Georgia Tech football coach Paul Johnson is against the controversial recruiting practice of “oversigning” — which is when a college signs more football recruits that it has scholarships available.
“We just don’t do it,” Johnson told the AJC. “It makes it hard sometimes to hit your target number but it is what it is. I don’t see how you can do that to kids, weed out guys for whatever reasons. No matter what anybody says, if you’re oversigning, some of that has to happen on occasion.”
UGA coach Mark Richt has called oversigning “an awful thing to do” to kids. (Go here for full article)
The SEC, winner of five straight BCS championships, has developed a reputation for oversigning. SEC commissioner Mike Slive said the controversial issue will be addressed later this week at the conference’s spring meetings.
Johnson, who has coached at the ACC school for three years, said college teams that oversign gain a competitive advantage. “Sure they do. It’s just like you take 25 kids every year and then cut the ones you don’t want.
“You do the math. You have 85 scholarships. If you’re signing 28 every year for four years, instead of 85, you have 112. It doesn’t add up. So something is happening to those guys along the way. It just doesn’t add up. You’re losing them left or right academically or for whatever reasons.
“There are two ways you can do it. You can try to hit your target number and not try to take more guys than you have scholarships — and that puts the onus on us coaches a little bit. Or you can say the rules say I can take 25-28. I will take them, we’ll let the dust settle and figure it out. Then the kids get caught in a bind.”
What is the best way for the NCAA to address oversigning? “I don’t know how you put rules in unless you change the system,” Johnson said. “To me, the easiest way is to change recruiting as it is now.
“Everybody has 85 scholarships; When you recruit a guy, and he says he’s coming, you give him a scholarship and he signs it. As soon as he signs it, he counts — he’s one of your 85. If you want to sign a kid who may or may not make it schoolwise, that’s on you. You will have to try to find someone else in August if he doesn’t make it.
“It would stop all this craziness, hat shows, verbal commitments, and all the foolishness that goes on with it. If the guy says they’re coming, put the papers in front of him and let him sign. When you’ve got 85, you’re through.”
Note: Johnson also agrees with Richt on “grayshirts” — as long as the recruit is told in advance of the situation. With a grayshirt, a player signs in February, but does not enroll in the summer with his teammates. He delays entry until January and counts against the team’s scholarship total for the following year.
“You could possibly do a grayshirt if you told the kid up front and they knew what was happening. It’s one thing if you say, ‘OK, we don’t have a spot for you and you’re going to have sit out a semester and come in January.’ If a kid wants to do that, I don’t have a problem with that, as long as the college is up front about it.
“The thing I think is wrong is when you sign kids and after signing day is over, you sort through and don’t have room for all of them. You have to tell some who aren’t expecting it that they have to wait to come in January, or you have to get rid of guys on your own team to make room for them. That’s the part I don’t agree with.”
What is YOUR opinion on oversigning? Do you have any NCAA rules to suggest? Please post below.
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