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Member since 25 October 2011 | Blog

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Comment 08 May 2013

Looking at expenditures only is an effective approach if one wants to wag his finger at the SEC for spending too much on athletics.  But expenditures only tell half the story; revenues are the relevant other half.  Using the 2012 expenditure and revenue data that came out yesterday, I calculated that the SEC had a surplus of $5.3 million per school (I deducted subsidies from the revenues).  By comparison, the Big Ten cleared $2.8 million per school. I freely admit that this discrepancy is largely due to the fact that Big Ten schools fund many more "non-revenue generating sports" than does the SEC, and I applaud them for that.  I think it's worth noting that while SEC schools are investing comparatively more in athletics, they are receiving a good return on that investment.  And despite what Ramzy suggests, there is evidence that some of that profit is returned to the institutions' general funds. 

Note: I invite others to double check my math. I should've double checked myself, but I really didn't feel like going back through the tedious calculations.

Comment 08 May 2013

Ramzy stated in the comments of his story yesterday that in 2011 Alabama retained all profits within the Athletic Department.  I have been unable to find anything to support that claim and it is obviously not true for 2012 (though he made no such claim wrt 2012).  What source was Ramzy's claim based on?

Comment 08 May 2013

Only Illinois and Iowa still attach fees to student tuition to help fund athletics. Every single other department is self-funded. Huge, mostly-full stadiums help pay those bills. The Big Ten Network is extremely helpful. Smart investments and licensing agreements are as well.

Failed to mention that at least 7 of the current Big Ten members receive subsidies from institutional funding. Want to see some serious subsidizing? Check out future Big Ten members Rutgers and Maryland. 

Comment 28 Oct 2011

See my reply at the bottom of the comments section

Comment 28 Oct 2011


So, you just proved my point, since Indiana, Wazzou, etc. don't bring in more than 25 players a year like Alabama. THANKS!  And Indiana doesn't oversign.  They are not allowed to offer more than 20 scholarships to incoming freshmen.  They are always BELOW 85 scholarship players.

First of all, you're going to have to explain to me how I proved your point.  I provided you with Graduation Success Rates (GSR) showing that Alabama has a higher GSR than the national average and higher GSR than schools like Ohio State that you claim don't oversign, and that proved your point?  Maybe it's just me, but that makes no sense at all.

Secondly, that article was incorrect stating that Indiana can't offer more than 20 scholarships to incoming players. and show Indiana bringing in more than 20 new scholarship players 6 times over the past 10 years.  They average over 22 players per class, so obviously they are not in any way limited to 20 players per year.  I challenge you to find mention of a 20 player limit for Indiana anywhere other than that article.

As for Indiana not oversigning and always being below the 85 limit, that's simply not true and I offer this article from 2010 as evidence:

"Heading into the summer, Indiana was still over its limit of 85 scholarship players on the football roster. However, two recent moves have brought the Hoosiers back to compliance.

Running back Shane Covington will transfer according to a source, and defensive tackle Jarrod Smith is staying at Indiana but will leave the football program because of a back injury that cost him much of last season and all spring. By NCAA rule, he will continue to receive a scholarship, but no longer counts against Indiana’s limit of 85 scholarships"

So, Indiana was oversigned by 2 heading into the summer (which is allowed by B1G rules), then had a transfer and a medical hardship to get back down to 85 scholarships.  Happens a lot more than you think.

Comment 28 Oct 2011

It just so happens that the NCAA released new Graduation Success Rates earlier this week.  Here are the rates for the schools you requested plus a couple extra:

Indiana - 66

Wazzou - 62

Michigan - 71

Georgia - 65

Alabama - 69

Ohio State - 67

National Average - 67

Comment 27 Oct 2011

lol, you're actually going to mince the fact that North Alabama, Cal U PA, and Georgia State aren't junior colleges as a justification that you're right and I'm wrong

Since you did count them as junior colleges and they aren't junior colleges, then yes I'm going to point out that you are wrong.  A 2 year institution versus a 4 year institution is a pretty big distinction by the way.  If you don't believe me, try applying for a white collar job with an Associate's degree from a Juco instead of a Bachelor's degree from a 4 year institution.

