It’s so easy, oversigning edition.

Over at Oversigning.com, Joshua turns the conversation in a different direction:

… What we think we are seeing with the abuse of the medical hardship scholarship and the large number of players that are being pushed into it is that some coaches who run their college football programs like a professional NFL team are using the medical hardship scholarship as an injured reserve loophole.

This raises a lot of questions.  Let’s take Alabama and Nick Saban’s name off of this and just talk about the issue — this is not a hit piece on Alabama or Nick Saban and this topic can be discussed without focusing in on the particulars of the Alabama case in the WSJ.  Here are some general questions for discussion…

3. How do you feel about coaches trying to make college football more like the NFL?

4. At what point does college football become so much like the NFL that players have to start being paid?  It appears in some places they are already dealing with annual roster cuts, being placed on an IR list, and essentially drafted and placed in farm systems…all we need is a player’s union, free agency, and to have the players quit going to classes and we’ll have a mini NFL.

We ask these questions because we see the direction all of this is heading with the oversigning, roster cuts, medical hardships, pay-for-play, etc., and if you love college football like we do all of this is headed in the wrong direction.

If there’s one thing that really troubles me about what we’re seeing at some programs it’s this quasi-NFL approach to roster-making.  And regardless of where you stand on oversigning, it’s only a part of that trend.  Put a hard cap on signings (i.e., require the 85-man roster limit to be in effect in February instead of August) and all you wind up doing is moving up those coaches’ timetables for pruning student athletes from their teams.   You could address that by remaking scholarships into automatic four-year deals, but I doubt even Bernie Machen has the stomach to push that solution.

Further complicating things is that pesky question of motive.  I don’t know anyone who thinks it’s proper to screw kids over, especially when you consider that the recruiting process is the last time any of them will have some degree of leverage with the coaches and schools who seek their athletic services, but I suspect there are more than a few people who aren’t being honest about the real reason for the stand they take.  As Gamecock Man notes,

… It’s appropriate here to acknowledge that many of the critics of oversigning clearly have motives other than the well-being of kids like Mauldin. The aforementioned oversigning.com is written by a Big 10 homer who would presumably like to see his conference’s honor restored with some much-needed wins over SEC teams, while the commenter at GTP is a Georgia fan who’s likely not too keen on Spurrier and South Carolina’s recent success. A kid like Mauldin who is trying to strategically make the most of the opportunities available to him is caught in the middle. For the arguments produced by the two sides, he’s more a prop and a placeholder than anything else. That’s what’s probably most concerning to me about this situation, that in an argument between coaches trying to obtain a competitive advantage and self-righteous opposing fans wanting to take a moral high ground we’re actually failing to really address what concerns this kid…

That’s why I don’t expect big changes at the SEC spring meetings when the subject is broached (if we’re to believe Chris Low).  The SEC doesn’t do nuance well – just ask Rogers Redding – and I don’t see some sort of global change to signing being brought up without fierce resistance from a number of schools.  A lot of people on both sides of the debate care more about the competitive aspect of oversigning than they do its impact on recruits.  That makes progress hard, in my humble opinion.

If you think this is easier than I do, let me pose a hypothetical.  Suppose Mike Slive surprises me and pitches a sensible framework for one troublesome area, grayshirting.  Let’s say that what he comes up with requires a clear, standard disclosure of what the recruit is being offered, a disclosure which the athlete and his parents must acknowledge they fully understand before signing and a requirement that the school must hold a roster slot in the next class for any recruit who signs the acknowledgement (unless the kid later changes his mind and signs elsewhere, of course).  Implicit in that deal is that the SEC will continue to support the practice of grayshirting.

Here’s your tradeoff:  such a deal would certainly be better for recruits than what exists now, but it doesn’t address the competitive advantage issue which bothers so many critics of oversigning.  In fact, it locks it in.  Ask yourself how such an arrangement would suit you.  Let me know in the comments.

And keep in mind as you ponder that, this is just one small area of the debate.  As you saw, Joshua has a longer list, one that most of us could probably add to without too much effort.

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96 Comments

Filed under College Football, Recruiting, SEC Football

96 responses to “It’s so easy, oversigning edition.

  1. Bryant Denny

    At think at some point, people that keep harping on “oversigning” (see how the definition keeps changing?) begin to sound like whiners.

    Have a good day,

    BD

    • Objective Bama Fan

      Also, maybe it’s my crimson colored glasses, but in my opinion, Saban is pretty straight-forward with his recruits. If a grayshirt is a possibility, then he tells the recruit upfront, unlike Spurrier. The kid that ended up going to KY is a prime example. Saban told him that he would be grayshirting from the beginning, and therefore, he wound up going to KY.

      • Spurrier has been upfront with his recruits. The AJC story that said that he wasn’t was a smear piece and the record was set straight in subsequent articles, including one by Chris Low.

        Senator, thanks for the link.

        • Texas_Dawg

          Spurrier has been upfront with his recruits.

          Right. That’s why Mauldin was informed by fax, the day before NSD, after having been committed for half a year.

          You have absolutely no idea whether or not this man is upfront with recruits.

          • Yes, I do have an idea about what happened here. Mauldin has confirmed that he was told early in the process that a greyshirt or some time at prep school was a possibility for him. The fax on NSD was not the first thing Mauldin heard about it. The AJC left that part out in its smear piece, which was clearly written to appeal to Georgia fans who are eager to see Spurrier in a bad light. Your link to Spurrier drinking beer is cute, but it further confirms what I’ve been saying all along: this is as much about smearing rival programs’ reputation as it is about the ethics involved. I’ve said throughout this thread that I’m very much in favor of reform on the issue of oversigning, so I’m not opposed to your position here. However, I have little use for listening to someone whose first reaction to my comments is to post compromising photos of Spurrier or to blandly suggest that I’m ignorant about the issues. That’s not a conversation about dealing with the issue; it’s just staging a pissing contest between rival fans.

