When saying “I’m sorry” isn’t enough.

Chip Towers has more on the South Carolina recruiting snafu story he’s been diligently following.  I thought the Wall Street Journal story made Spurrier look bad, but what Towers puts out makes the OBC look even worse.

Josh Kendall, who covers South Carolina football for The State newspaper in Columbia, S.C., reported in a story that was published on Wednesday that Montgomery’s coach at South Lake High, has declared that the Gamecocks’ coaches are “no longer welcome” at the school.

“I cannot look a kid and their parent in the face and say you can trust what a University of South Carolina coach says,” South Lake coach Walter Banks told Kendall.

… I’ll summarize some of the high points:

  • Coach Steve Spurrier makes his most direct statements to date on these two players specifically and admits that he and his staff probably didn’t handle the situation as well as they should have. “Walter had a tough time of it and, maybe if I was a high school coach, I would have a tough time with it, too,” he said of the South Lake coach.
  • Kendall’s story corroborates my reports that the players were not informed they would not be allowed to sign with the Gamecocks until Feb. 1, the day before national signing day. That’s what I was told by Mauldin and Maynard Jackson coach Eric Williams. “Our mistake was maybe not alerting these two young men,” Spurrier told The State. “I think on [Feb. 1] we alerted both of them, talked to them and said ‘Hey, I’m sorry. This is where we are. We got all these other commitments.’ We didn’t like doing this.”
  • Spurrier also reveals that he sent both players a letter of apology and that “we are still looking at them as if they had signed.” In fact, he said the Gamecocks still intend to bring them in. He says that if four of South Carolina’s current signees fail to qualify, Montgomery will be allowed to enroll. Mauldin, the story indicates, would be next in line.

In the legal profession, that smells an awful lot like what we refer to as an admission of guilt.  And it’s bullshit if Spurrier is attempting to imply that he and his staff woke up on February 1st and suddenly discovered in a panic that they had a big numbers problem.  No head coach at a major football program is that inept.  Not only that, it contradicts the story told to Chris Low that Mauldin was kept informed throughout the recruiting period that his chances were shaky.  A more direct person would call that story a lie.

So, yeah, if I were a high school football coach, I’d have a tough time with it, too, hoss.

This is a story to watch as the numbers in this Gamecock class start to sort out.  It’ll be interesting to see what Montgomery and Mauldin eventually decide to do.  And how Spurrier will try to spin it all.

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113 Comments

Filed under Recruiting, The Evil Genius

113 responses to “When saying “I’m sorry” isn’t enough.

  1. TomReagan

    What a jackass move. Makes me happy we have the coach we have.

    On a brighter note, today is Herschel’s birthday.

  2. Texas_Dawg

    Much, much better, Senator.

    Good work.

    You’ll see in time and with more digging what those of us who have been following it longer and more closely have seen: that all of it is garbage. There is no serious ethical defense for any of it. Whatever past grayshirt offer or two Urban Meyer tried to slip in, whatever grayshirt discussions Richt may have had, they were not being ethical in flirting with such limit-pushing, and you can be sure that Georgia and Florida will have much tighter institutional controls to prevent such behavior going forward.

    You will find as this story continues to advance and as more details come out why Bernie Machen and Greg McGarity are able to call it, blanketly, “morally reprehensible” and “repugnant.” This isn’t due to these men being zealots or radicals. They have simply been over every facet of the issue, have seen first-hand what is required to oversign, and have heard every argument from people wanting to say the issue is gray (Saban/Miles crowd) or even perfectly ethical (Spurrier/Petrino/Nutt crowd). All of it fails. And that’s why universities better academically ranked and more reputable than the SEC West schools unanimously refuse to engage in it.

    Keep following it. I’m pretty sure you will end up being pulled into the Richt/McGarity camp and away from the lure of the Saban camp.

    • I don’t know why I’m bothering to point this out to you, but you do realize that Richt had serious grayshirting discussions with at least two member of this year’s signing class, right?

      Since you claim to be in the know, when did Richt and McGarity have their come-to-Jesus meeting on this, February 3rd?

      • Texas_Dawg

        No, I didn’t know that, so I’ll second HVL Dawg’s request for a link.

        And if UGA grayshirts, why didn’t Richt just go on and oversign and grayshirt a few players?

        • Nathan Theus.

          Xzavier Ward.

          Maybe McGarity doesn’t read newspapers.

          Ward’s offer wasn’t changed until the last minute, when Pagan and the OL from Tennessee told the staff they weren’t coming. Richt didn’t grayshirt in the end because he didn’t need to.

          • gernblanski

            But the difference in this case was not whether they offered a greyshirt but that UGA was up front about it. It started as a greyshirt offer that transformed to an immediate offer. Which is highly different than a commited offer that suddenly turns into a greyshirt hours before signing day.

            Also, I believe that Richt offered a FB from Walton (?) a greyshirt a year or two ago, but he opted to take an immediate scholarship from Oklahoma State. If I remember correctly, the player had already committed or was close to committing OSU, but his favorite was UGA. The coaching staff again was up front with the recruit and offered a greyshirt because they did not have the #’s to make an immediate offer.

            I think that our coaching staff has the right attitude about it and is very direct with the recruits.

            • You may be misreading me. I think Richt acted appropriately here. The point about the last minute decision was simply that Richt was prepared to take at least one kid on a grayshirt basis, contrary to Texas Dawg’s fantasy about McGarity’s absolutism on the subject.

          • HVL Dawg

            Poppycock. With all due respect, of course.

              • HVL Dawg

                Honestly offering a greyshirt upfront is NOTHING like shoving one on a committed athlete who’s options have run out.

                In the context of oversigning, greyshirts have been used in underhanded ways. That isn’t the Georgia way.

                • HVL, I agree with you. If you look at how Richt handled his grayshirt offers and how Spurrier did, there’s no question about which of the two acted honorably.

                  Again, I’m responding to Texas Dawg’s point that it doesn’t matter how a grayshirt is offered. He considers all such offers unethical. I don’t see it that way.

                • Texas_Dawg

                  It is not as bad. But it is still not an option ethical institutions leave open for coaches.

                  It is easy to say that the coach was upfront about the terms, but that leaves a ton of room for powerful pros -heavily incentivized to do so – to hide in fine print and exploit misunderstanding and deficient knowledge of the marketplace on the part of their client targets.

                  It’s the same reason ethical banks have tight institutional controls and checks against predatory lending.

                  Georgia isn’t offering grayshirt LOIs. It is offering walk-on offers. There is a big difference. Unfortunately the walk-on offers are being thrown under the “grayshirt” umbrella in these reports.

                  • Georgia isn’t offering grayshirt LOIs. It is offering walk-on offers. There is a big difference. Unfortunately the walk-on offers are being thrown under the “grayshirt” umbrella in these reports.

                    You don’t know what you’re talking about. There’s no immediate scholarship in either case. The difference between the two is that enrollment is delayed with a grayshirt.

                    See if you can guess what Georgia offered Nathan Theus.

                    Florida State joins Georgia and South Carolina in extending an offer the older Theus. The Gamecocks offered him the opportunity to enroll in June of 2011 and play on the offensive line. However, both the Seminoles and Bulldogs extended greyshirt offers for Theus to enroll in January 2012 and handle long snapping duties. [Emphasis added.]

                    The 6-foot-3, 255-pound lineman isn’t opposed to a greyshirt offer since it would allow him to play with his younger brother throughout his entire college career.

                    “If I greyshirt, we would have four years together rather than just three,” Nathan Theus said. “Greyshirt compared to a regular offer, it doesn’t really matter to me.”

