU, who both have very, very small senior classes on scholarship and are only losing roughly 8-12 scholarship guys next year, sign classes in the 8-12 range - as it stands right now they are both on track to sign 20+, and you can rest assured that we will see all kinds of crazy stories next spring between signing day and August when both teams shove guys off in order to make room for the new load of recruits.
Thanks again to Tim Hyland for his interest in the topic of oversigning and for reaching out and giving us the opportunity to answer some questions. If you haven't visited his blog, we encourage you to - Tim does a great job covering college football.