The SEC oversigning debate, in one paragraph

From today’s SEC teleconference:

… The former Florida coach and the current one have divergent views on over-signing. Will Muschamp said Florida had “no need” to do that. But Spurrier said that with the academics of the state of South Carolina, “it would be helpful to over-sign.”


Filed under Recruiting, SEC Football

38 responses to “The SEC oversigning debate, in one paragraph

  1. Mayor of Dawgtown

    Oversigning is like a disease. If you do not do something about it, it will spread. Spurrier saw what happened at Bama (and also Auburn) and now he wants to use it hoping to replicate that success at USCe and is rationalizing his behavior. If it ain’t against the rules, others are doing it and you are not doing it–you are at a competitive disadvantage. I personally disapprove of oversigning. But if our rivals do it and we do not we will be left in the dust. Those who ignore this basic reality do so at their peril. We must either get it outlawed or start oversigning ourselves. This is the very sort of thing that caused Bobby Bowden to publicly question whether his then protege, Mark Richt, had what it took to be a head coach. Was he tough enough? That, in a nutshell is why I fell off the Richt bandwagon last year although I still want very much for him to succeed. I want a football coach to head up the UGA football program, not a preacher. If I want a preacher I will go to church.

    • Much like Florida, Georgia has a much larger in state talent base to draw on than South Carolina does. Plus, its in state rival isn’t as much of a competitor for that talent as Clemson is.

      As Muschamp puts it, Georgia doesn’t “need” to oversign.

      • South Carolina (and Ole Miss and Mississippi State and Kentucky and Arkansas) needs to oversign to keep up with Georgia and Florida and Alabama and LSU in recruiting. Without oversigning, it would have a hard time remaining competitive.

        Too bad. It sucks to be them.

        • LSU is the puzzle to me. If anybody in the SEC doesn’t need to oversign, it’s Les Miles.

          • At first isn’t about need. In a world with no oversigning, no school would need that edge to be able to compete. It’s a shortcut to success: a way to get better, for the middling and low teams, and a way to stay on top for the top teams. After LSU and Alabama ramped up the oversigning and Ole Miss really ramped it up, the rest of the SEC West had to do it to keep up, and half of the SEC East, to a certain extent.

            All of this is fairly obvious, and I don’t mean to insult anyone’s intelligence with the simplicity of the timeline. Wherever there is a competitive advantage to be had permissible under the rules, coaches will almost always take it. Steve Spurrier said earlier today, “anytime there’s so much money involved, you’ll have people that want to fudge the rules.” That’s what is happening.

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        Is having a lot of really good players in your state an advantage? Yes. Is oversigning an advantage? Yes. Can the second overcome the first? Maybe, maybe not. Nevertheless, why should we give rivals the chance to pick a team from a group of 30-35 per year yet limit ourselves to picking a team from 25 per year? Either get the practice outlawed or (with regret) start doing it ourselves.

        • Mayor of Dawgtown

          P.S. Look at the recent results. The SEC West teams for the most part are the ones that oversigned. The SEC East teams didn’t. The SEC East got creamed by the SEC West last year. This ain’t brain surgery.

          • Biggus Rickus

            Using a one-year sample isn’t very compelling. Oversigning is not new, and the Western teams did not just start doing it. So why has the East generally been superior to the West in 2000s?

            • Mayor of Dawgtown

              The wealth of talent in Florida and Georgia is basically the answer to your question about why the East was superior before. And the East’s superiority over the West had been going on for many years, not just the 2000s. That ended abruptly in 2009 and last year, in my view, because oversigning by West teams finally pushed the West over the East competitively.

              • Biggus Rickus

                You get players for four to five years. So you’re telling me that oversigning from 2001 to 2005 had no effect but it suddenly led to superiority in 2009 and 2010? The West got better coaches, Florida, Georgia and Tennessee found themselves in upheaval. That’s the explanation. Oversigning may help Western teams on the margins, but I don’t think it’s a huge competitive advantage.

                • Biggus is hitting the nail on the head here. There are lots of other factors explaining the West’s rise in 2010. Really, the only two team that was significantly better than it was in the early part of the decade is ‘Bama. ‘Bama is a traditional powerhouse that was on probation during the first part of the decade. They’re off probation now, and that, along with the influx of coaches like Petrino, Malzahn, etc., is the biggest factor in the West’s current strength.

