I GIVE UP ON HATING WISCONSIN
I personally find the act of over signing appalling. Obviously, the total number of scholarships available is a fluid situation and thus it is a difficult task to pin down the exact number of scholarships that are available for an upcoming class. But the act of signing significantly more LOI than there could conceivably be room for invites large amounts of attrition either through a large number of kids not getting qualified or through dismissing players currently on the team. Promising a student athlete a scholarship and then releasing them from the program to make room for the next class is not the purpose of the NCAA athletics.
I don’t feel I need to go into specific instances of over signing as the practice is well documented especially in conferences outside of the Big Ten. What I’m more interested in is how the practice can be eliminated. It is obvious that schools who choose to over sign gain an advantage over those who don’t, even if they aren’t breaking any rules. So, the first objective would be to eliminate the temptation for coaches to over sign. Without the promise of an advantage there is no need to continue the act.
Though my proposal might sound slightly extreme, I do feel it comes with some positive side effects in addition to the elimination of over signing. I propose that the NCAA should, for the Football Bowl Subdivision, eliminate the 85 scholarship limit and reduce the number of allowable LOI per year to 25. There are a few stipulations that accompany this proposal. First is that early enrollees can still count toward either the class of freshmen already on campus or toward the class of freshmen that will be enrolling in the fall just as they can now, provided that there were less than 25 students in the previous class. Second, transfer students count toward the year that they enroll at a school regardless of their eligibility; this prevents coaches from trying to replace attrition in the upper classes with large amounts of transfers.
The threat of losing scholarships under the APR rules is the only deterrent to large amounts of attrition. Also, under the current system schools that do a great job of retaining and graduating their students are penalized by the 85 scholarship limit because they aren’t able to take a full class every year where as schools with poor retention rates can. Yet, under this proposal schools that have lower retention rates are at a competitive disadvantage because they will have less scholarship athletes on their team than schools with good retention rates. Meaning, there is no longer any incentive to encourage attrition. Thus, I think this proposal does a great job of aligning the interests of institutions with that of its student athletes by benefiting schools that do it best and punishing schools who do it worst.
There are obviously a few reasons the NCAA and its member institutions would be hesitant to adopt this proposal and so I would like to address those now. The first issue is that this would certainly have the potential to the add costs to athletic departments, and with the rising cost of education the additional costs would assuredly grow. However, at the same time the money generated by intercollegiate athletics continues to grow, while under the current rules there is no feasible way to funnel that money to the student athletes, and thus more money is spent on coach’s salaries and facilities instead. This proposal allows for the only possible way to give more money, in the form of scholarships, to student athletes while keeping any semblance of amateurism.
Another issue with the proposal is that there is a great deal of flexibility in total number of scholarships a school could be responsible for in a given year and it could also change dramatically year to year. Under the current rules the number of football scholarships given in a year does vary but it is capped at 85. Also, there could be Title IX implications to adding scholarships in football and thus the increase in scholarships could actually be double.
Lastly, small schools might not be too excited about the proposal since they would have an increase in the number of scholarships they are responsible for, yet they haven’t enjoyed the same growth in athletic revenue that the larger schools have. It would also make them less competitive on the field since more players can go to the bigger schools leaving less of the talent pool available for the smaller schools to build their teams from.
While, I can perfectly understand how an Athletic Director would be hesitant about increases in scholarship costs I see the increases in scholarships as a good thing. What is the purpose of the NCAA if it isn’t to support the education of as many student athletes as possible? And with the outcry about how student athletes should be paid because of the increase in revenue generated by intercollegiate athletics wouldn’t this be a great way of showing that the NCAA wants to make sure that this added revenue goes towards students rather than buildings and coaches’ salaries?
There is another benefit to capping the number of signed LOI and nothing else. Schools would be more reluctant to sign fringe academic qualifiers because if they wash out, then that scholarship spot is permanently lost. This increases the priority of the student part of student athlete and encourages high school athletes to focus on their grades if they want to receive a scholarship offer. Students who do struggle with qualifying would still be able to attend a preparatory school or junior college and transfer just as they can now.