The fact that 21 players over 2 years effectively "disappeared" for reasons other than the NFL or graduation is what we're debating.

This seems to be the major issue you have.  What I've tried show you and others is that that stat means absolutely nothing without context.  I really feel that most people have no idea how much attrition happens across college football every year.  Indiana has lost 17 players this year alone.  Washington State also lost 17 players.  Michigan lost 13.  Georgia has lost 20+ over the last 2 years.  So if Georgia doesn't oversign and lost just as many players as Alabama, how can you conclude that Alabama's attrition is due to oversigning.  Not to mention the fact that several of Alabama's transfers have stated publicly that they chose to transfer and not one has ever claimed that he was forced to transfer.

And that brings us back to James Jackson.  Oversigning has to do with the 85 rule not the 25 rule.  So stating that he didn't sign over 25 in no way proves that he didn't oversign.  In fact, had Ohio State as oversigned by 2 on National Signing Day.  Now are you outraged at what Tressel did to James Jackson or are you going to continue to attempt to defend him just because he coached for your favorite team?

Comment 27 Oct 2011

You said Saban had sent 7 players to JUCO last year.  Your link shows that last year 2 players failed to qualify out of high school and enrolled in Juco's and this year 3 current players transferred to Juco's.  That's 5 players in 2 years, not 7 players in 1 year.

Maybe you are under the impression that North Alabama, Cal U in Pennsylvania, or Georgia State is a Juco.  If so, then you are wrong once again, something that is beginning to become a pattern with you.  If you're going to make an allegation against someone, have the common decency to check your facts first.

Were you outraged at Tressel for the way he treated Jackson?

Comment 27 Oct 2011

So, were you outraged at Tressel?  Is cutting one player to make room for more talented players ok?

Also, please list the names of the 7 players that Saban sent to JUCO last year.

Comment 27 Oct 2011

You're wrong to suggest Alabama doesn't do this more than other schools.  If Amos pointed this out, then either his numbers are wrong, or both Stewart Mandel's and the Wall Street Journals' are.  I'm siding with Stewie boy and the Wall Street Journal.

Ok, this appears to be a case of you reading what you want to see in the referenced articles as opposed to what is actually in them.  My numbers are not wrong, nor do they conflict with the numbers provided by the WSJ or Stewart Mandel.

-The WSJ and Mandel both state that Alabama had 12 medical hardships during Saban's first 4 years.  This is true and I've never even intimited that it is not true.

-Mandel stated that Tressel had 4 medical hardshipis in 10 years.  Again, this is something that I've never disputed.

-The WSJ article stated that the SEC had AT LEAST 24 medical hardships over that 4 year period.  I provided stats for a few other SEC schools and when you add them up, the SEC has had at least 38 medical hardships over that 4 year period.  THIS DOES NOT CONTRADICT THE WSJ ARTICLE.   In fact, my claim being true necessitates the WSJ claim being true.  I can provide the list of the 38 players if you want them.


So, as you can see, my numbers don't contradict anything written by Mandel or the WSJ.  Where the difference comes in is the way we portray the numbers.  The WSJ and Mandel portray Alabama as an outlier, but how well do they back up that claim?  Not very well at all.  Yes, Alabama has had significantly more medical hardships than Ohio State, but so has Georgia, South Carolina, Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, Florida State, Oklahoma State, North Carolina, and many, many other major programs.  Are all these programs forcing bogus medical hardships on players too?  "But they aren't oversigned", you say.  That may be true, but getting rid of their dead weight via medical hardships would open up roster space allowing each of those schools to sign bigger recruiting classes the following year than they would have been able to had they not forced the players to take medical hardships.

And after reading the testimonials from your players, I can't believe you're not outraged that the coach is doing this.  Maybe you didn't read them.  But in your mind, he's not doing anything wrong or shady. 

