OT: The SEC Perception

Submitted by MGoVoldemort on January 28th, 2013 at 6:33 PM

My daughter chose to write a research paper on if, as assumed by most fans, the SEC is committing NCAA rule violations (besides minor ones that get reported) in football recruiting. As a part of the paper, she needs to get the opinions of 10-15 college football fans on the topic. I told her there would be no better place to get better educated responses than MGoBlog. So if you guys could please share your opinions, you'd really be helping her out.

Also, having all girls, I never thought one of my daughters would take an interest in this. So it means a lot to me for her to take an interest in, well, my interests. 


The two questions:

1. Do you think the SEC is committing serious NCAA rule infractions?

2. If you think so, or don't think so, what is your reasoning?


Thanks in advance!



January 28th, 2013 at 8:19 PM ^

That site has not been updated in a while, but you can follow him on twitter @TheMarchTo85.  He consistently tweets about oversigning issues.  I wish more mainstream media would pick up this fight.  

To answer the OP:

1. Yes, I think the SEC is committing major recruiting violations.

2. I don't think there is a BCS conference right now that does not have at least one program that isn't committing major recruiting violations.  Cynical, maybe.  

Hope that helps.




January 28th, 2013 at 8:52 PM ^

Oversigning.com @TheMarchTo85 just retweeted a few tweets from a parent of a 2013 recruit.  One of the tweets was interesting.  Maybe you could tweet her and see if you could get examples of what was offered (with names withheld, I imagine).  Could be a great first hand account for your paper.  


The things some coaches promise 17, 18 year old kids are astounding. Thank God for a level self esteem, wisdom and good ole sense of humor.

Retweeted by 


January 29th, 2013 at 12:08 AM ^

This is A good source for educated college football fans, but it is far from representational of the entire fanbase.

If her essay was about overzealous and educated Michigan fans, you needn't go any further.  However we do not represent the CFB fandom as a whole, and she may get dinged for that...


January 28th, 2013 at 6:43 PM ^

1.)  I think there are certain SEC programs that 'dirty' recruit players (e.g. "friendly" coeds and the like), but would guess that the number of SEC schools offering cash to players is pretty low and not much above average compared to the rest of the country.

2.)If there was more Ben Franklin handshakes, then I think more people would come forward than just the "he said, she said" stories that are usually passed down through the grapevine.  Just one man's opinion


January 29th, 2013 at 1:34 AM ^

The fact that most interested parties are willing to spend more money to go see a school play, buy a jersey, etc. when a school is better relative to when a school is worse and the substantial portion of extremely wealthy boosters who do so with things like massive donations for facilities and the like suggests that people are willing to pay some amount for increased performance.

Better recruits are a pretty obvious means of getting better performance, so all that matters is the perceived legality/morality/consequences of doing so.  If NCAA enforcement is lax,  consequences are obviously out of the picture.  I don't think it's illegal to give money to somebody, but maybe I'm wrong there.  So all that's left is morality.  And most fans think that players should be paid at least something these days.  

On top of that, all that's left is whether or not it's okay to privilege your team over another.  Say what you will about whichever programs, but when I think of win-at-all-costs programs, I think of SEC programs (and perhaps certain others).

In any case, the incentives are all there.  It's just a matter of if people give in to temptation, if they even consider it to be sinful.

That said, you do have an interesting point.  Why don't schools explicitly fund investigators to out their rivals?  Explicit funding is probably seen as gauche, but there's probably a decent amount of under-the-table tipping off of reporters and the like.  I would bet that's basically what happened in the old SWC, not to mention some of the Bama-Auburn stuff.

But for example, OSU is awfully well shielded from that kind of thing.  None of the local rags are going to sell more papers doing that kind of muckraking and they might just get Herbstreited for it.  The whole state, more or less, is in favor of one outcome.  So Clarett gets railroaded for speaking up (and he only does so after he exhausts the generosity of Ohioans) and everything else gets swept under the rug.  On the other hand, when you have multiple factions relatively nearby, the payoffs are either rooted out or  have to pass intense scrutiny such that it becomes so highly organized that it is effectively institutionalized.  That more or less matches that 30 for 30 Pony Express doc, right?

