Oversigning follow-up

Lots of impassioned comments to yesterday’s post speculating about whether Jim Delany can continue to sit on his hands about the oversigning practices which go on at many schools make me think these are a couple of links you’d be interested in checking out:

  • If you’re looking to do something, the Oversigning Cup may be right up your alley.
  • Judging from these responses, your typical multi-star recruit may not be as naïve as you think.

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UPDATE: Michael Elkon speculates on my speculation.

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50 Comments

Filed under Recruiting

50 responses to “Oversigning follow-up

  1. crapsandwich

    I like the “cup” idea, just look at the exposure the “Fulmer” cup has received, albeit negative for UGA.

    No one can justify what these schools do. Alabama has 8 or 9 Scholarships available for the class. If 6 go early, well that is 15. They are already up to 22 players, and on the board for 9-12 others. Of course we know what Alabama will do: send many recruits to JUCO, eligible graduating players revoke 5th year of eligibility and Scholarship, find medical situations, academic casualties, discipline terminations, transfers, and I am sure I missed one. By the cutoff date Alabama will again be at 85.

    The farm system goes on and on for these abusers. If they pull through the “program” and additional 30 players, then say UGA or UF in the same 4 year period, you cannot convince me that any “guidelines” that can be abused, or skirted are not also employed by these SEC schools.

  2. AthensHomerDawg

    All we need is a fair advantage.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      I said this on another thread but it bears repeating here. We may not like it but if other schools who are our main competitors are doing it and we are not, then UGA is put in a position of disadvantage. Are we committed to winning or not? This is like a virus and it is spreading to all SEC schools. If it is not illegal we better damn well do it or be left in the dust, seeing FLA ahead in the distance, staring at UT’s and USCe’s butts passing us and watching UK overtaking us in the rearview mirror. This is the new tactic people and if we are too squeamish to do it then why don’t we just give up football altogether? I would rather for that happen than for our team to become another Vandy.

  3. Castleberry

    “Whenever I get a letter with my name misspelled, I don’t feel like they really put in the time.”

    Check out our media guide. Lots of type-o’s, misspellings, etc. Let’s hope the same editor is mailing recruiting letters.

  4. Russ

    Great article on recruiting. Glad to know some of the guys have a good head on their shoulders. I wonder if the coach with the Super Bowl ring was Weis?

    • The same thought crossed my mind.

      • GreenDawg

        That makes sense because the recruit said he was a bad egg, and Weis is sorta shaped like an egg.

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        That said, the comments by recruits in the article sorta remind me of those articles in Cosmo and Esquire with comments by girls about what a guy should really be like and what he should do that would make chicks all hot for him. Then you do exactly what they say and get shot down in flames. I’ll bet dollars to doughnuts that many of those recruits who say they don’t like negative recruiting sign with the worst negative recruiting offenders.

    • Texas_Dawg

      Wojciechowski’s article says not a word about oversigning, the biggest scam in recruiting today. I wonder how many of the recruits he interviewed were SEC recruits. How many of them were recruits that got cut, unexpectedly grayshirted, forced off the team to medical scholarships, etc.?

      Just more head in the sand stuff from ESPN and recruiting analysts.

      They don’t want to talk about oversigning because, among other things, it threatens their access to programs and coaches.

  5. Macallanlover

    As with the imbeciles we send to Washington, we have only ourselves to blame. The abuse of the scholly limitations only exist because sleazy behavior is tolerated. I suspect this began as minimal oversigning at a small number of schools. The unethical cheaters couldn’t contain themselves with the loophole they had found, now they have set off alarms. You can only hope the Presidents demand reform. Otherwise, we get what we deserve. Again, just like our government.

    • TheReverendDoctor

      Well said, Mac. I’ll add that WE must first demand reform from the powers-that-be (presidents, ADs, conference officials) before we can expect them to act. Their email addresses are public record. So are the email addresses of sportswriters who cover CFB. Nothing is going to happen just because of a couple of articles in the WSJ and NYT. We must insist that sportswriters ask the tough questions of these coaches, and we must make all those in power aware of what is happening on their watch.

  6. AthensHomerDawg

    Naming it the “Saban Cup” would give it more panache.

  7. Texas_Dawg

    The CFB media has been way behind the curve in highlighting what is going on, largely because they don’t want to appear “anti-South” or “anti-SEC” and thus anger a large part of their market.