            • Texas_Dawg

              He was not told he wouldn’t be getting an LOI until the day before.

              Spin that however you want, but it is what happened. The school went on and had a celebration for him that it had planned, even though he didn’t get the LOI as expected.

              Oversigning is morally reprehensible and repugnant. There is no way around that. It is Ethics 101 for business and academic institutions that you don’t put powerful employees with great incentives do so in a position to exploit the ignorance of young adults. You don’t put them in a position where they are automatically compromised in their ability to impartially counsel students that are considering ill-advised transfers. Oversigning does that by letting coaches put themselves in a position of having to force some players out or to grayshirt them.

              Very few schools do this, and those that do are usually very poorly academically ranked (i.e. well below most schools that don’t). That is South Carolina.

      • Texas_Dawg

        You have no idea whether or not he is straight-forward with the recruits. You also have no idea how well each 17/18-year-old understands all the risks involved with such offers.

        Alabama fans point to Christion Jones having said Saban told him his scholarship was only for 1 year. But numerous other ex-Alabama players have said that Saban lied to them.

        Ethical programs don’t oversign. Alabama and a few others do.

        • Bryant Denny

          You have an agenda.

          You quote newspaper articles that are biased and one-sided.

          You have no idea what Saban, Spurrier, or Richt for that matter, tell recruits.

          Have a nice day,

          BD

          • Texas_Dawg

            What is Bernie Machen’s agenda? What is Greg McGarity’s agenda? What is the Birmingham News’ agenda?

            I think your agenda is pretty obvious. And it’s heavily in the minority apparently.

            • Only simpletons believe ‘more people agree with me than with you’ is enough to win an argument, or that such a claim is even relevant in most situations. The majority have agreed with horrors both great and small throughout history.

              You are willfully ignorant of the particulars of the Mauldin situation.

      • Hackerdog

        Saban may or may not be honest with recruits. He is certainly not up front with reporters who ask questions on how he will manage his numbers. I think if everything were out in the open, Saban could easily point to which recruits would be gray shirted, or which players have chosen to transfer for playing time.

        Instead, Saban uses medical hardships and refuses to answer questions about managing his numbers. That points to a coach who prefers to keep his roster tactics out of the spotlight. If he has nothing to hide, then why the secrecy?

        For the record, I’m against misrepresenting an offer to a kid. If a kid knows that his offer from Alabama is contingent on Saban failing to sign 2 other recruits, then fine. He’s making an informed choice.

        I also would like to see the school as committed to a kid as the kid must be to the school. Obligating a school to a 1 year commitment, while simultaneously obligating the kid to a 4 year commitment is a raw deal. Let’s make scholarships multi-year or let’s allow penalty-free transfers to other FBS schools. Or maybe give a school a penalty of losing a scholarship for a year for cutting a kid from the roster, similar to the way a player must sit for a year when transferring.

        • Bryant Denny

          Why should Saban disclose his numbers to the entire world?

          Just because he doesn’t, doesn’t make it wrong.

  2. Hogbody Spradlin

    This may not be central to the debate, but Jason’s analogy “medical hardship scholarship as an injured reserve loophole” is false. In the NFL, the injured reserve list is a two way street. In college medical hardships are only an exit.

  3. watcher16

    Senator – No snarky comeback at the dig of being jealous of Spurrier and the S. Car. program?!

    • I didn’t say Dawgs fans were jealous and it wasn’t really meant as a dig, just an observation that criticism of oversigning is largely driven by what’s happening on the football field rather than concern over the kids being exploited. Can you really tell me that the Spurrier, USC, and Mauldin story would mean as much to Georgia fans if it wasn’t Spurrier and South Carolina hadn’t just had a successful season? What if this were Kentucky we were talking about? It would be a non-story to the AJC.

      • Macallanlover

        No, the oversigning is an ethics issue to me. Upsets me that the Big 10+2 is actually standing taller than the SEC in this area. Your success, or Nutt’s lack of are irrelevant. Both are wrong, and should be addressed by the NCAA/SEC.

    • Macallanlover

      Do you mean the “success story” of getting blown out in the SECCG, and then failing (again) to represent in the bowl? Still no title in Columbia as I see it, but maybe they measure themselves differently. If we count winning the East title, CMR has a 40% success rate at doing that and is attacked by fringe fans.

      Has SC improved? Yes, but a little early to be strutting, imo. At this point I think they should be a favorite to win the East next year, but UGA is close enough that the game in Athens may be very significant to deciding who goes to the Dome in early December.

      • Again, the post didn’t have anything to do with strutting or with my take on the meaning of USC’s Eastern Division championship. You’re changing the subject and noticeably had a lot more to say about whether or not USC has improved than about your take on oversigning, which essentially proves my point. Whether or not you want to admit it, you’re more concerned about cutting your rivals down to size than you are with the ethics issues involved.

        • Macallanlover

          No, strictly ethics based. I feel all programs should be on a level playing field. My comments about SC was off the “successful season” comment you made. I feel SC was definitely improved, but question the application of the term “successful” to a program with zero SEC titles. I am glad when all SEC programs step their games up, it is good for all. To say the Top 6 in the SEC are jealous of any of the Bottom 6 is a reach. A year of out performing UGA hardly makes a case for your contention. Oversigning did not contribute to the 2010 performance, imo, but it is a huge competitive advantage over time…..and it is just wrong.

