Defining Oversigning - Part 2

Catch 5's picture
January 23, 2014 at 11:58a
49 Comments

Yesterday, I wrote this blog describing one of the problems with Oversigning complaints:  many of them are using different definitions.  Below, I give a little more detail about each of those definitions and where they came from / some examples of their use.  I also discuss why the definition is good or not for use.  If you didn't read the first part, I encourage you to do so first.


1.  Counting LOIs:  Do you often complain that SEC schools sign “an extra class every 4 years”?  Then you are a fan of definition #1.  This complaint became popular after Andy Staples published this table in Jan of 2011.  The table is a simple comparison of FBS team's number of LOIs accepted over the previous 5 years.  Oversigning critics say that it is unfair that so many SEC teams are atop that list.  They say that there must be unethical treatment of players to make room for so many recruits.  What they never take into account are other reasons for the discrepancies:  early exits to the NFL, players that don’t qualify, players that sign with only a couple years eligibility remaining (from JuCo), players that didn’t qualify, went to JuCo, and signed again (attributing two LOIs for only two years of play), and players that don’t show up for other reasons (like MLB contracts).  An actual comparison of Michigan State and Alabama (who played in the Cap 1 bowl just days before this table was published) players revealed that Alabama only used a few more scholarships than Sparty when these other factors were considered (despite the difference in LOIs).  The problem with this definition is that it is not clearly defined, and really doesn’t define what most see as the problem since LOIs do not equate to actual players on campus for 4 years in the real world.
 

2. The 25-man Rule:  Are you a fan of the SEC’s rules against Oversigning (not likely)?  Then this is the definition for you.  The SEC front office, largely in response to criticisms of Oversigning, enacted a rule that restricted teams from signing more than 25 LOIs per year.  There is nothing keeping a team from signing more than 85 players to the roster and then cutting players, so the rule does nothing to address what most critics were complaining about (supposedly).  In my opinion, this was a horrible move on the SEC’s part.  It was done mostly for PR reasons, but all it does is keep teams with depleted rosters from catching up quickly, and discourages teams from offering kids that may not qualify – neither of which are good things.  This definition of Oversigning is quite useless.  There are plenty of legitimate reasons to sign more than 25 players (early enrollees can back-count to the previous year, players willing to greyshirt count to the following year, encourage/help a kid who has struggled academically) and if a team has less than 60 scholarships returning, they have the room for it.  There really is no problem to be solved with this definition.


3. The 85-man Rule (on NSD):  Have you read Oversigning.com?  That website was little more than a continuous hit piece against Alabama, Nick Saban, and much of the SEC in general, (and had less journalistic integrity than Clay Travis) but it garnered a rather large following and has been recognized by several national writers. One thing it did well was defining what he saw as the problem.  My 3rd definition was taken, at times verbatim, from those pages.  While I disagree strongly with most of that site's conclusions (and how he got there) this is a good definition for the term, and is usually where I am coming from when discussing the topic.


4. The 85-Man Rule (Projected):  Did you know the Big 10 bans Oversigning?  While the B10 does have a rule against oversigning, it is not in print for the public anywhere that I am aware of.  We can get a pretty good idea of the fine print, however, from comments made by Associate Commissioner Chad Hawley - and from what he says, they don’t ban what most people think of when they hear "Oversigning".  

“What our rule does is make (a member) institution really plan ahead to get a solid handle on the number of available scholarships leading into an upcoming academic year. Institutes must evaluate each student athlete’s eligibility; see who’s transferring, going pro or just leaving the program, and who’s financial aid will not be renewed.  Once they go through that process and determine the slots they have available, they can offer three over.” 

source*

So you see, schools that are often criticized for Oversigning could very well operate the same way under the B10 rule – if the attrition is expected and counted for per Mr. Hawley’s description.  The more I learn about the B10 rule, the more I like it.  The problem with using it for the definition for Oversigning, however, is that it is impossible to know these projected losses, and how they came about.  We fans would have no way of knowing who is Oversigning and who isn’t without this information.  The rule itself, however, is solid, and is how all programs should operate - which allows for the previous (#3) definition to stand, with those operating within the B10 rules being "guilty" of responsible oversigning (whether they are from the B10 or not).