As Catch 5 pointed out, the actual comments made by the former players in the WSJ are not nearly as damaging as the way the author portrays them in the article.  And unlike James Jackson, each of the 3 players quoted in the WSJ article will be able to finish his degree on scholarship without transferring (one will actually complete his undergrad and grad degrees on scholarship):

"They had an oversigning issue," Jackson said. "They had to free up a few scholarships, and coach [Jim] Tressel told me I probably wouldn't play and maybe Ohio State wasn't the place for me."

But Jackson said if he had known then what he knows now, he would not have gone to Ohio State, and believes disclosure laws can help others avoid similar mistakes.

"My main goal coming out of high school was to get a degree from a Division I program," said Jackson, who now attends Wayne State, a Division II school in Michigan. "If I had known they wouldn't keep me in school for four to five years, no matter what, I would have gone somewhere else."

Did the above testimonial outrage you that your coach was doing this?

Comment 27 Oct 2011

Nick Saban in his first 4 years grashirted 12 players

You are misinformed.  He has grayshirted 6 players in 5 years.  Don't let the truth get in the way of your arguement though.



Comment 27 Oct 2011

In his piece, Ramzy casually claims that Alabama purges underporforming players and abruptly pulls scholarship from its players.  In a post above, I asked him the following:

1. To provide the names of the Alabama players who had their scholarships taken away.  I didn't specify this earlier, but the list should include his basis for determining that their scholarships were revoked.  Bonus points if he can provide evidence that they were cut for underperforming.

2. If Alabama is running off all these underperforming players to make room for next year's studs, then why has Alabama enrolled roughly the same number of signees as Michigan State?  Is Michigan State running off an equal number of underperforming players?


With respect to #1, I know you're going to say that it's a very difficult thing to prove because any coach who cuts players for underperforming isn't likely to admit to it publicly.  And you're right.  But if he's going to state his claims as fact, then I'm going to ask him to provide something to back it up with.  I doubt I'll get a response from him, but I'm still going to ask.

Comment 26 Oct 2011

Fair enough.  But if someone made an allegation against Ohio State, would you not ask the author to back up that allegation with actual proof rather than just innuendo?

Comment 26 Oct 2011

None of their scholarships were revoked.  Please see my post below with links.

Comment 26 Oct 2011

As Catch 5 already pointed out, the first link quotes a bunch of former players who state that they chose to transfer.  Saban said that they weren't invited back.  The truth is probably in the middle, i.e. a mutual decision between player and coach similar to Dorian Bell's recent transfer from Ohio State.

As for the 2nd link, the claim that some players' "scholarship(s) not renewed" is completely unsubstantiated.  That wording was chosen by the author of solely in an attempt to mischaracterize the situation in such a way as to reflect poorly on Alabama.  Here's the truth about each of the three players:

"Tailback Terry Grant and wide receiver Travis Sikes have chosen to forego their final years of eligibility and will not return to the Crimson Tide in 2010. Each had already obtained undergraduate degrees."

"We sort of mutually agreed that it would be better for [Rod Woodson] to continue his career someplace else, and he will transfer," said Saban

Another mutual decision similar to Dorian Bell.  The linked article also mentions that Woodson was in a 2 person competition for one of the starting Safety positions.  His departure resulted in an undersized walk-on getting significant playing time at Safety throughout the 2010 season and may have cost Alabama a win or two.  If Saban was booting underperforming players to make room on the roster, why choose Woodson instead of one of several players buried on the depth chart?

Finally, I could post an attrition list for Ohio State from the years '08 and '11 (not '08 thru '11) similar to the one that created for Alabama.  It would have 19 names on it and by the names there would be labels such as "Failed to Qualify", "Grayshirt", "Transferred to ...", and "Scholarship not renewed".  What would it prove?  These things happen at most every program and at levels much higher than most people realize.

