Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Simple Solution To Oversigning

If you aren't already familiar with the issue of oversigning in college football I highly recommend you visit for a thorough review.

Go ahead and take a few seconds to go to the site now, I'll wait.

Okay. Quickly reviewing, oversigning is the practice among college football programs, most predominantly in the SEC West, of offering more scholarships to incoming freshmen than the football program can offer. Typically this isn't 1 or 2 scholarships too many. Alabama, the king of oversigning, regularly signs 6-12 more scholarship freshmen than they can fit into their 85 scholarship limit. They then use a lot of creative methods, up to and including pulling a scholarship after a student has signed a Letter of Intent.

This last point is important, because Andy Staples offers a solution to oversigning that I hadn't seen before.

Take away the Letter of Intent. Membership in the National Letter-of-Intent program is a privilege, not a right. If a school doesn't deliver on the scholarship it promised in an NLI, don't allow that school to take part in the NLI program the following year. The NLI binds a signee to a school for an academic year. If a player hasn't signed one, he can still be recruited by anyone. In other words, without the NLI, even players who have signed scholarship agreements are fair game for other schools until the second they set foot in a college classroom.
This is really brilliant. The National LOI is a contract between a student and a school. It is a promise from the student that he will attend. In most cases, the LOI follows a scholarship offer from a school, so there is an implicit promise that if the student signs the letter, that he will get a scholarship. Schools that pull scholarships for non-academic reasons should simply lose the privilege of the LOI exclusivity. This solution will allow the Alabamas and Arkansases of the world to offer all the students they want, and when they don't come through, they lose their exclusivity for a year. If a football player gets tired of sitting on the bench he can go to another school, receive a scholarship and play right away. If an incoming freshman decides after August practice begins that he'd rather go elsewhere then he'd be free to go.

I really love this idea. It won't happen, but it would be a just solution. And you'd see oversigning be killed instantly.

1 comment:

  1. Elegant. Definitely merited. If one party is routinely not honoring agreements, they get dinged.


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