SEC presidents vote to cap football scholarships at 25 per year

DESTIN, FLA. – Southeastern Conference presidents on Friday introduced sweeping legislation that will radically alter the way the league’s football teams go about recruiting.

Starting next year, SEC teams will be allowed to sign only 25 football players to a national letter-of-intent. The period that encompasses will be changed to Dec. 1 to May 31 and will include mid-year and summer enrollees as well.

In all there were five proposals regarding football scholarships that the presidents voted on and enacted on Friday. You may need a lawyer to interpret the details regarding what they’re now calling “roster management.” But essentially the SEC office will be overseeing the scholarship process, including the issuance of medical exemption scholarships.

The SEC also voted to eliminate the one-year, postgraduate exception it instituted only a year ago.

“The goal here is to make sure that we can balance the equities between prospective student-athletes and our institutions,” SEC Commissioner Mike Slive told reporters after the four-day meetings were adjourned Friday. “We believe these proposals are thoughtful and important to the extent we will be aggressive pursuing them on a national level.”

Only Slive and reigning SEC Chairman of the Board Bernie Machen remained to talk with media about the new legislation. However, as he was leaving the meeting, UGA president Michael Adams said, “It’s a good day to be in the SEC. Everybody did the right thing.”

The five roster management proposals enacted were:

(1) Eliminated the one-year graduate student exception adopted just last year. A student-athlete who transfers in to have two years of eligibility remaining in order to participate in athletics. However, this won’t be implemented the 2012 season.

(2) Will not permit an SEC institution to sign a prospect to a financial aid agreement until that prospect is enrolled and is a full-time student attending classes. It applies to a prospect who intends to enroll prior to the projected high school graduation date (aka early enrollment).

(3) Established legislation specifying that the conference office will oversee the administration of medical scholarship exemptions. The SEC will have a role in reviewing and deciding the outcome of each medically-related exemption.

(4) Reduced the permissible number of signees from 28 to 25 and moves back the start date for the window for counting date back to Dec. 1. Allow signees to be exempt from the 25 limit if they can be counted as an initial counter in the current year. Establish an oversight process involving a review of roster management issues by the conference office and the presidents and by the ADs. It will require written reports from all 12 institutions.In addition going to propose this legislation nationally. Will write to Dr. Emmert in the next few weeks to advise him that the conference has submitted this proposal we have adopted and we have an expectation that the NCAA should and will adopt the same proposal. It’s in the best interest of prospects, not only here but in the nation.

(5) A prospective student-athlete who attends summer school will count against that year’s scholarship total.

Slive said they will be writing a letter to NCAA President Mark Emmert urging the full national members adopt these proposals. The SEC was able to do that successfully with the 28-25 signing rule it introduced just two years ago.

“We understand the spotlight for the moment is here [on the SEC],” Slive said. “But that doesn’t change the fact that what’s good for student-athletes here is good for student-athletes elsewhere.”

Slive would not confirm reports that  SEC football coaches voted 12-0 to stick with the 28 signees maximum. But he said they were listened to and carefully considered in the process.

“The first amendment was alive and well,” he said. “Every group had an opportunity to weigh in on this.”

As for coaches’ contentions that the 28 rule had not been in place long enough to know if it was working.

“It’s been two years. We feel like we’ve had enough experience with it,” Slive said. “I believe the coaches can manage this way and still have the flexibility to do all the things they need to do.”

“Clearly neither recruiting nor signing is an exact science and it’s not necessarily a precise activity,”Slive said.

Also enacted at the SEC meetings this week:

Divisional play in men’s basketball was eliminated.

The rule temporarily allowing Mississippi State to use artificial noisemakers (cowbells) was extended. However, the school was fined $30,000 for misusing them in the first two games of last season ($5,000 for first offense and $25,000 for second). The school will now be fined $50,000 for each additional offense going forward.

The presidents voted to eliminate 7-on-7, flag football tournaments and games on campus and coaches involvement or attendance of them.

They also approved the distribution of a record $220 million among the 12 member institutions. That’s an average of $18.3 million per school.