5. Anything Bama Does:  This is a bit harsh in my generalization, but the discussion on #5 really is about having an issue, not defining a real problem.  In this article at Dawgs247, University of Georgia president Greg McGarity comes out staunchly against “Oversigning”.  Further down the same article, UGA coach Mark Richt admits to what most people see as oversigning when he describes how he has explained to UGA signees that they may need to greyshirt if the numbers fall a certain way.  The only way that would be needed is if UGA oversigned and didn’t see the expected attrition.  Richt is doing it the right way in that he makes it clear to the potential greyshirts before they sign, but it is Oversigning as most fans understand it - what McGarity is complaining about is the strawman.  The same article goes on to criticize many unnamed coaches for the way they recruit.  For the most part, it is a hit piece meant to help Georgia in recruiting, but it is a good example of the way information is twisted to meet a pre-set conclusion or goal.  This last definition is really a catch-all for people who are against it because it is something their rival schools are (or are accused of) doing.  The definition of what it is being accused is not important – being able to make the accusation is all that matters.


*This article is a perfect example of why I wrote these two blogs.  Go down to the section titled “The Big Ten”.  In this section, Hawley provides the quotes I referenced as well as some other interesting information.  It is very clear, from the start that he is participating in this entire discussion from the viewpoint of the 85-man total roster.  As soon as the author finishes with the quotes and provides his own information, the vantage immediately shifts from the 85- to the 25-man signing limit.  The guy really doesn’t comprehend what he is writing about.


Thanks for the discussion, and look for some future entries where I plan to pick some more specific topics associated with Oversigning for further discussion.  For future reference, I will be proceeding with my definition #3 as it is the only one that we can use with the information we have available.  Any of the others are either subjective, useless, impossible to verify, or pointless in meaningfull discussion.
 

Comments

Go1Bucks's picture

Great 2 part piece and discussion. It would stand to reason, that the NCAA should come up with a consistent standard, like the B1G.

"I will pound you and pound you, until you quit." -Woody

The Butler's picture

I enjoyed both articles. Concise, easy read. The only problem I have with oversigning is when a kid gets let go because he is not fitting into the team's plan - or hasn't developed like the coach had hoped. 

BucksfanXC's picture

Can someone explain greyshirt more to me? I think I have a lot of confusion on that topic as well and it is important in the context of oversigning.

“Any time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect.”  - Woody

cdub4's picture

Greyshirting is a kid delaying enrollment or paying his own way his first semester. That way you can count him as an intial counter for the following year. It is usually agree upon before hand. Todd Boeckman was an example if that helps.

Catch 5's picture

CDUB explained it pretty well. 
When a recruit signs his LOI, he is bound to that school for one year, and the school is obligated to award the player a scholarship upon his enrollment full-time anytime within that year.  Most players enroll the following summer or fall, when this kicks in.  A greyshirt (which is not officially recognized by the NCAA like a redshirt) is a player who delays his enrollment until after that first season, but before his year is up on the LOI agreement.  By doing this, he counts against the signing class for that following year, not the year he actually signed his LOI. 
This is similar (though opposite) to those early enrollees who back-count.  If a team had less than 25 players in a signing class, they can sign more than 25 the following year - provided the number they are over enroll in the spring.  These players count against the previous year's class (until it gets to 25).
Another effect of the SEC rule I'm critical of is that it greatly reduces the ability of teams to greyshirt.  If a team has filled its class size of 25, and has a player willing to greyshirt to next year's class, the SEC will not allow that player to sign (whereas with the NCAA or even B10 rules, he could).  Teams are getting around that by just having the player not sign an LOI.  This puts him in an awkward situation as there is nothing binding the school to him - although going against it would be a nightmare for that coach.

Make their asses quit! - Nick Saban

BucksfanXC's picture

Thanks guys. Yeah to me I thought the two were very linked. Where you find greyshirts and medical redshirts, you find oversigning. Not always, but they are linked heavily. They are the tools of oversigning should we say.

“Any time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect.”  - Woody

Catch 5's picture

Yes, grayshirts are almost exclusively used with oversigning. Medical hardships are much more common than you think. For example, OSU has issued 7* medical hardships since Meyer took over as coach. I think Alabama has had two in that same time frame.
*That is going from memory, I may be off slightly, but I don't think so.

Make their asses quit! - Nick Saban

IGotAWoody's picture

You are attempting to provide a lot of details in your posts, but then you throw in this nugget and say you're "going from memory". If you can provide details of these 7 medical hardships for Meyer, I'd love to see them. Just so we all know we're working based on facts and not opinion or conjecture.
That article linked from the CBS website linked to WSJ article that states that Saban has pushed for "at least 12 medical scholarships since 2007" and has had at least 3 players confirm that they were pressured to take those medical hardships (the article is from 2010, by the way - so that means at least 12 in 3 or 4 seasons).
http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB1000142405274870338420457550990146...

