That contract’s not worth the piece of paper it’s printed on, son.

Andy Staples makes a lengthy argument that the saga of Justin Taylor is proof that the hard-25 man rule the SEC implemented last summer is having the intended effect of curtailing some of the more egregious oversigning conduct we’ve seen recently.

But here’s the part of his piece that really caught my eye:

Earlier this month, Taylor took an official visit to Tuscaloosa. There, Alabama coach Nick Saban told Taylor that because of a combination of the new rule and the torn ACL Taylor suffered in September, Taylor couldn’t sign with the class of 2012. Taylor said Saban offered to sign a contract stating that Alabama would guarantee Taylor a scholarship in the 2013 signing class.[Emphasis added.] One of the new rules states that an SEC school can sign only 25 players a year. Essentially, Taylor had slipped to the 26th-most-important player committed to Alabama for the class of 2012.

Now Taylor must weigh his options. Does he take Saban at his word and wait for an Alabama scholarship in 2013? Or does he attempt to seek a scholarship for 2012 at some other school? At the moment, he isn’t sure. “I’m still getting my head together,” Taylor told SI.com on Monday night.

Now wait a minute – if Saban’s willing to offer the kid a contract guarantee, why does Taylor have to “take Saban at his word”?  The answer, of course, is that there isn’t any such thing being offered to the kid.  And if he were allowed to have any form of consultation with an advisor, he’d know it.  The NCAA thinks he’s better off without that help, though.  You can bet whatever Saban did tell Taylor was thoroughly vetted first, though.

Nice system you’ve got there.

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27 Comments

Filed under Recruiting, The NCAA

27 responses to “That contract’s not worth the piece of paper it’s printed on, son.

  1. TennesseeDawg

    Saban wrote the entire contract on the back of a Golden Corral napkin in red crayon.

  2. Lrgk9

    The truth is Malzon quit and T. J. Yeldon switched from the Barn to the Hammers and Taylor gets the pink slip.

  3. Eric

    I feel a Lexicon entry coming realting to Saban/Justin Taylor/Oversigning/NCAA/Worthless Pieces of Paper.

  4. Hogbody Spradlin

    I suppose the University of Alabama could enter into a legally enforceable contract to give Justin Taylor a scholarship in the next class, but what could Justin promise in return? And why would Justin promise anything in return? Saban has already welshed once.

    It seems the hard 25 rule reduces but doesn’t eliminate oversigning/grayshirting. I read elsewhere that Bama needs to fire 3 more to get to 85 and LSU needs to fire 4 or 5 more. They’ll keep on doing it, and Spurrier too, with no bad effect on recruiting. I doubt any player thinks he’ll ever be the one to get the axe, until it actually happens.

    Anybody read “Meat on the Hoof”? What goes around comes around.

    • Biggus Rickus

      Given that it’s Saban drawing up the contract, I would assume Taylor’s requirement would be pledging his eternal soul to his service.

    • Question is, would the NCAA hold it enforceable? If so, what’s to stop that from altering the dynamics entirely, where now juniors get similar “contracts”, fall commits can force similar “contracts”, etc.

    • gastr1

      I can’t imagine Alabama’s lawyers would ever agree to such a thing. You just don’t make legally-binding agreements like that with students.

      • Hogbody Spradlin

        Gastr, I think that hits what bugs me about the concept of a contract. If it was a good idea, some school would have already contracted with a greatest prospect in history, before their senior year. The whole idea is just inconceivable. The fact that they’re minors is only the start. Maybe the whole idea of an advance contract is outside the normal realm of amateur status.

        • gastr1

          Right. I don’t much about the law, Hogbody, but I know enough to know that contracts are serious things…not bandied about as lightly as this.

  5. Joey T

    No we’re not going to redshirt you, son. No we’re not going to grayshirt you either, but how about this toilet paper shirt.

