The "Super Bowl" of Oversigning

Submitted by hajiblue72 on November 4th, 2011 at 7:42 AM

From this morning's Wall Street Journal.  Pretty nice summary of the oversigning numbers for Alabama and LSU the last few years as well as some of the potential changes to discourage it.

Also included this quote from LSU...

Michael Bonnette, an LSU spokesman, said that since the school's current coach, Les Miles, arrived, the school's signing classes have been "either at the NCAA limit of permitted enrollees or just one or two above." He said LSU has "in no way benefited from signing more players than other programs."



November 4th, 2011 at 8:08 AM ^

I'm glad the story is starting to get out to more than just die hard football fans. Thanks for posting.  Also,  bluebyyou great link.  MSU has something to crow about--they beat us at oversigning.

Blue in Yarmouth

November 4th, 2011 at 8:40 AM ^

I hate MSU as much as anyone else on this planet, but pretending they need to go searching for something to crow about in the rivalry they have with us is just silly. They have beaten us the past four years, I think they have the ammunition they need.

I'm just sayin', this whole little brother thing and pretending we are sooo much better than them when recent history tells a very different story is beyond being a homer, it's delusional. 

Blue in Yarmouth

November 4th, 2011 at 10:12 AM ^

because clearly we were talking about the two universities as educational institutions and not their football programs. If you are going to interject in a discussion, how about at least trying to stay on point. We aren't discussing world rankings of universities in this thread, we are talking about oversigning and football. 

So instead of insulting someone and saying they have a narrow world view perhaps you can read a post in the context it was given instead of trying to pick fights with people you know nothing about. I applaud you sir, for entirely missing the point of a very obvious post. You obviously went to MSU and not UM. 

(Since you have proven you often miss the point of things I will explain what I did there. I guessed you must have been educated at MSU because you missed something obvious while someone who went to a better educational institution like UM would definitely have understood what I said. Thus showing I feel UM is far superior to MSU in it's education, but not its football program at this point in time).


November 4th, 2011 at 10:38 AM ^

"If you are going to interject in a discussion, how about at least trying to stay on point."

Like talking about results on the field when someone is poking fun at state's penchant for beating us at oversigning? (clearly a joke and nothing to do with on the field)

I understood what you did and what your point was. You Ripped a guy for making fun of Sparty, by bringing a different argument into the equation.   What I don't understand is why someone on a UM board would feel the need to crap on a fellow fans enjoyment of poking fun a Sparty for something we can actually poke fun at them about.

I guess some people just want to anoint themselves as the defenders of "keeping it real" and ruining what is fun about sports and rivalries for the rest of us.

Of course since you went to UM you knew all this?  and must have just chosen to ignore your hypocrisy.   As long as you're keeping it real, ruin on.

Blue in Yarmouth

November 4th, 2011 at 10:53 AM ^

I never said I went to UM. I am from Nova Scotia Canada and went to University here. Second, I really have to question your comprehension skills. First, you thought from my post that I said MSU was better than UM at all things under the sun when clearly I was referring only to the football program. Second you read the post I responded to that said "Now MSU has something they can crow about...they beat us at oversigning" and say it was clearly a joke. That post was clear that the poster felt MSU had nothing to brag about when it comes to MSU/UM except that they beat us at oversigning and I said that is just absurd.

If you want to act like a delusional school girl and keep pretending that MSU is your little brother and couldn't beat it's way out of a wet paper bag, that's fine. I just find it rather funny that people who come to this site (which I hold in much higher regard than other UM football sites for obvious reasons) would be cut from that cloth. 

Finally, there was nothing I said in my post that was mean spirited, I simply disagreed with the idea that MSU had nothing to brag about. You, on the other hand, jumped into a discussion that had nothing to do with you and started throwing insults, so stop crying already.


November 4th, 2011 at 2:07 PM ^

I like what you did with your final (parenthetical) paragraph.  As Captain Obvious, the Captain of the Obvious, I personally relish the opportunity to make a point and subsequently explain the point that I have made despite the fact that it should be as blitheringly obvious as Koger running free down the seam.  By pointing out the obvious thing that you did in exacting detail you furthered my mission of making sure that all things are obvious.  This is my mission largely because I am Captain of the Obvious, hence my title - Captain Obvious.  Often meaning is misconstrued or outright missed due to lack of transparency, which in this case I am using to mean "obviousness"; obviously I don't mean that people miss the meaning because the words are transparent in the sense that one sees right through them.  A further and more full explanation of one's precise meaning not only furthers the cause of the Obvious Brigade (a Brigade of concerned citizens working to make sure that all is obvious), but it diminishes the likelihood that feelings will get injured, resulting in regrettable response threads, resulting in a derailed thread that went off the tracks because one person missed something obvious.

Captain Obvious (me)


November 4th, 2011 at 8:13 AM ^

This article states that no class can have more than 25 incoming feshman. Does this change based on circumstances?? I.E. Players leaving the program ... through transfer or graduation. Michigan is at 23 commits right now .... does this mean we can only sign 2 more?