    Also, local CFB reporters are a complete joke. They are usually just kids who are fans of the teams they cover and thus refuse to ask tough questions on issues like this, as they know the heat they will take from coaches, schools, fans, and even their bosses should they start looking into this.

    Georgia is being royally screwed by these completely unethical SEC West schools (and South Carolina). This kind of stuff makes Jim Delany absolutely right in whatever he wants to say about the SEC. It makes the Texas decision-makers who have made it clear they will never join the SEC because of stuff like this absolutely right.

    Sorry, but I care a lot more about the University of Georgia than I do these pathetic SEC West schools and any “S-E-C!” taunt they provide. And right now, they are using the “S-E-C!” blindness of many Georgia, Florida, and Vanderbilt fans as additional cover for a disgusting practice that also gives them a competitive advantage.

  8. bad m

    They make rules covering how many phone calls a coach can make but not how many kids they can offer? Idiocy, thy name is NCAA.

  9. Marmot

    Georgia fans are funny. Which schools have more athletic talent than Georgia and Florida thanks to Oversigning/Overenrolling? Because if they don’t have more talent, then oversigning can’t be the reason they’re winning.

    • Hackerdog

      You really think that bringing in 30 kids a year, then thinning the herd of the least productive kids later on, doesn’t result in a better productive/unproductive ratio than bringing in 20-25 kids a year? Auburn fans are funny.

    • Texas_Dawg

      No one has said it is the only reason teams win.

      It just simply gives a huge lift to where teams would be otherwise. That is why a handful of highly unethical programs do it… while the great majority of universities do not.

      If it didn’t provide a big advantage, Auburn and Alabama wouldn’t do it, and thus you wouldn’t have to give up any serious claim to being an ethical person by defending the practice.

      • Marmot

        It’s only unethical if a promise is broken…breaking arbitrary rules in your head (not NCAA or SEC rules, mind you) does not make something unethical.

        Many of the oversigners never make it to campus. You’ve got to focus on over-enrolling if you want to make any sort of argument for competitive advantage or unethical sign-and-cut. The numbers aren’t as compelling when you just focus on kids who actually make it on campus.

        • Hackerdog

          It’s unethical because the coach sits in a kid’s living room and tells him that he can have a scholarship for four years unless the kid breaks the rules, knowing that he will rescind the scholarship for a lack of production.

          If it’s such an acceptable and universally acknowledged practice, then why don’t Saban, Chizek, et al. own up to it? Why make up bogus reasons that kids left the team and you just coincidentally started the term with 85 kids on scholarship?

        • Texas_Dawg

          - Removing student athletes, against their wishes, from their teammates because they got hurt (but can still participate in many workouts and drills) is unethical. Chizik has done this more in the past 2 years than Jim Tressel, Mack Brown, and Mark Richt have in their entire tenures. Combined.

          – Forcing kids to grayshirt after they have already signed with the schools is unethical.

          – Kicking kids off the team for “undisclosed violations” when you are oversigned and weeks from the roster deadline is unethical.

          – Using the local press, via “anonymous sources”, to stir up pressure on players by claiming they are “considering transferring” when they aren’t is unethical.

          – Pressuring kids to transfer to inferior schools in order to clear up roster space is unethical.

          – Refusing to counsel against transfers to inferior schools because you have oversigned and need to clear space is unethical.

          – Refusing to dedicate full resources to educating student athletes struggling with their classwork because you need them to fail out of school and clear up roster space is unethical.

          Marmot, you are an extremely unethical person for defending this disgusting behavior. All in the name of wanting more football wins. You have zero integrity and no honor. Remember that.

  10. Texas_Dawg

    Alabama had 8 scholarship players honored at their senior day this year. They have 4-5 players that will go pro early.

    They currently have 22 commits + 2 grayshirts from last year (which, of course, we can all be sure those players were informed they’d have to do before they signed with Alabama). So Alabama is around 10 players oversigned and still out trying to sign numerous top recruits like Isaiah Crowell and Barry Sanders, Jr.

    How will Alabama find room?

