Tag:Oversigning
Posted on: May 25, 2011 12:37 pm
 

Details emerge about SEC oversigning proposals

Posted by Bryan Fischer

When the SEC spring meetings begin in Destin, Florida next week, there will be plenty of attention on commissioner Mike Slive and what the rest of the conference's presidents and athletic directors do about the controversal topic of oversigning. It was just two years ago that the SEC pushed through a rule limiting signing classes to 28 players but schools have taken advantage of several loopholes to get around it (South Carolina signed 32 players as part of their class of 2011 and Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt has the reputation of being a coach who frequently oversigns). Now it appears the conference is going to send an even stronger message by passing a new set of proposals that will make oversigning even tougher to do.

“We will not oversign,” Georgia president Michael Adams told The Athens Banner-Herald in February. “Issues of grayshirting and oversigning in football – and some of the other issues that have been in the press – are issues that I know to be on the presidents’ agenda for Destin.”

The Banner-Hearld found out some of the details about the new proposals and, if passed, they would represent a major change in how coaches go about building their recruiting class and manage their roster. Some of the details include:

- Limiting signing classes to 25 for those that sign with a school between December 1st to August 1st. The current limit is 28 signees from Signing Day to May 31st.

- Signees would count against the number if they attend summer school on scholarship. There are currently no limits on who can attend summer school.

- More control for the SEC office over handing out medical scholarship exemptions.

- Limit early enrollees from signing a financial aid agreement until they enroll in school.

From the sounds of it, several of the coaches are not happy about new limitations but this is being pushed by many of the presidents in the league. Nutt, who signed 37 players in 2009 and is thought to have prompted the rule limited schools to 28 signees, says the latter number is a good number and making it 25 would limit his ability to manage his roster.

“It’s a very difficult job to try to manage, to keep two, three deep at every position,” Nutt told The Jackson Clarion-Ledger. “Until you’ve done it, until you’ve actually done it, it’s one of the most difficult things, ever.”

The majority of the support for limiting oversigning seems to come from schools in the SEC East, such as Georgia and Florida, while the majority of the opposition for further restrictions seems to come from schools in the SEC West, such as Ole Miss and Alabama.

It should make for an interesting few days in Destin as coaches, presidents and athletic directors discuss the issue.
Posted on: May 18, 2011 5:14 pm
 

Slive to push oversigning legislation

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

That SEC standoff over oversigning we mentioned earlier this week? It's going to come to a head at the upcoming league meetings in Destin (Fla.), and it sounds as if if Mike Slive has his way, the conference is going to put some serious legislative brakes on the practice.

That news comes straight from Slive himself, who this week told the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer that a "package" of legislation aimed at regulating "roster management" would be on the table in Destin ... and that he's hopeful it passes:
"[I]t’s more than just the question of over-signing or grayshirting,” Slive said. “It’s a question of over-signing, grayshirting, early admissions, summer school admission. We’ve put together what we call a bit of a package to address these issues, that will give our people a chance to think about these issues in a more global fashion. So then it will be an important discussion item in Destin ...

"I think the goal is to make sure that our prospective student-athletes are treated in a way that is as they should be treated, like students our [sic] treated. And I think this package does that ..."

Slive indicated that more debate has gone on behind the scenes.

“Well, we’ve had some discussions to get the proposed legislation in place. I can tell you that the First Amendment in the Southeastern Conference is alive and well,” he said. “I have a view and not a vote. And I will certainly exercise my view. ... I like this legislation."
Whether he has a vote or not, that Slive will be pushing for reform should do plenty to boost the package's legislative chances.

It's not a surprise, though, that Slive is at the forefront of the issue. Whether fair or not, there's no debating that the SEC has become the representative face of oversigning thanks to the combination of oversized classes, high-profile grayshirting issues, and its prominence within college football. Already sensitive to accusations from the likes of the Big Ten's Jim Delany that the league doesn't take its classroom reponsibilities seriously enough, Slive must surely feel -- as the SEC's presidents must as well -- that the conference can't let the oversigning issue continue to stereotype it as a place where academic standards are trampled in the name of football.