  4. Dog in Fla

    Gamecock Man: “clearly have motives other than the well-being of kids like Mauldin….while the commenter at GTP is a Georgia fan who’s likely not too keen on Spurrier and South Carolina’s recent success. ”

    Do not think that the recent Mauldin/South Carolina matter gave Texas_Dawg the idea that oversigning is not good. He was just writing about the latest publicized situation to occur, which just so happened to be Mauldin/South Carolina. Besides, South Carolina is not in the SEC West.

    Texas_Dawg was not keen on oversigning long before Spurrier and South Carolina’s 2010 season or it’s 2011 recruiting season leading to Mauldin.

    • Well, I’ll admit that I don’t read GTP every day and am probably ignorant about the assumptions of some of the readers. Point taken. That said, I followed the link to what appeared to be his blog (oversigningnotes.com) and it appeared to be almost wholly devoted to the Mauldin story. Plus, the point that I really took issue with was his refusal to take seriously what the Senator said about how Mauldin didn’t seem too upset with the situation. I think that says a lot about what oversigning critics’ true motivations are.

      I should also point out here that if you read my entire article, you’ll see that I support reform on the oversigning issue. I’m with you guys on that. The purpose of the article wasn’t to say that oversigning is OK; it was to say that most oversigning critics aren’t truly motivated by ethical considerations and that the conversation needs to move closer to that arena, which may be impossible considering some of the actors involved.

      • Well, I’ll admit that I don’t read GTP every day…

        WHAT?!? ;)

      • The purpose of the article wasn’t to say that oversigning is OK; it was to say that most oversigning critics aren’t truly motivated by ethical considerations and that the conversation needs to move closer to that arena, which may be impossible considering some of the actors involved.

        Well stated, sir. While the guy that runs oversigning.com occasionally has the salient point, I wish he’d just come out and say that he’s a jilted Big Integer fan that’s tired of his team/conference’s repeated failures against the other conferences and to an extent is looking for a way to cut everyone else down to size through the thinly veiled ethical considerations oversigning raises.

        While it is definitely an ethical discussion, people tend to stray from that point of the argument when it gets down to the nitty gritty of it.

        • Exactly. Thanks, Audit. I really don’t see why this is so hard for everyone to see.

          Senator, I may not read GTP every day, but it’s one of the few non-USC sites that’s on my Google Reader.

          • Texas_Dawg

            I won’t say that I don’t see why it is so hard for the small and dwindling minority of CFB fans who support oversigning institutions to see why the practice is so unethical, because I fully understand why Southern culture so often trumps basic ethics and decency. That’s just how the South rolls and so long has.

            South Carolina knew Mauldin was unlikely to qualify. So they seized on the opportunity and exploited his situation to add numbers to their recruiting class, giving them a little boost in the rankings and helping them put pressure on uncommitted targets they preferred. They knew there wouldn’t be room for him at NSD, but instead of letting him know that months in advance, they waited till the day before NSD to inform him, by fax, that he wouldn’t be getting an LOI, as they always knew would be the case.

            Lorenzo Mauldin will likely never be at South Carolina. He was just a prop to help bulk up a class in the early going. If he somehow qualifies or pans out after JUCO ball, South Carolina may eat the scholarship to help save face given the news this has received, but they will bury him away and chase him to Alabama A&M or wherever a year or two later to help clear space for more oversigning.

            • You’re misconstruing the position of those who disagree with you. I don’t support oversigning. Maybe there are a few Saban disciplines out there who do, but from what I gather, most folks are open to reform on the issue. I just think that there are more issues at stake here than you’re acknowledging and that they need to be taken into account.

              • Texas_Dawg

                There aren’t.

                I’ve addressed your spin. Ethical programs don’t oversign b/c there are no “gray areas” that make it OK.

                • No, you haven’t addressed anything. You’ve merely restated yourself ad nauseum without actually addressing opposing positions and while committing logical fallacies such as ad hominem attacks and begging the claim.

                  At any rate, I think we agree in substance, because both of us would like to see reform. The difference is that I that I got there through reasoned consideration of the issue, including an honest evaluation of the failings of my own institutions in the matter, whereas you got there through bigotry.

                  Anyways, I have a dissertation to write, so I’m going to drop it for the time being. Good day.

                  • Barry

                    Oh, so that’s what it’s like to breathe the rarified air of Columbia SC. Funny, I didn’t realize that the 111th rated university provided one with such a keen eye for reason.

                    Mauldin is NOT the exception for your fine school. USCe has oversigned four players just for this year. That’s four kids who AT THIS VERY MOMENT believe they will be playing/redshirting for Spurrier next year. Little do they know.

                    And by the way, if you’re going to ridicule Georgia fans, why don’t you stick to your own blog? Or did anyone teach you manners in Columbia?

            • Among the ethics I learned in my South Carolina home was to never respect nor trust a person that thinks they are too good for their people. As much as it pains you to face it, both Texas and Georgia are in the South. That must fuel your self-loathing.

              You really need to add the profane version of our mascot to your name. It suits you much better than it does most South Carolina fans.

        • Texas_Dawg

          While the guy that runs oversigning.com occasionally has the salient point, I wish he’d just come out and say that he’s a jilted Big Integer fan that’s tired of his team/conference’s repeated failures

          Why should he do that? Why does it even matter?

          Greg McGarity said he and UGA officials agree with Bernie Machen that oversigning is “morally reprehensible” and “repugnant.”

          Stop and think about that for a second.

          The official stance of the University of Georgia is that Nick Saban and Steve Spurrier’s behavior is morally repugnant.