                    • Texas_Dawg

                      You don’t know what you’re talking about. There’s no immediate scholarship in either case. The difference between the two is that enrollment is delayed with a grayshirt.

                      There is a very big difference. True grayshirting involves locking a player into the school via the NLOI. It keeps the player from being able to transfer without the typical penalties. The school itself is not bound by the NLOI so they are not even forced to award the grayshirt if they later decide not to.

                    • The school isn’t forced to honor an offer of a scholly to a walk-on, either.

          • Texas_Dawg

            Interesting. If the players were truly given grayshirt offers then that obviously contradicts McGarity’s statements condemning the practice.

            But several things here make me wonder if these were truly “grayshirt” offers.

            Georgia has not once grayshirted a player under Richt. We also don’t oversign. Not because we get lucky every year and enough players like Pagan and Richardson go elsewhere at the last minute, but because we just simply don’t sign players to grayshirt offers.

            For instance, Theus may have been told that he would be allowed to walk-on and receive a scholarship in a later year (e.g. Ty Frix) but that would not involve a binding LOI (which would lock him into not being able to play at another school). This is not grayshirting though reporters and players often erroneously label it as such.

            That said, UGA needs to tighten its institutional policies on this, given the confusion. We need to make it very clear that we are not making grayshirt offers but walk-on offers that do not come with or a bind a player via an LOI.

            • Your hairsplitting implies that Rush Propst doesn’t know what grayshirting is. That’s not the impression I get.


              “I’ve had several of my former players, including [Atlanta Falcons backup QB] John Parker Wilson at Alabama, do the grayshirt thing, and it has always worked out well,” Propst said. “I’ve told Xzavier exactly what it means, and he’s OK with it.”

              But would Ward really consider UGA’s grayshirt offer? “If he decides that Georgia is the place that he wants to go, he would have no problems with that scenario,” Propst said.

              I take it from your last comment that Richt hasn’t gotten the McGarity memo on the subject yet. Pity. Perhaps you should dash off a sternly worded e-mail to them.

              • Texas_Dawg

                It’s not hair-splitting. It’s being specific about what is being done.

                There is a big difference in a grayshirt and a walk-on offer. The former involves oversigning and the latter does not.

                Many people, including many reporters, HS coaches, etc., call walk-on offers “grayshirt” offers. They aren’t.

                • Rush Propst has dealt with Saban on this stuff, fer crissakes. If there’s anybody who’s familiar with what the concept of grayshirting is, it’s him.

                  • Texas_Dawg

                    I’m sure he is very familiar with the concept. Many such people throw walk-on offers under the grayshirt label, for lack of a better term (as walk-on offers with a promised later scholarship are different than pure walk-on offers).

                    Think about it, Senator, instead of trying to rush to win the point. If UGA was offering true grayshirt offers, we would be oversigned. Maybe not this year, but some time in recent years. We would have players signing LOIs to grayshirt offers and while we might not ever end up having to use them due to departures, we would at least be oversigned on NSD.

                    But we never are. Not because we just suck at getting players to accept them as Alabama et al. do, but simply because they aren’t grayshirt offers. They don’t come with LOIs. They don’t bring the glory of NSD ceremonies. Etc. They are just preferred walk-on offers.

                    • Has it ever occurred to you that Richt took a more aggressive approach to recruiting with this last class than had been the case previously?

                    • Richt doesn’t sound like a man who philosophically opposed to oversigning.

                      “Numbers change. There’s attrition. Things happen,” Richt said. “I know a lot of guys are signing guys they don’t feel like are going to qualify, and there is some merit to it. … I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, either, just as long as everybody knows that on the front end.

                      “Should there be a rule to say you can never sign over the number? I don’t think that should be the rule either.”

                      If I didn’t know any better, I’d say that he recognized shades of gray there.

                      /switches off sarcasm meter

                    • I guess Richt doesn’t know what he’s talking about here either.

                      Richt said he has warned UGA signees before of the possibility of a grayshirt if the numbers fell a certain way, but that “there’s never been a time where we had a guy in that situation where he ended up grayshirting.”

  3. I think an upfront discussion like Richt and Bobo had with Xzavier Ward regarding a grayshirt is the right thing to do. Ward didn’t commit until Richt made the offer to come in on full scholarship in August. I don’t have have a problem with the grayshirt if the coach is honest about it during the recruiting process. I think it’s a problem if you oversign and then tell a kid (especially those who can’t afford college) that they have to take an extra lap and come in later or pay for the first semester out of their own pocket. The kid could have committed to another school and had a chance to contribute or at least have a true redshirt year to develop. I have a big problem with players who are run off campus for no other reason other than they didn’t pan out on the field. What SOS did with these two guys was pretty much despicable.

    • Texas_Dawg

      As I mentioned above, the problem with true grayshirting is that it lets powerful, heavily-incentivized employees room to exploit ignorance in the target market. We can hope and expect that our coaches will fully educate all the players on all the options and risks, but that is 1) just not very likely to always be effectively done, despite even the best and most honest efforts, and 2) it leaves open a huge amount of room for less ethical employees to behave in an unethical manner.

      Georgia doesn’t lock players into unilaterally binding NLOIs when there isn’t a grant-in-aid available for them, at NSD. That is what grayshirting is. Unfortunately the terms are often confused surrounding the issue of grayshirting and oversigning, but Georgia isn’t grayshirting players or even offering grayshirt NLOIs.

  4. Go Dawgs!

    Even through all of the “Ray Goof” jokes and his smug attitude, I always respected Steve Spurrier, begrudgingly. I respected the way he disciplined those thugs that got into the fight before that Florida State game, I respected the way he didn’t cheat in recruiting… well, all of that respect is out the window here. Not only has he screwed these kids, but he’s also lied about it. And, that sucks. Screw you, SOS, I hope we hang half-a-hundred on you to get some payback for last year. That squeaker win your Gamecocks pulled out last year was certainly helped by a pair of redzone fumbles, and the fact that your fanbase has conveniently forgotten all about that will just make the ass-kicking we hand you this year that much more sweet.

  5. Normaltown Mike

    Kendall used to write for the Banner Herald.

    Don’t know if he’s a Dawg or not, but nice to see some probing sports journalism on a home town team outside the AJC.

    • Texas_Dawg

      Seriously.

      Chip Towers deserves the biggest credit here though. I and another regular at a UGA forum directly contacted him and Jeff Schultz about this as soon as we caught the brief reports coming out of SC with SC coaches using friendly reporters in attempt to bury the story. Schultz and Towers quickly responded to us and said they would look into it. We saw this coming in early January, not specifically with Mauldin and Montgomery, but with someone (the numbers made it clear that some commits would not be getting LOIs)). In early January we reached out to several SC reporters, pointing out the numbers and asking them to check the coaches’ stories. Most ignored it. (Even Kendall, who is a solid, honest journalist didn’t look into it.) And one, Travis Haney, flat out spun for the coaches and has continued to do so repeatedly via his reports and columns, calling Spurrier “the voice of reason” on this, as recently as yesterday.

      So it took Towers, an outsider, doing the work to track down these players and their coaches and give them a voice. This is not easy to do as many of these players and parents understandably do not want to fight millions of fans and the coaches they worship via the press. It’s also humiliating having gone from being a local star to a rejected oversigning victim who was exploited and played by pros.

      From the Towers lead others in the national media followed and now Gamecock journalists in South Carolina like Kendall and Ron Morris have done additional work exposing what was done, with Morris using it to be the latest voice condemning SEC oversigning as “repugnant.”

  6. Texas_Dawg

    Has it ever occurred to you that Richt took a more aggressive approach to recruiting with this last class than had been the case previously?

    And yet we still didn’t end up oversigning, even though we very easily could have gone on and done so, late losses and all.