Comment 26 Oct 2011

You seem to be under the false impression that Alabama sends players that are on the roster "down to JUCO" to make room for an incoming player then brings them back at a later date.  This simply is not true.  I know of three players who transferred from Alabama to JUCO and all 3 had academic issues similar to Duron Carter at Ohio State.

As for grayshirting, I know of few people who object to the practice when it is handled correctly.  If you know of any cases in which grayshirts were handled incorrectly by Alabama, then please let me know.

I made no attempt to undersell the importance of 1 player or 1 scholarship.  Obviously, 1 special player can make a huge difference.  My point was that raw numbers don't tell the whole story.  People are quick to use raw numbers as the basis for accusations of competitive imbalance and unethical behavior.  To show you what I mean, Ohio State has signed 12 more players than Northwestern over the past 5 signing classes.  Like you said, 1 player can make a big difference, so does the 12 player differential explain Ohio State's dominance over Northwestern?  Was Ohio State able to sign more players than Northwestern by running off underperforming players like James Jackson.  I believe the answer to both questions is no but I would be hard pressed to prove it and so would you.

Comment 26 Oct 2011

Woah, Amos.  We're not ONLY talking about fresh signees, or freshmen here.  We're talking about upperclassmen, too, who are cast aside to make room for the new signees.

If Alabama is running off underperforming upperclassmen at a greater rate than State, would you not expect Alabama to be bringing in more players than State?  The point that I was attempting to make is that although Alabama has signed more players than State, Alabama did not bring in more players than State.  So, if Alabama is cutting all these upperclassmen, how come they didn't bring in more players than State did?

As for your point about JUCO's, I would be extremely surprised if you could find one player that was "cut" by Alabama, went to JUCO, then resigned by Alabama.  Why would a team even do that?  There have only been a handful of players that I am aware of who enrolled at Alabama then later transferred to JUCO and in each case the transfer was due to academic issues in the same way that Duron Carter transferred from Ohio State to JUCO to get his academics in order.  There are examples of players who signed with Alabama, failed to qualify after high school, enrolled in JUCO, then resigned with Alabama after completing their coursework.  I've heard some people complain about this process but I fail to see who the victim is.  When a player fails to qualify, it voids the original LOI and the player is free to sign with whomever he wants after completing JUCO.  If he wants to resign with the 4 year school that he originally signed with, then so be it.

Comment 26 Oct 2011

"Are there any league-sanctioned institutional controls placed on the schools that require coaches to explain every spot above 85 and get permission to go above 85?"

No there are not, but guess what?  There are no such league sanctioned controls in the Pac 12, Big 12, ACC, Big East, MWC, WAC, C-USA either.  Even with the B1G rules, there is absolutely nothing to stop coaches from running off underperforming players prior to NSD so theat they can then sign a bigger class on NSD.  I have long maintained that the best way to protect players is to remove all incentive for coaches to make room on their roster by doing away with the 85 scholarship limit completely.  Lower the annual initial counter limit to ~21 and do away with the 85 limit.  Then there is no incentive to force anyone off the current roster to make room for a larger signing class.  The Title IX implications might make it a little tricky, but I believe that it is the best solution.

Comment 25 Oct 2011

He's talking about grayshirting in conjunction with oversigning: “Let’s say you have space for 15 on signing day and you sign 20."  That is straight up oversigning by 5. 

His point is simply that, when used in conjunction with conditional grayshirting, oversigning can be used as a tool for ensuring the team's roster is full without forcing any current players off the team.

Comment 25 Oct 2011

Three points:

1. Ramzy stated that oversigning was not allowed by B1G bylaws.  I was simply pointing out that that was a false statement and that oversigning is allowed by B1G rules.  And no matter what "qualifying criteria" come with the rules, it doesn't change the fact that the B1G did pass legislation to allow oversigning.

2. The write-up you quoted from about the B1G rule is factual incorrect on one point.  The +3 oversigning exception actually has nothing to do with the 25 annual initial counter limit.  It has to do with the 85 annual scholarship limit meaning that if a B1G team has room to for, say, 24 new players under the 85 limit, then they can sign up to 27 giving them a total of 88 signees + current scholarship players.  The guy who runs later admitted that his initial interpretion of the rule was incorrect.