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

Catch 5's picture

Three things
1.  I posted that comment from my phone and was going from memory, which at times will serve me wrong so I wanted to be honest.  I have that data on my computer, which I have since verified.
2.  You asked for details:  Scott McVey, Melvin Fellows, Chad Hagan, Jamie Wood, Connor Crowell, Blake Thomas, and Adam Griffin.
3.  I hope the 3 players felt pressured.  If they were injured (they all had been) and were unable to compete because of it, then I know I would encourage them to do it, wouldn't you?  Bama used it 12 times over 4 years.  That does seem high (so does 7 in 2) but what is the norm?  From the 2010 signing classes, SEC teams have had 4 players put on medical (Ga, Ark, AUx2).  B10 schools have had 13 (PSU, Purdue, Sparty, Iowa(2), Mich(2), OSU(2), Indiana(2), Wisky(2).  I only have the 2010 data with me today, but the results from previous years is very similar (though more evenly spread between conferences).  Bama's numbers aren't that far out of whack for a coach that just took over a program - just as OSU's really aren't - that didn't seem to fully utilize the provision (Bama had a player still on the roster who had broken his leg a couple years earlier and walks with a limp to this day from it)
 

Make their asses quit! - Nick Saban

IGotAWoody's picture

If you can produce some articles that show ANY of the OSU players saying they were pressured to take the medical redshirt, I'd love to read it! But not all of those players are attributed to Meyer.
McVey and Melvin Fellows were from the 2011 season (http://www.theozone.net/football/2011/MeyerHire/medicalhardships.html and http://www.cleveland.com/osu/index.ssf/2012/01/footballs_physical_realit...)
Every player you listed was a legitimate candidate for medical hardship. If one of them were to come out and say they were pressured to take the hardship, and if looking at the recruiting numbers, you could match these up with recruiting classes that were bloated, you'd have an argument that what Meyer has done is comparable to what Saban does. But what I'm looking at, and many others, suggests that there's a CLEAR difference in recruiting practices.

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

Catch 5's picture

All those medicals were issued under Meyer's watch - just like the count given in the WSJ article critical of Saban.  Use the same standard.
How do you know each candidate was legitimate, and how do you know those from Bama aren't?  You need an honest (and unbiased) answer here.
I'll give you four quotes from articles about actual players put on medical hardships from two different coaches.  Three of them are about the 3 players the WSJ highlighted, and the other is a former player for Urban Meyer.  You tell me which ones were treated unfairly (dates and names were removed):

1. [The Player] said [The Coach] encouraged him to accept the [medical] scholarship because of a back problem that he believes he could have played through
...
[The Player] said he injured his back in April but continued practicing with the team through the [following] spring. That May, he was approached by coaches and trainers and asked to take a medical scholarship.  "I wasn't playing significant minutes, but I was personally upset because I did anything coach asked, I was a team player, I had a 4.0 average,"
...
[The Player] said the decision to take the medical scholarship was ultimately his, and that he decided to do it to open up a scholarship for the good of the team.

2.  [The Player], a former offensive lineman who took a medical scholarship because of a shoulder problem, said the choice was left entirely up to him and was based on the many conversations he had with the team's doctors and trainers over the course of his junior year.

3.  After the season, [The Player] says he was told he had to “move on” because he wasn’t in the team’s plans for [that year].
 
“I told [The Coach] I was on track to graduate, I wasn’t a problem and I did everything I was supposed to do—I just had a knee injury,” [The Player] said. “I told them I wasn’t leaving, and if they tried to force me to leave, I was going to tell everyone everything."

The next day, [The Player] says he was given a medical hardship letter by position coach Chuck Heater stating [he] had an injury that would prohibit him from playing football.

4.  In August, [The Player] ... tore an anterior cruciate ligament in his knee during a practice—an injury that kept him out for that season. After undergoing surgery, he said, "I came back in the spring and I was OK."
...
[The Player] said that he was surprised last month when the football staff told him he had failed a physical. At that point, [he] said, [The Coach] sat him down and asked him what he wanted to do besides playing football. He said that [The Coach] floated the possibility of a medical scholarship and asked if [he] was interested in student coaching.

[The Player] said he doesn't contest the results of the physical and said it was "basically my decision" to forgo the rest of his playing career.
...
"I felt like I could have played," he said.

Which of those were based on medical advice and which were done to clear space on a roster? 

Make their asses quit! - Nick Saban

IGotAWoody's picture

How about, instead of wasting everyone's time, you simply post a link to an article that shows an OSU player, under Meyer, who says he was pressured to take a medical hardship. Can you do that? Or, how about you show us numbers that indicate Meyer signed WAY over his scholarship limit? Or, an article that shows a player who was given a medical hardship from OSU, then went SOMEWHERE ELSE and played college football (like this one, for a former Alabama linebacker - http://blog.al.com/press-register-sports/2010/04/ex-tide_linebacker_ezek...). Because, until you're able to do so, you're just wasting energy trying, desperately, to show that what Saban does is really not ANY different from Meyer or anyone else.