    • But Richt was prepared to, if the circumstances had so warranted. And given the way he handled things, I would not have had a problem with that had he done so.

      • Texas_Dawg

        I get that you have no problem with true grayshirting. That’s assumed going forward.

        Let’s be clear (and I apologize for my having been unclear on the terms in the past):

        Georgia is not offering grayshirt-backed NLOIs. It is offering preferred walk-on spots or late enrollments. These do not come with NLOIs. If Georgia was giving out true, grayshirt-backed NLOIs, you would see the school oversigned by at least 1, 2, or more players, at least occasionally. They aren’t just luckily ending up right at the number each year.

        Good discussion, Senator. I appreciate you highlighting this as it made me aware of a place in my arguments and terms that I have not been clear. It’s also a place in which Georgia needs to have its recruits be much more clear with reporters and recruiting websites.

        • I get that you have no problem with true grayshirting.

          No.

          I have an enormous problem with it if the recruit in question has been misled. Which should be completely apparent from reading what I had to say about Spurrier in this post. I don’t have a problem with it in the context of a coach taking the time to disclose and explain what it entails, which is what Richt has consistently done.

          The difference between our positions is that you believe that a coach’s good faith effort is irrelevant. I get that and respect your stance, believe it or not. I just don’t agree with it.

          • Texas_Dawg

            To be clearer:

            You don’t have a problem with a school making true, NLOI-backed, grayshirt offers, as long as it says it has done what it can to make the risks involved clear to the teenager, and the recruit has not said otherwise. This is to say that you are not opposed to oversigning (given the same caveats), as the only reason a grayshirt-backed NLOI would be given is to oversign. (Otherwise the player just gets a typical offer.)

            Georgia isn’t giving such offers. It has proposed delayed enrollment but that isn’t oversigning, as nothing is signed and the player remains completely free to do as he chooses… which is not the case once an NLOI has been signed.

  7. Texas_Dawg

    The school isn’t forced to honor an offer of a scholly to a walk-on, either.

    Nope. But the player isn’t locked into a signed NLOI either. Big difference.

    • Since Mauldin remains free to shop around, I take it that you’re fine with his situation then.

      • Texas_Dawg

        Georgia was never at a level of commits to 2011 NLOIs that would have had us oversigned. We never are.

        • That is a non-responsive reply.

          • Texas_Dawg

            The point is that we didn’t lead anyone into thinking that they would be getting an NLOI for months only to pull it just before NSD because we were oversigned.

            Had Mauldin and Montgomery been told from the start that they were getting NOI-less, delayed enrollment or preferred walk offers, that would be fine. And they would have kept their options a lot more open as Mauldin is now doing in discussing a preferred walk-on status with Louisville.

            • That’s been my point all along. Would you explain why you feel a need to badger me over this if you agree with me?

              • Texas_Dawg

                (I’m not badgering you. I’m disagreeing with you and arguing my point.)

                You’ve said in several places that you are OK with NLOI-backed grayshirting, so long as coaches make the grayshirt possibility clear before NSD. Is that not your position? (Because that isn’t what UGA is doing.)

  8. I know I’m probably going to regret getting back into this, but I have a question. Also, just so we’re clear, I’m going to preface this by saying that I do not defend Spurrier’s position here and have called him out for it at my own blog. I’m not here to defend Spurrier or South Carolina , so please don’t take any of the following as such or deflect my question onto that issue.

    That all being said, what I’m taking from Richt’s comments is that Richt was prepared to oversign using greyshirts. In other words, he offered more scholarships than he could honor and informed some players that they might have to greyshirt in the event that too many of the players who were offered decided to come to Georgia. Am I interpreting the above quotes from Richt correctly? The Senator copied them above, where Richt says that he’s not opposed to oversigning by a few players or using greyshirts if the numbers fall a certain way, but everyone seems to be talking around those quotes. Someone please fill me in here.

    • Let me add to my question about Richt is that it’s clear that Richt is totally upfront with his recruits. I’m not trying to call him out here, just trying to get you guys’ opinion on his statements on the matter. I think Richt is a swell guy and have always admired the way he conducts his business, so again, let’s not let this turn into another flame war. I’m not trying to slam anybody here.

      • Did GABA ever publish an article on the Wall Street Journal article? I thought somebody said they would over there.

        Sorry about your experience last time you came here.

      • I don’t know the nuance of Richt’s position, but here’s what oversigning.com cites to show that he’s against oversigning. It doesn’t mention greyshirts, though.

        http://blutarsky.wordpress.com/2011/02/02/how-mark-richt-sleeps-at-night/

        • Thanks, Mike. Here’s my response to the WSJ article: http://www.garnetandblackattack.com/2011/3/1/2023283/the-south-carolina-gamecocks-and-oversigning-continued-the-latest. As the article suggests, I was waiting for more info to come out before I passed too much judgment on Spurrier. The latest news is worse for him, IMO. I’ll probably have more to say about it over the weekend.

          I’m really curious as to what others think of those quotes from Richt that the Senator cites above. I’m reading it as Richt stating that he’s willing to oversign if the numbers fall a certain way. That is, I’m assuming that Richt, like everyone else, is offering more scholarships early on than he can afford to give and that he’s willing to oversign if, say, a ton of those guys accept all at once, before he has time to adjust. I mean, he explicitly states that he’s willing to oversign above. It also appears that he’s very up front with any potential greyshirts about it, even though the chances of him having to actually greyshirt someone are fairly slim. That says a lot about him, I think. Perhaps I’m reading this stuff wrong, though.

          • When I say it says a lot about Richt, I mean it attests to his integrity. Again, just to be clear.

          • Everybody gives out more offers than they have room to receive. Misopogon at mgoblog posted the number of offers and number of commits for some Big Ten and nationally prominent programs. I can’t find it, but basically Ohio State had the highest percentage of successful offers at ~65% and the average was 35-40%.

            There is no freaking way that Spurrier and the staff didn’t know they were getting to the point where they couldn’t sign Clowney if they wanted to. Without firm evidence (i.e. this is a guess), it looks like they decided those two were at the bottom of the coaching staff’s list and were the buffer.

            • Link: http://mgoblog.com/diaries/tomvh-how-michigans-recruiting-compares

              I was WAY off: OSU landed ~35% of the people offered, and the average was ~20%. Not sure how it compares to the other nine SEC schools.

            • Yeah, that’s what I thought.

              One of the things that’s being left out of most of the discussions of South Carolina and oversigning is that we had an unreal acceptance rate this year. I’m not sure what the % was for players who were offered, but out of all of the players who took official visits to Columbia, all but one committed to South Carolina. That was undoubtedly a difficult position for Spurrier to be in, particularly as it wouldn’t have been practicable for him to have pulled offers for some of the highly rated players who held out until the end like Clowney and Phillip Dukes. Very few coaches in the country would have considered doing that, which is in effect what I think Richt is saying in those quotes up above: if a bunch of guys commit early and it gets to the point where you have to start pulling offers for the remaining uncommitted prospects, remembering that the ones that are uncommitted until the end are usually the bluechip guys, Richt is saying that he’s open to potentially pursuing oversigning options for some of the commits.

              The difference as I see it between Spurrier and Richt here is (1) that Richt has never let himself get into the situation Spurrier got into this year, where it came to the point where it was unfeasible not to oversign, and (2) that Richt has been more upfront with his prospects. The issue is not, as I see it, that Richt is absolutely, institutionally opposed to oversigning. What he does is plans better and treats kids more appropriately. I do think that Spurrier was dealt a tough hand with the exceptionally high acceptance rate, but it’s his responsibility to deal with that better than he did here.

