Thursday, February 10, 2011

Oversigning: the gray area

I don't dip my toes in the waters outside of UGA Athletics very often. If you're one of the ten or so internet trailblazers that come here often you know that (Hi Mom!). But I found this article by David Wasson at Fanhouse to be a thorough, honest and often humorous look (which never hurts with a sarcastic mind like mine) at the debate of oversigning players to athletic scholarships. 

And it starts with an honest question from the headline, Oversigning is Legal, but is it Wrong? From there Wasson takes you through the stubborn rigidity that is a Nick Saban post National Signing Day presser and the plight of Jimmy ThreeStar trusting in the system only to be cast aside.
"Let's find you a better alternative, Jimmy, because riding our bench and not even sniffing the dress roster doesn't help you or us," coach Napoleon says. "Let me place a call to a comrade of mine, one who can develop you more as a player and get you some turf time. Does that sound ok to you?"
In this script, Coach "Napoleon" is on the correct side of the rules but many wonder just how ethical this treatment of student-athletes is. One such critic is none other than Florida president Bernie Machen.
"The universities, with full knowledge of what they are doing, extend more athletic scholarships than they have," Machen said in an open letter published by that also addressed "grayshirting", the practice of delaying a player's admission until January to put off the scholarship until after the football season. "These schools play roulette with the lives of talented young people. If they run out of scholarships, too bad. The letter-of-intent signed by the university the previous February is voided. Technically, it's legal to do this. Morally, it is reprehensible."
The bottomline this winter is that Saban is 10 over, Spurrier is 5 over, Miles is 9 over and the Granddaddy Giggety of oversigning Houston Nutt is a whopping 14 over (Alabama and South Carolina also have one offer still on the table in Jadeveon Clowney, expected to sign on Monday). So you can see why admins of opposing schools as well as fans are getting upset.

And not all are simply upset at the opposing schools. Many Georgia fans would like to see Coach Richt join in the fun instead of pretending to be a Leader or Legend in the Big Ten where oversigning is akin to 1st degree murder. 

Personally I don't ever see Richt going that route, I think we all know that. And I kind of prefer that to be honest. While I get the cut throat it's a business attitude, I think the honest approach is what works in the long run. And if you disagree with that, let me ask you a couple  questions: 

  • Was our 6-7 season due to not joining the oversigning party or was it due to some things that actually happened on the field?
  • Isn't "grayshirting" a more honest and up front way of standing in the (for lack of a better word) gray area of handling off season attrition?
  • And lastly, is it worth oversigning if you potentially burn some bridges with high school coaches?
Because the fact is, today's Jimmy ThreeStar may come from a high school that produces the next Five StarStud.

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