Daily Archives: May 25, 2010

By the numbers

I’m not sure how many of you are familiar with Oversigning.com.  As its name indicates, it’s a blog dedicated to tracking the fairly common practice on the part of a number of schools of signing more kids than the NCAA limits allow (25 scholarships per year; 85 total scholarships on roster) with the expectation that the numbers will sort themselves out into compliance by the time they have to.

Let me make something clear before I’m bombarded by irate fans from a nearby program to our west.  In and of itself, signing more kids than the NCAA limits allow isn’t a rule violation, at least not when it occurs.  Nothing prohibits a coach from culling kids from a program.  And I honestly don’t think in this era of negative recruiting that coaches deny the numbers game to the kids they recruit.  What would be the point?  Besides, as this chart clearly indicates, it’s a common enough practice in the SEC…

SEC Recruiting Numbers 2002 – 2010

Teams Conf. 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 Total Avg.
Auburn SEC 31 27 29 22 25 30 29 28 32 253 28.11
Miss. State SEC 30 28 23 29 24 33 27 27 26 247 27.44
South Carolina SEC 27 28 29 28 24 31 23 29 23 242 26.89
Arkansas SEC 23 25 32 24 26 27 26 31 25 239 26.56
Ole Miss SEC 18 21 25 28 30 22 31 37 25 237 26.33
Alabama SEC 19 19 29 32 23 25 32 27 29 235 26.11
Kentucky SEC 15 22 28 26 31 29 20 29 26 226 25.11
LSU SEC 26 28 26 13 26 26 26 24 29 224 24.89
Tennessee SEC 25 22 24 26 22 32 18 22 25 216 24.00
Florida SEC 23 26 23 18 27 27 22 17 27 210 23.33
Georgia SEC 31 25 20 17 28 23 24 20 19 207 23.00
Vanderbilt SEC 22 22 20 25 25 14 21 18 24 191 21.22

… so the odds are good that many recruits are facing the issue at more than one school courting them.

I’m also going to avoid passing judgment on the rationale justifying the practice, which, in essence boils down to Nick Saban is a smart man and knows what he’s doing.

Here’s what I am interested in – does oversigning as a year-in, year-out practice work?  Chris Low parses the SEC numbers for the past four classes and comes up with this:

Auburn has averaged signing 29.75 players in the last four recruiting classes, beginning with the 2007 class. Ole Miss is second (28.75), Alabama and Mississippi State tied for third (28.25) and Arkansas tied for fifth (27.25).

South Carolina was seventh nationally (26.50), while LSU was tied for eighth (26.25).

The only SEC schools at 25 or under during that span, according to oversigning.com, were Tennessee (24.25), Florida (23.25), Georgia (21.50) and Vanderbilt (19.25).

There’s not exactly a lot of rhyme and reason there.  Three of the bottom four teams there have represented the SEC East in the championship game every year since… well, every year.  Auburn’s been at the top of the conference in signees and has zip to show for it since 2004.  Ditto for #2 Ole Miss.

So, if you’re Houston Nutt, is it worth getting an SEC rule named after you?



Filed under Recruiting, SEC Football

Tuesday morning buffet

Awful lot of government stuff today.  Sorry about that…

  • I still don’t think the stuff that Michigan did to draw the NCAA’s ire was a capital crime, but I am detecting a whiff of finger-pointing from both the head coach and the school in their response that’s none too savory.
  • All you did was weaken a country today, Navy football program. That’s all you did. You put people’s lives in danger.
  • A House committee questions medical practices at Texas Tech.  School blames Mike Leach.  Big surprise there.
  • Does the IRS want to know about coaches’ compensation?
  • And the Justice Department wants to take a look at the one-year renewable scholarship.  Good.
  • With all the antitrust talk about the BCS, it’s worth looking at the Supreme Court’s ruling yesterday in the American Needle case.  It’s not exactly on point, but the Court did recognize the need for sports leagues to make “a host of collective decisions” that would be beyond antitrust challenge.
  • He said “getting in our behinds”Heh.


Filed under Academics? Academics., Gene Chizik Is The Chiznit, It's Just Bidness, Mike Leach. Yar!, The NCAA

The Schlabach Hour

Mark Schlabach’s latest chat contained some great Georgia-related stuff.

First, this is about as succinct a summary of this year’s road map to success as you’ll see:

Georgia Jim (Athen, Ga)

Mark-Why do you have Georgia ranked so low when teams Richt has coached have finished in the top 10, 13 of his 16 seasons? Seen Ealey, AJ, Olson & Murray lately?

Mark Schlabach

(1:10 PM)

I’ve seen all of them. Want to see more out of DL. Where is the pass rush going to come from? If Dogs get anything out of Murray, they’re going to win 10 games. Best WR in the country. Two good backs. Senior-laden OL. Best kicker and punter in the SEC. All comes down to defense.

Then, there’s a little Fabris love tossed out.

Jim (Tucker Georgia)

What 3 things must Richt do to beat Florida?