          That isn’t some anonymous blogger. It is the top officials at universities superior to both South Carolina and Alabama, publicly saying that the behavior of their counterparts is extremely immoral.

          Are they too just whining about losses?

          Drop the “S-E-C!” stuff, please. The conference is widely, rightfully seen by many professional and educated people outside of the SEC as a ridiculously unethical joke. Vandy might escape the stain of that, but Georgia and Florida in many ways get tossed right in with it, greatly diminishing their brands and reputations by nothing more than their affiliation with these morally reprehensible institutions.

          • It matters because of something Michael Elkon wrote last month:

            … The programs that ought to be the most aggressive in condemning oversigning are Florida and Georgia. The Gators and Dawgs don’t oversign, but they compete in the same conference for the same titles as the worst oversigning offenders. Thus, they stand to benefit the most from closing this loophole and denying their competitors the advantage of an extra recruiting class every five years…

            On a level signing field, Florida, Georgia and LSU have the largest competitive advantages in recruiting talent. The reason that’s worth noting is because tactics and goals matter, as I point out in my post’s hypothetical. Eliminating oversigning and grayshirting tilts that field in favor of Machen’s and McGarity’s schools.

            • Texas_Dawg

              And Vanderbilt? And Northwestern? And Iowa?

              It’s a red herring. Just a way of deflecting from the immorality of the behavior.

              • Go back and look at Solomon’s article. Every Big Six conference except for the Big 10 had at least one school average more than 25 recruits per year.

                The Big XII had five on his list. Texas really forced other schools to crack down there.

                • Texas_Dawg

                  (This might be the 10th issue I’ve had to educate you on with this topic. How is this possible this late in the game? This strikes me as someone spinning, instead of actually looking to learn what the truth of the situation is.)

                  The 5 Big 12 schools on the list take tons of JUCO players. This gives them a higher turnover as these players are gone in 1-2 years. Baylor, for example, has had 16 JUCO signees in the last 4 classes. Alabama, by comparison, has had 7.

                  This isn’t oversigning. It’s just signing a lot due to heavy JUCO turnover.

                  As I’ve pointed out to you several times, you cannot tell oversigning simply from looking at total numbers. For example, Auburn hasn’t been oversigned in the past 3 years… despite having signed more players in that time than any other BCS program.

                  With the other schools on the list, Florida State, the most SECish of the ACC schools, and with a new head coach who studied under the master, oversigns. The other 11 ACC teams do not.

                  The Pac 10 has two schools just over the 25/year average that don’t oversign. And the Big East has one school just onto the list as well.

                  Yes, Texas has forced the issue on oversigning.

                  • What’s funny is that when I suggest there are gray issues in oversigning, you insist it’s an absolute… except when it’s convenient to argue otherwise.

                    You argue Baylor doesn’t oversign because of “heavy JUCO turnover”. ‘Bama fans would argue Saban doesn’t oversign because of heavy turnover due to injuries. (‘Bama has also had a lot more players turn pro early over the past three years than Baylor has.)

                    What I don’t get with you is why you’re so upset with me not being a religious fanatic on the subject like you are. It’s not as if I’m rooting Saban and Miles on; it’s just that, for example, I can see that an argument can be made that there are occasions when grayshirting can benefit a kid who wants to play at a particular school no matter what. Why isn’t it enough that I condemn screwing kids and urge that coaches be made to get their collective acts together?

                    • Texas_Dawg

                      What’s funny is that when I suggest there are gray issues in oversigning, you insist it’s an absolute… except when it’s convenient to argue otherwise.

                      I simply pointed out that what you are talking about is not oversigning.

                      That isn’t saying the issue is gray. It’s pointing out that on yet another issue you don’t really understand what the term even means.

                      ‘Bama fans would argue Saban doesn’t oversign because of heavy turnover due to injuries.

                      And that would be really stupid because they were 10 oversigned last year and 11 oversigned this year.

                      Baylor hasn’t been oversigned at all in that time.

                      What’s funny is that when I suggest there are gray issues in oversigning, you insist it’s an absolute… except when it’s convenient to argue otherwise.

                      I simply pointed out that what you are talking about is not oversigning.

                      That isn’t saying the issue is gray. It’s pointing out that on yet another issue you don’t really understand what the term even means.

                      What I don’t get with you is why you’re so upset with me not being a religious fanatic on the subject like you are.

                      Hey, you write the blog with all the basic errors of fact and definition on the topic, and I respond. So here we are.

                      I find it pathetic that a Georgia fan would root for programs completely screwing the school over and lying to its top officials, but of course, you are more than free to do that.

                    • The reason you suggest that what I’m talking about isn’t oversigning is because you’re interpreting the data in a way you find acceptable. Baylor gets a pass because of “heavy JUCO turnover”. I wasn’t aware the Big Ten (or the SEC, for that matter) had carved out that exception.

                      I find it pathetic that a Georgia fan would root for programs completely screwing the school over and lying to its top officials, but of course, you are more than free to do that.

                      That’s exactly the attitude I’m referring to. The shorter version of that is simply if I don’t subscribe to your world view in toto, I’m rooting for Nick Saban. That’s weak sauce, brother. But knock yourself out if it makes you happy.

                    • Dog in Fla

                      “Why isn’t it enough that I condemn screwing kids and urge that coaches be made to get their collective acts together?”

                      Because it’s just not good enough and you’ve got to do better?

                    • Consider me properly chastised. ;)

          • Drop the “S-E-C!” stuff, please. The conference is widely, rightfully seen by many professional and educated people outside of the SEC as a ridiculously unethical joke.

            You’re missing the greater point, chief. I understand that you believe that oversigning is a “morally repugnant” act and that it is inherently wrong. No one here is arguing that point with you.