I won't necessarily stand behind everything I just laid out and I don't know if it will stand up to scrutiny.  But I think it at least hangs together and it reflects what I've picked up reading about college football over the last decade.  The topic really does need some serious research to actually figure out the systematic principles behind college football economics.


January 28th, 2013 at 6:44 PM ^

Yes, I am a student at UK and I get to see the basketball team the first two classes of a semester and then only on the weekends when they show up at parties in giant SUVs and brand new camaros. If in bball why not football.

User -not THAT user

January 29th, 2013 at 12:28 PM ^

drove a VW Beetle while at Michigan.  Sports Illustrated thought enough of it to mention it in an article they wrote about him back in the day.  I think it was after a win over Notre Dame...and I think that game was in South Bend, but I could be misremembering that bit.


January 29th, 2013 at 1:00 AM ^

I have a friend who works at a dealership in Lexington, he's a HUGE Wildcats fans.  Well we were drinking and he spouts off,  .."if you don't think Michigans cheating your full of __it.  Then out of no where says, I bet theres a dealership in Ann Arrbor just like the one I work at, where 15 brand new cars show up and they pull out and the next day you see guys on the BBall team driving them.


January 28th, 2013 at 6:45 PM ^

1: Yes I do.

2: I live in Georgia, surrounded by sec people, and they all tell me that the hammer is coming down on Alabama, Ole Miss, Auburn, and Mississippi State very soon. I know this is hearsay, but I felt personally like they are committing violations. The extent of these violations: I do not know. But having seen all the 30/30s, read 3 and Out, and have several friends that are writers for the SEC at Yahoo and the AJC (Atlanta Journal Constitution)- they all seem to believe the same thing.


January 28th, 2013 at 7:07 PM ^

If the Cam Newton thing did not bring the hammer down, nothing will. And by "hammer," I assume you mean a 1 year bowl suspension and loosing 9 scholies over three years? I think my toddler uses that hammer, it squeaks when you hit something.


January 28th, 2013 at 6:47 PM ^

Oversigning is more than a violation in my opinion.  Having the ability to cut your weakest players and revoke their schorlorship is like having try outs with guys who already have a contract to play for you.  Alot of kids who play in the SEC are underprivleged and then have to pay tution money that their parents might not have.  Not to mention their the only conference that doesn't have rules against this.

Go Blue from OH

January 28th, 2013 at 6:54 PM ^

1. I do think the SEC, or at least a few of their schools are committing major violations.

2. I believe this because of what has happened with Auburn and at Ohio. I can't imagine the win-at-all-cost culture in Columbus is that different from the South.


January 28th, 2013 at 7:04 PM ^

It definitely happens, i mean it happened to us (Fab Five.)  it's happened at Ohio State, and it certainly happens in the SEC.  The question you should really ask is... why haven't they gotten caught?

I wish I knew the answer, but I will say, if you look at Tennesee as one example.  Three players held a person at gunpoint, and the fan didn't want serious repercussions, stating he wanted the players to stay on the team.


"I think they should still be able to play football, regardless," he said. "Tennessee is my place. It's my football team."

"Even after they put a gun in your face, you say let them play football?" 6 News asked.

"Yeah, it's Tennessee. That's the way it is sometimes," Zickefoose said.

As die hard as Michigan fans are, we aren't crazy.  Football is King, but it's not God.  Everyone keeps their mouths shut. That's just the way it is.

True Blue Grit

January 28th, 2013 at 7:06 PM ^

in most cases (for question 1).  I think a lot of the schools down there have a "look the other way" policy by the people in charge so they can deny any knowledge that the violations are going on, which in many cases is by boosters or people "close to" the program.  But, much of the sleazy side of the SEC is the way they dwell in the borderline areas of ethics - examples being medical redshirts, grey shirting, and oversigning.  Also, because of how competitive it is, negative recruiting is probably very common.  Is that illegal according to the NCAA.  No, but it enables them to get an advantage with kids by making their competitors' programs look bad. 

