Skull Session: Transfer Waivers Could Get Stricter, ESPN's FPI Snubs Ohio State and High Schoolers Catfish Recruiting Services

By Kevin Harrish on February 15, 2019 at 4:59 am
Chase Young and BB Landers are coming into your backfield in today's Skull Session.

Here's my unsolicited #take on Ohio State's NCAA Tournament chances after the Buckeyes defecated the bed last night: losing a can't-lose game sucks, but it would suck more if there weren't five opportunities against ranked opponents to make up for it.

Yeah, winning out against Illinois and Northwestern and losing all the rest of the games on the slate could have backed Ohio State into the tournament, but if you can't beat a single ranked team in five tries down the stretch or make any sort of Tournament run, you probably don't deserve to go dancing anyway.

And if they don't make the tournament, I'm a huge fan of the reinforcements coming in.


Word of the Day: Dilatory.

 A NEAT ONE-YEAR EXPERIMENT. It's looking like the Justin Fields transfer came at the right time, cause things could be changing.

From the release:

“The Committee for Legislative Relief is reviewing current transfer waiver guidelines to make sure they are in line with the membership’s expectations. We do believe attention on a small number of high-profile requests can skew perceptions of the scope of staff and committee review,” said Kaity McKittrick, deputy athletics director and senior woman administrator at Lafayette. “Each waiver request is reviewed individually, as they each present a unique fact pattern and almost always confidential information of the student. Our committee and the staff operate with the membership’s guidelines in mind, and are not driven by a specific approval percentage.”

As part of its review, the committee reviewed historical data that showed the number of student-athletes requesting and receiving waivers for immediate competition compared with the number of student-athletes who were transferring so far in the 2018-19 academic year.

Basically, they're going to re-evaluate whether or not it's actually good to be granting these players immediate eligibility, particularly at the rate that it's happening. That could be bad news for folks trying to take advantage of this in the future.

If the NCAA goes all strict again, that's probably going to upset a lot of people.

Here's Justin Fields' attorney Tom Mars to ESPN's Adam Rittenberg about the NCAA reviewing guidelines for immediate-eligibility waivers:

"If people think the percentage of waivers granted is too high, the number of waivers that have been granted might just be a reflection of how the football coaching staffs are treating their players. It doesn’t necessarily mean the NCAA is being too lenient."

A fair take.

I think the best way to go about this is transparency and uniformity. This shadowy process isn't really instilling tons of trust or confidence.

 FPI GOES FULL WTF. I'm usually not the guy to get riled up about preseason rankings of any kind, but what the hell is this?

A couple of things here: Auburn is a fringe top-25 team at best, LSU is about eight spots too high, Michigan's entire defense left, and Oregon? Meanwhile Ohio State and Texas don't even crack the top-10.

If understand this is a formula and not a human poll, but your formula spits this out, it's uh, broken.

 NICK STARKEL VISITING OTHER SCHOOLS. I don't think my pipe dream of Nick Starkel replacing Tate Martell at Ohio State is going to come to fruition.

It looks like Starkel has a list of schools he wants to visit, and Ohio State ain't on it.

From Josh Newberg of

Texas A&M quarterback transfer Nick Starkel has informed Noles247 that he has set an official visit to Florida State and Arkansas. After not signing a quarterback in back-to-back recruiting classes, FSU is looking to the transfer portal to fill their needs at quarterback.

"I scheduled a official to FSU for March 29th weekend," Starkel told Noles247. "I'm going to Arkansas on March 1st. I have spring break in between those two and FSU has spring break, which is the only reason they're so far apart."

This all makes sense, especially after watching the video that I put in this week's fake Saturday Skull Session.

Here it is for those of you who missed it:

If you skip to 19:22, Starkel heavily implies that he would be a Buckeye, and likely be Ohio State's starting quarterback if Justin Fields were not granted immediate eligibility. But obviously, he was. The same day that video was published, in fact.

And at 26:55, he talks about the Tate Martell "ass my dude" story.

 #TEENS CATFISH RIVALS. For any of you conspiracy theorists who believe recruiting rankings are often very arbitrary and extremely loosely based in actual analysis, you might not be too far off, especially if you're a loyalist.

See, Rivals gave a three-star rating to a prospect that doesn't exist simply because some high schoolers created a fake Twitter account for the fake prospect and and claimed he had offers from Alabama and Georgia.

247 Sports shares the black stain at least a bit, mostly for trusting Rivals enough to automagically import their data into their composite rankings, and they addressed it quickly (while also indirectly vowing to confirm players exist before giving them a composite ranking).

The most hilarious part about this is the radio silence from Rivals, who seem to just be turtling up and hoping this all goes away, which is absolutely the best way to handle situations like this, I've heard.

 WORLD'S BEST FOOTBALL CARD. I'm pleased to report that Topps is now making sports cards for my favorite non-traditional football league, and this featured card might be the best ever made.

Unfortunately, they were only available for 24 hours and I missed it, but we'll have more chances.

 LINK LOCKER. My wife was dying and we didn’t tell our kids... Scientists grow transplantable heart from stem cells... The celebrity tortoise breakup that rocked the world... Oman's hidden village carved into a cliff... The world's most expensive spice is on the verge of disappearing...

View 84 Comments