115 comments Add your comment


June 3rd, 2011
4:06 pm

Boy, I would like to see who voted yea and nay.

see ya!

June 3rd, 2011
4:21 pm

Now Mark Richt’s Farewell Tour officially begins……… or swan song.

GT Alum

June 3rd, 2011
4:24 pm

Glad to see the presidents overrode the coaches and voted to tighten the signing restrictions. The first priority should be doing what’s best for the student-athletes. Every SEC school will have to contend with the challenges this presents with regard to aspects like signing athletes who may not qualify academically. Hope the NCAA adopts these rules nationally so that no football prospects get dumped at the last minute and all schools are on an even level as far as dealing with these restrictions.


June 3rd, 2011
4:25 pm

…some sanity reigns in the SEC…


June 3rd, 2011
4:31 pm

GT Alum you will never get the cream of the crop because you never treat the kids you have now right who will tell all those who come after them that Tech is not a football place

cattle dawg

June 3rd, 2011
4:32 pm

Anyone know if diamond dawgs on tube anywhere?

Rubber Neck

June 3rd, 2011
4:35 pm

They should have focused on 85, not 25. Saban is laughing at this….


June 3rd, 2011
4:35 pm

Its sad it took the SEC this long to do “the right thing” as Adams’s states…. and it’s sad that it took that much debate…


June 3rd, 2011
4:37 pm

25+25+25+25 does not equal 85. Saban, will continue oversigning and cutting. This accomplishes nothing.


June 3rd, 2011
4:37 pm

Should we call it the “Satan” rule ???


June 3rd, 2011
4:38 pm

Not sure the NCAA will just follow along. THEY are pretty clear. 85 is 85. That takes care of itself. The NCAA is more about rules, and equity. Nobody was arguing a competitive unfairness issue. This was strickly a moralistic issue. Not sure the NCAA will dive into that.


June 3rd, 2011
4:41 pm

25 should be the limit. Oversigning needs to be stopped as it is a black eye to the SEC. If you can’t have but 85 total on scholarship then how can you sign more than 25? It does need to be adopted nationally as well. NCAA needs to get more involved in this area. Heck, they watch over every other area concerning recruiting why not this as well.


June 3rd, 2011
4:51 pm

How would you focus on 85? That’s the limit. It’s not debatable. Students do fail, people do transfer. Signess also never even get there. Signing 100 over a 4 yr period is probably just about right to keep 85 active at any time. Not a lot of room (which was the point) but enough to have legit fallout.

Tightening up the timeframes, and having the league manage the medical part was a good move.

Tobias Funke

June 3rd, 2011
4:52 pm

When you let lawyers draw up crap like this, you allow many loop holes to sneak in. This solves nothing. Just allows the lawyers to charge crazy fees. Morons.

How about you can only have 85 on scholarship on National signing Day including the new signees? Makes too much sense sorry. How about an 8 team playoff? Oops, nevermind, makes too much sense also.

Tobias Funke

June 3rd, 2011
4:54 pm

Make the number count before the spring game. Transfers and injuries should be part of the tough luck clause. Make the number 90. But hold it to them come signing day. And throw out the 25 rule. Thats stupid. Nobody cares about that. 90


June 3rd, 2011
5:02 pm

Wow. Weak. So, if you only have 18 scholarships available for a year, you can still oversign by 7.

It Ain't Rocket Science

June 3rd, 2011
5:03 pm

I think it improves the overall integrity of the SEC, and reins in some practices that have been going on. I really like the idea that full funding of the kid can not happen until he is enrolled fully as a student and taking classes. Way to go Presidents. You did your job. Now let’s wait and see, who amongst the coaches try to find a way to circumvent these rules.

Tobias Funke

June 3rd, 2011
5:22 pm

atl badger

Yup. The number should be 85 or 90 and the coaches have to live and die by it. Some years you may be under it, but you should never be over it. You should be able to sign 35 if 35 transfer before national signing day.


June 3rd, 2011
5:24 pm

Well what excuse will UGA fans have now for losing?

Sabans Crying

June 3rd, 2011
5:28 pm

NO more try outs Nick.


