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Redshirt Juniors Departing, VU’s Franklin Responds To Tweet Suggesting He’s Running Guys Off

College football is a cold, cruel world to athletes.  If a school recruits you and signs you only to learn that your upside really isn’t as good as they initially thought… you’re adios’ed so fast your head spins.

Ah, but if you do all that you can for the school, find yourself unhappy, and want to transfer out… good luck getting clearance to do so.

That’s the lay of the land in this, the year of our Lord two-thousand-and-twelve.  And it’s the same all over.  Even at Vanderbilt.

Wait, what?  Even at Vanderbilt?

If there were any doubts that James Franklin is turning around the Commodores program, this next wee bit of controversy should put them to rest.

Following the Liberty Bowl, senior tight end Brandon Barden tweeted the following message:

“If you go to Vandy now, you seriously sign a ONE year scholarship #dirtygame #gladtomoveon”

Sour grapes from one disgruntled player in serious need of some gruntling?  Maybe.  But Franklin also told The Tennessean yesterday that a number of redshirt juniors have decided not to return for their senior years.

“A lot of guys walked for Senior Day and a large number of those guys decided (not to return),” Franklin said.  “That’s not based on our decision, but guys graduating and guys who haven’t been playing or not playing a significant role who are going to go get jobs or may go play at smaller schools.”

More players leaving means more spots are open on the VU roster.  And that means Franklin can better cash in on the positivity created during his first season in Nashville which ended with a 6-7 record and a bowl trip.

But like every other football coach on the face of the planet, Franklin is shocked by the suggestion that he might have encouraged some of his players to look elsewhere.

“I would put our record of what we’ve done this year and what our athletic department and university have done for a long time against anybody.  Most new coaches come in and there’s all kinds of new turnover in the program.  I find (Barden’s twee) really interesting.

When you have 105 guys on a team and you’ve just suffered a tough loss, here’s going to be some things said.  There are decisions made where guys don’t know the whole story behind it.  It’s like I told the team, I have no problem with them coming in and talking to me and I’ll explain it to them.”

Our take?  Franklin has Vandy in a position where it can act like other big-time football programs.  And if a coach — any coach — can run off a few guys to open up more slots on signing day, he’s going to do it.

That doesn’t make it right, of course.  But Franklin’s not doing anything at VU that isn’t being done elsewhere.  The surprising part is that he’s got Vandy in this position after just one season.



Franklins quote is that these guys all participated in Senior day activities, so I believe they did get their degrees but might want to use another year of eligibility somewhere else where they may get playing time. I would only have a problem if a school is running off guys before they can get their degree; fwiw, I do wish schools had to offer four year commitments that could only be broken by serious legal or academic problems.


I think this is wrong but as long as there is an incentive to run off underperforming players teams will do it to remain competitive. The new four year scholarships will still allow teams to run off redshirt juniors.

I think the NCAA should lower the yearly 25 player recruiting cap and get rid of the maximum 85 player cap. That would mean there would be no competitive advantage for running off underperforming players. Teams couldn't sign extra players to replace the ones they ran off.

UF says it doesn't allow oversigning but I noticed a few underperforming Gators disappeared from the team this year. Dee Finley was a five star recruit who didn't gain weight and never contributed much. He was apparently on the punt coverage team and was blamed for not containing the LSU punter on that LSU fake punt touchdown that got called back for celebration. I remember Muschamp making a comment that we don't want players like that in our program. I never saw Finley again. If my impression is accurate I think UF is essentially doing the same thing SEC West teams are criticized for doing.

I think athletic scholarships should be like academic scholarships. You keep them as long as you meet minimum standards. A player who shows up for practice, team meetings, etc. should keep their athletic scholarship even if they turn out not to be gifted athletes.


  1. [...] #2:  More on Franklin’s roster management here. Share this:TwitterEmailStumbleUponRedditFacebookPrintDiggLike this:LikeBe the first to [...]

  2. [...] his recent bout of roster management and this, I guess we know what James Franklin means when he talks about changing the culture at [...]

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