              BTW, one interesting thing to come out of this story is that, as the old adage goes, perhaps the market works itself out without regulation. Jordan Montgomery’s coach has said that Spurrier and staff are personae non grata at Montgomery’s high school, suggesting that consequences exist for oversigning sans NCAA regulations. Perhaps this isn’t a good argument against regulation, though, because I find it hard to believe that this would ever happen to, say, Nick Saban at a Birmingham HS. Doubt it would happen to Spurrier at a Spartanburg HS, for that matter; Montgomery’s HS is in Florida, where the coach presumably has stronger ties to in-state schools and feels that he’s in a good position to call out Spurrier from that vantage point.

              • Thanks for those links, Mike. That’s useful information.

              • Texas_Dawg

                The issue is not, as I see it, that Richt is absolutely, institutionally opposed to oversigning.

                To quote you: “YOU’RE NOT HELPING!”

                Scroll up and read my explanations to Senator about what is being done here. Richt needs to find a new word for what he has called grayshirting. It’s not the same thing.

          • Texas_Dawg

            I’m really curious as to what others think of those quotes from Richt that the Senator cites above. I’m reading it as Richt stating that he’s willing to oversign if the numbers fall a certain way.

            See my responses to Senator above about the UGA “grayshirting” quotes and reports.

            As to your GABA post…

            With the Lorenzo Mauldin story, the AJC crapped on Spurrier’s handling of the situation, but Chris Low and other scleaned up Spurrier’s image somewhat when they pointed out that Spurrier and his staff had, in fact, been more upfront with Mauldin than the AJC suggested.

            Chris Low, like Travis Haney, are SEC and oversigning program fans. Of course they worked to spin the stories for Spurrier and South Carolina. (Haney much, much more aggressively and willfully than Low though, of course.)

            It will eventually come back to haunt us on the recruiting trail

            Ha. No, it won’t. It won’t even remotely do so. The faces will all be new next year, they’ll all be invincible and never possibly in jeopardy of being the next oversigning cuts (Karp and Everson did a brilliant job of showing this with their latest WSJ article), and the spin from Spurrier and millions of supporters in the ears of these quotes will all be more than enough to make any mention of oversigning go in one ear and out the next. Fish in a barrel for corrupt coaches, and Spurrier knows that very well.

            In other words, the coaches interviewed seem to suggest that what’s driving oversigning is that they know that there will be frequent academic casualties due to the poor academic background provided by their recruiting pools, which prompts oversigning as the coaches attempt to compensate for anticipated holes in their rosters. As Blutarsky says, the article steps gingerly around the issue, as the point doesn’t lend credence to the picture its trying to paint of the coaches.

            Actually, pointing it out does absolutely nothing to make a case for oversigning and in no way does it do anything to make the practice more ethical.

            85 players is more than enough to field football teams. Worried about non-qualifiers? Fine. Don’t offer them. Offer a similarly socioeconomically disadvantaged recruit who is qualified. Or, make the offer and hope he qualifies after NSD. If he doesn’t qualify, give his scholarship to a walk-on on a year-to-year basis. If the non-qualified player goes to prep school or JUCO and wants to come to the school, he can have the remaining years of the scholarship the walk-on was given.

            There are all kinds of ways around this, none of which require or excuse oversigning.

            My guess is that there are a lot of folks out there who only care about this issue in terms of how it relates to their football team, and that doesn’t sit right with me.

            Clean your side of the street first, dude. Then we’ll talk.

            • Well, Haney isn’t a South Carolina graduate or fan. I can’t remember which school he said he went to, but he’s just a journalist on the South Carolina beat. I would assume he doesn’t want to step on toes because he doesn’t want to burn his bridges with Spurrier et al for that reason, but he’s not a South Carolina fan.

              Anyways, see my post above.

                • Also, per the “clean your side of the street” thing, I have nothing to be ashamed of in that department. I contribute significant portions of my free time to community building projects and work in a field that also allows me to contribute to rather than exploit the community.

                  At any rate, the main point of that portion of my article is that while oversigning is unethical, it’s pretty small potatoes compared to any number of other, more profound and fundamental issues of social justice, and that makes a lot of the talk about “moral reprehensibility” come across as a little petty. A little perspective is an important thing to have in these kinds of things.

                  • Arguing over whether “reprehensible” is appropriate or not is semantics. If you’re not already passionate about oversigning (and I’m gathering the impression the South Carolina fanbase isn’t in either direction), the strength of language doesn’t do much. However, oversigning absolutely is an ethical issue on two fronts. First, because of the methods coaches use to reach the scholarship limit cause definite harm to the athletes pushed out of the program. Second, because oversigning gives football programs an unjust competitive advantage.

                  • And yes, there are bigger fish to fry than this, but oversigning is part of a much bigger issue, students’ welfare. Student-athletes ought to have the same rights as the rest of the student body, but they are treated worse in some ways, like through one-way binding scholarship agreements. The point of pushing for this change isn’t to tout moral superiority or make Big Ten teams more competitive (I’ve seen that claim a lot…) but to prevent abuses.

                    • I agree with most of what you’re saying here. I definitely view oversigning as an ethics issue, although I find the competitive advantage issue to be much less compelling than student welfare, and I think the reasons for that should be obvious. I’m also personally very passionate about this topic and would like to see it sensibly addressed. That should be clear from the inordinate amount of time I spent researching oversigning at your site, writing the articles on GABA, and conversing with you guys over here. So, in sum, even though I was saying that oversigning is a relatively small issue, I wasn’t trying to say we shouldn’t care. I do care and am trying to get my fellow South Carolinians on board, too.

                      What I’d like to see, though, is for people to start approaching this issue more out of a desire to promote ethics and student welfare than to tout their own school’s moral self-righteousness and promote their school’s success on the football field. It comes across as petty and disingenuous for people to scream and holler about ethics and moral reprehensibility when one gets the impression that they have very little genuine interest in social justice and that what they really care about are perceived slights on the football field at the hands of hated rivals. Although I haven’t agreed with everything you’ve written, to your credit, you seem to be on what I view as the good side here, and I apologize for mischaracterizing oversigning.com’s work. That said, can you really tell me that everyone, not just yourself, is in this for the right reason? And the remember, the way we ask questions and formulate problems determines the answers we come up with. If those leading the oversigning crusade are more in it for their school’s athletic welfare than the student’s welfare, what they’ll be pushing for will be regulations that benefit their school’s athletic welfare, which isn’t necessarily the same thing as the athlete’s welfare.

                    • If those leading the oversigning crusade are more in it for their school’s athletic welfare than the student’s welfare, what they’ll be pushing for will be regulations that benefit their school’s athletic welfare, which isn’t necessarily the same thing as the athlete’s welfare.

                      I’ve argued the exact same thing repeatedly.

                  • Texas_Dawg

                    Also, per the “clean your side of the street” thing, I have nothing to be ashamed of in that department. I contribute significant portions of my free time to community building projects and work in a field that also allows me to contribute to rather than exploit the community.

                    Good.

                    What I meant by “your” in that case was “South Carolina’s.” Sorry for being unclear. The point being, South Carolina fans should get their school to speak out forcefully against a very unethical practice. Then, their side of the street being cleaned, they can question the motives of others who opposed the practice.

                    • First of all, I’ve spoken out against what Spurrier has done multiple times on my blog. I’ve called for accountability and plan to continue to do so.

                      Second of all, and don’t take this the wrong way, but I’ll question the motives of whoever I like if I think it’s appropriate to do so. I’m an independent voice on this issue and it’s my right to do so. I think you’re confusing me with Spurrier. Spurrier’s actions are not my actions. I went to South Carolina, love my university, and spend an inordinately large amount of time cheering on its athletics programs, but USC does not define me, as should be clear based on my willingness to criticize Spurrier when I think he’s in the wrong.

