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.