Beyond that, Slive may also need to push the legislation through to prevent a full-on war of words between his conference's own coaches. When within a week of one making oversigning references to a rival coach so thinly veiled he can't even finish said reference without a fan spoiling it for him, another is straightforwardly exiling five players as part of a post-spring "scholarship evaluation," conflict is inevitable.

Slive should be commended for tackling the issue head-on. But if he can't get his proposed package through the voting process, he's going to have some serious damage control to do ... both in the public eye outside the league, and in the not-so-civil public discourse within it.

Posted on: March 22, 2011 11:40 am
Edited on: March 22, 2011 11:42 am
 

Tide's Green suspended again

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Yesterday's first day of spring practice at Alabama also meant Nick Saban's first spring meeting with the media, and he surprised no one by stating that recently arrested All-American safety Mark Barron would be punished "internally" after lying to police officers.

But that wasn't the only news Saban delivered:
Alabama senior Robby Green was not at practice Monday after he was suspended by the team for violating team rules and policies, Saban said.

"We'll see where that takes us down the road," Saban said. "That's all I'm going to say about that. Any other discipline that's going to be handled with any one of these players will be handled internally and will not be talked about publicly."
 When all is said and done, it's unlikely a first-time offender (and critical defensive leader) like Barron misses any time this fall, or even much this spring. (He participated fully in the first day of spring drills.)

But with Green, it's a different story; though a major contributor at safety in the Tide's run to the 2009 national championship, he was suspended for the entirety of the 2010 season for NCAA-related violations. Few players get so much as a second chance after that kind of misstep under Saban, much less the third Green will now apparently require.

Until Saban says otherwise, the safe assumption is that Green is still a member of the Crimson Tide and is on track to take the field this fall. But the Tide have also once again signed more players this past Signing Day than they would appear to have room for under the 85-scholarship limit, and will likely see an offseason roster exodus similar to those of the past three summers in Tuscaloosa.

If that does prove to be the case, Green has positioned himself as one of the most likely candidates to look for a less suspension-hampered college football home.

For more on the Tide's spring practice, check out our Alabama Spring Practice Primer .


Posted on: March 1, 2011 3:51 pm
 

Spurrier: oversigning a "ticklish situation"

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The Offseason of Oversigning continued to make headlines last week when a pair of South Carolina recruits publicly admitted they were told less than 24 hours before Signing Day that the Gamecocks would not have room in their 2011 class for them. (Though academic concerns may have played a role in Steve Spurrier and his staff's decision, other Gamecock recruits with similarly uncertain grade issues were not asked to grayshirt.)

Thanks in part to the timing of that story, it seems, the Wall Street Journal has also turned its attention to oversigning . In this piece , published yesterday, SEC head coaches Spurrier, Houston Nutt, and Bobby Petrino each defend their team's having signed more players than permitted by the NCAA's 25-players-per-class or 85-players-on-scholarship limits.

Petrino said he signed according to a formula that took players' academic standing into account and included players with "absolutely no chance" of qualifying; on oversigning in general, he said he doesn't "see it as a bad thing unless you're being dishonest or waiting until the last minute." Similarly, Nutt said he had never waited until the last minute to tell a recruit "oh by the way you don't have a scholarship." (This might be news to receiver Collins Moore, who Nutt told a week before Signing Day he didn't have a scholarship at Ole Miss, at least not until 2012.)

But the most interesting quotes of all belonged to the "Ol' Ball Coach," who criticized the Big Ten for not oversigning ("I think that really hurts them a lot"), said that initial problem with the two potentially grayshirted recruits was that more prospects had chosen the Gamecocks than had been expected, and that they'd been chosen because they were the two commitments with the most work to do academically. Most intriguing of all, Spurrier admitted he could have handled the "situation" more smoothly:
"What we probably could've done earlier in the recruiting is tell them that this could happen," he said. "But then again, we didn't know it was going to come up. It's a ticklish situation."
"Ticklish" or not, the coach of one of those players clearly isn't happy with the Gamecocks over their approach:
[Jordan] Montgomery's high school coach, Walter Banks , said, "I told them this was foul. I didn't have a clue until 18 hours before signing day, and if they say anything else, they're lying."
To be fair to Spurrier and the other coaches, the story's bevy of quotes from recruits (and their parents) makes it clear that oversigning isn't a particularly big concern on their end (though that also seems to stem from the abundant self-belief that they won't be the ones in danger should the roster ax end up swinging). And with at least one of the two Carolina recruits (and possibly both) still planning on enrolling in Columbia once they can, it's safe to say the parties most immediately affected don't see Spurrier's actions as -- to quote Florida president and grayshirting critic Bernie Machen -- "morally reprehensible."