    Well, one way they will do so is by forcing players to take grayshirts. But do those players know they will have to grayshirt at this point? Of course not. South Carolina is going to have to grayshirt players too and has already told one local report that. Will the local SEC press ask for the names, now, before signing day, of which players will have to grayshirt? Of course not. They would never threaten their teams’ coaches like that. So, after signing day, when most rosters are full, Alabama gets to suddenly force some players they used to build “#1 recruiting class!!” momentum into postponing their college educations for half a year.

    Let’s pretend this is all no big deal, reflects in no way upon the University of Georgia as an SEC member, and gives Alabama no major competitive advantage.

    • Marmot

      So you’d like Bama to quietly return to their corner because they should have already exceeded the number of recruiting hay-makers they are allowed to deliver to Georgia? Alabama’s going to sign/enroll 25 kids a year, every year, as long as Saban is around, and if you don’t want prized Georgia recruits being one of those 25 signees then your going to have to stop him without the NCAA’s help. Try out-recruiting him. I know its difficult and your coaches will all have to work harder, but that’s the pace that Saban has set and your coaches are either going to run at that pace or they can leave their whiniest fans to yell “that’s not fair!”.

      I’m being mean, which I wouldn’t be in real life, so I’ll just say I think it’s an elitist point of view to be mad when teams with recruiting disadvantages compared to Georgia do things within the rules to level the playing field. Not so much the case for Alabama, who already has some recruiting advantages, although in an education poor region, but very much the case for an Auburn and even more so for the Mississippi schools. It sounds like you just want to keep the unclean masses in their place while Georgia enjoys the recruiting advantages of being in the state of Georgia. Kind of like British complaining about the colonial guerrilla fighting strategies. “We would be winning if our enemies followed the rules of war (as I understand them)”

      Is Auburn more talented thanks to oversigning? Yes. But not more talented than Georgia. At best equal to Georgia. If no kids had their lives ruined or their careers derailed (I can’t prove they didn’t despite knowing they got a free education, and you can’t prove they did despite being sure they would have proceeded to the NFL from any other school), why does that bother you?

      • Hackerdog

        Again, Marmot, no one is alleging that oversigning is against the rules. We are saying that it’s unethical.

        You’re opinion is that winning football games is worth committing the unethical act of rescinding the scholarships of some kids whose only crime is a lack of production. You believe that a recruit, not the school or the coach, should shoulder the majority of the risk of his “play to stay” arrangement. You believe that coaches should be free to promise scholarships to 30+ players, knowing that they can’t possibly deliver on their promises and that some of the players who have foregone other scholarships will be forced to grayshirt.

        You have the right to your opinion. And we all agree with you that it is perfectly within NCAA rules to engage in all of the above behavior. But you have absolutely no position from which to argue that it is ethical. Because it’s not. If it were, coaches wouldn’t have to lie about their actions. People don’t try to hide their ethical behavior.

        I understand that you want to defend your favorite program. But to argue that engaging in ethical behavior is elitist is a special kind of teh stoopid. Sorry to be mean.

      • Texas_Dawg

        You clearly don’t understand what is involved with oversigning. It doesn’t appear you even understand what the allegations are.

        We are talking about “undisclosed violations” dismissals (Auburn; Alabama) weeks before needing to be under 85. Players being removed from their teammates via medical hardships (Auburn; <a href="http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703384204575509901468451306.html"Alabama) at times when both teams were oversigned. Players surprised with grayshirts after signing (Auburn; Alabama).

        This isn’t “leveling the field.” It is a disgusting system where powerful men backed by millions of worshippers and state institutions screw over and lie to kids and young adults.

        Wake up. This is an embarrassment to your state and the university you support. (I highly doubt you graduated from Auburn to be defending a practice that highly degrades its name and reputation like this.)

        • Marmot

          I completely understand what oversigning involves, and most of it is kids who don’t make it to campus. But there are kids who do make it that don’t pan out. Some because they are stupid/lazy and all the academic hand-holding in the world can’t help them (probably should have never signed them in the name of academic integrity, but not a crime against humanity). Some because they are just knuckleheads who can’t stay out of trouble (Mark Richt has started buying into this). Some because they are legitimately hurt and the NCAA makes an allowance for reclaiming their scholarship without the kid losing their free education. Some because they really want to play and they know it won’t happen at their original school of choice. And finally, some because they just aren’t getting it done and the coaches “encourage” them to consider other options. It’s that last one that you are basing all your righteous indignation on, but you use numbers that include all the categories. Can’t make an argument that way. You have to identify kids who were pushed out against their will, or there is no ethical issue.