3. If a team can responsibly oversign by 3 players, can a team not responsibly oversign by 4?  How about 5?  What is the magic number?  By approving rules changes that allow oversigning, the B1G is essentially endorsing the idea that teams can oversign without screwing anybody over.  It's like Richt said in the quote that I provided, as long as the university is upfront and honest with the student-athletes about the possibility of greyshirting, then a school can oversign in order to account for expected attrition without forcing anyone off scholarship to make room for incoming players.

Comment 25 Oct 2011

Richt isn't as anti-oversigning as many people think:

“I was asked my opinion on the oversigning thing. First of all, I think everybody should have a right to manage their numbers. I think every university should he able to do that. I think over-signing is OK, in my opinion, if you sign over the number.

“Let’s say you have space for 15 on signing day and you sign 20. Well, if five of those guys know up front if there’s no room in the end and they’re willing to grayshirt and willing to come in the next January in the end, if the kid knows, the mom and dad knows, the high school coach knows, everybody involved in the recruiting process knows, if they know there’s a chance there’s no space for you, if everybody knows that on the front end, then I don’t see anything wrong with it ethically. I personally think if everybody knows it on the front end, that’s fine.

“We all know from signing date until they enroll in school, there’s usually attrition historically and usually there’s enough attrition to make room for any over-signing. If those five guys know they can come in if there’s room when everybody else comes in, come in with your class. If there’s not, you’ll come in in January. I don’t see anything wrong with that."

Comment 25 Oct 2011

The B1G changed its rules in 2002 to allow oversigning by 3 in football and 1 in basketball.  According to Michigan, Michigan State, and Penn State all oversigned this past year.  I could name schools from the Pac 12, Big 12, ACC, Big East, and MWC that oversigned too.

Comment 25 Oct 2011

It is NOT categorically false.  Check out the attrition at Georgia, Florida, Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Washington State, Washington, Oregon State, and Boise State.

And if players are routinely sent out the door against their will at Alabama, then surely, you can provide me a list of players who have made that claim.  Before you try to argue that players never make such negative allegations with respect to their former schools, I'll remind you that James Jackson had no problem claiming that Tressel cut him loose - to make room for incoming players no less.

No where did I say that oversigning does not provide a competitive advantage, but I do think that it is much less of an advantage than some people think.  In my opinion, the competitive advantage arguement is second to the ethical arguement.  That is why I believe that it is irresponsible to claim that players are being run off without anything to back it up.  Based on the information that I provided, if Alabama is running off players as you claim, then Michigan State is running off an equal number, correct? 

Comment 25 Oct 2011

"Since he became head coach at Alabama, Nick Saban has gotten about half the Medical Hardship scholarships the SEC has given out."

That is absolyutely not true.  Many people have miscontrued a line from the WSJ, but read it carefully.  The WSJ piece states that Alabama has had at least 12 medical hardships and the SEC has had AT LEAST 24 over that period.  With just a little bit of research I've found around 6 from Auburn, 7 from LSU, 7 from Georgia, and 6 from South Carolina.  So clearly the SEC total is much higher than 24.

Medical hardships are much more prevalent than I think most people realize and they're by no means exclusive to the SEC.  Did you know that in 2011 Michigan has given out 4, Indiana has had at least 3, Michigan State has had 3, and Nebraska has had 7 in the last 2 years?

"Over the past two seasons Alabama has had 20 players leave their roster for reasons outside of graduation/leaving early to the NFL/things that were their fault (Grades)."

And how does that compare to other programs?  Indiana has had 17 THIS YEAR alone.  "But they just had a coaching change".  Fair enough.  Georgia hasn't had the coaching change and they've had 20 players leave their roster too.  You'd be surprised at the amount of attrition that happens all across the country each offseason.