But whether it's an issue to recruits or not, whether Spurrier and the other SEC coaches defend it or not, the assault on oversigning from power brokers like Machen and Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity mean legislative change on oversigning could be coming all the same. (Maybe as soon as this year's annual SEC meetings , if Mike Slive is to be believed.) And until/unless that change happens, Spurrier and the rest of the SEC can't expect the negative attention from outlets like the Journal to simply go away.
Posted on: February 28, 2011 12:59 pm
 

Eye on CFB Recruiting Review, 2/28

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Every Monday, our weekly Recruiting Review recaps the past week's top headlines from our sister blog, Bryan Fischer's Eye on Recruiting . Enjoy:
  • Arizona State's underwhelming 2011 class received a much-needed late boost with a pair of late defensive back signings, one of them JUCO safety Kevin Ayers, brother of UCLA linebacker Akeem Ayers.
  • Struggling already to keep up with football's Matthews clan? Sorry: there's another member on his way to Texas A&M , this time the youngest son of Bruce, offensive lineman Mike Matthews. Not to be outdone by their archrivals in Austin, the Aggies now have a whopping 14 commitments for the 2012 class.
  • The furor over oversigning has been reignited again after two South Carolina recruits were told the day before Signing Day the school would not be accepting their letters-of-intent.
One more reminder: if you don't want to wait for these Monday recaps, simply read Eye on Recruiting . You'll be glad you did.
Posted on: February 15, 2011 10:40 am
Edited on: February 15, 2011 11:04 am
 

Nutt on oversigning: 'I've never ran anyone off'

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

When asked about signing a whopping 38 players in his 2009 recruiting class -- all-but singlehandedly embarrassing the rest of the SEC into adopting a limit of 28 in all future classes, the rule that now informally carries his name -- Houston Nutt famously (or infamously) joked that "there’s no rule that says that we can’t sign 80." But when asked over the weekend about the number of signees in his current class, and what that might have meant for the newly-departed players from the Rebel roster, Nutt wasn't in a laughing mood.

As reported by Kyle Veazey of the Clarion-Ledger , several observers (including Eye on College Football ) looked at Nutt inking several more players on Signing Day than he appeared to have room for under the 85-scholarship limit, and wondered if it was coincidence that six Rebels had just disappeared from the Ole Miss roster. Much like Nick Saban before him, Nutt shot back to the press that yes, that did happen to be coincidence:
"I've never ran anyone off in my career unless they broke multiple team rules or just committed a serious crime or something like that," Nutt said. "That's never happened."

Nutt said all the departing players came to him requesting to leave for reasons ranging from personal issues to a desire for more playing time.

Critics charged Nutt with cutting those players to get under 85, but Nutt said that's unfounded. "What's unfair is (critics) go number by number and they don't have all the facts and then they say, 'He has to be running kids off,' " Nutt said.
To be fair to Nutt, until one of the six players speaks out regarding his departure from the team -- Veazey reported that one player declined comment, with the other five unable to be reached -- he's correct that the "critics" are responding to numbers alone rather than hard evidence the players were forced out to make room on the roster. It's also worth pointing out that if Veazey's numbers are correct, Nutt would have had to "run off" only a couple of players to fit under the 85 cap, rather than six.

But if there's any coach that's not going to receive the benefit of the doubt when it comes to oversigning, it's one that's already had his own rule named after him, doesn't have his 2011 class down to the NCAA-mandated 25 yet, and switched one recruit's full offer to a grayshirt just days before this past Signing Day . No one should blame Nutt for protesting his innocence, but he also can't be surprised if it takes a lot more protesting before that message gets across.