  6. The ATH

    “oversigning — a morally gray practice *most* SEC schools have employed to gain a competitive advantage over their non-oversigning conference foes and out-of-conference recruiting rivals.”

    I’d like to see the data where he comes up with “most.” Near as I can tell, Ole Miss, USCe, Bama and LSU are the only offenders, which makes him 3 teams short of “most.” Glad to see he mentions that we don’t oversign, but I’m not sure why we’re deserving of blame when we don’t sweep in to clean up Saban’s mess.

    Maybe I’m a cynic, but I don’t ever see this really coming back to bite these guys as long as they keep winning. Unfortunately, recruits are like entering 1Ls – they all think they’re going to be in the top 10% and that this shit won’t happen to them.

    • Maybe I’m a cynic, but I don’t ever see this really coming back to bite these guys as long as they keep winning. Unfortunately, recruits are like entering 1Ls – they all think they’re going to be in the top 10% and that this shit won’t happen to them.

      I don’t entirely disagree with your premise, but I do believe that kids (and their parents by extension) that fall for this sort of crap can partially be tied to the fact that the NCAA does not allow prospective student-athletes to hire an advisor or counsel of any sort when making this decision. Players and their families are basically at the mercy of the sales pitch being made by coaches that don’t always have the players’ best interests at heart most of the time and their own competency (I know mine was pretty short at 18, not sure about you). All these players and families see are Alabama winning national titles and guys like Julio Jones going in the 1st round of the NFL Draft and they want to be a part of that. They aren’t aware of the dark side of recruiting that a coach isn’t going to go out of his way to share with them (i.e. if you aren’t performing up to my completely subjective expectations or the next hot thing at RB signs with me next year I can choose not to renew your scholarship). The NCAA really could help the situation by providing counsel or allowing student-athletes to at least seek some sort of counsel at their own cost before making the biggest decision of their young lives. You wouldn’t sign a mortgage or enter into some sort of major contract without the advice of a professional in that field. Why should we expect it to be different for the biggest decision of a young person’s life?

      • Cojones

        Maybe the recruited player and family should ask if they can record their converstions to prevent another inJustinfication.

      • The ATH

        This is obviously ripe for abuse, and frankly it’s not like a quick google search wouldn’t turn up the truth. If they don’t have the desire or awareness to type something into the interwebs, it’s a stretch to think they’ll seek out and pay an unbiased expert.

      • Just Chuck

        Wouldn’t a kids HS coach be in a position to give advice on signing? Wonder how many of them do. Wonder if they are in a position to give good advice.

  7. Craig Cowart

    Saban never intended for Taylor to wait around. He hoped/assumed Taylor would refuse and go elsewhere. This was just a way to make it look somewhat better for Alabama than simply withdrawing the offer. Taylor would be crazy to accept Saban’s illegal and unenforceable proposition.

  8. W Cobb Dawg

    I’m amazed that saban can get 27+ commitments and UGA seems to be having a difficult time getting to 20. It’s not over til it’s over, and of course saban is a liar. But is he also out-working our staff? He is obviously much more convincing and determined. What bothers me about this situation is with all that UGA has to offer, recruits should be kicking down our doors instead of getting jerked around by people like saban.

    • AthensHomerDawg

      Saban has some bling bling on those fingers and can bs and cover his azz to the nth degree. Perhaps we need to up our game? That ain’t happening sir.

  9. Debby Balcer

    There was an article in the Greenville SC paper today about USCe being over the number now and how some kids were going to be told they weren’t performing as they should not necessarily on the field but how they hadn’t done what they should have so they would need to transfer today. Spurrier and Saban need to be stopped from making empty promises and signing more kids then they only way to make the 85 number is let kids go.

  10. Meg

    Yeah, my favorite part of that article was that UGA should somehow offer his a scholarship because they take the moral high ground in this debate. No mention of the fact that UGA already has two RBs and a FB committed and another RB committed in the class of 2013. That was just an asinine statement out of Staples.