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Bad guys utilize over-signing, and it has to stop


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Here are Tony Barnhart's thoughts on the subject:

"Seems to me that if the school is transparent and as long as everybody understands the risks involved up front, then the process is acceptable. If the player and his family are genuinely surprised when he doesn’t get a scholarship in August, then there is a problem."

And here are my comments from another thread, which pretty much mirror the thoughts of Barnhart:

I have posted on this topic numerous times but I still have no problem with it as long as the players themselves are informed of their role and accept their role. The alternative for a kid like Harrison Jones at Alabama is he would not be signed to play at Alabama and would be playing right now at another program. Instead, Harrison and his family say they want the opportunity to play at the University of Alabama, even if that means delaying enrollment for a year.

I do have a problem with greyshirting if that was not explained as an option to the young man and his family -- apparently that was the case with the kid at LSU. To Les Miles' credit, he granted the kid a full release.

There has never been a greyshirt at Alabama who complained about the situation because they know the deal going in. If kids like John Parker Wilson, Drew Davis, Petey Smith, and Harrison Jones would rather delay enrollment to fulfill their dream of playing at Alabama, then I certainly see that as a more equitable option than arbitrarily cutting players to achieve the mandated scholarship numbers.

And to drive the point further home, John Parker Wilson is a prime example of how it helps some of these kids -- he got a year to mature and develop without the eligibility clock ticking. He then went out and performed well over his next four years at Alabama and is drawing a paycheck from the Atlanta Falcons. Without the possibility of greyshirting, John Parker probably ends up at Mississippi State and, most likely, doesn't get a sniff from the NFL after his four years are done.

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Crimson, isn't the issue with Bama not necessarily over signing and leaving the new kids out to dry, but rather the highly secretive way(which Saban refuses to discuss, and is indeed quite defensive about) in which Bama "makes room" for the freshmen? Cutting kids left and right who had Saban promise him and and his parents that he would be looked after is just as bad, if not worse, IMO, as over signing and greyshirting kids. It is just another aspect of coaches putting more offers out there than they have clear opening. Saban just offers who he wants and clears the lesser players off the roster.

Even if he is transparent about it,that is underhanded, because most of his competitors don't do it, and act with honor towards the kids.

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Crimson, isn't the issue with Bama not necessarily over signing and leaving the new kids out to dry, but rather the highly secretive way(which Saban refuses to discuss, and is indeed quite defensive about) in which Bama "makes room" for the freshmen? Cutting kids left and right who had Saban promise him and and his parents that he would be looked after is just as bad, if not worse, IMO, as over signing and greyshirting kids. It is just another aspect of coaches putting more offers out there than they have clear opening. Saban just offers who he wants and clears the lesser players off the roster.

Even if he is transparent about it,that is underhanded, because most of his competitors don't do it, and act with honor towards the kids.

Who has been cut? Star Jackson? He talked recently in an interview about how Saban and the coaching staff wanted him to stay. Rod Woodson? He was poised to potentially be a starter and had multiple off the field incidents, as confirmed by his own mother. Taylor Pharr? He had approximately five concussions since high school and was not cleared by the medical staff -- Saban has even made a place for Taylor as a student assistant coach.

I am yet to find a player who was cut by Saban since he has been at Alabama -- and I think, if a player was cut, they would be very vocal about losing their scholarship and getting sent packing. If you can come up with somebody who was not released either on their own request or based on a medical issue, then I think you would have a point.

Attrition happens at every school -- I would say Alabama's level of attrition the last few off-seasons has been no different than anybody else and maybe even less than a school like Georgia, for example.

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Who has been cut? Star Jackson? He talked recently in an interview about how Saban and the coaching staff wanted him to stay. Rod Woodson? He was poised to potentially be a starter and had multiple off the field incidents, as confirmed by his own mother. Taylor Pharr? He had approximately five concussions since high school and was not cleared by the medical staff -- Saban has even made a place for Taylor as a student assistant coach.

I am yet to find a player who was cut by Saban since he has been at Alabama -- and I think, if a player was cut, they would be very vocal about losing their scholarship and getting sent packing. If you can come up with somebody who was not released either on their own request or based on a medical issue, then I think you would have a point.

Attrition happens at every school -- I would say Alabama's level of attrition the last few off-seasons has been no different than anybody else and maybe even less than a school like Georgia, for example.

Hmm, I actually wasn't familiar with the specifics. Thank you for enlightening me. Since these things are so clearly on the up and up, what then drives Saban to such extremes when he is asked about the attrition?

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Hmm, I actually wasn't familiar with the specifics. Thank you for enlightening me. Since these things are so clearly on the up and up, what then drives Saban to such extremes when he is asked about the attrition?