And in the area of academics, I think they have a lot of "creative" ways of keeping kids eligible.  This may be true with most big football schools to some extent, but the SEC takes it to a whole other level. 

Anyway, just my opinion.


January 28th, 2013 at 7:13 PM ^

1. Probably. There still exists the possibility that the SEC has the best athletes in its backyard and so many of their recruits stay close to home. Michigan used to recruit Louisiana and Georgia pretty well but we have not been getting many guys from there lately. I live in the south and the SEC brand is as big or bigger in fan's minds than their respective schools.

2. I think almost every school has some quasi-illegal recruiting tactics that they use, for two main reasons: 1. Lack of incentive for recruits to report recruiting violations and 2. The amount of special attention athletes get (especially in the SEC).

The NCAA only nails schools after they are caught instead of offering a cash reward or other incentive for a recruit to report violations to the NCAA. Add to that the fact that recruits are young and may not know all of the rules, and they don't want to find themselves in any trouble. It is too easy for boosters and fans to have an impression on someone, especially if you have your pick of schools to attend.

As has been reported on this board and others, the SEC athletes have a history of and still receive larger amounts of per capita spending and "academic assistance". There is also a mentality that good guys go pro in 3 years. The whole redshirt a year and work your way up the depth chart while you buy into tradition/the team are replaced with a more cutthroat mentality where your scholarship may not be there if you aren't a starter by your junior year. I think the high expectations must be led by some extra incentives or benefits.


January 28th, 2013 at 9:27 PM ^

In the SEC arms race, you have to cheat just to keep up with the rest of the league.  I actually think that most of the SEC schools wish that the rules were more strictly enforced so that it would even the playing field.


Nosce Te Ipsum

January 28th, 2013 at 7:16 PM ^

1. I believe every conference commits serious infractions but not to the level of the SEC. I also believe that the coaches know about what is going on behind the scenes.


2. Alabama has been punished for it in the past, the video that ESPN took down about the craziest thing you've received on your recruiting visits, and the fact that it seems inconcievable that the SEC can win the last 7 or 8 MNCs cleanly. You don't have that kind of run of success without getting your hands a little dirty.


January 28th, 2013 at 7:25 PM ^

1. No. 

2. Too difficult to keep that quiet for too long. Maybe isolated incidents at one or two schools, but not an entire conference or even the majority of it. Also, the SEC's football dominance can be explained without them commiting serious recruiting infractions, so there's no reason to posit it without significant evidence. 


January 28th, 2013 at 7:43 PM ^

1. Yes

2. Football is all they have down South. When you care so much about something your willing to do whatever it takes to keep it.. In the SEC's case it's championships.. Boosters, recruit funneling (Blindsiding), and special treatment is for sure happening in the SEC. Football is not greater than my moral compass so I tend to enjoy the righteous recruiting Michigan does.

3. It would have been interesting if she did a paper on the clear bias the media has for the SEC. It's sickening. They have single handedly made an SEC win worth more weight in gold than any other conference win. That favoritism is due to an insatiable appetite for ratings and views.

SC Wolverine

January 28th, 2013 at 9:17 PM ^

"Football is all they have down South.". This may have been true once, but now the South has vibrant, thriving cities to which Northerners are flocking from their rust-belt cities. Check the census data- there are reasons why the population is shifting South.


January 28th, 2013 at 10:55 PM ^

Football is all they have down South.

There's also warmer weather, more frequently exposed skin, and an expanding economy. I played catch outside with my son today in a t-shirt. Lets not lose our perspective. Perhaps if you were to say, "As states like Alabama and Arkansas have no pro teams . . ."

The south does lack good breweries (Cigar City notwithstanding).