          I would also argue that no one on this site has any idea what is promised to recruits. I’m sure Saban is clear with every recruit that its tough to make it to your Junior year at Alabama and the weak will get jettisoned to Division 2 schools. “Are you weak, son? I didn’t think so. Well I can guarantee you that you will always be surrounded by the best and hardest working athletes in the country at Alabama. If they aren’t we make their arse quit. Not at Georgia. They let all sorts of dead weight linger in the program. Brings everyone down. Is that what you want to be part of?” I’ll bet top recruits, or at least the kind you want on your team, eat that stuff up. None of them think they are going to fail.

          If they aren’t promised cushy roster spots for the next 4 or 5 years, what is so unethical? Just deliver what you promise. That’s all I ask of Chizik, and that’s all I would ask of Saban. Since you don’t know what’s being promised, you can’t know if there is something unethical happening.

          • Hackerdog

            First, the problem that we have with oversigning is not the natural attrition that occurs for medical, academic, and criminal reasons. It’s trying to mask the performance reasons as something else. That should be an easy concept to grasp.

            As to what is promised to recruits, you must be a special kind of delusional. I invite you to find any public statement by Saban that he cuts kids who aren’t performing to free up scholarships. If he won’t tell a reporter about it, do you really think he’s telling a recruit? If you really think recruits eat up the tough as nails, perform or get out mentality, don’t you think the fans and boosters would eat it up as well? You really think Saban is dumb enough to hurt himself publicly by denying the practice that you believe everyone wants him to engage in? Seriously?

            Delivering what you promise is exactly what should be done. That’s called ethics. It’s what you don’t want your favorite program to engage in. And defending unethical behavior based entirely on biased speculation is stupid.

  11. Bryant Denny

    Just a reminder, this is not illegal.

    Have a good day,

    BD

    • Enron

      Nor was Special Purpose Entities!

    • Lehman Brothers

      Nor was Repo 105

      BTW Lehman was started in Montgomery!

    • Bad M

      This is why the NCAA has stupid rules. This is why. Because stupid people need stupid rules to tell them to stop being stupid. Why is it bad for a school to simulate a game day experience, but this is alright? Why is it a problem for a coach to go to a recruits graduation? To a funeral? But its OK to screw them over by grey shirting them? Forcing them out? Just don’t sign them in the first place! Just because it isn’t against the rules now, doesn’t me it won’t be soon. When you rail against the NCAA’s stupid rules, blame these stupid people who will screw over kids just so their lives don’t seem so pathetic.
      If you don’t think its a competitive adv. try giving one school 30 scholly’s a year while yours only has 25 and see if it helps. Whether or not one school today is better than another is an ignorant comparison. If it wasn’t advantageous, Saban wouldn’t do it and you guys wouldn’t be defending the practice.

      • Bryant Denny

        I guess you’re calling me stupid. :) That’s ok, I probably qualify.

        I’m not sure I’m following how greyshirting is so bad. If a kid wants to play at UGA real bad, and if UGA is at their limit, what’s wrong with telling a kid that the only way he gets to play at UGA is if he defers his enrollment for a semester when a place will be available?

        Seems to me he gets to play at the place where he wants to play. Otherwise, he goes to a place a little further down on his list.

        Take care,

        BD

        • Texas_Dawg

          If a kid wants to play at UGA real bad, and if UGA is at their limit, what’s wrong with telling a kid that the only way he gets to play at UGA is if he defers his enrollment for a semester when a place will be available?

          If this was done long before signing day, when the recruit still had all his options available, that would be fine.

          But of course, that’s not what is done. Grayshirts are announced once non-qualifiers have exhausted their attempts to qualify; a point when most other programs have filled their rosters for the year.

          Please find me one university with a higher academic ranking than Alabama which grayshirts players.

    • Texas_Dawg

      Nor are many things that are highly immoral and unethical.

