Part of the difficulty I have with the oversigning debate is that even those who are hawks on the subject don’t necessarily agree on the terms.
Greg McGarity, for example, is focused on the 85-scholarship rule.
McGarity also said that Georgia football will not allow oversigning — a practice that some programs participate in and is garnering more attention by both media and regulating bodies. “We will not sign more than 85 scholarship football players,” he noted.
Florida president Bernie Machen, however, objects to his peers failing to honor the spirit of the SEC’s 28-signee restriction.
“Every (SEC) president sat at the table when we had that discussion,” says Machen, referring to the 28-player rule. “For some reason, some of them are not stepping up and stopping it. Imagine what would happen if in the general student body admission process, the same thing happened. If you admit a student in early February then you tell them in early July that we’re not going to have a spot for you. The public wouldn’t stand for it, and I don’t believe, if we put enough sunshine on this, the public will allow this to happen, in intercollegiate athletics.”
Now, I like his “we’re not going to have a spot for you” standard. It’s easy to observe and it highlights the truly egregious aspect of oversigning. But I think McGarity’s focus does more to honor that than the SEC’s 28-player rule does. Especially when you see the SEC taking the lead on ways to avoid tripping over that annual limit.
… In essence, if a school fails to use the full initial counter limit in a recruiting class and graduates a few players early, they can maximize the number of players they can bring in. Oversigning though, is not the term one uses when talking about 2010-78.
“It’s actually tied to not oversigning,” Sankey said. “You would have to have someone on your 85-man limit leave for graduation. I think we all agree that’s a positive. And then you have to have room in your current initial counters to bring someone new in. You’re not, in any way, disenfranchising someone.”
Indeed, the new rule should provide a competitive advantage to schools that graduate players early. Many would consider this a good thing. It could also mean some players are pushed to graduate early in order to get them out and bring new players in. Given the time constraints already placed on some student-athletes, it could be something schools use to push their athletes academically to their detriment and the school’s benefit.
Once this kicks in, I can see Alabama setting the conference standard in player graduation rates.