            The point I’m making is I don’t believe that the folks at oversigning.com and others are taking shots at oversigning for the same reasons you are. Sure, they may say all the right things about how oversigning is ethically reprehensible. But truthfully they have an entirely different agenda and are using oversigning as a way to tear down other universities/conferences. It’s the same “at least we’re more classy than you” BS that fans of the losing team spout off after losing a game. I bet you also believe that the people in Texas that lobbied to be able to depreciate oil rigs at 120% for tax purposes have no stake in the oil business either.

            I’m all about having open discussions to fix the oversigning issue, but all the parties involved should at least be honest about why they’re involved. That’s all I’m saying.

            • Texas_Dawg

              I got all that.

              And you are wrong about the motives of the guy who runs oversigning.com. He’s been very clear from the start about what the purpose of the site was.

              I’ve corresponded with him for awhile. He and I fully share the same stance on the topic. If you are going to impugn his motives then you might as well impugn the motives of Mark Richt, Greg McGarity and Michael Adams for being absolutely livid about the practice. Because they are getting cheated competitively in a far greater way than any Big 10 fan is.

              • And you are wrong about the motives of the guy who runs oversigning.com. He’s been very clear from the start about what the purpose of the site was.

                Fair enough if I’m wrong there. My only concern is that there are people inserting themselves into this argument for nefarious reasons and I only think it’s fair that they be honest about that. I wouldn’t want a guy that made millions off predatory home lending preaching to me about the problems with the home mortgage industry.
                Let’s have the discussion about overs signing because it needs to be had, but let’s just be honest about why we’re here. That’s my whole point in my earlier response to Gamecock Man.

              • …do you ever get lonesome up there on that pedestal?

      • Dog in Fla

        Gamecock Man, thanks. I appreciate it.

  5. simpl_matter

    How about this, in addition to establishing a greyshirting framework, they also establish a pruning standard. Basically, a team can only prune “x” (maybe 1 or 2) number of players a year without cause . Cause would be a player with academic issues, injury/health issues, or having committed a crime or major violation of team rules. Of course, if the coach can convince the kid to transfer, that doesn’t go against their allowance.

    • “Without cause”… there’s a gap big enough to drive a Mack semi through. Who determines whether cause exists? The player? The school? The conference?

      • simpl_matter

        Just trying to keep it brief on the initial idea. I’d say establishing the definition of cause would be up to the conference. Here’s the thing, even if the definition of cause is less than ideal, the school would have to prove cause in the light of day. They’d have to prove the kid is bad, a ripe recruiting year is not a valid reason for striping a scholarship.

        I think you would see a lot more kids who can’t cut it at the BCS level getting escorted to a FBS level school by their coaches. And they, for the large part, deserve that help. Coming out of HS, a kid has schools coming after him, he’s at his peak in visibility and destiny control. Two years later, that same kid has no power and the only visibility they have is being jettisoned by the school they committed to. Most these kids still want to play but, probably never will get the chance (or finish their education).

    • Hackerdog

      Right now, teams always find “cause.” Alabama routinely declares players medically unable to play football at a rate far greater than other SEC schools. I don’t believe there’s anything in the water in Tuscaloosa causing this. It’s just a loophole that they can use to manage their roster numbers.

      Whatever loophole you want to provide, coaches like Saban will take advantage of the letter, not the spirit, of the rule.

  6. Aious

    The South Carolina guy comes off like he is frankly admitting that everything said at Oversigning.com is true and he has no answer

    Fact is, USC screwed the kid and it is funny to me seeing fans of USC say he wasnt just because they are not the ones getting screwed

    99.9% of these same fans would BLOW UP if their son signed with a school and was told that the scholly is not there anymore after signing day

    Spare me

    • Dog in Fla

      “99.9% of these same fans would BLOW UP if their son signed with a school and was told that the scholly is not there anymore after signing day.”

      South Carolina was lucky. Lorenzo’s parents were in the 0.10 % category:

      “Mauldin is used to making hard decisions. He has been a ward of the state most of his life. His mother has been incarcerated since he became a teen-ager and his father, who lives in California, is not involved in his life.

      Now 18, Mauldin said he has lived in 16 foster homes and two group homes. He currently resides at Families First, a children’s group home in Atlanta.”

      http://blogs.ajc.com/recruiting/2011/02/24/shoved-away-due-to-oversigning-lorenzo-mauldin-still-hopes-to-end-up-at-south-carolina/?cxntfid=blogs_recruiting

      • Perhaps Mauldin and his people aren’t so upset with USC because he thinks we’re the best option he has. Are we using him? Sure. But he’s also using us. Maybe he will, as Texas Dawg says, end up at Alabama A & M in the end, but in the meantime he may have a shot at playing for an SEC team. I’d imagine that’s something he wants.

        • Texas_Dawg

          Or maybe South Carolina coaches gave him an offer that they knew they would never have to fulfill given his circumstances, and by giving this offer they monopolized his attention, kept him from other schools for as long as they could, and built him a new group of friends among players and other students at South Carolina.

          They knew they’d pull his offer and blame it on his academics (the school could still give him an academic scholarship, by the way), and that he’d still say he’d want to go to South Carolina because that’s the only place he really has any friends at this point (his having quit spending much time with other schools, as planned).

    • PhillyDawg

      What does Southern California have to do with this?? ;)

  7. W Cobb Dawg

    Call me self-righteous if you wish, but I say do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Abusing the rules by oversigning, using grayshirts, medical hardships, etc. is nothing more than cheating to get an edge over those coaches who are too scrupulous to do the same. As a Dawg fan who has been critical of CMR, I have to give him the highest credit for not wallowing in the oversigning cesspool some of these other coaches seem very happy to wade into. The people who actually have moral compasses should be the examples we follow regarding the oversigning issue – I don’t care whether it’s CMR, Big 10+2, etc.