Mark Schlabach

(1:30 PM)

1. Get Murray comfortable quickly2. Find pass rushers3. Quit kicking the ball out of bounds

No mention of the weather, though.  And here’s a snappy comeback.

Mike (Atlanta GA)

Why is the anti-Georgia ESPN bias so strong–example, 2007, Herbie campaigns aganst Georgia for LSU against Oklahoma precedent?

Mark Schlabach

(1:11 PM)

I can’t stand the Dogs…

He’ll be here all week, folks.  Try the veal!

Seriously, there are some other tidbits/observations tossed in there about subjects like Grantham and a Brantley/Murray comparison that are worth your attention briefly.  Give it a look.


Filed under ESPN Is The Devil, Georgia Football

Show me the money.

Read Barnhart’s latest thought piece about SEC expansion.  It doesn’t touch on tradition or rivalries and what makes the best competitive fit.  It’s all about keeping up with Big Ten revenue generation.

And that’s the typical analysis you see when somebody discusses the underpinnings of the whole crazed expansion debate.  There’s simply a cold-blooded recognition of the laws of supply and demand that I haven’t seen anybody question, other than the spectacularly clueless John Feinstein (and that’s probably due to Delany hatred more than anything else).

Yet, when you turn to the talk about the BCS and playoffs, you rarely see the same type of analysis.  Basic economics don’t apply in the same way.

Why is that?


Filed under BCS/Playoffs, College Football, It's Just Bidness

The BCS, Georgia Tech and Jerry Maguire

Finally, a public flak firm that’s earning its money – that would be the law firm/lobbyist Arent Fox, which the Mountain West retained to make its case for automatic BCS inclusion.  They’ve looked at some numbers and come up with an argument that’s certainly got some emotional heft to it, as Matt Hinton explains.

… There’s a certain, credible strain of argument that the BCS power brokers shouldn’t be under any obligation to provide small-conference teams with equal access to the postseason pie because the “Big Six” conferences that run the show are overwhelmingly responsible for making that pie; hence, the high double standard for entry favoring the teams that ultimately drive the revenue. But this is a different argument: Here, even after the WAC and Mountain West champions have overcome those barriers to entry, they’ve delivered higher TV ratings, better finishes in the final polls and better attendance in the big-money games themselves than the Big East or ACC … only to leave with half the paycheck to split among not only their own conferences, but all the non-Big Six leagues, most of which have never even produced a contender for a BCS spot.

Andy Staples finally figures out how to pitch a BCS argument that gets my attention.

… Still, why are golden tickets going to leagues that don’t bring in additional gold? On Monday at the Big East meetings in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., Big East commissioner John Marinatto said losing the conference’s contractually guaranteed automatic bid is a non-issue. But why should the BCS extend the ACC and Big East’s automatic qualifying status the next time around if they can’t bring as much to the table as the Mountain West? The argument that the AQ conferences are more valuable commercial properties than the non-AQs is entirely correct, but all AQs are not created equal. The Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-10 and SEC have pulled their weight for the BCS in the past five years by bringing in monster ratings and by filling stadiums. The Big East and ACC have not.

For sending Georgia Tech to an Orange Bowl played with empty seats and fewer television viewers than the Fiesta, the ACC received a cool $17.7 million. For argument’s sake, let’s assume the Fiesta Bowl’s 8.23 rating — compared to the Orange’s 6.80 — was a result of the novelty of watching two teams from outside the power structure playing in a BCS bowl. That still doesn’t explain why Georgia Tech didn’t even sell its entire 17,500-ticket allotment.

There was probably a new Star Trek episode on that night.  But I digress.

While I think that Matt and Andy make a good case that these numbers score points in the court of public opinion, I disagree with their conclusion that they’ll have a similar impact in antitrust court.  The best way I can illustrate that is to look back at the last successful antitrust litigation involving college football, Oklahoma’s and Georgia’s suit against the NCAA about TV contracts.  The problem there wasn’t that the NCAA was negotiating television deals.  It was that it prevented individual schools and conferences from doing the same thing.

But that’s not the issue here.  There’s absolutely nothing stopping the Mountain West, or any of the other mid-major conferences, from arming themselves with the Arent Fox data and going to, say, Jerry Jones and Fox to pitch a bowl game for bigger bucks than the BCS is now doling out to them.  (If they really want a marketing winner, offer to make Notre Dame a permanent opponent in the game against the top-ranked mid-major.)  It’ll be the market that decides whether such a game is viable.

And before you settle-it-on-the-field folks get your collective panties in a wad over this, remember that none of it has anything to do with the title game, which has no restrictions on which teams take part and doesn’t tailor the checks handed out to the participants by conference affiliation.  We’re just talking about glorified exhibition games and payouts.

This is all about the Quan, brother.


UPDATE: The Arent Fox numbers work Boise State’s president into a state of righteous indignation.  (That “reverse discrimination” reference is an especially nice touch.)

(h/t Andy Staples’ Twitter feed)


Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Georgia Tech Football, It's Just Bidness