                      To me, this issue is not about South Carolina vs. Georgia or whoever else. Taking care of my own isn’t what I’m here for. I’m interested in debating reasonable, across-the-board solutions. That requires looking at everyone critically. Greg McGarity can talk all he wants about moral reprehensibility, but that doesn’t mean that he or anyone else is above scrutiny.

              • Texas_Dawg

                He’s a Tennessee fan. Just like Low.

                But he isn’t doing what he’s doing because he’s a South Carolina fan. He is doing it because to do otherwise – specifically, question these coaches or condemn the behavior as others have – would mean jeopardizing his access to them, it would mean a much more hostile workplace, it would mean scores of fans pissed off at him (while gaining him no love from UT fans given that UT occasionally oversigns as well), and so on.

                But mainly, the guy’s just pretty clueless on the issues. He’s made several arguments throughout all this that demonstrate he doesn’t even understand what the arguments are.

    • Texas_Dawg

      That all being said, what I’m taking from Richt’s comments is that Richt was prepared to oversign using greyshirts. In other words, he offered more scholarships than he could honor and informed some players that they might have to greyshirt in the event that too many of the players who were offered decided to come to Georgia.

      See my explanations of this to Senator Blutarsky above.

      What Richt is unfortunately calling “grayshirting” is offers for preferred walk-on status or scholarships after delayed enrollment. These do not come with NLOIs on NSD for the current class. The difference in this and true grayshirting is that the players are never promised NLOIs for the current year and are thus never locked into unilaterally binding NLOIs in order to oversign.

      This is why Georgia never oversigns. Were we truly making grayshirt offers we would occasionally be oversigned. But we don’t do that.

      • I hope I don’t regret this, but since it seems like you’re playing nicer tonight, I’ll give this another shot. I’m having a lot of trouble following what you were saying in the conversation above with the Senator. I’m not necessarily disagreeing with you (yet :-)); I’m new to this topic, so I may be missing something.

        First of all, where’s the concrete evidence that what Richt has talked about with recruits is “preferred walk-on status”? This is the first time I’ve heard of that, and I didn’t see anywhere where Richt explained it that way. As far as I can tell, it seems to just be something that you’re speculating about in order to rationalize Richt’s statements into your previously formed view about him.

        Second of all, if the operative distinction is the lack of obligation on the student’s part, which is ensured by the lack of LOI, why is “preferred walk-on status” better to you than a grayshirt? You’ve been saying all along in your discussion of the Mauldin situation that it doesn’t matter whether or not Mauldin is obligated to South Carolina by his LOI because Spurrier has misled him by getting him in with a group of friends, making him think he doesn’t have any other options, keeping other recruiters away from him, etc. Couldn’t all the very same things happen with a “preferred walk-on status”?

        Lastly, you seem to be saying that if Richt was willing to give grayshirts, UGA would have been oversigned in the past. I’m not following this point at all. I do get that Richt has never offered a NLOI grayshirt, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that Richt wouldn’t offer one if, as he said in one of the bits the Senator quoted, “the numbers fell a certain way.” All I can see here is that Richt has never found himself in the position of needing to offer one, and that could owe to any number of reasons. First of all, Richt could just be a better planner than some of these other coaches. That is, when he gets to 15 commitments and he has 20 offers left out with 10 guys he knows he really wants and thinks he has a good shot at, he pulls the offers for the 10 guys he isn’t as interested in, which allows him to avoid the possibility of getting into a situation where too many of his offers end up committing. Second of all, Richt coaches a historically successful program in a talent-rich state, meaning that he has his pick of extremely talented players. That means, I would assume, that he doesn’t have to offer as many players in order to sign the kind of class he wants. This, again, makes it much easier for him to avoid oversigning, because oversigning is, in some cases, partly just an issue of what happens when more of a coach’s prospects accept their offer than the coach had anticipated. That’s more likely to happen at Carolina, a program that has always had to scrape around to the ends of the earth to find diamond-in-the-rough players. Or, at least, that’s how I see it.

        Again, I may be wrong here. Please disabuse me of my ignorance if so. However, please try to leave the anti-USC swipes out it. Unless this issue is more about slamming all things related to your rival scores than about dealing with the issues involved, you have no reason to alienate me from the conversation here. I’m an independent voice on Carolina sports and am probably one of the only Carolina people with a public pulpit to go on record against what Spurrier has done. In that sense, we’re both on the same side, at least unless what you’re really interested in is tooting UGA’s horn and indiscriminately blasting Carolina fans, Alabama fans, etc.

        • … Second of all, Richt coaches a historically successful program in a talent-rich state, meaning that he has his pick of extremely talented players. That means, I would assume, that he doesn’t have to offer as many players in order to sign the kind of class he wants. This, again, makes it much easier for him to avoid oversigning, because oversigning is, in some cases, partly just an issue of what happens when more of a coach’s prospects accept their offer than the coach had anticipated. That’s more likely to happen at Carolina, a program that has always had to scrape around to the ends of the earth to find diamond-in-the-rough players. Or, at least, that’s how I see it.

          That is the heart of the competitive advantage argument. Florida and Georgia stand to gain greatly if a hard cap is put in place because of this.

        • Texas_Dawg

          First of all, where’s the concrete evidence that what Richt has talked about with recruits is “preferred walk-on status”? This is the first time I’ve heard of that, and I didn’t see anywhere where Richt explained it that way. As far as I can tell, it seems to just be something that you’re speculating about in order to rationalize Richt’s statements into your previously formed view about him.

          The concrete evidence is that Georgia doesn’t oversign. On NSD, we’re never oversigned. Usually right at the number (2010 slightly under thanks to major coaching changes) but never over.

          If we were offering NLOI-backed grayshirts, we would be oversigned. That’s the only point of them. And there are plenty of players out there who would still take a grayshirt from Georgia than go to lesser schools. So it’s not like UGA just can’t find players to take these grayshirt offers while South Carolina, Alabama, and all the others can.

          Second of all, if the operative distinction is the lack of obligation on the student’s part, which is ensured by the lack of LOI, why is “preferred walk-on status” better to you than a grayshirt? You’ve been saying all along in your discussion of the Mauldin situation that it doesn’t matter whether or not Mauldin is obligated to South Carolina by his LOI because Spurrier has misled him by getting him in with a group of friends, making him think he doesn’t have any other options, keeping other recruiters away from him, etc. Couldn’t all the very same things happen with a “preferred walk-on status”?

          Leaving aside the debate over when they were informed otherwise, Mauldin and Montgomery were led to believe they would be getting NLOIs to sign on NSD. Had they been told all along that would not be the case and they would simply be getting preferred walk-on or delayed enrollments that would not include any NLOI, that would be fine. It wouldn’t be misleading him. It also sounds like what he is strongly considering taking at Louisville. But for most players these are much tougher sells as they don’t come with a NLOI and the glories of NSD, and so on.

          • OK, your comments about Mauldin / Montgomery make sense. However, I’m still having a lot of trouble following what you’re saying about “preferred walk-on status.” Can you explain how the fact that Georgia is never oversigned proves that Richt is not willing to use grayshirts to oversign if his numbers fall a certain way, forcing his hand on NSD? I get that he’s never actually offered a grayshirt-backed LOI, but as I understand it, that doesn’t necessarily mean that he wouldn’t in a given situation, but rather that he’s good at managing his numbers so that nothing is amiss at the end of the recruitment period. After all, the stuff the Senator quoted seemed to strongly suggest that Richt is willing to do it in certain situations. And the question is, just so we’re clear, whether or not Richt is absolutely, philosophically against oversigning and grayshirts, not whether he’s ever had to use one or not. Those are two different issues, right? There are many reasons why a coach would never be oversigned other than absolute opposition to the practice.