From what I have seen the last three years, Saban is on the extreme and defensive about most every question. :D

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From what I have seen the last three years, Saban is on the extreme and defensive about most every question. :D

Yeah, Saban acts like he's running the CIA sometimes. And my goodness he will get in a kids face or a coach's face and just chew them out relentlessly in front of the entire world. He could easily lose his players and assistant coach's were it not for one thing; he's also very excited and positive on the sidelines with them whenever they do something well. Personally I would love to play for a coach like Nick.

The way the recruiting process goes and the fact that some recruits will not be accpeted into school because of their performance in the classroom almost causes this greyshirt thing to happen. Of course, some coach's seem to live in the grey area, and thrive on it; and those guys deserve criticism. I'm looking at you Houston Nutt.

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The way the recruiting process goes and the fact that some recruits will not be accpeted into school because of their performance in the classroom almost causes this greyshirt thing to happen. Of course, some coach's seem to live in the grey area, and thrive on it; and those guys deserve criticism. I'm looking at you Houston Nutt.

a lot more coaches than houston nutt deserve this criticism. oversigning.com which is a site that most of you should visit. it ridiculous we have late greyshirts in the process. saying that a player didn't say anything so it's okay is wrong as well. the site refutes a lot of misinformation or downright myths about oversigning.

The march to 85

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From what I have seen the last three years, Saban is on the extreme and defensive about most every question. :D

You seem to be much more familiar than I am with it, but why, in your opinion, has Alabama signed 113 players the last 4 years, where UGA has signed 86. Something about those numbers don't compute. UGA certainly don't seem like they've undersigned, considering an 85 scholarship limit. UGA has lost multiple guys to injuries/academics/behavioural problems as well, so you'd think that would balance out.

Vandy signed 77. Bama has signed 37 more kids over the last 4 years than Vandy. That's nearly a two-deep for offense and defense. What is going on here? And Bama isn't even the worst in the SEC. CK, what is going on??? What has happened with those extra 28 guys over the scholly limit(simply assuming that there are no RS seniors on Bama's team)? You can account for all of those players?

That's a lot of "injuries" IMO. I'd love to find out more about this. Auburn is going crazy signing guys too.

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You seem to be much more familiar than I am with it, but why, in your opinion, has Alabama signed 113 players the last 4 years, where UGA has signed 86. Something about those numbers don't compute. UGA certainly don't seem like they've undersigned, considering an 85 scholarship limit. UGA has lost multiple guys to injuries/academics/behavioural problems as well, so you'd think that would balance out.

Vandy signed 77. Bama has signed 37 more kids over the last 4 years than Vandy. That's nearly a two-deep for offense and defense. What is going on here? And Bama isn't even the worst in the SEC. CK, what is going on??? What has happened with those extra 28 guys over the scholly limit(simply assuming that there are no RS seniors on Bama's team)? You can account for all of those players?

That's a lot of "injuries" IMO. I'd love to find out more about this. Auburn is going crazy signing guys too.

I will respond more in detail when I have more time (maybe later tonight) but here are a few things to consider:

When Saban took over in 2007, Alabama had been decimated by probation and our scholarship numbers were well below the 85 scholarship limit. As such, we have signed larger classes to get our numbers back where they need to be in competing in the SEC. As a precursor to my more detailed explanation to follow, let me just walk you through the Class of 2007.

The Website linked above indicates that 25 players signed, which is incorrect -- actually only 24 players signed because Elliott McGaskin failed to make the grades and ultimately signed with Southern Miss.

So we have 24 signees at the time and 14 of those guys remain with the 2010 squad. Let me take you through the departures one by one:

1. Rolando McClain -- Turned pro as an eligible Junior.

2. Kareem Jackson -- Turned pro as an eligible Junior.

3. Patrick Crump -- Quit football in the Summer of 2008. A quote from his high school coach Rush Probst on his disappointment with Crump's decision:

"It disappoints me, and I think when you're in that position, you let a lot of people down. How many other kids would want that opportunity? It's tough to see a kid, who I think has tremendous ability, just throw it away."

4. Jeremy Elder -- Kicked off of the football team for attempted robbery.

5. Nick Fanuzzi -- Transferred to Rice in the Summer of 2008 to be closer to his family -- Fannuzzi was from Texas. Was the starting QB for the Owls last season.

6. Tarence Farmer -- Transferred to Wyoming but quit football before ever playing a down.

7. Jennings Hester -- Had to give up football due to a medical injury. From his High School coach:

Hester's high school coach Alan Chadwick confirmed the news this morning. Having spoken with Hester's family, Chadwick said the departure is tied to "chronic hamstring problems" that dated back to Hester's prep career at Atlanta's Marist School.

