“It’s a much more complex question than meets the eye.”

Mike Slive says a whole bunch of nothing about oversigning in this Q&A with Chris Low.

On the heels of national signing day, one of the hot topics right now is oversigning, and those in the Big Ten are screaming that the SEC has a huge advantage because many of the SEC teams oversign so many players. Where do you stand on the matter?

MS: It was two years ago that we took the initiative and put in an SEC rule that 28 was the most you could sign [in one class] and understanding that the rest of the country might not do that. The rest of the country followed suit and copied the SEC rule nationally and made it 28. Now, we’ve had a couple of years with the 28, and there are issues that relate to signing day. We’ve actually had an athletic director committee that’s been looking at all this for several months before all of the articles. We expect a recommendation from the committee that will come to our athletic directors this spring, and I fully expect legislation to be considered in Destin [at the SEC meetings] that will address some of the issues that have been raised.

Do you think we’ll essentially see the end to oversigning in the SEC with some of this new legislation, and will there be some real teeth in this new legislation?

MS: It’s a much more complex question than meets the eye. That’s not to say it isn’t one that needs to be addressed and resolved. Just like we did with the 28 limit, I’m pretty confident that we will take some initiative in Destin to try and deal with some of the issues that have been discussed. It’s complicated when you talk about the 25 you can get in in August and then counting some back and then counting some forward and then the issue of “grayshirting.” You also have more and more prospects enrolling for the spring instead of waiting for the fall. Our athletic directors are trying to take all of those pieces to the puzzle and see if there’s a way in which to address them that’s really fair to the student-athlete and fair to the institution.

Do you agree with Florida president Bernie Machen that “grayshirting” is a morally reprehensible practice?

MS: I think it’s a practice that on its face is one we’re going to address head-on. There’s a question that relates to notice and making sure that everybody knows exactly what’s going on. I think you will find that our ADs and our league will address the issue of “grayshirting.” Bernie has raised it. It’s definitely something that will be a part of whatever recommendations come from our athletic directors.

Honestly, I don’t blame him for yawning about the Big Ten’s complaint about competitive advantage.  But the rest of what’s there is a complete sidestep.  The faux concern about the 25/28-player annual limits is touching, but notice that he says nothing about the real problem, which is screwing kids over to meet the 85-player roster limit.  And if you’re not going to acknowledge a problem, it’s hard to see how you’ll get it fixed.


Filed under Recruiting, SEC Football

18 responses to ““It’s a much more complex question than meets the eye.”

  1. Pingback: Wednesday Morning Mullet Wrapper – Vol. 2 Iss. 1 « Jean Shorts Torture

  2. ChicagoDawg

    Fairly simple to solve, you have a rolling 2yr average of a max of 58 or 60, with the on-going cap of 85. This allows schools some ability to replace losses to legitimate injury or discipline issues and early NFL departures, while limiting the abuses. Also, it allows the school to reserve scholarships for strong years and holding back signings if there is a weak class. A school can sign 40 one year, but could only sign 18-20 the year prior or after.

    • Macallanlover

      Reasonable approach, someone just needs to draw a hard line at some number and enforce it rigidly. The entire “how do we exploit young athletes while pretending we have their best interests at heart……trust us” BS is pretty disgusting. I don’t know Slime personally but it is easy enough to see he isn’t a quality person of great depth. How can we not find a better, stronger leader than this important role? How can the presidents not address this ASAP? The SEC looks as scummy and incompetent as the NCAA.

  3. Scorpio Jones, III

    Slive only does what he is told to do, which is what he seems to be saying.

  4. WarD Eagle

    What if there’s just a cap on total signees and a coach can sign, kick off, etc. whomever he chooses?

    Some coaches, like Richt, barring extreme circumstances, are going to honor the 4 year commitment of the LOI.

    Other coaches, like Saban, are going to run an NFL type program.

    Obviously, the kids that go to Alabama aren’t going with a blind eye to what can happen. If it doesn’t bother them, why should it bother us?

    In the long run, this kind of thing has a way of correcting itself.

    • Hackerdog

      I think we should make the coaches/schools as committed to the LOI as the student is. Right now, if a kid wants to transfer to another FBS school, he has to sit a year. So if you cut a kid from your team, he should count against your 85 limit for the next year.

      • 69Dawg

        Hacker that’s a great suggestion. I would like it to go further, either lengthen the LOI scholarship to 4/5 years or shorten it to match the 1 year the school is liable. To hold the kids to 4 years while letting the schools get out at 1 is unconscionable.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      “If it doesn’t bother them why should it bother us?” It should bother any university that runs its program right, that gets 100 players every 4 years from which to make a team of 85. If Bama gets, say 120 every 4 years from which to make a team of 85, then Bama has a tremendous advantage in available player talent. Capice? But I guess you wouldn’t understand since Auburn is doing exactly the same thing as Bama.

