"Career-Ending Injuries"

January 27, 2014 at 2:22p    by Ramzy Nasrallah    

It's no secret to anyone who pays attention that Alabama's talent advantage is buttressed by its annual purge of underperforming players. Well, except to ESPN talking heads who instead gush over "5-stars backing up 5-stars"  (NOTE: Oversigning has been deemed a non-story by College Gameday's lead anchor). #agencyproblem

There isn't a whole lot of debate, unless you have difficult subtracting whole numbers from other whole numbers. Alabama is a fine school, so there should be no trouble figuring this out no matter where your rooting interest lies.

Take it away, Roll Bama Roll:

So with 85 as our baseline, here are the numbers of players we lost since the season ended:

- 7 fifth year seniors

- 5 fourth year seniors

- 5 guys that declared early for the draft

- 2 scholarship transfers (LaMichael Fanning and Alvin Kamara) (Luke Del Rio doesn't count in this discussion, as he was a walk on)

That totals up to a total loss of 19 guys. We already have 24 commitments, and for the sake of this analysis, we'll assume that Bama will end up signing the "full" class of 27 possible. That means if we signed all 27 today, the roster would be eight guys too big. Factor in (Florida State transfer Jacob) Coker coming in in the fall, and that number jumps to nine too big.

So where will those open slots come from?

Candidate places for freeing up space: Early graduation, voluntary transfers, involuntary other transfers, career-ending injuries, dismissal from the team for violating something ambiguous.

However, Alabama isn't just oversigned this year; it's really, really oversigned. There's a lot that has to happen.

Bama has two guys on roster that are not starters but have degrees in hand - Anthony Orr and Wilson Love. Given they have their degrees, I would expect their careers may be over. That leaves seven more slots, and this is where things get tough. 

So here's the final tally - if we sign 27 (and they all qualify academically), Bama will basically have to cut seven guys that don't have their degrees yet. I want to emphasize that there really isn't any wiggle room here. No amount of backcounting/sleight of hand helps with these final numbers.

Unless some of the 16 unenrolled current commits are going to take a greyshirt (and not sign on national signing day), those slots will have to come from the current roster.

Nick Saban is the highest-paid coach in college football. He can figure it out. He always does.

UPDATE: It turns out integer math is harder than we thought: 

So "dismissed for an undisclosed violation of team rules" should challenge "career-ending medical redshirt" and "decided to continue his football and academic career at Northern Alabama" in the Crimson Tide's march to 85 scholarship players.

Down from 96. Which is basically trimming half a recruiting class worth of busts in three months. 



Killer nuts's picture

It is a wonder this doesn't make its way into the mainstream media a little more

southernbuckeye's picture

NO CHANCE, espn has that locked up. wouldn't want to hurt the cash cow.

cinserious's picture

Problem is, when it comes to sports, EspiN IS the mainstream media.

Gone ham, be back soon...

IGotAWoody's picture

Cue Saban apologist Catch 5 in 3, 2, 1...

 - License to kill gophers (wolverines, badgers, etc) by the government of the United Nations

stittracer99's picture

Hey, serious injuries can strike at any time, just ask Auburn

Oyster's picture

 (NOTE: Oversigning has been deemed a non-story by College Gameday's lead anchor). 

You can add Catch 5 to that list also...

jedkat's picture

I see your ellipsis

“The teams that don’t respect their coaches and don’t trust their coaches are the teams that go .500"
~Zach Boren

Thomas's picture

Wow, that's shocking, even for Nicky Satan. It's kind of sad actually. 

Killer nuts's picture

All it should take is a couple of these guys that are forced out to go to the media but I feel like that has already happened and was largely ignored

OSUStu's picture

If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.  ~ Bruce Lee

okiebuck's picture

I bet the guys that are forced out will get some kind of "severance" payment from the Bama Booster Club or some discretionary fund; for taking one for the team, err program; or the company. Move along, nothing to see hear.

"Fate has cards that it don't want to show"

Deadly Nuts's picture

I really hope OTL does a story on how fucked up the Bama program is.