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

Catch 5's picture

Before you read this note I'm playing a little devil's advocate here.  I'm using Woody's accusations against Saban and applying the same criteria to some of Urban's past actions.  I don't think either coach operates out of the norm, I'm just trying to illustrate how easily these accusations can be made about anybody.

you simply post a link to an article that shows an OSU player, under Meyer, who says he was pressured to take a medical hardship.

Well you got me at "OSU" player, but #3 in my previous comment was Bryan Thomas, a Safety at Florida.  I'd say he was pressured to take a medical - at least per this article.

an article that shows a player who was given a medical hardship from OSU, then went SOMEWHERE ELSE and played college football 

Again, you got me with the OSU part, but Bryan did go on to play two years at North Alabama, where he earned conference awards for his play and was invited to the 2012 NFL combine.

you show us numbers that indicate Meyer signed WAY over his scholarship limit?

Well, since you like fluid definitions, how about this:  When Meyer took over in December of 2011, the 2012 signing class was full.  they added 7 more signees and lost 3 scholarships to sanctions yet still managed to bring in a top-rated class of 25 recruits.  Where did he find 10 scholarships in just a month and a half? 

Make their asses quit! - Nick Saban

IGotAWoody's picture

That's funny, because there were 20 seniors on the 2011 roster. Hmm. Then you add in the NORMAL attrition that happens whenever a new coaching staff takes over a program, and suddenly, VOILA, it doesn't sound like the picture you so desperately are trying to paint.
You seem to take alot of liberties with numbers. It kinda kills yer credibility, doesn't it?
I'm cracking up at the FLORIDA stories you like to keep mentioning. I'm sure with your crack investigative skills (emphasis on CRACK) you'll eventually find something relevant. You know, with confirmable sources, about Meyer and his conduct with the BUCKEYES.

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

Catch 5's picture

That's incredible since there were no more than 13 Juniors on the 2010 team! If my memory serves, there were 83 players on scholly that year so there were 15 spots available at the end of the season. See the table at the following link. They list 14 Jrs but include Pryor who left before the season started.
http://oversigning.com/testing/index.php/2011/07/07/more-ohio-state/#com...
Now you try. Provide one link that gives a quote from a former Saban player who says he was told he didn't have a scholarship (and hadn't broken team rules) if he didn't transfer or sign a medical. This should be really easy for you given how many guys have been screwed every year he's been there.

Make their asses quit! - Nick Saban

IGotAWoody's picture

You're right I got the number wrong. I went back and counted again. There were actually 22 seniors on the 2011 roster! And that did not include Pryor! Thanks for helping me solidify MY POINT!!!
http://ohiostate.scout.com/a.z?s=145&p=8&c=2&nid=687&yr=2011
We've already looked at articles with multiple Bama players QUOTED, saying they were pressured to take a medical hardship. But you're going to argue that back and forth, and it's not really the meat of this discussion. The real point is that Saban habitually signs WAY more players to LOIs than he has available schollies to give. Meyer does not.
 

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

Catch 5's picture

No, you've referenced one article where a former player (who had had a stroke due to a heart condition!) was able to play again at North Alabama and another that claims 3 players were pressured into a medical.  None said they were forced to do it and none said they would have had their scholarships pulled if they didn't.  Here are some actual quotes from the WSJ article as it seems you didn't read it:

"Mr. Kirschman said the decision to take the medical scholarship was ultimately his"
So he wasn't forced.

"In some cases, the players who took these scholarships say they didn't feel pressured. Charles Hoke ... said the choice was left entirely up to him and was based on the many conversations he had with the team's doctors and trainers over the course of his junior year."
Well, maybe they weren't all pressured afterall

"Jeramie Griffin ... tore an anterior cruciate ligament in his knee during a practice—an injury that kept him out for that season. After undergoing surgery, he said, "I came back in the spring and I was OK." ... Mr. Griffin said that he was surprised last month when the football staff told him he had failed a physical ... Mr. Griffin said he doesn't contest the results of the physical and said it was "basically my decision" to forgo the rest of his playing career."
Problem?

