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The SEC Will Look At The Issue Of Oversigning (Again)

SEC associate commissioner Greg Sankey says a group of conference athletic directors will study the issue of oversigning and present possible solutions at the SEC’s spring meetings in Destin (which actually take place in early June this year). 

The SEC has caught a lot of heat over the issue of oversigning in recent weeks.  Most leagues allow it, but being the home to five national champs in a row — and the numeric leaders on the oversigning front — the chickens are coming home to roost in the SEC’s coops.  Florida president Bernie Machen (photo at left) isn’t happy about that fact, either.

“I don’t think the rule we passed is going to solve the problem,” Machen told USA Today.  He was referring to the “no more than 28 signees” rule that the league put in place last year.  The rule has since been copied by the NCAA.  But schools are still able to get around that 28-man decree.

“There are still universities that will oversign and it’s going to end up with a student-athlete being left out.  I think we either have to get the universities to be more serious about it, or the league and the NCAA are going to have to pass more stringent punishments for those who do oversign.”

Machen laid the blame for the continuing problem at the feet of his fellow SEC presidents.  “Every president sat at the table when we had that discussion (about the 28-man rule).  For some reason, some of them are not stepping up and stopping it.  Imagine what would happen if in the general student body admission process, the same thing happened.  If you admit a student in early February then you tell them in early July that we’re not going to have a spot for you.  The public wouldn’t stand for it, and I don’t believe, if we put enough sunshine on this, the public will allow this to happen, in intercollegiate athletics.”

Get ready to see the SEC stamp out oversigning completely before next February.  Machen, commissioner Mike Slive and most other league presidents can’t like the fact that their league has become a punching bag over this issue.  Especially — as we pointed out today — when the league doesn’t need to oversign to win.

The guess around here at MrSEC Headquarters is this: You’re about to see your last 30-man signing classes in the Southeastern Conference.

And Big Ten fans will have to find something else to complain about as the SEC goes right on winning.



What is going to happen with the late signers. If signing after the official day becomes a trend, how many coaches might push an athlete to grey shirt to get a highly touted late signer. This could get worse



If oversigning were the SEC's big advantage, Ole Miss and South Carolina would be winning BCS titles. Also, I'm pretty sure the state of Nebraska didn't produce 30% of the nation's NFL draft picks... as the nine SEC states do. That talent advantage isn't going away.



"And Big Ten fans will have to find something else to complain about as the SEC goes right on winning."

I'm sure Nebraska fans in the mid-90s said the exact same as Texas was able to take away Nebraska's partial-qualifiers factory line via the new rules of the Big 12. They had back-to-back champions in '94-'95 and though their little trick was being taken away, they were still loaded (to win another MNC in '97). Things were going to be as they always were: Nebraska dominance.

How did that turn out?


It will do no good if the rule is simply "you can't sign more than X every year." The only way for the rule to be effective is to budget back from 85: 85 less graduating scholarship seniors less early NFL departures less anyone giving up the sport at that school for whatever voluntary reason (e.g. a redshirt junior who has academically graduated and wishes to forego his final season of eligibility) = budget of signees. That's the way the Big Ten rule works, and that's the way Georgia, Vanderbilt, and Florida operate. SEC West coaches currently oversign to protect against "busts" from earlier classes, then force those "unproductive" athletes out of school. The "budget" method is the only way to guard against that.


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