So, Greg McGarity is ready to go to the mats with Bernie Machen.
First-year UGA athletics director Greg McGarity is strongly opposed to the practice of oversigning football prospects and in favor of legislation to help curtail such activity among SEC institutions.
“It’s just the right thing to do,” McGarity told Dawgs247 this week…
… According to McGarity, “I think it will be a topic for discussion (at SEC meetings) in Destin this year.”
“I think you will see controls in place,” McGarity said. “Now what that model will look like will be determined later — sooner than later. … I think you’ll see it being dealt with at the conference level much like the Big Ten (Conference) deals with it currently.”
I think he’s optimistic.
Here’s his problem. Mark Richt is on the side of the angels when he says,
“The goal is to never make a promise you can’t keep,” Richt said. “That’s the big thing for me. If there’s a kid that you say, ‘Hey look, we are at our number. Those numbers change. There’s attrition. Things happen,’ but the hard thing is when you sign a guy in February and then you don’t have to declare your number until school starts, and you know there may be some attrition in the meantime. … To say that it wouldn’t have nice to have one or two other guys that you thought could come in and make an impact on your football team, that’s the tough part.”
And McGarity adds some pretty strong language to that.
“I think the thing you focus on is, ‘What kind of conversation are you having with these young men and their parents up front? Are you making them aware of all the dynamics that could occur?’ I think the majority of the time that’s probably not the case.”
But that’s not what the debate is going to focus on (too bad, in my opinion). The fight is going to be over competitive disarmament.
… In the Big Ten, teams are restricted from recruiting more than the 85 players. This has led to cries that Big Ten schools continue to play against a stacked deck when it comes to the SEC, which has an ongoing five-year streak of BCS titles.
“No question it gives the SEC a big advantage,” former Ohio State coach John Cooper recently told The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch. “And let’s face it — they don’t need another advantage.”
If McGarity does the math, it’s a loser for him to allow the debate to proceed on those terms.
… Auburn actually signed 32 prospects in Feb. 2010, months before winning the BCS national championship. Alabama, the previous national champ before Auburn, signed 32 players in Feb. 2008.
According to Oversigning.com, a Web site designed to raise awareness of this topic, in addition to Alabama and Auburn, Ole Miss, Arkansas, Mississippi State, South Carolina and Tennessee have all reportedly logged classes of 30 or more football signees in the past five years.
That’s seven schools right there. Add the Hat in, and you’ve got a solid majority that’s going to fight giving up the right to sign half of the world in February. One thing you can say about Mike Slive is that he’s not the kind of guy who expends a lot of political capital on a losing cause. My bet is that the most we’ll see in the short run is some fairly meaningless window dressing. The SEC ain’t the home of the cowbell compromise for nothing.