            Do you have a quote from Richt or the players stating that what Richt was offering wasn’t LOI-backed? That’s what would really count for concrete evidence to me.

            Again, I’m not necessarily disagreeing with you; I’m just trying to understand the issues. Thanks for your reasoned response.

            • Texas_Dawg

              Do you have a quote from Richt or the players stating that what Richt was offering wasn’t LOI-backed? That’s what would really count for concrete evidence to me.

              No. One reason you don’t see many comments to such effect is because coaches are barred from talking about specific player recruitments before the players sign. So these reporting stories talking about grayshirts come from what the players tell reporters.

              Richt to player: “We would bring you in with next January’s class. Your scholarship would start then. You would not get to sign with this class though.”
              (Player discusses w/ advisors.)
              Advisors: “Yeah, that’s called ‘grayshirting.’ Here are the pros, cons.”
              (Player decides to take it. (Most don’t and go elsewhere.))
              Reporter calls/texts player: “What’s the latest?”
              Player: “UGA gave grayshirt offer. I’m taking it.”
              Reporter publishes grayshirt offer.

              This is very different than this:

              Oversigning coach to player: “The chances are small, but we may have to have you come in next January. Depends on how many players we sign, how many fail out, and so on. You will still get to have a big NSD party this year though and then you’ll be in the family, on the team.”

              Player then locks himself into a NLOI that binds him to the school and forces him to have get a release if he in mid-summer realizes that the school is still too many over and that those once “small chances” are suddenly looking like reality. By this time though, assuming he even figures out – somehow – what’s about to happen, he’s long since cut off contacts with other schools and most of them have gone on and filled their 85 for the year. And given that he hasn’t been officially asked to grayshirt (which as Senator pointed out in these comments officially nullifies the NLOI), the NLOI is still fulling binding on him, forcing him to have to go through the shame of having to go ask powerful, white pros like Mal Moore and Nick Saban for his freedom. But of course, most never have any clue. Like Elliott Porter they get a tap on the back or a phone call one day in late July or early August and told they won’t be starting fall practice with their new friends in a couple weeks as they were so ready and expecting to do.

              Can you explain how the fact that Georgia is never oversigned proves that Richt is not willing to use grayshirts to oversign if his numbers fall a certain way, forcing his hand on NSD?

              Think about this… and I hope you won’t mistake the long answer for run-around as I simply don’t know a better way to illustrate the reality here… (I’ve thought about this but haven’t come up with anything yet).

              A true grayshirt from Georgia is still an offer that would beat immediate scholarships to 80% of D1 schools. There are all kinds of solid 3-star prospects and even some 4-star prospects that Georgia could get to accept such offers (especially when worded with the “small chance, but…” explanation given in my example above). Georgia could go out and do this all spring and summer of the year before. It’s exactly what Alabama and others do. Get things started fast with the 3-star or even lower 4-star insurance plans. Build bulk and momentum early. Then go after the ringers, using these kids’ commitments to lean on the undecided true targets, pointing to space that’s filling up. You win some, you lose some, but you end up at, say, 25, when you have 20 spots to give. Over the spring and summer you lean on some guys to leave, a couple fail out, and so on, and you end up bringing in all 25, never having had to grayshirt any of them and none of them ever having known how they all ended up never having worried about that long-forgotten “small chance” becoming reality.

              It is very, very simple to do. Not only that, it is very, very simple to do without ever having even had to make a kid think he was getting a true grayshirt offer, so that he would never even have to tell the press that (which you would not want him doing because, among other reasons, that doesn’t let the class look as strong for your leverage against undecided recruits).

              Georgia isn’t better at “managing numbers” than Spurrier or Saban. Steve Spurrier’s crap about numbers having gotten away from him this year is perfectly Spurrian language. The guy is a pro and a perfectionist. He knew exactly what the numbers were, and he knew many months in advance that some players would have their offers pulled. He just misread major changes in the game and didn’t count on a few of us on the internet tracking this story and thus helping blow it up in his face as we did this time. In the past, he, his staff, and Travis Haney would have buried this immediately, and no one ever would have heard a peep from Mauldin and Montgomery. So that’s how he proceeded.

              Unfortunately, I don’t know what else to tell you to explain that Georgia isn’t just getting extremely lucky or perfectly managing numbers right to a total that hits their number to give on the dot each year. But this exchange did make me aware of the Theus report Senator produced of which I was not aware until now. While UGA cannot be monitoring every site’s commitment lists for accuracy (and coaches aren’t allowed to talk about specific recruits till NSD anyway), what the university can do is start being much more clear in our wording. What Richt has been calling “grayshirting” for lack of a better term is not the same thing as what others are calling “grayshirting.” So we need to be clear with recruits like Theus that although he has (or had at the time of his commitment) a delayed enrollment offer that will be backed by a scholarship the next year, recruits given such offers need to be clear with the recruiting sites and reporters that: 1) they are not committed to the current class, and 2) they have not received a “grayshirt” offer, but an offer to enroll the next January, without receiving a NLOI in the current recruiting season. To let a recruit that has such an offer lead recruiting sites to believe he is a part of the current class is to allow room for coaches to exploit such confusion (again, by leaning on undecided recruits, and so on). This is unethical and reputable universities and businesses have institutional controls to prevent powerful employees from ending up with such abilities. Additionally, being clear in our terms will help prevent Georgia from appearing to be doing what oversigning programs are doing with true grayshirting.

              • Hmm. OK. Still not sure I’m completely convinced of this read on what Richt is talking about, but it seems a bit more plausible now. I’ll keep thinking about it. I agree that Spurrier’s backtracking isn’t convincing. Thanks.

      • TD, this distinction you’ve constructed for Georgia is meaningless, per the NCAA.

        Susan Peal, who administers the National Letter of Intent program, said the Collegiate Commissioners Association (the program’s governing body) doesn’t support grayshirting. The program has a policy that nullifies the National Letter of Intent if an institution or coach asks the student-athlete to grayshirt.

        In other words, once Richt asked Theus and Ward to hold off on enrolling until January, 2012, it no longer mattered whether they signed LOIs or not, because in either case they would remain free to sign at any school that offered them. And following your reasoning, no unilaterally binding LOI, no oversigning.

        But here comes the truly sad part of your construct. Mauldin and Montgomery haven’t signed LOIs, so they remain free agents, too. (In point of fact, Mauldin’s options have actually increased since NSD passed, as Louisville is now willing to take him as a non-qualifier). Thus, by your reasoning, Spurrier isn’t any more guilty of oversigning than Richt. Nice moral equivalence there.

        In a nutshell, that’s why I have no interest in jumping on your bandwagon. In focusing solely on players’ freedom, you’ve completely dismissed any concerns over coaches’ culpability. Richt’s good faith in dealing with recruits doesn’t matter. Spurrier’s reckless disregard for managing the numbers doesn’t matter. All that matters to you is a piece of paper and a dorm room.

        • Plus, as I mentioned somewhere up above, he has claimed all along that Mauldin and Montgomery aren’t free agents in substance even though they are in fact. That would seem to apply to what Richt is doing, too, if he’s indeed offering “preferred walk-0n status.”

          • Texas_Dawg

            Plus, as I mentioned somewhere up above, he has claimed all along that Mauldin and Montgomery aren’t free agents in substance even though they are in fact. That would seem to apply to what Richt is doing, too, if he’s indeed offering “preferred walk-0n status.”

            You are leaving out a huge amount of details into how we got here.

