… One of the points I brought up on the show was about the practice of schools rewarding coaches with bonuses for signing a “top” class (either top 5, top 10 or top 25), or for landing a certain number of four-star players. With coaches having even more of an incentive to meet certain quotas and rankings, they often try to sign certain recruits that they know might have a very tough time qualifying academically.
I wrote about the “Sign-and-Place” method in “Meat Market,” and for schools that deal heavily with junior college recruits, that also factors in. The process is this: Sign the shaky four-star prospect so that you can up your recruiting ranking, impress other prospective recruits, appease your fan base (and, in turn, the administration), increase your own chance of landing that recruiting bonus, and then send the players who can’t get in academically to a junior college as if it’s a farm system. If the kid turns out to be a complete knucklehead or flops on the field, you forget about him. If not, you didn’t take up a spot for two years and then the juco coach, who is thrilled you sent him a talented player, has protected him for you and sends you back a more ready-to-play, developed prospect.
Contra Joshua, I don’t think a recruiting bonus is unethical, but it certainly is the sign of a stupid athletic director. (And Jimmy Sexton, probably.) I just wish Feldman would give us a few specific examples.
I will say I think Feldman stretches the sign-and-place stuff a little bit. Richt has done his fair share of that over the years; I can’t say that I’ve seen the Georgia fan base get that excited about kids who don’t show up on campus with the rest of their class. Maybe the reaction at other schools is different, though.