  5. Will Trane

    I like it when philosophy comes on the field. You would like to knock the hell out of it for 4 quarters and go into OT.
    Write some more rules. Go ahead. Let’s make the rules committee the game. Let’s develop and watch legalists, rule makers, lawyers, and such play the game.

    • Mike Sanders


      It’s disingenuous to say that it’s just the Big Ten people complaining about it when you’ve got SI’s national columnists and Dr. Saturday and the Birmingham News criticizing it too. It does grant a competitive advantage, but more important is the people it screws over.

  6. Dog in Fla

    “It’s a much more complex question than meets the eye.”

    In fact, it’s so complex that at the Destin 2012 meetings, after coming up with its stunning solution to split the atom on grayshirting at the Destin 2011 meetings, the AD Committee will answer the following question, “I would just like to know what oversigning is…”

    The committee will start with the basis used to answer Einstein’s Last Question(s) in which he wished to resolve the disparity between the experimental properties of the electron and the commonly assumed discrete electron. Al also wanted to know why it appears that “God plays dice” according to the uncertainty interpretation of quantum mechanics using assumed discrete electrons, which Al did not believe.


    • Shane#1

      Wow, just what I would have said, if I could say that. I think it stands to reason the SEC would be made up of Southern Baptist. How many Southern Baptist does it take to screw in a light bulb? None. However, they are forming a committee to study it, and there will be dinner on the grounds.

  7. Bryant Denny

    Unless you offer a guaranteed, four year scholarship, this “problem” doesn’t go away.

    Senator, a love the “straw man” argument of “screwing kids over.” I don’t disagree that there are some kids that are lied to, taken advantage of, etc. But I would say it’s the exception, not the rule.

    If coaches are lying to kids, yanking their schollies and forcing them to greyshirt after they’ve moved into their dorm (see Miles, Les), then the market will take care of them.

    For example, I do not believe the high school coaches would put up with this. They would advise kids faraway from the offending programs.

    Have a good evening,


    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      The problem is that each kid never thinks it will happen to him. They each think that he will be the star of the team and they are all willing to take the risk of being run off to have a chance to play for the BCSNC Alabama Crimson Tide, the BCSNC Auburn Tigers or the BCSNC Bayou Bengals. Like it or not somebody has to protect the kids from predatory practices by unscrupulous assholes like Satan…er.. Saban, Chizik, Miles, etc. Why do we not let kids have alcohol until the age of 21? Because they are not yet mature enough to handle it (some might be but most are not). Why should the system let grown men who are experts acting on behalf of Billion Dollar institutions take advantage of 18 year old kids? Good evening to you, as well.

      • Bryant Denny

        Again, you are making the argument that everybody is guilty. You just don’t know all the facts. (Neither do I.)

        Solve the problem by making the scholarships a guaranteed four year deal.

        Then, you’ll have to ask Commissioner Slive or the good folks at the NCAA if you can dismiss a guy for not buying in to the brand new S&C program.

        I’m sorry. I’m just a little skeptical of these “populist” ideas that are solved with more regulation.

        Take care,


        • Mayor of Dawgtown

          I am not for more regulations. I am for enforcing the regulations we have already. I am for saying “25 means 25” and you can’t sign more than that per year, period. I realize that might cause havoc (certainly with the oversigners) and some schools might end up with fewer than 85 on scholarship some years but we have to end this oversigning practice. It is not only about the kids. It is also about crooks getting an advantage over honest people and abusing the system. What do you think would happen to society if Georgia state government announced that due to lack of funds and space, it would no longer prosecute armed robbery? The next day every armed robber in Georgia would be sticking up people left and right. There now exists a loophole big enough to drive a train through in the scholarship limitation rule. Some are abusing that loophole while others abide by the spirit of the rule. The abusers are gaining an advantage that way over the honest guys. I favor plugging that loophole. If not, let’s just go back to signing as many as we can get without limitation which would actually favor UGA, IMO. Warmest regards. MoD

          • Bryant Denny

            I don’t really think it’s a loophole.

            I agree with you that the athletes shouldn’t be lied to, etc.

            However, I do think that the schollies should remain one year commitments that don’t have to be renewed. I know this may sound harsh, but it’s not the same as armed robbery.


            • Mayor of Dawgtown

              The armed robbery thing was an analogy. The point is that there is supposed to be a 25 scholarship limit per year but the NCAA does not enforce that limit. That there are ways around that limit allows the less than scrupulous to take advantage of recruits and the other teams that live by the spirit of the rules. That situation is simply wrong and needs to be corrected. Have a good morning. MoD