It’s Nick Saban’s world, and the NCAA is just living in it.

If you believe there’s going to be a serious move to rein in what we fondly call roster management, prepare to be disappointed.

John Infante notes this little known bit of NCAA legislation:

In September 2012, the NCAA Division I Subcommittee for Legislative Relief adopted guidelines for waivers based on an assertion that the student-athlete was “run off” by their previous institution. The NCAA staff is directed to grant relief in cases where an athlete is ineligible for the one-time transfer exception due to playing a sport which does not have the exception or because it is their second (or more) transfer between four-year schools. The institution filing the waiver on behalf of the student-athlete has to include the following documentation:

  1. Documentation demonstrating that the student-athlete would not have had the opportunity to return to the previous institution’s team for reasons outside the control of the student-athlete.
  2. A written statement from the applicant institution that the student-athlete is in good academic standing and meets all progress-toward-degree requirements at applicant institution.
  3. A written statement from the student-athlete’s previous institution indicating that the previous institution supports the request.

Kelly Brooks, a director of academic and membership affairs with the NCAA who oversees the legislative relief staff gave some background on these waivers. This waiver is designed for athletes who have not been kicked off the team for academic or disciplinary reasons. That would be within the control of the student-athlete. Athletic performance is not considered within the athlete’s control, whether the team is oversigned, the athlete was “recruited over”, or the coach misevaluated the athlete and they do not meet the standards of the program.

In other words, the NCAA is aware of the matter and has decided the best approach is essentially to abdicate any responsibility, other than fluffing a kid’s pillow on his last night with the program.

Interestingly, the rule hasn’t been invoked much.  Bad publicity, you know.

Despite having a relatively low bar compared to some other waivers and the number of athletes who transfer because they were cut from the team, these waivers are rare. The reason, according to Brooks, is that few coaches and athletic departments are willing to go on record that they cut or ran off a student-athlete who had no disciplinary or academic problems. Some will respond by agreeing to support the waiver, but will not admit to the conversation where the athlete was run off, which makes meeting the first requirement difficult.

Eventually, they’ll get over their shyness.  Why not?  Alabama already takes plenty of heat as it is, with absolutely no effect on its recruiting prowess, so what’s one little more step gonna cost it?  And if you’re a student-athlete facing a roster management termination, the good news for you is that this is one sort of transfer that’s going to be green-lighted.

I predict we’ll soon see a significant drop in medical scholarships.  It’s a miracle!


Filed under The NCAA

18 responses to “It’s Nick Saban’s world, and the NCAA is just living in it.

  1. Hogbody Spradlin

    I could just as easily see Bama not signing off on the waivers, and keeping the ‘medical scholarship program.’

    Just because Bama cut him, that doesn’t mean they’re gonna let him play somewhere else.


  2. Scorpio Jones, III

    Alabama takes plenty of heat….while this would seem to be true, this heat you mention is clearly not some of the shit Nick Saban has time for.

    Roster management…bad when they do it, good when we do it.


    • Sanford222view

      “Good when we do it.” When exactly has UGA been guilty of seedy roster management tactics. Well, besides under signing to stay below the max limit of 85?


      • Scorpio Jones, III

        “Seedy roster management” Some call it seedy, some call it expedient, some call it smart. As of yesterday morning, we had 89 kids on scholarship, or so I read, which, if I understand the NCAA rules, will require some smart roster management, the Georgia way.

        Bama gets a lot of ink about roster management and we call it seedy.

        Everybody has to manage their rosters, and we do.

        (I have to note, painfully, that misbehavior by the player has been the typical roster management tool with us.)


        • 69Dawg

          We’re counting on spring break to thin the herd. If I was Harvey-Clemmons I’d watch my back.


          • Scorpio Jones, III

            Sho nuff. Luvalle is calling.


            • Oh, he’ll have more choices thAN Luvalle. UGA isn’t the rolling Tide that sweeps you on out of the SEC. He may end up at FL like his grandaddy wanted, to better keep his foot on the boy’s neck. But, PERISH the thought. He’s a Dawg that’s gonna see the light at rehab, His spring break trip!


        • Hackerdog

          Roster management is a universal problem. But don’t pretend that UGA and Bama use the same tactics for roster management.

          When is the last time a player voluntary transferred from UGA and stated that he was cut from the team? When was the last time UGA declared a player medically unable to play, only to see that player transfer to another school and play again?


          • Scorpio Jones, III

            I don’t pretend anything. What I am saying is that we manage our roster our way, Bama manages theirs their way…I know I have read, especially here, that Bama uses underhanded tactics, but whatever they do damn sure does not seem to hurt them recruiting.

            As I said, disciplinary problems take care of most of our roster management issues.

            Just because a player does not tell the media, post on Futzbook or tweet what a bum rap he got at Georgia does not mean he did not get cut, then helped to find another place to try to play.

            Saban gives not a shit what the media says…we are a bit more sensitive to that.


          • It’s always different when you ask about your school. BS!!!!


          • Always Someone Else's Fault

            I can play SEC football, at age 45 with a 6 inch metal plate in my hip. I just can’t play it well. If I was on the field for more than 10 plays, I would end up on a stretcher. FCS? 20 plays.

            Does anyone really think USC was running off Jarvis Jones by declaring him medically ineligible? This medical scholarship thing is completely over-done. As a practical matter, the student has an opportunity to stay at his current school and focus entirely on his education OR transfer to play somewhere else, at his own discretion. And we bitch about it, because by God Nick Saban should have to stick that DE with a back problem out there no matter what – even if that player clearly no longer can compete at an SEC level. Or make him transfer by just cutting him, which is how most schools do it.

            Case in point: I had a neighbor with a kid at private university in western NC. Broke his leg. He could still play, but they sent him packing. Didn’t even offer a medical. Just cut him loose. I think schools like Mars Hill – and Alabama – should be on the hook for 4 years of education no matter what, entirely separate from the 85 roster spot issue.


      • mdcgtp

        We have had a LOT of “medical hardships” that mysteriously have happened to guys who don’t have a lot of hope of contributing. The difference is of orders of magnitude. Clearly, Bama has performed this wash-rinse-repeat cycle far more often than we have, which is how we got our numbers as low as we did.

        The bottom line is that this is a win/win given the fact that schools don’t offer 4 year scholarships. Saban is going to drop guys whether or not this rule exists. This rule allows for them to continue their careers.

        The real question is what constitutes “reasons outside the control of the student athlete”. If i am Cody Riggs and I want to transfer and Muschamp is willing to support it, what is to stop both parties from lying about his ability to remain at UF?


  3. Always Someone Else's Fault

    I don’t see why the NCAA requires any documentation at all. The transfer restrictions exist to protect schools from having current players recruited off their roster. If a player has a roster spot taken from them, then what’s left to protect?


  4. Scorpio Jones, III

    We have to be at 85 by the first game, right?


  5. Otter

    Did anyone ever hear the truth about Zander Ogletree and his medical issues?
    Always wondered what the real story was.