"He tried to go through it and push through it, and he has not gotten any better," Chadwick said. "It's kind of chronic situation that keeps occurring. It kind of puts him in a precarious situation. If you can't perform as well as you like, you're setting yourself up to get hurt even worse."

8. Chris Lett -- Had to give up football after having heat-related problems and being diagnosed with juvenile diabetes. Lett attempted a comeback with South Alabama after sitting out a year but never could get the diabetes under control.

9. Jamar Taylor -- Transferred to South Florida after spending one semester in Tuscaloosa. Was given a full release by Alabama and the NCAA granted a hardship waiver to allow him immediate eligibility. Taylor's comments on the transfer:

Running back Jamar Taylor said there was nothing wrong with the University of Alabama - except it was too far from Lakeland.

A Lakeland High graduate, Taylor was accepted into the University of South Florida on Thursday, completing his transfer from Alabama, where he had enrolled in January. At Lakeland, Taylor was rated the nation's No. 25 back by Rivals.com.

'I wanted to be close to my 1-year-old son Jamar Jr., who lives in Lakeland,' Taylor said. 'It wasn't anything about Alabama. They handled everything in a first-class manner.

'The reason I left wasn't because anything was wrong, just things in my household is my first priority.'

10. Michael Ricks -- Did not meet academic requirements out of JUCO.

*** I think the above helps to explain the first year in question pretty well. From this class, we are not in a good position numbers wise having only 14 of those guys still around for their redshirt junior/true senior seasons.

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Continuing from my post above, here is the breakdown of Alabama's 2008-2010 signees with a follow-up on those guys no longer with the program:

2008 class = Reported as 32 signees but it is actually only 31 signees. Wesley Neighbors signed a Letter of Intent but is a Bryant Scholar and not on athletic scholarship. Of the 31 signees, there have been a total of 10 departures:

1. Devonta Bolton -- Did not make the grades and went to JUCO where he remains.

2. Terrance Cody -- JUCO signee who has graduated and left for the NFL.

3. Destin Hood -- Drafted by the Washington Nationals and signed contract to play professional baseball.

4. Chris Jackson -- Requested and was given transfer to Georgia Tech. A note from his high school coach:

Alabama coach Nick Saban has granted permission for sophomore wide receiver/defensive back Chris Jackson to speak with other schools in the coming week about a possible transfer before the 2009 season, according to Rex Robertson, family friend and Jackson's former offensive coordinator at Henry County (Ga.) High School.

"He's happy with everything at Alabama," Robertson said of Jackson. "But his playing situation doesn't look good. The future doesn't look bright. ... He doesn't want to leave, but he's having to look at the situation for his football career."

5. Star Jackson -- Transferred to Georgia State this Summer. Star's comments on the transfer:

“That meeting was mainly about how I did in the spring, my academics, that kind of thing. Coach Saban didn’t really want me to leave, I don’t think,” Jackson said. “But I felt like I wanted to play, and once I made that decision he supported it.”

6. Alonzo Lawrence -- Had academic trouble and was not going to be eligible this past season. Also had an off-the-field incident that did not go over well with other players and coaching staff. Transferred to Southern Miss where he has since flunked out of school.

7. Ivan Matchett -- Had a career-ending back injury.

8. Jermaine Preyear -- Dismissed for violation of team rules and was planning a transfer to South Alabama.

9. Melvin Ray -- Drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers and signed a contract to play professional baseball. Recently retired from baseball and may try to come back next season to play football at Alabama.

10. Corey Smith -- Kicker who transferred back to his home state school, West Virginia. Comments from his high school coach:

Smith, a native of Bunker Hill, W.Va., plans to transfer to a college closer to his hometown. West Virginia University is his likely destination, according to Denny Price, Smith's coach at Musselman High School.

"I don't think there's anything wrong," Price said. "I just think Corey wanted to come a little closer to home, to be honest."

"I don't think it's because of a lack of ability," Price said. "He could play on any level. ... People transfer schools for a lot of reasons. He decided to come back to West Virginia."

*** So, the class of 2008 totals 21 scholarships -- after two years, we are now up to 35 scholarships with not one player who was ran out of Tuscaloosa. More to follow.

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CK, I REALLY appreciate you going through and taking the time to do that. I'm sure it wasn't the work of 15 mins, more like at least an hour.

Speaking as a bama fan, do you see anything suspicious about the guys who transfer for playing time or to be "closer to home"?

If I were a smart guy(and Saban very clearly is), it would be extremely foolish to go to a kid and tell him to pack his bags, he isn't good enough. That would cause a massive public opinion backlash. What I WOULD do, would go to him and start talking to him about the depth chart, subtly show just how hard he's going to have to work to play/start, and then, a few weeks later, when the kid says he wants to transfer, express your regret, and hopes that he would stay...but by no means do you attempt to block his transfer or fail to release him from his scholly, as you would do if you really wanted the kid to stick around.