Now, you can say that Saban used medicals more than most in his first few season at Alabama.  You can say that he had a player go on medical and later play for another team.  You can say one player felt pressured to take a medical, and you can say he signs a bunch of players every year, made possible in part to player attrition.  But you MUST acknowledge (per the information I provided earlier) that you can say the same thing about Urban Meyer if you are going to be intellectually honest.
Lastly, I followed your link as I was very curious indeed why there was such a difference between our numbers.  If what you say is correct, then we have a serious violation - and a true case of extreme oversigning.  There are 105 players listed.  More likely, what you counted were both scholarship and non-scholarship players and what I showed you (from a buckeye site) were actual scholarship players.  Since oversigning doesn't consider non-scholarship players, I'll continue with my numbers.
Now, unless you can produce something credible that provides an actual quote from an actual player that says Saban pulled, or threatened to pull his scholarship (without cause), I really don't think there is anything profitable to be gained continuing this conversation.  Thank you so much for helping me illustrate the futility of critics who believe in definition #5.  I could not have described it any better and can not think of a better example.  I've gone back and UV every one of your comments for your effort.

Make their asses quit! - Nick Saban

IGotAWoody's picture

You cherry picked your quotes above. Here's one you missed:
"Mr. Kirschman said the decision to take the medical scholarship was ultimately his, and that he decided to do it to open up a scholarship for the good of the team. BUT HE SAID HE FELT HE WAS PRESSURED (Hmm, you left that part out, didn't you?). "It was pushed," he said. "It was instigated for several players."
Yeah, I guess you didn't read my post either. I specifically said you'd focus on the medical hardships, and ignore the oversigning of LOIs by Saban.
The article you posted on Oversigning proved, and came to the conclusion that, OSU oversigned LOIs by ONE. ONE!! OSU had 24 guys sign LOIs, one guy greyshirted (C. Jones, who would attend Fork Union Military Academy), and 3 (or 4,) guys left by other means. Thank YOU for all that YOU've done to prove MY point!
IF Meyer oversigns this year's class by TWELVE, then whittles the roster down thru various means to get to 85, then you come back, cuz your point will have been valid. But UNTIL then, you might want to chill and rethink exactly what it is your doing here. Unless you want to keep proving my point, then by all means, continue!
Here's a broad spectrum of media outlets drawing attention to Saban's practices. I searched for the same for Meyer, but couldn't find any from any major media sources, just bogus blog posts and what not. You referenced the Bryan Thomas story, a guy who said he was pressured to leave. That ONE guy gets referenced all over the blogs, and by Matt Hayes and a few others, as proof that Meyer pushes guys off his team. There are literally dozens of these stories about Bama guys, and before that, LSU guys under Saban. But for Meyer, there's the ONE. But check these out.
http://www.sportingnews.com/ncaa-football/story/2013-02-28/alabama-recru...
http://www.ajc.com/weblogs/college-recruiting/2013/feb/19/alabama-no-1-s...
http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/ncaaf-dr-saturday/rules-nick-saban-introdu...
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/stewart_mandel/02/04/saban...

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

Catch 5's picture

Four more articles, NOT ONE QUOTE from a former player. Every accusation you and those articles make is pure speculation.
And I didn't miss that quote. It was provided a couple posts back - that you ignored.

Make their asses quit! - Nick Saban

IGotAWoody's picture

Dude, you are lame as hell. You MISSED the part where he says he felt pressured. You totally left that part of the quote out, and replaced it with "see, he wasn't pushed." And he wasn't the only one. This is like talking to a child. And I'm done proving you wrong.
Four more articles from a variety of media sources ALL talking about Saban's penchant for signing WAY more players than he has spots for. The articles were purely about the numbers. That's the crux of the discussion, and you've lost the debate. 

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

BeijingBucks's picture

The difference is obvious even to a simple, casual observer like myself.  Medical hardships happen every year quite tragically.  This is a physical sport.  However, the question being asked is whether SEC team are essentially stocking up players to cover the shortfall to a greater degree than other leagues?  SEC is so internally competitive that whatever one team does to be successful the others are almost forced to follow.  tOSU has been killed lately because of injuries and attrition on the defensive side.  SEC teams appear from the outside to have a deeper 'pool' from which to recover.
B1G, by setting a clear guideline on this topic, is not saying it is impossible for a team to sign additional players based on need -- when appropriately justified in a petition to the league -- they just are saying 'prove it is fair'.  
Tennessee comes to mind as one of those teams that way over offers.  Without a petition or transparency to determine if it is fair play, why be surprised if the rest of the CF landscape cries foul?
My feeling has always simply been for the good of the game it should be a level playing field.  NCAA rules for everyone (as arbitrary and flawed as they always seem to be).