  8. Texas_Dawg

    Senator,

    Why does the Big 10 not have oversigning and roster purging?

    And for the record, the issues of grayshirting and oversigning are officially on the agenda for the June presidents & ADs meetings.

    • To answer your question, because it chose not to, unlike almost every other conference in the country.

      Being on an official agenda isn’t the same thing as changing policy. But I’ll definitely be interested to see how things develop.

      • Texas_Dawg

        To answer your question, because it chose not to, unlike almost every other conference in the country.

        Cute answer. Why did they choose to? (Other conferences have very little problem with oversigning and roster purging as well, by the way. Texas has been very firm with such rules for the Big 12. Iowa State and Kansas State have signed lots of players, but that has been through perennially signing numerous JUCOs that are naturally gone after a year or two.)

        But back to the question: why doesn’t the Big 10 allow rampant oversigning?

        Being on an official agenda isn’t the same thing as changing policy.

        I know. You said “if we’re to believe Chris Low.” I was letting you know that the discussion is, officially, on the agenda.

        • Texas has been very firm with such rules for the Big 12.

          Texas can afford to be. Do you not see a pattern here?

          • Texas_Dawg

            And Vanderbilt and Northwestern can’t.

            The pattern I see is that Texas, Florida, Georgia, Vanderbilt, Northwestern, Michigan, Duke, etc, etc, are unquestionably superior institutions to Alabama, Ole Miss, LSU, etc.

  9. Keese

    The oversigning topic is getting over recycled. Its the same info that keeps getting milled over and over.

    • Texas_Dawg

      That’s certainly not true.

      Just last week Greg McGarity publicly put UGA on the record as strongly, morally opposed to oversigning. That was the first time a top UGA official has done that publicly.

      Oversigning was only just a few weeks ago officially added to the SEC presidents and ADs meetings in June.

      Bernie Machen’s letter that threw the gauntlet down on this and took a previously private battle among SEC school officials into the public sphere in a strong way.

      Nick Saban had not ever publicly lied about people not knowing his total scholarship #s until this National Signing Day.

      The Birmingham News had not until a few weeks ago disclosed that Alabama is redacting total scholarship numbers from all sports on the paper’s requests for scholarship documents.

      There has been a ton of new news on this topic in the past few weeks, and there is a lot more to come this off-season.

      • Keese

        Different quotes and “stories”…but it really just comes back to the same thing. Seriously the oversigning topic imo is the most boring recycled headline. SEC and/or NCAA just needs to make the amendment this summer and be done with it

  10. Derek

    Why can’t the SEC adopt a catch-all rule that prohibits coaches from acting in a manner that either tarnishes the conference’s reputation or that of the coaching profession generally? That way you put the onus on the coach to demonstrate his actions are ethical. You put some teeth behind that rule and it end this discussion. Before claiming that it’s too vague, isn’t this basically what Goodell applies to NFL players?

    • Texas_Dawg

      It can’t do that (or hasn’t until now) because a majority of the SEC’s universities are inferior institutions that are very poorly academically rated and have very poor institutional checks on many unethical behaviors.

      Georgia, Florida, and Vanderbilt have pulled themselves out of the Old South, but the rest of the conference is still deeply culturally embedded in a mid-20th Century world.

  11. shane#1

    I have been on record as opposing oversigning for years, on the AJC blogs before I started hanging out here. However, oversigning is just the tip of the iceberg. I think the program at UGA is clean because AJ Green was not very street wise when he sold that jersey. Green knew that the sale was against the rules but he took a check in payment and put it in his bank account. Had Green been on the take he would have known to get a debit card or cashiers check and put the cash in his pocket. Kids that are being paid off use prepaid debit cards from agents or boosters, along with prepaid phones and the like. 4. At what point do college players have to be paid? Some already are at that point. When the stuff hits the fan on this don’t be suprised if some posistion coaches and graduate assistants are getting a little grease from agents too.

    • Texas_Dawg

      However, oversigning is just the tip of the iceberg.

      I fully agree. The more I’ve spoken with journalists and officials and looked into the topic, the more I’ve learned about tangential issues that are nearly just as bad within the SEC. Pay-for-play is the least of these issues. That’s something that cheats the game but ultimately gives cash to poor kids. Unethical for sure, but a big yawn for me when we start talking about entire systems designed to aggressively exploit young African-American adults and their families.

      There are men at the top and on the periphery of these oversigning institutions that are utterly unethical and morally reprehensible people straight out of Flannery O’Connor novels.

      Alabama is Alabama and will, apparently, forever be Alabama. You will pry the deeply ingrained injustices of its institutions from its cold, dead hands.

  12. Bulldog Joe

    In the SEC, the vote will always be 9-3 against any meaningful reform.

    It will stay that way as long as the money continues to flow in.

    Expect some toothless proclamation and some new unenforceable rules to come from Destin.

    • shane#1

      I agree, however, reform is necessary and it should be done by the conference, before it is done by someone alse. MLB turned a blind eye to the steroid issue because the guys that were juiced put butts in seats. Then congress stepped in and left MLB with egg all over it’s face. I don’t want to see that in CFB, better to clean it up in house.

    • Texas_Dawg

      Not necessarily.

