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Miles Defends Self, Grayshirt Rule, But NCAA Still Needs To Change The Rule

CBSSports.com’s Gregg Doyel has turned LSU’s Les Miles into the poster boy for the problem of oversigning football players.  Most coaches go over the 25-man NCAA limit in preparation that one or more of their recruits won’t qualify academically.  But the case of LSU’s Elliott Porter — summoned from his dorm room and told he was no longer getting a scholarship for the fall semester — grabbed national attention, in part, thanks to Doyel’s column which labeled Miles “a bad guy.”

Well, Miles defended himself and the grayshirt rule yesterday saying “it’s not a bad thing” for a player to be asked to grayshirt.  He also said that Porter’s situation was unique as this was the first time he’d asked a player to grayshirt so deep into the summer.

Porter did not want to wait until January to start his career, so he’s planning to attend another school.

According to The Baton Rouge Advocate, Miles said that if someone made the same “You’re scholarship will be postponed a semester” offer to one of his sons, they would “certainly be disappointed that day, but recognize that, long-term, it’s not a bad thing.”

“He might take his time to come in shape and to benefit his body and compete.”

“I can tell you the guys I visited with and I told, for the team, it might well be the best thing for you physically and might well be best for you and your health and by the count of numbers and scholarships, you might benefit the most by postponing your entrance into school.”

Sure.  And losing the use of your legs — for example — would prevent you from driving a car which could prevent you from dying in a car wreck. 

Ridiculous. 

Spin. 

Poppycock.

Miles isn’t Darth Vader for his behavior in this scenario.  As I noted above, most coaches do this kind of thing.  But that doesn’t make the practice right.  It’s still a kick in a young man’s rear regardless of the possible “positives” that can come from such a move.

If a coach recruits a player… and that player signs with the coach’s school over other options… and he moves to campus, enrolls in school, makes good grades and does the offseason football work requested… the last thing he expects is to be told his scholarship is being delayed.  He and his family aren’t expecting to have to pay for a semester of college, either.

This is a bad rule that works against student-athletes.  For that reason, the grayshirt rule should be changed.

The NCAA should not only enforce a 25-man limit on incoming signees, but it should also enforce a 25-man limit on signees themselves — period. 

If coaches are worried that some of their signees won’t qualify academically, then they should recruit athletes with better grades.  And while coaches say they no longer have enough time to properly evaluate a player’s character, it doesn’t take very long at all to look through a student’s transcript and check his test scores.

Miles is a bad guy only in the sense that this is a bad rule and all coaches who take advantage of it are bad guys.  But the bad rule should be changed.  It’s not fair to the student-athletes.

If Elliott Porter or Harrison Jones were your son, I bet you’d agree with me 100%.

 


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