Rule #1 : Forget how to count to 85
Nick Saban's Recruiting Method
*itch please, it's easy to say you have been successful at recruiting when you can sign 30 kids a year due to gray-shirting. You have a higher margin for error compared to a school who rarely signs more that 22 kids a year. Alabama and LSU aren't exactly the most selective schools in terms of academics
Oversign and cut, end of story....
This is true, but he also consistently pulls in amazing talent. It's not like he's oversigning classes of two and three stars. The guy is a piece of shit, but he's also doing someting really well. Granted, there's something to be said for dancing around the rule books. I know he's been spotted at Barry Sanders Jr's school when he wasn't supposed to be there.
Saban almost never violates a rule. He knows the rules and exploits every hole as much as he can. Remember when he started Skype'ing with recruits because only phone calls had limits? You can't blame him for being smart.
Granted, it's effective to dance around the rule book due to semantics, but where is the line between "recruiting genius" and "morally corrupt recruiter"?
Saban's as cutthroat as it gets, but for example, when Bruce Feldman interviewed players at one of the all-star games, only the Alabama commits knew scholarships were one year deals and renewable for each year. Everyone else thought they were four year deals.
I personally don't find moral issue with things like improper phone calls or, frankly, improper benefits. The NCAA's rules are completely arbitrary, reactionary, and often asinine. I find moral issue with an incoming Freshman signing a binding LOI in exchange for a scholarship and the school not honoring the commitment--which Saban has neatly dodged and Les Miles predictably blundered into. Personally, Miles, LSU's AD, and the President should have been fired for that by the LSU Board of Regents.
I think that line is crossed when you make promises you
a) have no intention of honoring until other, more desirable, options are taken off of the table.
b) really can't keep, because you've overpromised the (known) limits of your resources.
c) have made at least partially because you know you can renege on them without substantial consequences.
This kind of recruiting is wrong not only because it unfairly binds one (vulnerable) party to another without a true mutual committment, but because that control gives Alabama (or LSU, or any other school) a market advantage over direct competitors (other programs who may have recruited talented prospects). I mean, obviously Saban's a very smart guy, but when people involved in, say, shady business deals are able to exploit loopholes to disenfranchise and exploit consumers/employees/whomever those practices are usually condemned. Law and rule are not equal to morality (as I agree that many NCAA recruiting rules, but not most of those related to oversigning, are dumb or even immoral themselves).
Can't agree more with this post. If Saban tried pulling the shit he does at a publicly traded company (or as close of an approximation as you can get) he would be in deep trouble.
Exploiting rules is fine, but when you start talking about not honoring signed contractual agreements, and actually signing them in bad faith, that's an issue. A big enough issue that I'm almost surprised this has never been brought to court (assuming I'm remembering correctly, there have been a few cases where students have qualified and ended up on campus freshman year only to be told their contract won't be honored).
That last point is interesting. Presumably, the player should know the risks when signing, but even so the prestige of a program like Bama (especially lately) clearly continues to outweigh the risk (or, more likely, the system simply affords very few rights to potential empl-er, student-athletes). In any case, though, I'm sure Saban gave "adequate" notice as he hasn't yet been legally nailed for anything. And as far as I can tell, the legal status of college athletes is murky, as they are technically volunteers (though scholarship agreements, once signed, surely are legally binding in some respects?).
It just really sucks for the players, who appear to have no franchise whatsoever. You'd think (hope?) that this being public would draw prospects away from offending programs, but of course Saban's system is self-perpetuating, reinforcing its prestige, and thus desirability, by using these tactics to basically claim first dibs on a lot of good talent, who of course can't negotiate.
Are LOIs standardized, or can individual players/families insist on clauses tht might help prevent this from happening?
Well my point is that they sign a contract with a tangable value (one year covered, full cost at Alabama, say). They get none of this value, thus have damages against the school. (Not a lawyer, so this might be too elementary or not quite right, but it seems logical.)
Yes, LOI's are standardized.
Hired a 28 of college graduates at a fortune 500 company, knowing 8 or so would be unable to competitively adjust to the corporate world "at the next level" and will wash out, or some weren't ready so he'd ask them to take part time contract jobs until enough full time spots opened up, he'd get in trouble?