November 4th, 2011 at 8:29 AM ^

Any team going through coaching changes is likely to have players leaving of their own accord.  It's a bit different with a stable program that oversigns every year then forces players out.  And when fifth year players are added to the equation, it becomes clear that anyone recruiting at (or above) the 25 player per year cap is going to have to have a substantial attrition rate to stay at 85 total scholarships.

Blue in Yarmouth

November 4th, 2011 at 8:35 AM ^

but you missed one key point in that when you backdate signee's through early enrollment you have to still be below the 85 scholarship limit. In other words, if you have 25 spots in a class due to 25 players leaving your program for what ever reason (graduation, tranfers etc) and 60 players on scholarship for the next season you still can only sign the 25. 

If, under the same circumstance, three more people decided to tranfer then you could get three to enroll early and sign 28 (counting the 3 early enrollee's toward the previous years class).


November 4th, 2011 at 8:39 AM ^

The NCAA limit is no more than 25 recruits signed to a single recruiting class (currently UM is recruting for the 2012 class), however, the B1G conference allows a team to sign up to 28 players in a class IF 3 of the players enroll early (begin classes in January) and the team did not exceed 22 signees in the previous class (2011 class in this example).

UM only signed 20 recruits in the 2011 class so they can sign up to the 28 limit, have 3 players enroll in January 2012 and those players will be counted against the 2011 class rather than the 2012 class. 28-3 (early enrollees) = 25 for 2012 class and 20+3 (early enrollees) = 23 for the 2011 class. As always, the total scholarship limit of 85 cannot be exceeded at any time.


November 4th, 2011 at 8:57 AM ^

Like everyone said about, 25 is the limit, with an additional 3 could be early enrollees.


My question would then be, what if we take 28 this year, the fullest a class can be.  HYPOTHETICALLY, if next year we had room to take 28 kids in the 85 scholarship cap, would we be able to?  Would early enrolling put our scholarship numbers the year before at 31?  Or would we only be able to take 25?

Would we be able to take 28 if 3 members of the 2012 class leave the program during the year?


November 4th, 2011 at 11:08 AM ^

If we take 28 this year with 3 EEs, then our 2012 class is technically 25 and our 2011 class will be 3 higher than whatever it was.  The only reason we can take 28 with 3 EE is because the 2011 class was 22 or less (I think it's 18 since we signed 20 but Kellen Jones and Posada left before enrolling).  If freshman leave after enrolling in the fall, I don't see how they wouldn't still count against that year's class.  In 2013, we wouln't be able to backdate any EEs because the 2012 class would have been full at 25; we wouldn't be able to sign more than 25 for 2013 (not to mention I have no idea what the total scholarship amount would be after a taking 28 this year).

This is just what seems reasonable to me; I haven't see anything certain anywhere after googling as much as I could.

Two Hearted Ale

November 4th, 2011 at 9:09 AM ^

South Carolina's Steve Spurrier, a prominent SEC coach who has produced some of college football's larger signing classes, doesn't like the multiple-year scholarships. He said he thinks players should earn their way each year. The Gamecocks coach also said the policy will likely force him to sign fewer players.

At least he's honest.


November 4th, 2011 at 9:39 AM ^

You know, I find myself agreeing with him. How does an athletic scholarship differ from just about all other scholarships? Once you earn a major 4-year scholarship, you usually have to maintain a certain GPA to remain eligible, and take certain other requirements like 15 credits/term at least or something like this. I don't think it should be any different for athletic scholarships.


November 4th, 2011 at 9:52 AM ^

Players do have to meet academic requirements. What Spurrier is sayin is that the coaches should be able to hang the scholarship over their head if they're not playing to expectations. If a kid doesn't make enough plays on the football field or even tears his ACL, he's kicked out of school.


November 4th, 2011 at 3:26 PM ^

But then players should be able to hang over the heads of coaches before Signing Day that they want 4 years or else they will go to another school.

Coaches have leverage once the kid is at their institution, but pretty much none during the recruiting process. I think it's fair to let both parties leverage their influence at the times that they have it.


November 4th, 2011 at 3:43 PM ^

Generally agree, but coaches do have substantial leverage during the recruiting process. 

"We have one spot for a WRs. You're our top choice but we've offered three other guys. The first one to accept gets the spot."

"Get your weight to 305 and we'll give you an offer." 



November 4th, 2011 at 12:45 PM ^

You do have a legitimate point.  I got a scholarship to the B-School.  They were up front about it, it was only for 1 year.  To get the second year, I had to "perform" (maintain a certain GPA).  If I did not, there would be no second year scholarship.  

I would not have been kicked out if I did not get the scholarship, I just would have had to pay my own way.  I guess I would have been a "walk-on" then.




November 4th, 2011 at 3:25 PM ^

I know people in Telluride House, for example, that got 4 years pretty much guaranteed. Presumably they were more akin to 5 Star academic recruits (can't-miss prospects) that U-M was more willing to give a 4 year commitment to up front.

I see no reason why 1-year renewable scholarships can't exist alongside 4 year guaranteed scholarships, just like they do in academics, and similar to how preferred walk-on status is in relation to the current year-to-year scholarships.