Posted on: February 10, 2011 4:38 pm
 

Oversigning debate hits Connecticut legislature

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

If we haven't yet, let's go ahead and call this the Offseason of Oversigning. No topic has proven to be a bigger hot button since Auburn polished Oregon off in Glendale, with everyone from Nick Saban to USA Today to Bernie Machen to Sports Illustrated's Andy Staples to compliance officials to (as of today) Jay Paterno weighing in on the subject ... and we're not even halfway through February.

Such has been the topic's rapid rise to critical mass that it's even being debated outside the world of college football--in this case, inside the halls of the Connecticut state legislature , where a bill called the "Connecticut Student-Athletes' Right to Know Act" would "require universities to spell out the details" on how and why their athletic scholarships could be revoked or unrenewed.

Appearing before legislative officials to argue for the bill were local professor (and former Notre Dame football player) Allen Sack and former UCLA Bruin Ramogi Huga:
While NCAA rules state that athletic aid cannot be reduced or cancelled during the one-year period of the award because of athletic ability or injury, Sack said, "the rules are murky when it comes to conditions for the renewal and non-renewal of the scholarships in the subsequent year."

"Some universities renew scholarships for four years as long as athletes continue playing and adhere to team rules," said Sack. "Others cancel scholarships for poor athletic performance or for injury" ...

Huma, a former UCLA football player and president of the National College Players Association — a California nonprofit made up of more than 14,000 Division 1 student athletes — also testified at the hearing and went one step further. He said the majority of high school recruits decide which college to attend based on "false information given to them by athletic recruiters."

Most recruits and their parents have no idea, Huma said, that colleges can "leave them with sports-related medical expenses, take away their scholarship for any reason, leave them with tens of thousands of dollars in educational-related expenses, and hold their eligibility and scholarship opportunities hostage when they try to transfer schools."
Though neither Sack nor Huga specifically refers to the practice of oversigning, the controversy over whether teams (in Sack's words) "cancel scholarships for poor athletic performance" in order to make room for new recruits nonetheless puts it at the heart of the bill. It's hardly coincidence it appears just as the debate over oversigning reaches its most heated point, just as it wasn't coincidence Saban prematurely echoed Sank's words by saying "We have never gotten rid of a player because of his physical ability" in his defense of his recruiting practices.

The bill still has many hurdles to clear before passing, including a check with the NCAA to make it sure it doesn't run afoul of (or further complicate) NCAA regulations. And, of course, there's a massive, massive gulf between one such bill passing in Connecticut (where UConn would be the only FBS program affected) and nationwide oversigning reform enacted by either the NCAA or the government.

But the point remains: more than ever it appears college football is sloping towards some kind of oversigning legislation, and that the only real question is how slippery that slope will be.

Posted on: February 10, 2011 3:58 pm
 

Plenty of players leaving Ole Miss

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Earlier this week Jesse Grandy announced that he was leaving Ole Miss to play football closer to home since a member of his family recently became ill. It seems Grandy has started a trend. According to the Clarion-Ledger, there are a few other players who are no longer on the Rebels' roster, and they've found new homes as well.
Later in that note, though, there are a couple of other names mentioned: Dele Junaid and Jared Mitchell. Both were scholarship players who are not on this roster that the school distributed Tuesday night, shortly after the news of Grandy’s departure broke.
But here are four more scholarship players from last year who were missing, as we noted early Wednesday afternoon on Twitter: RB Martez Eastland, OL Terrance Hackney, DE Lekenwic Haynes and DL Alan-Michael Thomas.
Junaid is transferring to a junior college in Texas, Eastland is on his way to Georgia Southern, and the others are all transferring, but haven't found a new destination just yet. So why is there suddenly an exodus from Houston Nutt and Oxford? Well, according to Oversigning.com, Ole Miss had 15 open spots on its roster going into 2011. On signing day the Rebels announced a freshman class of 27 newly signed players.

A quick check of the math shows that the Rebels added twelve more players than the team had spots for, and now suddenly a bunch of players are moving on. It's funny how that works, isn't it?
 
 
 
 
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