June 3rd, 2011
5:37 pm

@Tobias & @ATLBadger — The number is and always has been 85 scholarship players in the season — period. That has never been in doubt or up for debate. The issue is oversigning such that teams would have 85 limit roster w/ 22 graduating seniors, but the oversinging schools were signing 28 scholarships. To get back to 85 before the beginning of the season they would then have to run off or otherwise medical hardship 6 players. That was the issue. Now, they will be limited to signing no more than 25 — period.

Russ, the Temporary Mascot

June 3rd, 2011
5:38 pm

Somebody ask Coach Richt to ask somebody how he feels about this new rule.

MS. Bully

June 3rd, 2011
5:41 pm

This will hurt the Mississippi schools, especially Houston “sign anybody that walks” Nutt.

Tobias Funke

June 3rd, 2011
5:46 pm


Yes, I get that. 25+25+25+25=100


The “problem” with Saban is he signs whoever and then runs off the required number to hit exactly on 85 every single year.


June 3rd, 2011
5:47 pm

This improves absolutely nothing. It does prove that the SEC presidents don’t have the courage to act responsibly in the face of negative press.

One thing this does do, it rings the death bell for SEC schools taking a chance on athletes that are borderline academically, they can no longer afford to. Such players will be heading to the ACC or Big Whatever where they will have a chance to qualify.

In the meantime, schools with 72 already on the roster will continue to sign 25 and cut 12 before fall semester starts. Business continues as usual where it counts.

The medical exemption will stop. Now, instead of a coach taking pity on a player and putting him on a medical, he’ll simply say “you ain’t good enough” and show him the door. People, mainly the media, never saw the medical exemption for the charity it was. They tried to make it out to be something bad when in truth putting a kid on medical exemption was much more humane than putting him in the street, which it is fully within the coaches power to do.

The rest of the country won’t go along with this because these new changes are changes to appease the media. They accomplish nothing else.


June 3rd, 2011
5:52 pm

The SEC should also propose to allow an “EARLY SIGNING PERIOD” to eleviate the kind of media non-sense that can distract kids from almost 1/2 of their senior years of high school. If a kid knows where he wants to play and is willing to make a written commitment to that particular school, then he should have the right to sign in a limited 60 day period say Oct – Nov.

Also, the $18.5 million the SEC schools will each get tells me they could afford an “Economic and Disbursement Compliance Office”, allowing these kids to start getting reimbursed for game day expenses and some sort of stipend as offered in a proposal by S. Spurrier.

If you have a kids, name, address, city, state, zip, phone, ss#, then you can allow them to establish an account, check their credit, and keep tabs on monies they receive.


June 3rd, 2011
6:00 pm

MIke are you saying they should have cut deeper or done nothing? Seem to be making a case both ways.

[...] The SEC, as the highest-profile college football conference in the nation, had a chance to make a loud statement at its meetings this week. It kind of wimped out. Rather than attack the oversigning problem with significant legislation, it decided only that it would lower the annual scholarship offer cap from 28 to 25. [...]


June 3rd, 2011
6:15 pm

Dawgs lost to friggin Creighton. FIRE PERNO!


June 3rd, 2011
6:30 pm

Thats about a dozen less scholarship offers being shotgun blasted across the Georgia State line going forward.


June 3rd, 2011
6:33 pm

Why should we fire Perno?


June 3rd, 2011
6:39 pm

@ Bawbie

Please share with us, with whom do you propose UGA replace Coach Perno? .. Go Dawgs!


June 3rd, 2011
6:57 pm

Oh my god, its a slave rebellion!


June 3rd, 2011
7:25 pm

At least something has been done to kind’a halfway reign in Satan,& I think I’m proud of the way the SEC has done it.


June 3rd, 2011
7:33 pm

Remember Bill Murray in the movie “Scrooged” when commenting on the little people , that n ot only do we get to step on them on the way up the ladder but on the way down too. Sure seems to be Saban’s philosophy, screw “em before they can get you!

Jacket Man

June 3rd, 2011
7:57 pm

The interesting thing here is that several kids who would have signed with some of the “football factories” will now have to look elseware to play ball, opening up recruiting opportunities for schools not normally in the running for some players they would have previously been losing out on.