      Oversigning isn’t the lifeline to some programs that it is to Alabama, LSU, and Ole Miss. For instance, while Mississippi State oversigns, they aren’t doing so by the 12, 13, 14 or more players that Houston Nutt is every single year. Miss. State officials could like be brought around to ending the practice entirely as they don’t stand to lose as much as Ole Miss.

      Kentucky and Tennessee also aren’t as religious about oversigning as the others.

      Also, at this time last year the only real SEC oversigning talk was of Houston Nutt’s silliness in 2008 and the feckless rule it led to. Since then, oversigning.com launched and has become a widely cited website, and major media outlets like ESPN and the Wall Street Journal have done investigative reports revealing how disgusting the practice is. Now the AJC and Birmingham News, the newspapers of the two SEC capital cities, are regularly exposing and condemning the practice.

      A lot has changed in 1 year. Alabama is run by utterly unethical men like Mal Moore and Robert Witt, and they have made clear they will fight for their right to exploit black Alabaman families for as long as they can, but many of the other SEC school officials likely are getting tired of the negative press and will be OK with ending the practice.

      • Bryant Denny

        You really have no idea what you are talking about.

        Anyone that spends as much time as you do churning out must have a serious ax to grind. I’m guessing there’s some other reason behind your diatribe.

        “Alabama is run by utterly unethical men like Mal Moore and Robert Witt…” – you have no idea what you are talking about. Is appears so easy for you to anonymously post comments on a blog smearing the names of other men.

        “fight for the right to exploit black Alabaman families” – again, you have no idea what you are talking about.

        Have a nice day,

        BD

        • TheReverendDoctor

          Care to actually address his points, or are you content to simply sit there and repeat the assertion that he has no idea what he is talking about? The leadership at some schools has publicly condemned this unethical practice. The leadership at Alabama has defended it. Clearly, winning > ethics in Tuscaloosa.

          • Bryant Denny

            The points have been address over and over for the last several months. Same old same old.

            As to your “winning > ethics” comment, as it was pointed out above by the Senator, some schools may oppose because it presents a tactical advantage to do so.

          • The guy is citing Tennessee and Kentucky as bastions of virtue and righteousness in college athletics. He’s clearly irrational, and a self-righteous, hickory-headed, whacko.

        • Texas_Dawg

          “Alabama is run by utterly unethical men like Mal Moore and Robert Witt…” – you have no idea what you are talking about.

          Bernie Machen and Greg McGarity have called their behavior morally reprehensible and repugnant.

          I think I’ll go with them on this.

  13. Texas_Dawg

    The reason you suggest that what I’m talking about isn’t oversigning is because you’re interpreting the data in a way you find acceptable.

    No, what they are doing is not oversigning.

    Oversigning is handing out more LOIs than a team has scholarships available for the following season as of NSD.

    We can debate the ethics of signing loads of JUCOs every year, but that’s a different topic than oversigning.

  14. Bryant Denny

    Senator,

    I know that I’m a guest here from a rival school and all and I really enjoy your blog, but man, it gets old seeing all these posts hijacked by some folks. I’m all for the back-and-forth and I certainly don’t mind folks having a difference of opinions, but sometimes the trash needs to be taken out.

    Have a nice day,

    BD

    • TheReverendDoctor

      Try RollBamaRoll if you’re looking for a site where your opinion of Georgia fans might be valued. Clearly, the Senator is interested in having this discussion, given that he’s replied several times.

      • Bryant Denny

        “My opinion of Georgia fans might be valued?” I think I value Georgia fans pretty well. My comment had nothing to do with that. Also had nothing to do with the oversigning discussion.

        Have a good evening,

        BD

        • Macallanlover

          BD, you have always been a solid, respectful contributor on this site with a balanced perspective. I do think you are blinded on this topic for some reason. Saban’s actions regarding oversigning are simply indefensible, not illegal, but just not the way a quality person/program operates. And it isn’t necessary, imo, Alabama has the tradition, facilities, and reputation to compete without resorting to this. I cannot imagine you, or other Bama fans I know, not being outraged if you were playing it straight and others you competed against were doing it. Step back and take a different look at it from a different perspective. I think if you are honest you will admit it stinks. Now why would you want to defend that?

          • I think he’s got an issue with the couple of people that seem better suited for youtube comments than any site that seeks reasonable conversation.

          • Bryant Denny

            Thanks for the kind words, Mac.

            For the record, I am not defending lying to kids or treating them the way I would not want to be treated, no matter their socio-economic background. There’s no defense for such.

            I have a couple of primary arguments:

            1) In general, we don’t know what the kids are told or not told. So to make a “straw man” argument that they are all lied to is not appropriate.
            2) I don’t have a problem with players being asked to leave a program. Again, we don’t know if the expectations are clearly communicated to the players. I assume they are, others don’t.
            3) “Oversigning” is becoming a broad, ever-encompassing topic the pointy-heads are using to try to reform college football.
            4) The only way to solve “oversigning” is to guarantee the scholarships for 4-5 years. I’m not necessarily in favor of that.

            Have a good day,

            BD

        • Texas_Dawg

          Sorry, but you are on a blog dedicated to the athletics of a school whose athletic director has publicly called Nick Saban’s, Mal Moore’s, and Robert Witt’s behavior morally reprehensible and repugnant.

          I can understand why Senator Blutarsky’s posts led you to believe that few if any Georgia fans that frequent the site would agree that the official policies of your school are morally reprehensible and repugnant, but I think you’ll find that quite a few Georgia fans back our officials and not yours on the matter.

          Good luck with your fight to keep Alabama Alabama. As with past history, I believe you’ll find that Alabama is eventually forced to be a little less Alabama once again.

          • Bryant Denny

            Does all the name calling and vitriol make you feel better?