To summarize, the benefits of this proposal would be:
Eliminates the practice of over signing from the FBS
Creates a competitive advantage for schools with high retention rates
Increases the number of students receiving scholarships
Increases the importance of academics when signing recruits
Obviously, I have biases just like everyone else so I thought I should address these. First, as a Michigan fan this proposal benefits the “Big Boys” by letting them hoard talent. Second, as a Big Ten fan it eliminates the advantage other conferences that partake in the practice of over signing have. Third, I think there are too many FBS schools now so the small schools that wouldn’t have the budget for the added scholarships would probably move down to FCS which would make me happy. Lastly, while I don’t have any issue with coaches getting paid as much as they can since they work incredibly long hours in a high pressure job, I still would prefer to see more athletes granted scholarships than an increase in coaching salaries or an arms race in facilities.
I would like to note that there is nothing magical about the number 25 so decreasing that number for cost purposes wouldn’t necessarily be an issue, but I like that more student athletes would be getting scholarships.
I posted this in another thread but I guess many people haven't really heard about how hard this kid's fought for a place on this team. If the mods want to bump this down to the board, that'd be understandable, the story's not all that long. Anyway, Kennedy's name has come up quite a bit recently; and I completely agree that no one wants to see another Nick Sheridan season. I'm not arguing he should start. But people who make fun of him (and granted, they are few and far between) should know how hard he's worked before criticizing. Anyway, on with the story.
One of my cousins was good friends with Jack in high school. This is what they told me.
Anywho, as a junior in HS, Jack was the starting QB. He came back in his senior year and either there was a new coach..or something, and the coach didn't like him..or at least his ability, so he got benched (Edit..AA.com says he was injured). Anyway, the slim shot Jack had at playing D1 ball seems to evaporate, right?
Well Jack enrolls as a freshman at UM, paying his own way, obviously. But hereally wants to join the football team. After enrolling as a freshman, he tries out, doesn't make the team. He doesn't give up. He knows he's been out of it for a while, and there's no way he's going to get on without practice. So, at night, after the team's gone back to their dorms/etc, and the field...yes, Michigan Stadium is empty, he hops the fence or whatever and sneaks onto the field. Every night. He uses practice equipment, footballs, etc, anything he can get his hands onto. For months and months, every day he snuck on and practiced in the dead of night.
Eventually, the cops caught him one night. He thought he was screwed, but instead, the cops set him up with practice stuff at Pioneer (I think my cousin said the Pioneer coach worked with him too) and when walk-on tryouts come around the next year, he goes for it. He leaves everything out on the field at the tryout, and makes the team.
He knows he'll never start, he knows he'll rarely play, he knows he'll probably never get on scholarship. But he loves Michigan football so much that none of it matters to him. He worked on all of that, so hard, just to suit up for the maize and blue on Saturdays. Now it's been about a year since my cousin told me about this, but I think I got all my facts straight.
You want a Michigan man, whatever the hell that means? There's your Michigan man.
Here's some AA.com add-ons. Their story adds some nice quotes from his parents after the DSU game from last year, but leaves out the Pioneer part.
My cousin told me he wasn't liked by the coaches..I guess he was just injured.
A redshirt freshman, Kennedy was forced to sit out his senior year of high school at Walled Lake Central after suffering a back injury.
More or less what my cousin told me
From the time he was cut until the start of this year's spring tryouts, Kennedy would scale the construction fence outside of Michigan Stadium and work out at night under the construction lights. Jack's parents didn't understand why he asked them for four footballs for his 19th birthday. Only later did they learn that Jack was lining up and knocking down trash cans on the field of Michigan Stadium to improve his accuracy.
Worked out with Cavanaugh, Kovacs, and Baker
When he wasn't risking arrest for trespassing, he worked out with fellow walk-ons Jordan Kovacs, Matt Cavanaugh and Zac Baker in the hopes of making a better showing this year.
