The SEC’s football coaches have had their say, and now the SEC’s presidents will tackle a number of options and proposals regarding oversigning, ahem, we mean “roster management” on Friday.
If the presidents go with the biggest possible change, the SEC’s oversigning plan would become second only to the Big Ten’s hard 25-man signing class cap in terms of toughness. Andy Staples of SI.com believes that a switch by the SEC to a 25-man cap would inspire the other major conferences to follow suit.
Nick Saban made his feelings quite clear today regarding a possible move from 28 to 25 signees:
“What’s the problem with 28? You all are creating a bad problem for everybody, because you’re going to mess up the kids getting opportunities by doing what you’re doing. You think you’re helping them, but you’re really gonna hurt them. You take one case where somebody didn’t get the right opportunity but you need to take the other 100 cases where somebody got the opportunity because of it.”
Wow. If only I believed Saban was motivated 100% by what’s best for “the kids.” Not saying he doesn’t care a great deal, but I have a hard time believing some of his outrage isn’t tied to the fact that he’s going to a roster-building option. (And this from someone who believes Saban is the A-1 best coach in college sports today, so hold your “You hate Saban” hooey.)
According to Steve Spurrier, the coaches voted 12 to 0 to keep the SEC’s cap at 28 today. As we have said, we at MrSEC.com would be in favor of a hard 28-man cap with no loopholes (as opposed to the 28-man “cap” that allowed a couple of SEC schools to ink 30+ players this February).
“We’re in favor of oversigning,” Carolina’s coach said. “We’ve never had a problem of too many qualifying and not having room. All the coaches are in favor of the 28 and so forth. The presidents I don’t think are, but that’s OK.”
The trick for the SEC is to not put itself at a disadvantage. As long as the SEC’s oversigning cap is comparable or even to other league’s oversigning caps, the SEC will still win in the long run.
There’s an old saying regarding fast football players: “If he’s even, he’s leavin’.” Considering the SEC’s incredible talent advantage over other regions — more than 30% of the NFL’s draft picks since the late 1980s have come from the nine-state SEC region — Saban and Spurrier would still hold a major advantage over coaches from other regions… even with a 25-man or hard 28-man cap. If they’re even, they’re leavin’.
But on Friday, the presidents will make the final call. And no one knows for sure just how tough big of a change in the system they’re going to make.