OSUStu's picture

OTL is not independent enough of ESPN to do that story.  Maybe in 10 years we will get a 30 for 30.

If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.  ~ Bruce Lee

BME_Buckeye's picture

Make they asses quit.

Look closely, because the closer you think you are, the less you will actually see.


Norwalk's picture

Alabama doesn't promise 4-year let alone 5-year scholarships. The $EC has been oversigning for years; they have actually been doing less of it over the past few years than in the past. It's not a problem for the network that owns them. I was surprised to look at their past few class sizes. They have signed 74 kids over the past 3 years compared to our 71. Take into account our scholarship reductions and we have signed the same number of recruits.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

I'm probably reading into things too much, but . . .
If Bama has eased up on "oversigning" the last three years, perhaps it's not a coincidence that the WSJ article OsuStu links above ran in Sept. 2010. Even if the NCAA et al couldn't really do anything about it - not enough evidence - the University of Alabama probably didn't appreciate that kind of publicity. Shine a little light in the dark and the rats start scurrying. 
Rumors in Tuscaloosa, though, (I know, I'm walking even further out on a limb here) are that Saban's paranoia has been on overdrive lately, coming off back-to-back losses to end the 2013 season, and with Auburn, FSU, and other rivals making inroads into Bama's recruiting empire. Yes, Bama currently has the #1 recruiting class, but Saban supposedly feels insecure.
That's partly why Saban is so great - he's always frantically trying to elude mediocrity, the beast that haunts his dreams - but with his paranoia going to 11 he might have decided to stop f'in around and "get back to business" with this signing class.

mc22's picture

Or join 'em.
The NCAA doesn't seem to care.  Why does the Big 10?

OSUStu's picture

Moral conscience?

If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.  ~ Bruce Lee

BuckeyeInOrlando's picture

Moral conscience... winning championships since ????

OSUStu's picture

Fair enough.  But Moral Conscience's recruiting class is top 10 on 247.

If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.  ~ Bruce Lee

mh277907's picture

I don't like the oversigning policy but these kids know (or should know) that it is possible that this could happen to them when they sign with Alabama (or any other school that oversigns). Though, because collegiate talking heads have deemed this a non-issue, it is not something you hear much about. I am also not a fan of negative recruiting but if you are a coach at a school that does not oversign and you are battling a school that does, how do you not bring this up in your in-home visit with mom and dad?
Unfortunately, because of the overwhelming lack of emphasis on the education aspect of big dollar collegiate sports, I don't believe the fear of losing a scholarship is all that great. For many of these kids, the mindset is pros or bust. Maybe if the degree actually meant a little more to them, the fear of losing it due to oversigning would hit a little harder.


hetuck's picture

A little-known part of the graduate transfer rule is the new school must offer a graduate program not offered by the former school. It'll be interesting to see what masters program is offered at Alabama, but not FSU. 

Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.

Vince Lombardi

PittBuckeye's picture

I'm sure there are plenty of them, not that it really matters what program he enters, but schools that big are bound to have plenty of little programs nobody cares about till they need to squeeze a football player who is suddenly very interested in a career making car parts out of recycled beach balls or some crap.

countrybuckeye's picture

@PittBuckeye -- that was priceless.  Thank you!

GrayDay's picture

Curious to see how Saban does it, and sounds like Roll Bama site is at least tracking it.  For comparison, what are our numbers looking like right now? 
Isn't there some truth to Urban not offering official scholy on signing day to that Florida kicker because in doing so we would have been oversigned?  I thought he wanted to wait and offer only after a slot opened later.  And does the math above mean Saban is about to go 7 over a line Urban wouldn't?  Just curious if that is right way to look at it or if there is lots of gray area here.

Squirrel Master's picture

The real story is that Florida was only offering a preferred walkon until late, then offered a full scholarship. That is why Townsend ditched our scholly for theirs.
but I do believe Urban does try to avoid oversigning as much as possible. I do believe there is a difference between giving kids the opportunity to move on if they won't get PT or typical turnover as opposed to what we often here of Bama's "forced medical hardships".
I'm not one to jump in on the oversigning because really I think its all underhanded, including the B1G, but I will say that some of the devious workings out of the SEC do go a bit beyond trying to get a competitive advantage. Its downright unethical to mess around with a kids future, sports or not.