November 4th, 2011 at 2:59 PM ^

The difference is that all students can meet a GPA requirement, while in football only 11 guys are on the field at once. The more accurate comparison would be an academic scholarship that required you to be in the top 5% of your school, a significant challenge when a hypothetical incoming class of geniuses shows up. But how were you supposed to know all of them would come to UM?


November 4th, 2011 at 3:23 PM ^

It seems like allowing 4 year scholarships (though not making them mandatory) would create a better market for talent.

Students will have more perfect information about how highly they are valued. If a 4 Star DT is offered a 1-year conditional scholarship at South Carolina but a 4 year scholarship guaranteed by Clemson, they have a better idea about where they will get better playing time and be able to finish their degree.

If Spurrier doesn't want to offer a kid a 4 year scholarship he doesn't have to, and indeed, I'm sure 3 stars and such might get the 1-year offer as a middle ground between preferred walk-on and full-ride scholarship. Less snake oil in general-- a recruit could tell a Saban or Miles "You're saying all the right things about how I'll be amazing at your school coach but my last question is... where's the beef?"

I like the idea and think it is eminently fair.

M Vader

November 4th, 2011 at 10:58 AM ^

I don't particularly dislike Spurrier, but I think he is dead wrong here.  Sometimes the kids are doing the best they can but are not first team or even getting minutes, but an unethical coaching staff could cut them.  Losing a "guaranteed" multiyear scholarship due to a failure in academics or behavior is more palatable.

This is also strange coming from Spurrier because just a few months ago he advocated a pay for play situation which was apparently intended to curry favor with players:…

His recent comments appear to do the opposite and are not a good PR move for recruiting.



November 4th, 2011 at 11:11 AM ^

Are we really going to try to make the argument that signing / greyshirting a couple of extra players per year is a key reason that Bama / LSU is infinitely better than any big 10 team and has been for close to a decade?


November 4th, 2011 at 12:52 PM ^

It's an even bigger advantage than getting an extra class every five years.  It's getting an extra class of players that are better than what you already had on your team.

Because of oversigning, you get to try all the players out, and keep only the best ones and discard the rest.  It's more like getting an extra hand in Poker every five deals.

You'd get thrown out of the Casino by big angry men for that.


M Vader

November 4th, 2011 at 11:34 AM ^

You have a gift for hyperbole.  Alabama and LSU are not actually infinitely better than anyone.  Logically, it doesn't even make sense, although I understand what you are trying to say.  Close to a decade?  Are you forgetting Michigan's highly ranked teams or OSU's national championship?


To your point, though.  It is a key reason, but certainly not the only one.


November 4th, 2011 at 12:23 PM ^

I know I'm in the minority here, but I don't view this practice as immoral like some do, especially when it's well known to the incoming recruits that these programs oversign and they'll have to compete for a scholarship spot.

We're talking about the top tier of college football here. I don't think you should necesarily be entitled to a scholarship at a top program based on what you did in high school, and I see no problem with making kids earn their scholarship by proving themselves.

Worst case is that they don't make the cut and have to finance their education with student loans like the rest of us did (cry me a river), or they can transfer to a school that will offer them a scholarship spot. Alternatively, they can choose not to assume the risk of being cut and opt instead to go to a smaller program.

There's plenty of reasons to hate on Saban and Miles, but to me, this isn't one of them.



November 4th, 2011 at 2:40 PM ^

I agree that the academic scholarship model is a good comparison, but I believe you're looking at it the wrong way. For academics, you are told to meet a certain criteria (ex: 3.7 GPA) or you lose it. With academics, however, there isn't necessarily a limit to the number of students who can meet that requirement.
<br>In football, there is--only so many people can be on the field at once. Things outside of your control, like a coach deciding to recruit several more players at your position, shouldn't in my opinion influence whether you get to keep your scholarship. I believe that if you excel at the things within your control (i.e. working hard in practice, going to all required training, watching film), then you are meeting the expectations of the scholarship.
<br>A more fair comparison would be an academic scholarship that said you had to have a GPA in the top 5% of the school. You better hope those incoming freshman aren't very smart...


November 4th, 2011 at 2:31 PM ^

Tell this to Les Miles, who offered a scholarship to a high school player, then pulls it from him after he signed his LOI, got a dorm room, moved in, and before he even attended a practice. Also Nick Saban, who did the same thing:

While you're right that players should be able to stop this practice by not committing to a coach that does it, not even honoring the one-year scholarship--which the player did nothing to lose--has no academic equivalent. It's just wrong, and I can't believe a lawsuit didn't follow.

Also, when does a current player lose his scholarship? Over the summer (after new players are already on campus)? If it was a truly competitive environment, try-outs for the team would be held immediately after LOIs were signed (like within the first week or month). If this is what's happening, why have a coach give out 6 medical hardships in two years when he could just say "6 players didn't earn a scholarship for this season."? If it wasn't an immoral act, coaches would have nothing to hide.


November 4th, 2011 at 4:25 PM ^

.....that LSU's "bench" normally fills about three sections of the stadium. Same thing at Alabama. From there, it gets pared down to a team which could in fact inhabit the  bench provided.