                  • Biggus Rickus

                    Mississippi State is vastly improved, but I think that has everything to do with coaching. Arkansas is also slightly improved under Petrino. Coaching again. Ole Miss is better than they were under Orgeron as well. And that’s coaching. I’ll need more data to determine if Auburn is actually better under Chizik. Last year could have been a fluke. I respect Malzhan a lot, but Tuberville had a very nice run from ’04 through ’06.

          • Dawgwalker07

            I think it’s a pretty loose argument to hang the entirety of the SEC West’s success on the size of their signing classes.

            • Mayor of Dawgtown

              What do YOU hang it on? What is YOUR explanation? It’s really easy to say that an explanation is “loose” and give no reason. What is YOUR explanation?

              • Vinings Dog

                My explanation for the emergence of the West would be Nick Saban and Cam Newton. I am serious. Those two people do not arrive on campus and we have a different landscape. However, oversigning DOES help and I think we need to level the playing field

        • marktheshark

          We do pick a team from 30-35 people every year. We just make our cuts before signing day, not after. We do our due diligence and don’t sign players we know won’t qualify. Signing a letter of intent only guarantees a scholarship with condition. We go through and determine whether or not those conditions have been met before the signing occurs. They wait until after. Having those extra recruits sign on signing day wouldn’t make much of a difference to us. We are getting the player’s we want.

          I think the level at which some people attribute winning to oversigning in not only overplayed, but simply not related. The Big 10 folks (like the guy at use it as a red herring as to why they lose relevance to the SEC. I feel that your argument (not you, your argument) does the same thing.

          • I’m inclined to agree. I’ve read some good arguments here as to the competitive advantage provided by oversigning, but I’m somewhat skeptical regarding just how large that advantage is. I have a feeling that if oversigning is restricted, which I do hope is the case for the recruits’ sake, a lot of folks are going to be disappointed to find that Nick Saban will still win football games. They’ll then find something else to pin on him. Saban isn’t a likeable person, and hence we all want to think he’s a dirty coach. The truth probably isn’t that simple.

            • Mayor of Dawgtown

              Saban took a 6-6 team to the BCSNC in 2 years. If oversigning were outlawed today would he still win games? Sure. It already paid off for him. His team is stocked and the pipeline is fully open now. Actually oversigning is the way for the SEC East to catch up. Saban ought to be on the soapbox for outlawing it. He’s already gotten the benefit. Slam the door shut so no competitor will, too.

              • Saban would have turned ‘Bama around without it. I’m sure it’s helped, particularly with late-season depth. I’m not disputing that. I’m just saying that I think we’re overstating how much it’s contributed to his success when we act like he wouldn’t be winning anything without it.

                Heck, I don’t have time to go check, but Shula was probably oversigning, too. I doubt the only difference between Shula and Saban is oversigning.

                • Also, look at the Nuttster. He won big at Ole Miss *before* his being able to take advantage of his oversigned classes. The difference is that then he had Orgeron’s (sp.?) classes at his disposal, which were more loaded with high-end talent.

                  Do you think South Carolina improved last year because of oversigning or because it finally succeeded in keeping players like Lattimore and Jeffery in the state?

                  • Marmot

                    Oversigning has to provide some tangible advantage or Saban wouldn’t bother with it. I suspect the advantage is in picking a 2 deep team out of 70 capable players as opposed to picking a 2 deep team out of 60 capable players. If you don’t aggressively oversign then you probably set your program up to be 5 to 15 players down in division 1 capable athletes any given season.

                    Georgia or Florida will start with a talent pool of enrolled signees equivalent to Bama’s or LSU’s, but they won’t cast off the “mis-fires” as quickly as possible, replacing them with that extra 3 star project that turns out to be Nick Fairly (3* OT out of high school with grade issues) like Auburn or Bama will.

                    • I don’t doubt that it provides a tangible benefit. I just think some people are overstating the extent of that benefit. It provides a little bit more talent at the bottom of the depth chart. That can certainly help, but it’s not the only factor in the Western Division’s success last year.

    • Go Dawgs!

      Boy, some folks can turn anything into a “Richt Loves God Too Much to Succeed” argument. Richt himself said that if a few things had shaken out differently on signing day, we could have ended up over our limit and forced to gray shirt someone. The main difference, of course, being that Richt was honest with everyone in the process and it wasn’t going to be a surprise for anyone if it happened.