  12. shane#1

    BD, Oversigning may be legal, but it sure ain’t ethical. We CFB fans need to make up our minds as to what kind of sport we want. I think the kids should be paid at least a living wage. Since CFB has become a farm system for the NFL and the NFL is worth tens of billions there is no reason the league can’t pay part of the kid’s salary. It is obvious that most fans do not care about the education that the players get so let’s just do away with the sham education and let CFB be what it is, a cash cow for the universitys and a farm club for the pros. Oversigning, which is deliberately signing players that can’t qualify, crib courses and majors, leaving early for the pros, under the table payments from boosters and agents, suspending rules so that high profile players can play in big games, looking the other way when faced with corruption, the list goes on and on. If you want to watch amateurs play football go to your local high school, or become a Duke or Wake Forest fan.

    • Bryant Denny

      I could be wrong, but I don’t think Bama has signed a ton of players during the Saban era that don’t qualify. Even if they did sign a bunch of guys that wind up going juco, I’m not sure how that rises (or sinks) to the level of immoral or unethical.

      You seem to be addressing a lot of ills of college football, and I could be reading your post wrong, but, again, I’m not sure what “oversigning” has to do with that.

      Have a good one,

      BD

      • Texas_Dawg

        “I could be wrong, but I don’t think Bama has signed a ton of players during the Saban era that don’t qualify. Even if they did sign a bunch of guys that wind up going juco, I’m not sure how that rises (or sinks) to the level of immoral or unethical.”

        What’s immoral and unethical is removing students from their teammates and the honor of graduating as full members of the team they’ve committed to, against their wishes, via medical hardship loopholes. What’s immoral and unethical is summarily dismissing players you’ve long pressured to transfer, for “undisclosed violations”, shortly before the fall roster deadline.

        You know… the type immoral and unethical stuff that gets your school negatively reported about by respected international news outlets like the Wall Street Journal.

  13. Bad M

    PLUS, what’s the point? If there was a hard cap that everyone had to follow, what is wrong with that? Why defend the practice? If Saban is such a genius, Alabama will still win every game they ever play, and kids don’t get screwed. If there’s not enough players, just increase the hard cap. But don’t force kids out.
    The only reason to keep it, is because your school does it and you want them to win more than you want to be a good person. That’s fine but in the end, I’d rather my kids look up to Richt than Jim Harrick. Or Barry Bonds, or SMU.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      If you increase the hard cap Saban will just oversign more.

    • Bryant Denny

      Hasn’t there always been sort of a hard cap? I don’t remember all of the particulars of the rule, but isn’t it something like 25 scholarships offered per year with a max of 85 on scholarship at one time?

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        Exactly BD. If the NCAA raised the overall cap from 85 to 100 you really haven’t changed anything except to allow 15 more players. Satan…er…Saban and Cheese-It will just have more space and will oversign more. If the NCAA raised the yearly cap t0, say, 30 then those 2 guys (and others) would sign the full 30 every year and still grayshirt others. They are very creative and would always find a way around the limits. The only way to stop it (and I am not sure this would work either) would be to make all football scholarships a 4 year contract with no out clause at all from the institution’s side. To meet Title IX you probably would have to do that with all sports (including women’s volleyball, etc.) too.

  14. shane#1

    BD, What over signing has to do with all that is that over signing is another facet of what is “wrong” with CFB. I used quotation marks because wrong is in the eye of the beholder. I would prefer that college football be more about college than football, but many would disagree with me. That’s fine, if winning is more important than educating young people then let’s call it what it is and pay the players. I am so sick of the bellyachers and fire everybody crowd on the blogs that don’t give a damn about the kids that are getting their butts creamed on that field that I am about ready to say the hell with it all. If you want pro players on that field then for God’s sake, pay them! If you want college kids out there then educate them. So many players get their bodys broken up playing ball and then leave without a degree and no prospect for a job and nobody gives a damn about them. They have helped bring millions into the college and wind up with nothing. That is explotation my friend, and I know by your posts that you are astute enough to understand that.

    • AthensHomerDawg

      “With respect to injuries concussions are common , with an estimated 40,000 suffered every year among high school football players alone.”
      “On average three to four children under the age of 15 die each year from baseball-related injuries. As small as this number is, however, baseball still has the highest fatality rate among all sports.”

      The point I’m wanting to make here is that the very things concerning you about college athletics are happening in high school athletics as well. Injuries, grade inflation, academic disengagement, special perks. And for some student athletes it is certainly more about athletics than learning.

  15. crapsandwich

    Marmot, open your eyes and close your mouth. If you cannot see the difference between abusing the rules and breaking the rules, there is no hope you in this debate.