Here's the deal, I don't like what Saban is doing, but he's essentially asking these players to compete or be shown the door. His reputation, and what he is doing is out there. If these kids want to play for Nick Saban at Alabama, and are willing to take the competitive risk over going somewhere where there isn't the same risk, then what happens to them is there own responsibility.
The Big Ten is acting with more social responsibility, and I appreciate it. But unless the NCAA restricts the behavior, then the cut throat SEC way is not a whole lot different than real life.
Or maybe it is a Mid-Western Values (union culture), versus Southern Values (non-union culture) thing ... (that is a sarcastic joke ...)
It would be more along the lines of: "hey, college student, come to work for me at Acme Corporation after you graduate, here's a signed agreement guaranteeing employment, and we have a verbal contract to pay $50,000. When said student graduates and shows up at the company, they are shown the door.
This is acting in bad faith, and signing agreements in bad faith would absolutely get challenged in the business world.
Also, since we're joking, I'm not looking at this in that way at all. This is more about the signed papers than anything else, IMO.
Also, he'd be requiring the potential employees to sign a noncompetition clause. That's one of the major sticking points for me; not only does the coaching staff get to just axe people, but they are basically forced to sign away any power they might have to solicit other offers and to truly explore the marketplace. If a company promises to hire someone (with something in writing or otherwise legally binding) and effectively (legally) takes them off of the market for other employers, then cuts them loose when- as they knew would happen- they have made too many promises, that company should be liable. It's undermining the market while at the same time royally and immorally screwing someone over.
If players were free to explore other options, I think the analogy would work, and I wouldn't have as much of a problem with the whole thing.
Great point. Now that I've heard you say that I completely agree that it's the serious part, and why I've always thought it was shady. Fake +1; great posting.
takes 113 LOIs. What happens to the extra 28? The NCAA could easily put a stop to this by A) making scholarships a four year deal or B) actually only allowing schools to take the number they have available. The NCAA is responsible for all of its members so to allow a few schools primarily from one conference to abuse their rules they are basically saying screw the other 100+ universities. Maybe those universities need to unite and tell the NCAA you either level the playing field or else. I doubt it would be hard to find/start another organization that is less inept than the NCAA.
Wow, that was a useless article. So to be a great recruiter you just need to figure out the roster spots you need to fill, determine the traits you want for the players at those positions, and then recruit the players who meed those parameters? And here I thought recruiting was all about actually getting those players you are interested in to choose your team.
Saban is a great recruiter, but not so much a coach. He wins with talent. See MSU and the NFL.
Don't forget - have a statistically-impossible number of career-ending injuries befall underperforming players each year.
They are the closest thing to minor league football franchises that cfb offers. They operate under a completely different set of rules when it comes to recruiting, knowing full well of the many, many offers they tender each season, a large percentage of those offered will never be accepted under Clearinhouse criteria.
Saban evaluated players in the same exact manner while at MSU, but due to Big X schools compliance with NCAA guidelines toward offers and oversigning, coupled with the diversity of talent between the two regions of the country, Nick was able to quickly get LSU back to the top based solely on the above.
Recall, if you will, that LSU hadn't been a serious contender, either in conference or on the national stage since the days of Charlie McClendon back in the 70s. Saban is, as someone pointed out, very bright. He took advantage of all that conference allows and reestablished two great programs.
Whether it is right or not is probably not debatable. It's wrong based on the possibility more than the alloted number meeting qualifying standards, which then will bring in "grey shirting," dishonoring offers, etc.
Until such time, however, that the NCAA holds the SEC to the standards of just how many players can be offered in any particular year, they'll remain a collection of farm teams for the NFL, and the disparity between them and other conferences will continue to grow.
If and when that should ever occur, look for Nick to start looking for employment in the NFL once again, not unlike Carroll. Proven coaches are always an extremely marketable commodity.
It's simple, make these scholarship 4-year deals, only way the student can get removed from scholarship is if the student doesn't pass their classes, and/or gets into legal trouble.
But some players are bound to wash out in good faith. That's why the best way is the current way the B1G does it or else you'd have to raise the number of scholarships that can be given out in a four year period to 95-100. That would truly incentivize trying to get guys that can qualify and will stay for more than 1 year.