Posted by Bryan Fischer
The hot button issue of oversigning is no longer just being examined by the media, the NCAA is taking a closer look into the issue as well.
The Division I Football Issues Committee has agreed to monitor a recent rule limiting schools to signing 28 recruits to a National Letter of Intent (NLI). Coaches have only 25 scholarships per year to give out but may sign up to 28 in case several recruits do not qualify academically.
The hot button issue of oversigning becomes especially newsworthy when schools have to tell recruits that they are no longer welcome because there is not a scholarship available. South Carolina, for example, signed 31 players to a letter of intent in 2011. Coaches usually try to keep players committed to the school but will re-route them to a prep school for a year or grayshirt them by having them enroll in the spring.
According to the NCAA release, the administrator of the NLI, Susan Peal, says the NLI's governing body does not support the grayshirting policy some schools use. If a player is persuaded by a coach to grayshirt and does not wish to so, their letter of intent can be considered void and they may sign when another school.
The new rule on oversigning, 18.104.22.168.1, and the rise in ways around it are forcing the NCAA to take a serious look at the practices schools use when signing football players.
“This rule has only been in effect for one year, and we want to take some time to see if that’s the perfect number," NCAA Division I Football Committee Chair Nick Carparelli said. “Certainly, the committee will continue to monitor it, and we can re-evaluate to see if there is a more appropriate number if necessary.”
The NCAA is not the only group of people taking action to combat oversigning as several high school coaches are becoming proactive in trying to stop the practice by outright banning colleges from recruiting their kids if they oversign. South Lake High School (Groveland, Fla.) head coach Walter Banks banned South Carolina after one of his players, Jordan Montgomery, was told he could not enroll because of the numbers crunch.
“I cannot look a kid and their parent in the face and say you can trust what a University of South Carolina coach says,” Banks told The State newspaper.
The NCAA also issued a staff interpretation on a rule which clarified that schools may not give a prospect a scholarship indirectly, such as through a coach or a friend. Players cannot receive any written scholarship offer prior to August 1st of their senior year but often receiver verbal offers from coaches.