            Mauldin and Montgomery were publicly listed as commits and believed, along with their advisors, that there was a good chance of their getting NLOIs on NSD. They were then officially informed this would not happen the day before NSD.

            So, yeah, they are “free agents” now. Had that been all they ever were or ever led to believe they would be; were South Carolina not currently still significantly oversigned, etc., then sure, there wouldn’t be much of a problem.

        • Texas_Dawg

          Wrong again, Senator.

          Yes, the official “asking” to grayshirt nullifies the NLOI. That’s why grayshirts usually aren’t finally determined and publicly revealed until the 85 deadline in early August. (See, Alabama’s deadline day grayshirt announcements last year.)

          South Carolina, for example, is currently 5 oversigned (and that down from their post-NSD high of 6). Some players have been told they may have to grayshirt. But as of right now, none of them have been asked to grayshirt. They hold NLOIs to full scholarships.

          In a nutshell, that’s why I have no interest in jumping on your bandwagon. In focusing solely on players’ freedom, you’ve completely dismissed any concerns over coaches’ culpability. Richt’s good faith in dealing with recruits doesn’t matter. Spurrier’s reckless disregard for managing the numbers doesn’t matter. All that matters to you is a piece of paper and a dorm room.

          Zzzzzzz…

          This is about the 20th time you’ve rushed to declare victory, making a major mistake in the process.

          Anyway, you continue to inch a little closer to the official UGA position where I stand and away from the edge of Alabama’s camp, where you were largely planted before I showed up to start “badgering” you on this.

          Progress. Slowly but surely…

  9. I wanna Red Cup

    Gamecock man, you are a mench. I will say that after the OBC left Florida I had much more respect for his “honesty” and outspoken ways. I like direct people and he was on point about Ray Goof. I think he is good for CFB and was glad he was back. His direct speak is refreshing when compared to most coaches cliche quotes. I am disappointed in this latest development with oversigning. I think he is so desperate to win at USC that he has lost his way. And that boob photo at the Daytona 500 did not help. We are going to whoop USC chicks this year ….

    • Thanks, man. Yeah, you may be right about Spurrier, although in a sense, that lends credence to something the Senator and others have said here, which is that it’s a lot easier to talk about recruiting ethics from Florida’s vantage point than it is from South Carolina’s because it’s easy pickings for Florida. That’s no excuse, though.

      We’ll see about the game in Athens this year. Carolina should be pretty good if we can keep Garcia on the practice field and away from the bar (admittedly, a tall order) and bolster the secondary play (perhaps more feasible).

  10. Texas_Dawg

    Gamecock Man:

    Second of all, and don’t take this the wrong way, but I’ll question the motives of whoever I like if I think it’s appropriate to do so. I’m an independent voice on this issue and it’s my right to do so.

    (Not taking it the wrong way and as I am very direct with you and others I am fine with you being very direct with me.)

    To your point…

    Yes, you are free to question people’s motives. I never said you can’t. I just said you should not until your side of the street is clean.

    I don’t believe you are Spurrier (of whom, by the way, I was actually a huge fan and defender of for many years… until I really started learning what was going on with this issue. Fellow troll and pot-stirrer that I am, I have long deferentially tipped my hat many times (even when on the receiving end as a UGA fan) to the work of one of the true legends of the art. In fact, one of the biggest losses to me in learning about how disgusting what has been going with oversigning is, is that I can no longer defend and applaud a man whom I so long viewed as one of the great characters making the rich culture of CFB what it is.). But you are a South Carolina fan, and while I appreciate that you are more independent-minded and better positioned on the issue than most SC fans, I’ve read several comments from you that downplay the issue. Questioning the motives of people condemning this practice is one way of doing that.

    Yes, every other school has room for improvement in its behavior as well. And were the topic of discussion about such issues, I might very well agree with you. The last few years have made me so disgusted by this sport (and I was never naive about it… but had no idea the extent to which it had become so deeply corrupted until I began looking into oversigning and learning of not only the depths of the ugliness to which oversigning goes but also of many other ways in which the game is so rotten right now) and by top officials within the SEC and at SEC schools I once secondarily rooted for (having many family members and friends that attended most of them) that I really couldn’t care less about Georgia football’s on-field results, relative to how much I care about the school getting far, far away from the cesspool areas all over the SEC. So to the extent you were able to bring such issues to my attention at UGA (e.g. high arrest totals, the possible room for the exploitation of confusion in terms that was highlighted in this thread, etc.), I would likely strongly agree with you. I cannot tell you how through I am with caring about Georgia football wins and losses until the “S-E-C!” stain of this garbage is removed from the larger brand, reputation, and image of the University of Georgia. And it might be hard for people living in the SEC region to understand, but outside of the SEC, at professional business and academic levels (i.e. not just general sports fan taunts), the stain of “same old SEC” that falls on Georgia with every Wall Street Journal and Outside the Lines report is very, very real. And very justified if we don’t strongly, publicly fight it (as our top officials are strongly doing lately).

      • BTW, although I’m still somewhat unconvinced by a couple of your points, you should know that your posts come across as much more appealing and convincing when they’re not full of pot shots at other institutions, fan bases, etc. There’s a time and a place for a little good-natured smack talk, but this isn’t one of those times, IMO. Reaching out and building connections among audiences in the hopes of producing change is more important here.

        Anyways, thanks for the discussion.

    • Re: Spurrier. If you no longer find him admirable, that’s because he’s changed venues. He didn’t have to push the envelope at Florida because he sat on top of college football’s talent motherlode. Not so in Columbia.

      Opposing oversigning when you’re affiliated with Florida is an easy virtue.

      • Agreed. It’s not an excuse for what Spurrier did here, but it explains a lot. One of the interesting things about the coaches involved here, BTW, is that Saban and certainly Miles don’t really need to oversign to stockpile talent, whereas Spurrier, Nutt, and Petrino are doing to keep up with the guys around them. Again, not an excuse for Spurrier, but it does say a lot about the win-at-all-costs nature of how Saban approaches his craft.

        Also, this is part of what I’ve been saying all along about Richt and other coaches at schools with recruiting advantages having an easier time of not oversigning. Elite programs that suck up all the talent in their areas have the liberty not to offer as many kids and to manage their offers much more vigorously. Mike Sanders said that Ohio St. gets acceptances from 35% of their offers, which means that at some point, at least, they’ve got many, many more offers out than they can afford to accept without oversigning. It seems to me that a program like that is in a much better position to, say, pull many of its offers to uncommitted players when it gets to 20 or so signees, leaving only room for the handful of blue-chip, five-star guys it really, really wants and thinks it has a reasonable chance at.

        • You’d think so, except that’s not the way it works.

          You’re misinterpreting the statistics in the mgoblog link. Coaches are not stupid; they know who they have a chance at and who they have no chance at. Ohio State, for instance, made a scholarship offer to Clowney, and although it was nominally in his final four or five schools, the OSU coaching staff knew they had no chance at him. You will never see more than one or two absolute shockers nationwide, where a school is blindsided by a commitment, and because of this, schools usually don’t pull their offers. Spurrier and his staff pulled the offers on February 1st because that’s as late as they could wait to guarantee they wouldn’t sign with South Carolina and leave no room for Clowney.

          With or without Clowney, wasn’t South Carolina a top 15 class anyway?