IGotAWoody's picture

Unfortunately, you're leaving out ALOT of information. How some kids are steered towards a grey shirt AFTER NLOI's have been signed, how kids are pushed towards taking a medical hardship, and the myriad other ways that some coaches manage to sign 25+ kids and then figure out how to get to the scholarship limit. That's why the OverSigning.com website, and other media outlets drawing attention to this issue, are such good resources. They are highlighting the stories of particularly shady practices that take place.

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

Catch 5's picture

Stay tuned, we'll get there. All I'm trying to do with this post is set the definition of oversigning. Are you saying that you have to engage in those activities in order to qualify as having oversigned? If so you are in conflict with oversigning.com, the B10, the SEC, etc.

Make their asses quit! - Nick Saban

IGotAWoody's picture

I'm sorry, dude, I'm not sure what your agenda is (tho it seems to be to defend Nick Saban, which is no better than the others that you are certain are just attacking Saban - having an agenda is having an agenda - if you want to engage in some unbiased dialogue, then I'm with you), but you're desperately trying to make points that just are not logical.
The subject of oversigning is multi-faceted, it doesn't have a single, easily understood definition. I can't figure out if you're trying to oversimplify the issue or make the case that Saban and others are NOT guilty of oversigning. Or is it neither of these?
This issue is being covered in all the shadowy, grey areas. It's not a black and white issue.

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

Catch 5's picture

The subject of oversigning is multi-faceted, it doesn't have a single, easily understood definition. 

This is the point of my post!  How can we discuss something if it changes?  Hell, we can accuse anyone of oversigning if the parameters are constantly changing to fit our accusations.  
I'm not really in it to defend Nick Saban.  He has done some things that make me uncomfortable, but most of what gets said is not based in fact.  My agenda is to force people to look at the issue honestly.  Example:  Two coaches both have 15 openings at the end of a season.  One coach signs 25 players on NSD, then has 10 players leave over the summer.  The other coach has 7 guys leave before NSD and signs 22 players.  He then has another 3 leave over the summer.  Both coaches had the same openings and the same attrition, but only one will get criticized by the oversigning crowd for cutting players.  Is this honest?  If the first coach forced out some of his players because he oversigned, the same standard would say the second coach forced out some before NSD so he wouldn't be.  
I'm attempting to add perspective to an issue where I feel people are only being shown what some want them to see.  If that still leads to Nick Saban cutting players so be it, but he will have plenty of company. 

Make their asses quit! - Nick Saban

IGotAWoody's picture

And you missed MY point! Oversigning is complicated, so you can't sum it up with one, distinct definition. There are multiple elements to it, and it can mean different things to different people. But if you really dig into it, it's VERY evident who's blurring the lines and who's adhering closely to the rules.
In the year that was examined in multiple articles, Saban had 14 scholarships available (before factoring NORMAL attrition, which for most teams is only a couple of players transferring, leaving school altogether, or taking a medical hardship - which is RARE - and should be!). Saban signed 26 players to LOIs. TWENTY SIX! That's shady, and you know it. Maybe you don't want to acknowledge it, but that brings deserved negative attention to the man. And that was just one year! The guy does something similar almost EVERY YEAR. This year, Bama's recruiting class sits at 24 (with more to come). Bama lost 14 seniors off last year's team. ESPN lists 4 juniors leaving for the draft. He's already 6 over, and he's NOT DONE. Compare that to Meyer, who sits currently at 22 recruits, which means he's currently ONE over the limit (if there were ZERO transfers or normal attrition). ONE is a lot less than SIX, isn't it?
Any comparison you try to make between what Saban does and Meyer or any other coach will always come up WAY SHORT when you analyze the numbers. And with oversigning, because of all the variables, that's what it takes - analysis. There's no easy definition, and no simple formula for identifying which coaches are blurring the lines.

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

Catch 5's picture

You forgot about the 1 scholarship Bama was short last year, the two guys that have already transferred, and they actually had 5 guys leave for the draft (Clinton-Dix, Kouandjio, Hubbard, Sunseri, and Pagan) so he currently has 22 spots open.  Meyer will probably sign 24, and Saban will probably sign 26.  Yes, 4 is greater than 3, but not nearly as bad as you are portraying.  Besides, like I said in a previous response, there are probably going to be a couple of graduates leave and at least a couple other transfers that won't surprise anyone - Just like every year.

Any comparison you try to make between what Saban does and Meyer or any other coach will always come up WAY SHORT when you analyze the numbers.

When you analyze the right numbers to the real question, you are wrong.
 
 

Make their asses quit! - Nick Saban

hetuck's picture

Please explain how Tennessee can sign 22 LOIs in 2013 and have 34 this year.

Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.
Vince Lombardi

tennbuckeye19's picture

I haven't researched this, but living in Tennessee, I am always around UT fans, and they claim that under Derek Dooley the program had a lot of attrition, and then when he left and Jones came in they were "way under" the scholarship limit. Supposedly last year they weren't operating with a full deck of scholarship players and this year they are making up for it.

hetuck's picture

That doesn't square with #2 above. I'm sure there is a loophole, but it won't help the SEC image. I could see 28, not 34.

Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.
Vince Lombardi

tennbuckeye19's picture

Yeah, from what I hear there are loopholes. I don't think it's a "hard 25" rule. It's all about manipulating the numbers. I know there's some way you can count early enrollees towards the previous class total and not the current one, so they probably will do that. And my guess is if UT was under their total scholarship limit they would say their large class was justified. I don't know.

Catch 5's picture

There will probably be a couple that don't qualify. I'm not as familiar with TN's numbers, but I know they were only at or above 25 once since 2008. If they had a handful of early enrollees each year, they can back count quite a few.

Make their asses quit! - Nick Saban

BEREABUCKEYE's picture

Not sure if I embedded the link correctly below, but this is a clear violation of definitions #3 and #4, but fits #2. It also leads people to feel like #5. I tried finding information on this year's roster to see if the same thing was happening but it was harder than I thought. I think they are graduating 11 seniors and have 5 early entrees in the NFL draft. So they have 16 spots opening up, but have 24 verbals and it sounds like at least a couple more commits coming. That is the oversigning problem that people have with Alabama and others like them.
http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/eye-on-college-football/21733077

Catch 5's picture

Here's how that worked.
Bama had 15 spots and signed 26.  This is oversigning by my definition #3, and as you echoed, caused quite an uproar among sports writers and fans of rival teams.  After NSD, Bama had 3 4th year JRs graduate and not return which brings the number available up to 18.  Two guys eventually went on medical hardships (before you bring out the boo birds, OSU had at least 3 last year), and now we are up to 20.  Three players transferred, none of which were much of a surprise to anyone who follows Bama and here we are at 23.  Now we knew Saban had one player agree to a greyshirt (in fact, Boseman did not even sign an LOI due to the SEC rules) and he could easily have had two others agree to one as well.  If he was aware of the graduates, medicals, and transfers (really not that hard for a head coach) beforehand, then this class would be possible under the B10 rule.  As we all know, 4 players were kicked off the team over the summer, making room for Bozeman and leaving the Tide with 84 scholarship players last season.
Your numbers for this year are off a little.  Bama graduated 14 seniors and sent 5 to the NFL.  They have already had two players transfer to other teams so they currently have 22 spots available.  There are two guys that are 4th year JRs that I expect to leave after graduating, and possilby more.  I know of one player that has spent much of the year suspended that will also likely transfer, and there are several guys that are talented, but haven't seen much playing time.  I'm sure at least of couple of those are at least considering transferring - and I'm quite certain Saban knows better than us.  Bama can easily sign this class (probably 26) under the B10's rule.

Make their asses quit! - Nick Saban

IGotAWoody's picture

Sorry, I call bullshit. If this was an explanation of how Saban is NOT oversigning, then you have failed.

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

Catch 5's picture

That depends on how you define it.  The previous commenter said Saban was guilty of definitions #3 and #4.  I illustrated how it is possible he was not guilty of oversigning by #4 (the B10 rule), further showing how subjective that definition can be for us fans that don't know what the coaches know.

Make their asses quit! - Nick Saban

IGotAWoody's picture

It really DOESN'T depend on how you define it. My research shows that Saban is shady as hell. Many others have done the real research, and have come to the same conclusion.

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

Catch 5's picture

Really?  Then I define oversigning as having a left arm.  We are all guilty!!

Make their asses quit! - Nick Saban

IGotAWoody's picture

I'm gathering that you're trying to be clever? Cute? Whatever it is you're attempting, it's failing.

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

Go1Bucks's picture

Sorry, sidetrack but: How many scholarships does OSU have this year?  I thought we were off probation starting this year.  SI is writing that we are still at 82.

"I will pound you and pound you, until you quit." -Woody

Catch 5's picture

OSU has one year left of reduced scholarships, so SI is correct.

Make their asses quit! - Nick Saban

Deadly Nuts's picture

Must be easy to oversign when you know at least four players will be kicked off over the summer. #SEC

Fuck m*ch*gan! That is all.

Catch 5's picture

Which is why they were able to bring in the kid who had agreed to grayshirt and were still under 85 scholarship players.

