Oversigning is a hot topic this time of year. The chatter about oversigning gained even more steam with the fact that the BCS Championship game featured the two worst offenders in LSU and Alabama. What exactly is oversigning and how does it help a team gain a competitive advantage?
In a nutshell, each FBS program is allowed to have 85 players on scholarship. This number includes a maximum of 25 per new class. NCAA laws allow a team to sign 28, or 3 over this number. Regardless of this law, that still leaves 3 people in the class who cannot be included in that aid year. Never mind the fact that each class prior to that may have also signed 28. As most of our readers were likely told there would be no math, this means that in a 4 year span there could be 112 commitments. That’s 27 guys who can’t be on scholarship, but could have signed their National Letter of Intent to the school.
There will always be a little bit of attrition. Some kids leave school early for the NFL, for one. There are other reasons for attrition, too. Some of those reasons have sparked questions as to their legitimacy in some cases.
Let’s take the case of former Alabama linebacker Chuck Kirschman. Kirschman’s tale was told in a scathing Wall Street Journal article on Nick Saban and oversigning. Kirschman had a back issue and Saban pushed him to take a medical scholarship. These scholarships are perfectly legal in the eyes of the NCAA. They allow a student athlete to receive the aid they were expecting in order to keep them in school when they are unable to play the sport they had committed to play. It’s a great policy, really.
Oh, and they don’t count against the 85/25 allowed to each team. This is the reason some feel they were asked to take them, including Chuck Kirschman.
Three Alabama players who’ve taken these exemptions say they believe the team uses the practice as a way to clear spots for better players by cutting players it no longer wants. These players said they believe Mr. Saban and his staff pressure some players to take these scholarships even though their injuries aren’t serious enough to warrant keeping them off the field.
» Continue reading “Oversigning, Or How Saban Wins Titles”