The law of intended consequences

So, you’ve got a bunch of lazy coaches who can’t keep their roster numbers up to Alabama/Georgia levels because of the transfer portal… and their preferred solution to the problem is to change one of the few limits in place to keep Saban and Smart from running completely roughshod over recruiting.

Few guardrails promote parity in college football.

There’s no salary cap, no player draft, and admitting just 3% of FBS programs into the College Football Playoff each year makes it difficult for those outside the sport’s innermost circle to ascend.

Basically, two parameters promote any semblance of parity:

  • Limiting rosters to 85 scholarship players
  • The 25-player limit on signing classes, a figure that accounts for high school recruits plus transfers

Working together, those guardrails keep the best programs from acquiring an endless bounty of top talent.

However, college football decision-makers are considering tearing down the latter guardrail, a move that should help recruiting elites like Alabama, Georgia and increasingly Texas A&M stockpile a deeper volume of inbound talent.

Athlon Sports reported this week that the NCAA Division I Council is expected to vote later this month to eliminate the 25-player signing cap for at least the next two years. This change would not eliminate the overall limit of 85 scholarship players.

I mean, what could possibly go wrong?

Now envision a scenario in which the guardrail limiting a program’s amount of newcomers is removed.

What’s to stop Alabama from signing 30 of the top high school prospects and adding 10 of the best available transfers?

Texas A&M has been quiet in the transfer market and instead used most of its spots on high school recruits. Its 30-man signing class this year ranks as the top-rated in the history of the 247Sports Composite. The Aggies inked 27 five- or four-star prospects. Tear down the guardrails, and the Aggies may assemble 37 five- or four-star prospects.

But, if the elites add 40 of the best available newcomers every year instead of 25, won’t they exceed the overall limit of 85 scholarships?

Not necessarily.

The 25-player signing limit dissuades coaches from running older players off the roster. If that guardrail is removed, what’s to stop a coach from adding 40 newcomers per year, and then after a year in the system, retain the best 15 to 20 and run off the rest, allowing room to add another 40 newcomers without exceeding the 85 scholarship cap?

So, to review: Eliminating the 25-player signing cap would be designed to combat roster holes created by the increased rate of transfers and attrition. However, removing that signing cap limit further encourages transfers and attrition.

Nick Saban thanks you, fellow coaches.

I wrote “intended consequences” in the header, because we’ve already seen a partial trial run this year.

We received a sneak peak at what removing the 25-man guardrail will do, because this year, programs had been allowed to add up to 32 newcomers, as they adjust to the new transfer landscape.

So, Alabama signed a 25-man recruiting class that ranked No. 2 nationally. Then, the Tide grabbed five of the top available transfers, and it has room for a couple more.

These people will be back in three years, promoting a solution to fix the mess they just created.



Filed under Recruiting, Transfers Are For Coaches.

26 responses to “The law of intended consequences

  1. Former Fan

    I don’t think I would use the word “lazy” to describe any college football coach. The game is out of control with it’s time demands, IMO.


    • College coaches want a 9 to 5 job that pays $9m a year. I want that, too. No CEO (and that’s the kind of money these guys are making) works 40 hours a week.

      They created this by demanding larger buildings, bigger staffs, and more money.

      How did college football get played before 2007 when Alabama decided to hire Nick Saban and completely change the economics of the sport at the top end?


  2. If this happens, I hate what that’s going to do to the guy who has labored in practice for his shot to start as a junior or senior and is taking care of business in the classroom of a university like UGA just to be told we need your spot for Mr. Blue Chip or Mr. Transfer Portal. Thanks for being a tackling dummy for the last 2 or 3 years, and by the way, you won’t get the piece of paper you have worked your @$$ off for that may get you into a career that makes a difference in your life for the next 40 years.

    I love sausage, but this flavor makes me want to puke.

    Liked by 8 people

  3. Granthams Replacement

    Remove all the rules or run college football just like the Ivy League. Go Bear Bryant and have 195 kids on the team so 150 of them can’t play for the other team.

    Liked by 1 person

    • junkyardawg41

      If you don’t think the robust walk-on program is going to get more robust with NIL, guess again. My guess is if you can take a potential diamond in the rough 3 star player and offer him more NIL and benefits (like Hope) to attend versus another school, that is when you will see the next level of growth. Couple that with being away from quasi NCAA violations and there we go.


  4. theotherdoug

    I’ve been saying this for a while….
    If you want to reign in Saban, and now Smart too, make the signing limit 20 and the scholarships guaranteed for 4 to 5 years. That way he can’t sign 30 and keep his favorites, and he can’t run off players. Saban won’t even sign 20 most years.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Biggen

    It really is amazing that no one in charge of this rule change thinks that elite recruiters won’t take advantage of this to the max.

    I’m glad we have one of those recruiters on our side.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. back9k9

    With NIL & “collectives”, do you really think it’s a hard 85?
    What’s to stop the collective from taking a few of those “depth” guys that have been in the program 3+ years and put them on “NIL scholarship” or the grey shirt guy that there wasn’t quite enough room for in the 85…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Clayton Joiner

    “ These people will be back in three years, promoting a solution to fix the mess they just created.”

    My thought exactly


  8. RangerRuss

    Saban blatantly throwing his players under the bus, his excuses after getting his ass whipped in January and railroading established players for new glory seekers aren’t simply indicative of a desperate old man attempting to pad his legacy before his inevitable end. He’s covering his failure to develop receivers with no thought of the sacrifice of those he failed because that’s the way he is. Saban is a Machiavellian mercenary that will go anywhere and do anything necessary to achieve his goals. He earned the sobriquet “Sabanocchio” by lying to the LSU faithful and Dolphins fans in order to land the HC position at the one place that would appreciate his tactics and was desperate enough to give him carte blanche.
    His former employees know this about him and keep mum out of professional courtesy or fear of retribution. The syphilitic parasitic sycophants at ESPN won’t criticize him as he’s the golden pig from whom they suckle. The average college football fan expresses admiration for Saban as they love a winner.
    BLUF he’s a sleazebag. Always has been and always will be. It’s only a matter of time before Saban casts them all aside like Dawgshit on his shoe when it suits his purposes.
    I hope Kirby and the Dawgs get to smack him around a few more times before Saban implodes.
    The fuckn loser.

    Liked by 8 people

  9. Senator, I know the powers that be have made an almost irreparable mess of things, but I’m curious if you see a solution. My belief is you can’t go after NIL directly, but, for example, the eligibility to participate in USGA sanctioned amateur golf events limits how much prize money a player can earn in a year. So couldn’t the NCAA simply make a rule of competition that A) requires disclosure of NIL deals and B) limits eligibility to those earning a max of X under the terms of those deals? That doesn’t level the playing field entirely…schools will go back to building ridiculous facilities or under the table deals…but it would reign in these collectives. You’d still need a governing body with will power and teeth for enforcement. I’m just not getting the whole “make them employees” angle.

    Liked by 1 person

    • rigger92

      I see your point but I believe the “sanctioning body” with enough juice in its potential power dynamic to penalize programs for CFB would naturally be the CFP committee and I don’t think I like the idea of that just yet.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Russ

    I love how they threw in the 4-team playoff as part of the problem with CFB. LOL

    Liked by 4 people

  11. archiecreek

    Who needs 85 on an athletic scholarship because UGA is in a SWEET spot with the Hope Scholarship. Gentlemen, keep your grades up, between Hope and the collectives, you won’t have to pay for school, get a degree, and have a shot at the NFL.
    As always…
    GO DAWGS!!

    Liked by 2 people