Not that I know or even really think that that is what is happening...but that seems like an obscene amount of injuries and homesickness going on at Bama. Again, thank you for taking the time to post that and defend your team and coach!

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The website indicates that Alabama signed 27 recruits in 2009. That is accurate. There have only been 2 departures to date from the 2009 class:

1. Darius McKeller -- Had to give up football after a severe wrist injury could not be corrected through multiple surgeries.

2. Rod Woodson -- A special teams beast and potential starter kicked off of the team last week following a series of off-the-field incidents. While not calling any names, Saban had the following to say at Alabama's Fall Media Session (which most believe were directed at the Woodson situation):

"I don't really feel it's a problem, when you have people in the organization who aren't accountable, how not having one would affect anything," Saban said. "We cannot make decisions about the future of players who aren't accountable for what they're supposed to do and not responsible to what they're supposed to do as a member of this team, regardless of what they issue is, behavioral, academic, football-related.

"We have a lot of good players on the team, and I would rather move somebody from another position to play where we don't have enough players than to allow somebody not to do the right things and be involved. I don't think we do anyone any good if we do that."

*** So add 25 signees to the overall numbers from the 2009 class and we are up to 60 total scholarships.

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With respect to the most recent signing class, the website lists 29 signees. Again, that is inaccurate, as they double count some kids who were re-signs and counted as prior signees (i.e., Brandon Lewis who was a JUCO kid that was re-signed).

Of the remaining 26 signees, Wilson Love and Ronald Carswell are nursing injuries and will delay entry to the Spring, Harrison Jones is the much-talked about greyshirt (regardless of the fact that Jones is a Tide legacy player and his family approves of the plan), and Deion Belue is a non-qualifier.

That leaves Alabama with 22 signees which fits nicely with redshirt Seniors Greg McElroy, Earl Alexander, and Preston Dial rounding out the 85 scholarship players.

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CK, I REALLY appreciate you going through and taking the time to do that. I'm sure it wasn't the work of 15 mins, more like at least an hour.

Speaking as a bama fan, do you see anything suspicious about the guys who transfer for playing time or to be "closer to home"?

If I were a smart guy(and Saban very clearly is), it would be extremely foolish to go to a kid and tell him to pack his bags, he isn't good enough. That would cause a massive public opinion backlash. What I WOULD do, would go to him and start talking to him about the depth chart, subtly show just how hard he's going to have to work to play/start, and then, a few weeks later, when the kid says he wants to transfer, express your regret, and hopes that he would stay...but by no means do you attempt to block his transfer or fail to release him from his scholly, as you would do if you really wanted the kid to stick around.

Not that I know or even really think that that is what is happening...but that seems like an obscene amount of injuries and homesickness going on at Bama. Again, thank you for taking the time to post that and defend your team and coach!

Obviously, my thoughts as a fan are subjective but I think you hit the nail on the head with how these things are handled. At major Universities, from Alabama to Georgia to Ohio State, there is a ton of competition for playing time -- in this day and age, EVERY player on a college roster believes they have a realistic shot to play in the NFL. There is naturally going to be some attrition relative to playing time when you have a solid roster top to bottom.

At least with Saban, I think he calls every player in after the Spring and explains their expected role with the team in the Fall. If that evaluation is honest (as with Star Jackson), there are going to be transfers.

I think you are exactly right on the money that players are not asked to leave based on performance, as there is a certain level of posturing that must be accomplished to prevent a media backlash. But when players voice certain issues, I think it is made clear to them that the University will work with them on a transfer to another institution and, in many of those cases, I think it is a mutual parting that is in the best interest of the player and the University.

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I'm not going to go into the specifics of each case because the myopic fans of any particular program will just come up with their silly rationalizations.

But as a whole, the practice of over-signing is despicable, pure and simple. When an athlete signs a letter of intent to a school, he no longer has any options, he is fully committed. It should only be proper that the school has to live up to the commitment that they made as well, not be allowed to simply pull a scholarship when it suits them.

Big-time college football is a dirty, corrupt business, but we all know that.

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I'm not going to go into the specifics of each case because the myopic fans of any particular program will just come up with their silly rationalizations.

But as a whole, the practice of over-signing is despicable, pure and simple. When an athlete signs a letter of intent to a school, he no longer has any options, he is fully committed. It should only be proper that the school has to live up to the commitment that they made as well, not be allowed to simply pull a scholarship when it suits them.

Big-time college football is a dirty, corrupt business, but we all know that.

Great comment.. it's a pathetic practice.

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