Mike Slive says a whole bunch of nothing about oversigning in this Q&A with Chris Low.
On the heels of national signing day, one of the hot topics right now is oversigning, and those in the Big Ten are screaming that the SEC has a huge advantage because many of the SEC teams oversign so many players. Where do you stand on the matter?
MS: It was two years ago that we took the initiative and put in an SEC rule that 28 was the most you could sign [in one class] and understanding that the rest of the country might not do that. The rest of the country followed suit and copied the SEC rule nationally and made it 28. Now, we’ve had a couple of years with the 28, and there are issues that relate to signing day. We’ve actually had an athletic director committee that’s been looking at all this for several months before all of the articles. We expect a recommendation from the committee that will come to our athletic directors this spring, and I fully expect legislation to be considered in Destin [at the SEC meetings] that will address some of the issues that have been raised.
Do you think we’ll essentially see the end to oversigning in the SEC with some of this new legislation, and will there be some real teeth in this new legislation?
MS: It’s a much more complex question than meets the eye. That’s not to say it isn’t one that needs to be addressed and resolved. Just like we did with the 28 limit, I’m pretty confident that we will take some initiative in Destin to try and deal with some of the issues that have been discussed. It’s complicated when you talk about the 25 you can get in in August and then counting some back and then counting some forward and then the issue of “grayshirting.” You also have more and more prospects enrolling for the spring instead of waiting for the fall. Our athletic directors are trying to take all of those pieces to the puzzle and see if there’s a way in which to address them that’s really fair to the student-athlete and fair to the institution.
Do you agree with Florida president Bernie Machen that “grayshirting” is a morally reprehensible practice?
MS: I think it’s a practice that on its face is one we’re going to address head-on. There’s a question that relates to notice and making sure that everybody knows exactly what’s going on. I think you will find that our ADs and our league will address the issue of “grayshirting.” Bernie has raised it. It’s definitely something that will be a part of whatever recommendations come from our athletic directors.
Honestly, I don’t blame him for yawning about the Big Ten’s complaint about competitive advantage. But the rest of what’s there is a complete sidestep. The faux concern about the 25/28-player annual limits is touching, but notice that he says nothing about the real problem, which is screwing kids over to meet the 85-player roster limit. And if you’re not going to acknowledge a problem, it’s hard to see how you’ll get it fixed.