      While Richt’s stance against oversigning is public, though, his boss is the guy who is leading the charge against it. So, you might want to modify your statement to “I want an athletic director, not a preacher”. Richt couldn’t oversign like the rest of these schools even if he wanted to because his boss said, “No.”

  2. Normaltown Mike

    “But Spurrier said that with the academics of the state of South Carolina…”

    insert joke here.

    • X-Dawg

      I laughed at that too. Maybe he was actually thinking “….that with the IQ of the the students of the state of South Carolina…..”

      • Todd

        The joke was watching Rambo,the “HITMAN” , and Branden Smith act like they didn’t want to hit Lattimore. Laugh away, but Clowney and Phillip Dukes will destroy Shoulder Injury U in the coming years. Say what you want, but Gates might start and he was a last minute steal from Kentucky.

        Several things stand out to me about Richt. The bowl game with Mich. St. End of 1st half with 2 TOs , Moreno, and Stafford….and he wants to run the clock out. And yes the 4 down call against UCF. The playing not lose instead of playing to win. The recruiting strategy of going after one RB Crowell( Thomas Brown included). Has annybody looked at what Alabama is signing? The no playing time bullshit doesn’t cut it. They are getting it done.
        Everybody talks about redshirting Moreno, but what about Samuels? He was very young and how could anybody think he was going to be a great RB? He ran straight up with no moves. I know that I am not the only one that thought he was a LB from the start. Carlton Thomas, a scholarship RB in the SEC? Really? I mean, put him in the slot or find a way to put him in space. The very idea of running him in the middle is just laughable.
        These are the kind of decisions that lead to not oversigning. Honest with kids and letting them decide where they want to play instead of putting them where they are going to play is another reason Richt is soft. Just like his teams. I hope things turn around, but they are going to have to show me something different that what I have seen the last few years.
        3 TE sets(Figgins @FB)? Do we see them this year or not? That is being creative, not running Thomas @175 lbs in the middle.

        • Thanks for all your insightful commenting on oversigning. You brought a lot to the table today. I suppose some people can twist any topic into an excuse to bash on Richt even if that topic has absolutely nothing to do with Richt.

        • sUGArdaddy

          Todd, c’mon, brother…you’re smarter than this.

    • etenndawgfan

      being the product of a SC education, Spurrier is right on. Thankfully, Mississippi kept SC from the bottom of the pile at that time.

    • Mike

      There is something quite amusing in reading where residents of Georgia talk intelligence smack to residents of South Carolina.

      The pot and tea kettle parable comes to mind.

  3. Dog in Fla

    Spurrier was probably still in shellshock from this rally in Columbia when he made his academic comments

  4. SC Dawg

    I abstain from this conversation, courteously. As I hope my other Carolina immigrant, “SCDawg,” does too.

  5. shane#1

    Maybe if SOS can keep more guys like Lattemore and Clowney he won’t have to oversign. There are schools in rural Ga that are no better than SC schools, so that sounds like a cop out to me. You can’t blame academics for an A.J. Green going to Athens.

    • I’d say that landing players like Lattimore had much more to do with USC’s success last year than anything else. In the past, Lattimore would have gone to Auburn, Georgia, Florida, or some other more prominent program, just like numerous South Carolina recruits did before him. In 2008, though, Carolina beat out the heavy hitters for Stephon Gilmore and Alshon Jeffery, last year we got Lattimore, and this year we got Clowney. The presence of these kinds of players has changed what this program is capable of doing.

      The question to me right now is whether or not we’ll be able to continue this kind of recruiting once Spurrier is gone.

  6. Macallanlover

    Actually, they are both right. Nothing wrong with setting a firm max about 2-3 above the number of schollies available for every school in D1 to allow for fallout. Adjust the next year if all qualify, that would increase the emphasis on signing better student athletes. But once that number is set, allow zero exceptions.

  7. sUGArdaddy

    The bottom line is that oversigning is no big deal if coaches are honest. But, you can’t legislate honesty nor keep people accountable to it except by ‘my word against his.’ So, you have to legislate it.

    However, I believe this year’s class was a sign of a turning tide that parents get it with Richt. They know he’s honest and in this day and age, that is a commodity in a coach this is seldom seen. I think you’re going to see more parents flock to that honesty…because they know he means it when he says he’ll take care of their boy.