Some more nice fluff on RR
Rodriguez could've easily just kept Cone in the game or had Jack take a knee. But he chose to put Jack in and called the quarterback keeper for him.
Anyway, I just wanted to share, so you could all appreciate the sacrifice this kid (these kids, really, a lot of walk-ons face similar obstacles) went through and the selflessness he's shown.
Anyone that Hoke signs at this late date will be (at best) a mid-level three-star — someone totally unready to play Division I football. If said QB sees the field in 2011, it will only mean that both Devin Gardner and Denard Robinson are injured, and it won’t be pretty.
For the 2012 class, I am sure that Hoke will be looking for a 4+ star kid with a much higher ceiling. With a year to work on it, he is probably going to find that kid. That means the QB he signs this year, if any, will be a transitional figure: a David Cone type who is unlikely ever to see substantial playing time in a Michigan uniform.
The thing is, most recruits are going to look at the depth chart and see these same facts, which limits the kind of QB that Hoke can hope to get — basically, those who realize that in exchange for a Michigan degree, they are probably going to spend four years running the scout team and holding a clipboard on game day. That's not a bad deal, but a kid who wants a serious likelihood of starting will probably choose to go elsewhere.
Do new coaches have a "combine" with the remaining players to see what they really have? It seems that height/weight and 40 times tend to be exaggerated. Also, it would be useful to know the actual strength of players. Would this be considered organized activities (ie practice) or could it be done as winter conditioning?
Looking around for what QB's are still available, and gleaned this from ESPN:
Jacoby Brissett(West Palm Beach, Fla./Dwyer)
Player rank: NR | Position rank: 25 | Grade: 78 | Stars: 3
Height: 6-4 | Weight: 220 pounds |
Brissett is one of the most physically impressive quarterback prospects this class has to offer. He is tall, strong and can make all the throws you want from within the pocket. He is a good athlete, but we would not necessarily call him a dual-threat. He plays under center in the shotgun, has the size to scan the field and is an imposing figure within the pocket. Reminds us of former LSU QB JaMarcus Russell.
Recruiting update: The Badgers could be the team to beat right now if Brissett leaves the state. Miami and coach Al Golden are coming on strong, while new Florida offensive coordinator Charlie Weis recently made a big impression on Brissett. He potentially has two more visits, and the Gators, Huskies, Gamecocks and Hurricanes are possible candidates.
Cameron Coffman(Peculiar, Mo./Ray-Pec)
Player rank: NR | Position rank: 33 | Grade: 78 | Stars: 3
Height: 6-2 | Weight: 175 pounds |
There is an awful lot to like about the gritty signal-caller. He is a sneaky athlete who is much more of a runner than you might think. He has great feet and pocket movement with awareness of pressure and the tools to elude it. He has a live arm, not elite, but powerful enough to take some shots downfield and fit the ball into tight spots underneath because of his quick delivery.
Recruiting update: Unless someone comes in late, it's basically down to Arizona State and Alabama for Coffman. He has already visited the Sun Devils, and he made an unofficial visit to Tuscaloosa over the summer. If the Crimson Tide have room, they could take him.
Stephen Weatherford(Land O'Lakes, Fla./Land O'Lakes)
Player rank: NR | Position rank: 44 | Grade: 77 | Stars: 3
Height: 6-2 | Weight: 200 pounds |
Weatherford is the type of guy who grows on you the more you watch him. He is an athletic pocket passer with good overall size and a sturdy frame. He can make plays with his legs when he has to and possesses deceptively good arm strength, as evidenced by his throwing at times with not a single foot on the ground and many back-foot tosses.
Recruiting update: The South Florida decommit recently visited Miami and is scheduled to visit Cincinnati this coming weekend or next. Western Kentucky could also get an official visit.
I didn't think there were offensive position coaching spots still available, but I just read this off of Twitter. Please God do not let this be true.