          • Maybe I’m missing something and what I’m describing isn’t what’s going on, but I thought that coaches often pulled outstanding offers when the numbers get tight. I know Carolina pulled some offers on guys who had us on their radar as signing day approached. I’m not talking about offers to guys like Clowney. Clowney is a bad example here because nobody pulls an offer on a consensus blue-chipper like Clowney. I’m talking about unrated-to-three-star guys who we could afford to lose out on. Don’t all teams do this when numbers get tight? Let’s say you’ve got 20 verbal commitments and you want 25. You’ve got 10 guys left out there who are strongly considering your school. 5 of them are four- or five-star ringers, and you know you’ve got a really great, over 70% shot at getting each of those guys. The other five are three-star prospects. Isn’t it common to pull some of the five three-star offers in that case, at least among programs that conscientiously avoid oversigning?

            South Carolina, by the way, was ranked 20th on Rivals before Clowney and is now at 18th. I don’t recall us ever being ranked in the Top 15 this year. The last time we were that high was 2008, I believe.

            • My mistake on the recruiting rankings. Thanks for the correction.

              The situation you’re describing does happen at most every school, where there is some uncertainty about who is going to sign and schools are pursuing more people than they have room for. Because Big Ten schools are bound by the conference rules, I don’t know if any of them count as conscientiously avoiding oversigning, but Purdue at least pulled an offer on a kid named AJ King in a way that pissed off the coach enough to bar them from his school: http://collegefootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/02/01/purdue-pulls-scholarship-offer-from-wr-high-school-coach-muy-enojado/. However, that’s the only case I know of this year where a Big Ten school has messed somebody over by pulling an offer.

              Your hypothetical situation touches on numbers, but the problem is that what the program wants and what the program has end up with are very different. If Rivals is correct, South Carolina signed 32 in the 2011 class, and if oversigning.com is correct, that put South Carolina 5 over its recruiting budget of 27. South Carolina pulling the offers had nothing to do with restraint; I think they were trying to get as many recruits as they could, number crunch be damned, while still keeping a chance at Clowney. I believe they knew for at least a few days in advance what they were going to do, and waited to the last possible second before National Signing Day to avoid bad press.

              • Yeah, that makes sense. I wasn’t really trying to defend USC, though. I think we handled our situation poorly. I was more bringing up this point as a way of explaining how Richt could manage to never be oversigned while not necessarily being philosophically opposed to oversigning in certain situations.

                • Also, I’m talking about pulling offers from guys who haven’t yet verbally committed. That doesn’t seem to be the case in the Purdue incident, where the kid had, in fact, verbally committed. I’m more talking about situations where the kid hasn’t committed yet and the coaches tell him that there’s no longer room for him and that he should have committed earlier.

                  • I see. The problem with that (not with what you wrote but with what coaches say) is that there is no binding commitment before National Signing Day, only verbal commitments. It would be nice to have some early commitment procedure, kind of like how high school seniors can send an “early decision” application which binds them to their school if that school accepts them.

                • Okay, I see what you’re saying. Actually, I don’t think there’s anything left to argue about in this thread, though I’d love to pick up on the “competitive advantage is an ethical issue” some other time.

                • Texas_Dawg

                  Yeah, that makes sense. I wasn’t really trying to defend USC, though. I think we handled our situation poorly. I was more bringing up this point as a way of explaining how Richt could manage to never be oversigned while not necessarily being philosophically opposed to oversigning in certain situations.

                  Vanderbilt, Northwestern, Stanford…

                  What you’re doing here is a good example of what I meant by your downplaying what oversigning is and what South Carolina is doing.

                  • And what you’re doing could just as easily be taken as a good example of trying to bend logic to explain away anything that would seem to implicate Richt and Georgia. You do understand that your overall tone in this discussion seems to suggest that you’re unwilling to apply the same rigor to your own school that you apply to others, don’t you?

                    • BTW, I’m not sure I buy the Vandy comparison. Vandy, Georgia, and Florida may all refuse to oversign, but that’s where the comparisons end. In terms of admissions standards and commitment to college athletics, Vandy is very different than Georgia and Florida. Georgia and Florida may not oversign, but they’re certainly not willing to go to some of the other lengths that Vandy goes to to maintain its academic reputation, such as the admissions standards Vandy holds its scholar-athletes to. Georgia and Florida are among the country’s best public universities, but they’re quite willing to give scholarships to athletes who have little interest in academics. Vandy is not.

                      In sum, Vandy doesn’t oversign because it will never forsake its academic standards for athletics. Florida and Georgia don’t oversign at least partially because they have the luxury of not needing to oversign in order to meet their athletic goals. Both Florida and Georgia have histories that demonstrate that sometimes athletics comes before academics in their athletics programs. Can you imagine the Harrick scandal happening at Vandy?

        • Texas_Dawg

          Agreed. It’s not an excuse for what Spurrier did here, but it explains a lot. One of the interesting things about the coaches involved here, BTW, is that Saban and certainly Miles don’t really need to oversign to stockpile talent, whereas Spurrier, Nutt, and Petrino are doing to keep up with the guys around them. Again, not an excuse for Spurrier, but it does say a lot about the win-at-all-costs nature of how Saban approaches his craft.

          This is very weak.

          They all do it to gain an extra advantage. There is no excuse for it anywhere and it is just as unethical and dishonest at South Carolina as it is at Alabama or anywhere else.

          Vanderbilt doesn’t oversign for the same reasons most schools don’t.

          • That’s fair enough. I agree that there’s no excuse for it anywhere, at least not the way that Spurrier did it. I also think, though, that as long as guys like Miles and Saban are doing it, coaches at lesser programs are going to perceive that they need to do it to keep up, which sets off a chain reaction. And that, of course, is a great argument for more rigorous regulations against oversigning. Can we agree there?

      • Texas_Dawg

        I don’t know if he oversigned at Florida or not. But 30-40 more players every 4 years is an advantage wherever you are. Nick Saban doesn’t have to oversign at Alabama either. He does so because it’s a huge additional advantage.

        • Again, that has nothing to do with the point I was making. Florida and Georgia stand to benefit enormously if the SEC imposes a hard cap.

          • Senator, I admire you for pointing this out. It seems that very few people in the Florida, UGA, Ohio St., etc., camps want to acknowledge this. It needs to be recognized, if only to remind the parties involved that any proposed solutions need to be aimed at protecting student athletes and not ensuring the aggrieved parties’ athletic dominance.

            • I understand that, and that is one of the problems with trying to get oversigning prohibited. There’s no way to sugarcoat it: the schools who will get hurt are the mid-tier schools that are doing everything they can to get an edge on the national powerhouses, and one of the schools that is going to be hurt is South Carolina. I’m sorry, but it has to happen regardless.

              I understand the reluctance of the university to go along with it, but there is no other choice: schools are ethically obligated to avoid oversigning. Competition

              • …Competition has to take a back seat to the university taking care of its students. I don’t know what the big-time programs and big-time programs can do in return, but it’s got to happen. (sorry, the end of the last post cut off).

                • Sure, I’m fine with competition taking a back seat to the welfare of the student athletes. I’ve been saying that all along. And to tell the truth, considering that all SEC programs other than Georgia and Florida do it anyways, it might not affect South Carolina profoundly. Georgia and Florida may get a bit harder, but the other series probably won’t be affected all that much if at all.

                  All I’m saying is that I want assurance that the goals of the anti-oversigning agenda are focused on the welfare of the student athletes and not on helping certain schools consolidate power. I hope that that’s the case for you, Mike, and I get the impression that it is, but if you tell me that it is for everyone involved, particularly guys like Delany, McGarity, and Foley, you’re being disingenuous. Lot’s of people are in this at least partially to protect their brands.

                  As the Senator has said elsewhere in this or another thread, the way we ask questions and pose problems tends to determine the kinds of solutions we get, and if we let these folks overemphasize the issue of competition on the playing field, we’ll get a solution that’s focused on that issue, which isn’t necessarily the same thing as the welfare of the student athlete.