            As was pointed out above, UF and UGA do have some competitive reasons to try to claim a “moral high ground” here.

            I can appreciate your passion, but you don’t need to trash others while making a point.

            Have a good day,

            BD

  15. Cousin Eddie

    I would like to see an attempt to tie the school to the kid like the kid is tied to the school. My first thought is to say if a student -athlete transfers, leaves, medical hardship, or etc the school leaves the school has to “sit out” the scholarship for a year just as a player does. The only exception is if the student graduates the school does not loose the scholy for the next year. This way it would be in the best near term intrest of the school to keep the kid in school.

  16. Cojones

    I’m more worried about what these topics do thru the media to finally get what only a few people want–payments to players. Everyone should just assume that all of these esoteric “what ifs” will come true. Then the crud really deepens.” Why is Nebraska paying their players more and getting around the floor price established earlier in 2013? They are giving out $25k Hope schollies on top of the”Incoming Freshman” price and competing with Texas’s “Early Beef On The Hoof” price established by alums during summer cattle auctions.” This dialogue could go on and on.

    ” We need to turn back the clock to good ole 2010/11 gnashing -of -teeth concerning oversigning legislation. How we could have gotten on the track to attempt to legislate morality in football coaches, I’ll never know. Then we did it and racheted it up finally to paying the players. The only people pushing hard to permit paying were the agents who had just had a tough year in the press. They must have fallen over backwards when it passed thru the SEC and then was pimped to the NCAA and passed!!”

    Be careful when screwing with College Football. You could whore it into the ground. Then they will head for the highschools. Then cheering for any team is less about uplifting spirits and conquering the imposssible and becomes a bottomline sport–no cheering, no accomplishing; just betting.

  17. Texas_Dawg

    Darren Everson and Hannah Karp continue to expose SEC coaches on oversigning.

    About Spurrier being “upfront” with Lorenzo Mauldin as Gamecock Man insisted:

    Montgomery’s high school coach, Walter Banks, said, “I told them this was foul. I didn’t have a clue until 18 hours before signing day, and if they say anything else, they’re lying.”

    Spurrier said he selected those two players because they had the furthest to go to qualify academically. Both players could still be in South Carolina’s class next year. “What we probably could’ve done earlier in the recruiting is tell them that this could happen,” he said. “But then again, we didn’t know it was going to come up. It’s a ticklish situation.”

    • Texas_Dawg

      That was Jordan Montgomery’s coach, of course. Obviously Mauldin and his coaches weren’t told until right before NSD as well.

  18. crapsandwich

    As oversigning is gaining in media attention, there is going to be a great opportunity for UGA to benefit by its ethical stand in the arena of recruiting. McGarity knows this, and will remain in the forefront.

    • Texas_Dawg

      Florida has been working very hard for a few years to force this issue privately. McGarity was a part of that and has brought it to Georgia. Adams fully supports him on it, and that’s why Richt is now speaking out more forcefully on the issue to (see his “throwing offers around like candy” comment after Signing Day this year).

  19. The fact that the author is allowing discussion here on oversigning in spite of his viewpoint is greatly appreciated. Thanks, Senator.

    Would you all please stop falling back on ad hominem rebuttals to stall the discussion? It’s so irritating to see people writing about school loyalties and conference loyalties and jealousy and “hate” for the SEC. Here’s the problem with that: whatever bias you perceive is irrelevant, and whatever ulterior motive you sense is irrelevant too.

    As always, the merit of a case lies on the logic/data/factual evidence and not on who is arguing it. It’s irrelevant to point out somebody’s bias, because everybody’s biased in their own way. Nobody needs to apologize for an inset belief in the righteousness of their university a little more than others and belief it the wrongdoing of other universities a little more than their own. In this case, the argument being made is that Big Ten fans are biased against the SEC and that this person, Joshua, is a Big Ten homer. So what? It doesn’t change the truth of anything he’s said, unless you go so far as to accuse him of lying (I haven’t seen anybody accuse him of such). All you can do is cast aspersions on his character.

    The same is even truer for ulterior motives: if there is a wrong that somebody cares about and fixes for the wrong reason, it still gets fixed. Accusations that the Big Ten and Georgia and Florida and Vanderbilt care about oversigning because they’re playing at a competitive disadvantage are partially true, but so what? The identity of the person or university doesn’t change the facts of the case. An ulterior motive only matters outside of oversigning’s ethical argument and policy argument, for instance, if a person were claiming their own righteousness makes them right and you wrong. That’s not the case here, where the basic setup is: here’s a problem, here’s why you should care here’s who’s doing it, they need to stop doing it, here’s how to fix it. Even if it was, you could and should ignore it and move on.

    If you think this issue popped up is due to Big Ten vs. SEC or north vs. south rivalry or losers vs. winners mentality and nothing else, you’re in firm denial. The foundation of the anti-oversigning argument is the abuse of students’ welfare, with competitive advantage being a reason for external fans to care more.

    • Mike, thanks for the thoughtful response. I agree with most of what you say, but I’d have to disagree a little with you about this:

      … An ulterior motive only matters outside of oversigning’s ethical argument and policy argument, for instance, if a person were claiming their own righteousness makes them right and you wrong. That’s not the case here, where the basic setup is: here’s a problem, here’s why you should care here’s who’s doing it, they need to stop doing it, here’s how to fix it.

      I think it’s likely that problems in the recruiting process get dealt with in very different ways depending on how the debate is couched (i.e., in terms of the ethics of properly treating kids versus competitive advantage). That’s why I raised the hypothetical in my post. So, yes, I do think that motive matters, at least with regard to the people making policy decisions. Trust me, it matters to them.