Make their asses quit! - Nick Saban

hetuck's picture

I enjoy the civil discussion of a complicated subject. Couple points.
1. medical redshirts. Question was raised above about the medical redshirt from Alabama that played elsewhere. That hasn't happened at OSU. 
2. Alabama's 4th yr juniors who graduated. Is it legal to tell them they can't have a 5th year after being redshirted? Absolutely. Is it right to tell them they can't be part of a season that likely will result in a SEC/national title? And they can't get a double major or masters degree? I say no. Did they willingly leave to enter a tough job market? Virtually every player I've read about wants to continue the college experience as long as possible, especially if it has prospects of a ring. 
3. In the five seasons before OSU beat Arkansas on the field, Arkansas signed 35 more players to LOIs (oversigning.com numbers). Yes, I'm sure some were JUCOs who double-signed (something else I don't think should be permitted. If you don't qualify up front, you should have a mandatory redshirt to acclimate academically.) I've heard Nutt try to blame it on poor quality of schools in the South. I don't buy it's more of a challenge to learn in a rural school than inner city Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago, etc.  
4. The above-listed reason is why I want definition #3 with APR teeth. 

Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.
Vince Lombardi

Catch 5's picture

1.  True.  To the best of my knowledge, there hasn't been anyone from OSU under Meyer who took a medical then went on to play elsewhere.  But there definitely was one under Meyer at Florida.  Take a close look at the guy from Bama, though.  Zeke Knight was a great player for the tide who suffered a stroke due to an undiagnosed heart condition.  Bama's medical staff never cleared him to play after the incident.  After a year on medical hardship (that would have made 4 yrs at Bama, but I don't know if he graduated or not) he began trying to get on with several smaller schools before finally landing at North Alabama.  If you actually look at the situation, it is hard to say the guy wasn't a legitimate medical candidate or was cut loose in the manner many portray.
2.  First off, I've never heard that they were told their scholarship wasn't going to be renewed.  Secondly, I don't think I'd have a problem if they did, but understand if you do.  The promise of the scholarship as I see it is four years (the new four year guarantee that most schools now offer and Notre Dame's rule about a fifth year kinda back up this premise).  Let's look at it another way.  If a guy used up his eligibility in his first four years, should the school be obligated to pay for another year of school for him because he isn't ready to move on yet?  I say no, give the guys four years, the fifth is optional.
3.  Guys not qualifying is only a small part of the discrepancy.  JuCo guys are only there 2 years (thus allowing another guy to sign within your four-year range).  NFL early departures also clear space.  Some guys get drafted by MLB and forego college.  Some guys sign twice.  On the other end, OSU was always several scholarships below 85. 
For instance, take a look at the last 5 years (2013-2009).  There is only an 11 LOI difference between Alabama and OSU (128-117) - and that's with two year's of reduced scholarships for the Buckeyes.  Not quite the "extra recruiting class" that usually gets thrown around.  Now look at Northwestern.  They only signed 92 players in this time frame.  That's 25 less than OSU - several more than NW's average class size.  Was it unfair to them when they played last year?  Simply counting LOIs is really not a fair comparison, is it?
4.  That rule would probably have the effect you want - but is that really a good thing?  I disagree that discouraging schools from offering scholarships to kids who may need an extra push to make something of themselves is what we should be doing.  What harm comes from offering a guy who doesn't qualify?  What extra boost does that school get from a guy who never sets foot on the field?  If that offer inspires that guy to take his education more seriously - isn't that better than whatever evil is associated with some SEC school having more pieces of paper faxed to them than some B10 school?

Make their asses quit! - Nick Saban

causeicouldntgo43's picture

If some of the teams in the SEC weren't oversigning, why did they feel it necessary to institute a 25 man rule so recently? Saying they did this only to improve public perception of their recruiting practices (PR Reasons) is a pretty poor reason to institute the rule, especially if there was no problem. I can't imagine a governing body agreeing to constrain themselves from something if they don't think it's a problem in their conference.  

Catch 5's picture

Oh the SEC perceived a problem, but the we're focused on the 25 rule, which doesn't do anything about what most people complain about.

Make their asses quit! - Nick Saban

fanfarris's picture

"make their asses quit" ?? his name then should be Nick SADOM ,and not saban.

you
 

Nick_Satan's picture

Nice post I enjoyed the reading.  My opinion on oversigning is I really don't have one because its just way to complicated for me to form an educated opinion. I generally don't like when schools try to skate around the rules. I wish there was more of a cut and dry rule to it all. Maybe just a max you can sign a year and that's it. when you start grey shirting and all that it gets too confusing to keep track of for me. I think simpler rules would be better or just rules that are NCAA wide rules instead of each league having there own stuff.