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Richt Rips “Winning At All Costs” Mentality

At the SEC meetings in Destin in a couple of weeks, the topic of oversigning is guaranteed to come up.  The SEC has already put a few ADs to work studying the entire process of roster-building and it’s expected that more than a few athletic directors and presidents — Bernie Machen of Florida, for one — will push the SEC to stop the practice of oversigning altogether.

Mark Richt was asked about oversigning at a Georgia booster function over the weekend.  According to Seth Emerson of both The Macon Telegraph and the The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, Richt drew a clear line between oversigning and grayshirting:

“If you bring them in in the summer, and you work them and you let your strength staff work with them, and you kind of decide which ones you like best, and you tell five of them, ‘Hey we know we signed you, and we expected you to be able to come in, we don’t have the space for you, we’re really sorry about that but we don’t have space for you — you’re gonna have to leave and come back in January.’

“I think that’s an awful thing to do, I think that’s the wrong things to do.  And it’s nothing that we’ve done since I’ve been at Georgia.”

This was met by a loud round of applause.

“Not that we haven’t grayshirted, or talked to guys about grayshirting,” Richt added.  “If you tell five of those guys, ‘Hey we’ve got 20 spaces.  I can sign 25.  There’s a good chance that by (the time) school starts there’ll be room for you, because of attrition that happens every year everywhere you go.  If there’s space for you, you come in with your class.  If there’s not space for you, are you willing to come in in January? …

“If you tell them on the front end and they know that, everyone understands that, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.  And that’s how we go about it if we’re going to talk to a guy about grayshirting.”

This is all a matter of perspective, of course.  One group brings in freshmen, decides who can and can’t play, and then forces a few to grayshirt or leave.  The other group — which would include Richt — brings in freshmen and tells them that they’ll probably have a roster slot due to “attrition,” which is often just code for a coach running off an underperforming veteran.

So, is it better to mislead freshmen?  Or better to mislead veterans?  (Arkansas’ Bobby Petrino, for example, has been handing veteran players their walking players left and right over the past week.)

Richt certainly believes that his way is more honest and — in Richt’s case — it may well be.  The guy has earned his choir boy reputation. 

“These other coaches have been oversigning, trying to grayshirt, trying to make sure they never come up short of that 85 (scholarship limit) number,” Richt said.  “But in doing so, have they done it in an ethical way, which is what you’re asking.  And I’d say not.  That’s why the NCAA is trying to change its rules.”

Richt wasn’t finished.  “There’s been a bit too much of the winning at all costs in college football.  And I hope the tide turns in the other direction.”

(Readers will start wondering if Richt slipped in the word “tide” on purpose in three… two… one…)



  1. [...] we offer a kid and be able to follow through.”  Just this week, he said that oversigning is “an awful thing to do, I think it’s the wrong thing to do.”New UGA athletic director agrees with his head coach.  He has said that he’s in favor of new [...]

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