After this past season, the last thing I want to hear from Tressel is his thoughts on doing the right thing.
If you think all the hubbub about oversigning is going to go away, think again. Last week The Wall Street Journal decided to cover the controversial topic. Today, Mike Herndon of The Mobile Press-Register dives in.
All of this is set to come to a head for the Southeastern Conference at its league meetings in Destin, Florida this spring. With folks like Florida president Bernie Machen saying the practice is “reprehensible” from a moral standpoint, you can bet that there will be a strong internal push for the SEC to outlaw oversigning… creating a hard 28-man cap on the league’s football recruiting hauls.
The league’s coaches, however, will do their best to convince their bosses not to act too rashly.
“I really don’t know what everybody is so up in arms about,” Nick Saban said last month. “This is something that people have done in college football for a long time and it’s not illegal.”
But not everyone does it. In fact, no other league does it like the SEC does it. The Big Ten has taken the lead on this issue and Ohio State’s Jim Tressel holds a view that’s quite different from Saban’s.
“We’re probably conservative in more ways than just play-calling. We’ve ended up under 85 (players) because we don’t want to over-commit. To me, the worst nightmare would be if you’ve got to tell someone, ‘We can’t fit you.’ You’re talking about a young kid’s life.”
And that’s the issue. The Big Ten (and other leagues) hold the moral high ground when it comes to oversigning and the powers that be in the SEC aren’t likely to allow other leagues to hold any kind of high ground — moral or otherwise — over their own conference. For that reason, we expect the league to nix the practice.
Still, you should expect plenty more debate over this one as we countdown to Destin.