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

LouGroza's picture

I posted something about them being 12 players above their "allotment" in 2012 if I recall. So this is an annual deal for the most part. Saban gets an extra class every three to four recruiting cycles.

ibuck's picture

12 over? That's an additional recruiting class EVERY OTHER YEAR.

Our honor defend, we will fight to the end !

Killer nuts's picture

Where is Bamamike when we need him?

Baroclinicity's picture

I'd like to hear more from these players that are getting shed from the roster.  Why do so few speak up?

When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

AndyVance's picture

It's called "hush money" for a reason...
Wait, I didn't need sarcasm font there, did I?

Buckeye Chuck's picture

What's striking about the RBR piece is that oversigning, or the "cutting" of perceived underperformers, is just accepted as the way things are done. The notion that right and wrong might be an issue here doesn't seem to come up at all.
I guess this is the sort of thing that happens when your "institution of higher learning" really is nothing more than an excuse to field a football team.

The most "loud mouth, disrespect" poster on 11W.

Deadly Nuts's picture

When will Catch 5 tune in?


Hovenaut's picture

Add it up....

"Success...it's what you do with what you got" - Woody Hayes

Iwearmocs's picture

The comments on that article are hysterical.  I wonder if that's what outsiders think of our message boards lol.

Buckeyebrowny919's picture

Kind of disturbing how the numbers game is played with KID'S futures as the gambling chips.

To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice the gift - Steve Prefontaine

CentralFLBuckeye's picture

Those career ending injuries could occur at any time during the harder than NFL workouts.

johnblairgobucks's picture

The 11 guys that were on the field late in the game vs Auburn, for that missed FG attempt may want to consider themselves warned. 
Hey, Nick is a really cool guy, just misunderstood at times.....

FROMTHE18's picture

Alabama Football: playing 'Oversigning Chess' since forever.

bleedscarlet's picture

If he's not forcing players out, he's the second coming of Nostradamus, his magic 8 ball is really magic or bama students have successfully developed a time machine. My money is on forcing em out....

I'm too drunk to taste this chicken

ScarletNGrey01's picture

Acceptable collateral damage.

The will to win is not as important as the will to prepare to win. -- Woody Hayes

buckeyefanatic's picture

Chris Fowler is now in douchebag territory for me now.  "oversigning zealots" is his way of dismissing anyone who asks about it.  #loser

How many batteries does it take to beat Michigan football?   1AA
Want to beat Michigan? There's an App for that.

Sleepy's picture

Much like 99.9% of everything the NCAA does, the current 85 scholarship limit is outdated & completely broken.  It practically invites attrition, which is idiotic; retention should be the goal.  Don't remember where I read it, but why not institute a hard cap of 25 scholarships per class with no overall max?  Kids benefit in that more of them get a "free" education, and they can't get their scholarship yanked for oversigning-related bullshit.  Coaches benefit from getting a larger roster.  What's not to like?

hetuck's picture

I agree with the appeal, but the downside is cost, both upfront and the requirement to also increase offsetting scholarships for women. That's 30 scholarships. Then you add the prospect of cost of attendance and a stipend. 
The upside of this idea is retention. Couple this with APR teeth and you get focus on keeping players in school. 

Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.

Vince Lombardi

Sleepy's picture

I never even considered Title IX-related ramifications.  Two things...
A)  I can't believe a sport that almost solely exists to produce revenue and uses 85 full scholarships has to be balanced out on the female side.  Amazing.
2)  As someone who played a non-revenue sport in college, I had absolutely nothing in common with football players & just about everything in common with 90% of the female athletes on campus.  Yet, according to equality-type stuff, I'm essentially a football player.  Again, amazing.

hetuck's picture

You have to balance opportunities for males and females. The problem is there is no female 85 scholarship sport. That's why OSU has a womens crew team, but mens crew is a club sport.  

Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.

Vince Lombardi

jamesrbrown322's picture

I agree. Go back to 100 schollies (25 signees/year essentially), with a limit of 30 per class, providing for early departures and transfers. Let 75 dress for home games, 60 for road games.
What's wrong with that?
With the playoff system, non-BCS schools are pretty screwed anyway, so the hell with parity for non-BCS schools!

"I can accept failure, but I cannot accept not trying." - W.W. Hayes

ibuck's picture

How about 20 per class, period? First 20 to commit—this would lessen high school athletes media events and possibly lessen athletes' feelings of entitlement. De-commitments mean next man up. 
OSU has done pretty well with only 82 schollies, so 20/year would spread the talent around better, and possibly improve the B1G level of play. Any schools that violate the numbers are automatically ineligible for post-season play. Which could mean no SEC teams in playoff.

Our honor defend, we will fight to the end !

IGotAWoody's picture

Here's the money shot from the article, the last paragraph:
"I'm not really going to speculate further on who those eight players might be, as that doesn't really seem fair to them, but I will pose the question to you all - what do you think about this? How does this sit with you all? I've been a vocal opponent of the oversigning.com crowd for a while, but to be honest, when the numbers start to get this loose, our position starts to creep towards being untenable."
Our position starts to creep towards being untenable, indeed. More like your position has knocked untenable on its ass, and is proceeding to stomp on its head, all while laughing maniacally.

 - License to kill gophers (wolverines, badgers, etc) by the government of the United Nations

FitzBuck's picture

I wonder how many kids had their "tutors" taken away and will be academically ineligible by NSD.  

Fitzbuck | Toledo - Ohio's right armpit | "A troll by any other name is still a troll".

jamesrbrown322's picture

It's not a story because in general the successful programs do not complain about it. When we as fans of B1G schools do complain, it just looks like sour grapes.
Plus, if the NCAA were to being regulating this roster gerrymandering, how could it be done really? It's quite the slippery slope.
We all just need to accept that SEC schools are more willing to do ANYTHING that it takes to win football games than other schools are. Sorry, it's a fact. One of which, as an OSU fan I am proud honestly.

"I can accept failure, but I cannot accept not trying." - W.W. Hayes

hetuck's picture

You regulate it by basing the APR on NSD. You don't keep players in school, you lose scholarships and become ineligible for post-season.

Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.

Vince Lombardi


Alabama oversigned by 10 last year. This helped them get down to 85.

Squirrel Master's picture

Love Fowler and company! I understand that many come to him, MM and Dr. Cindy "Lou" Who with "Zealot" type of questions or angry rants, but I can't help but get the feeling they label just about anyone a "Zealot" who poses a differing opinion.
"Hey Fowler, I just don't get how its possible to have 11 more scholarships than allowed. Can you explain it?"

Monty Python's rationale is equivalent to College Gameday!
Now I understand how Gameday pretty much can do what they want and still keep going because just about everyone watches the show (I am guilty sometimes, but only to see the guests. I could care less about their "anal"ysis), but how is the recap show with MM and Lou still on air? Its a joke! They don't just alienate OSU and the B1G, they snub their noses at all kinds of fanbases. Baffles me.

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

Scarlet_Lutefisk's picture

    Honestly,twitter no place for tutorial on complicated #s game.

Honestly, Chris Fowler has never given a tutorial on any complicated issue; regardless of venue.

Barnsey69's picture

E$PN has a very selective awareness schedule.
And that is all.

I am a modern-art masterpiece.

2014nationalchamps's picture

it is total BS. How do you offer a kid a scholly and then take it away for performance is just ridiculous? The NCAA needs to step in and penalize/punish the schools who do this. This is more akin to a nfl team not a college sport which is supposed to be all about the student athlete, not winning at all costs. Bama and the other oversigning schools need to be punished.
For every kid that involuntarily loses his scholly, the school should lose that scholly until that player would have graduated. That will help stem the tide(no pun intended)

O-H-I-O  for life