Jacket Man

June 3rd, 2011
7:59 pm

Can you say parity?

Score Check

June 3rd, 2011
8:18 pm

You guys are missing the boat.

The real issue isn’t 25 versus 28. The real issue is the Presidents are not putting up with Coaches (Satan) running off players under the guise of Medical Hardships anymore.

That is the real Satan Rule.

I wonder if Satan will go elsewhere now.

Iron Cross

June 3rd, 2011
9:05 pm

Saban is a genius and will dominate for many years to come! BWAHAHAHAHAHA

Lowcountry Bulldawg

June 3rd, 2011
9:24 pm

So where do you go to find the results of the UGA baseball game? They where playing at 4 today where they not? Dont worry I found it on ESPN!!!! Come’on AJC I know its the weekend, but put the score out for us!


June 3rd, 2011
9:27 pm


Looks like Saban’s oversigning of players just got cut in half at the least. Now Saban, Chizik, Spurrier, Miles, Nut and the rest of the oversigners will only be able to bring in 1/2 of a extra recruiting class every four years.

If they do it the right way and enforce the medical scholarship exemptions they will cut out another bogus tactic that some of these coaches have been using.

The SEC finaly got it right!


June 3rd, 2011
9:29 pm

embarrassed to admit your a tech fan?

Tide Rising

June 3rd, 2011
9:40 pm

The ignorance of the folks on here is nothing short of astounding. In Saban’s tenure Alabama ranks 6th or 7th in the conference in terms of oversigning. Those are the facts which I will post shortly.

As for Saban “cutting” and “running players off” to make room what a obscenely asinine statement. Not one person on here can point to one single Bama player who was “cut” or “run off” for anything other than disciplinary problems. Those are the FACTS.

Now, about that oversigning BS the dawg fans keep spouting.

Perhaps you would be better served spending your time worrying about Troy since they lead the nation in oversigning at 32 players a year on average. According to the real stats Alabama is 6th in the SEC – middle of the road- in oversigning. If we include the 2011 recruiting class Bama falls to 8th in the SEC since the Saban era began in terms of oversigning. But why let the facts get in the way of your argument. By the way can’t wait to see your ranting about Troy oversigning.
In past five years, 25 of 120 FBS programs averaged more than 25 signees
That list includes eight of 12 SEC schools and five of current Big 12 teams
Troy has signed 164 players over that span, a staggering average of 32.8
Team-by-team look at class size over five-year span
School Conference 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 Total Average
Troy Sun Belt 34 40 33 32 25 164 32.8
Ole Miss SEC 25 37 31 22 30 145 29
Auburn SEC 32 28 29 30 25 144 28.8
Mississippi State SEC 26 27 27 34 24 138 27.6
Kansas State Big 12 17 25 32 33 30 137 27.4
Temple MAC 25 28 26 30 27 136 27.2
Southern Miss C-USA 26 22 27 32 28 135 27
Arkansas SEC 25 31 25 27 26 134 26.8
Kentucky SEC 26 29 20 29 30 134 26.8
Alabama SEC 26 27 32 25 23 133 26.6
Iowa State Big 12 28 25 25 25 30 133 26.6
LSU SEC 29 24 26 26 26 131 26.2
Baylor Big 12 23 28 23 29 28 131 26.2
Tulsa C-USA 25 25 26 31 23 130 26
Oklahoma State Big 12 27 24 27 23 29 130 26
Florida State ACC 25 21 33 20 31 130 26
South Carolina SEC 23 29 22 31 24 129 25.8


June 3rd, 2011
10:05 pm

Should have capped them at 5 or 10. We need to return college sports to amateur status again, get back to student athletes and not have the taxpayers subsidizing a farm system for the NFL. And..we don’t need coaches paying athletes!!!

June 3rd, 2011
10:31 pm

Any bets that $aban will not be breaking the new rules next year. Why not just go after bama and tell them to stop cheating vs. acting like this was a SEC problem.


June 3rd, 2011
10:35 pm

Ok, Mark Richt has higher moral standards than Nick Saban AND the coach at Troy. Feel better?


June 3rd, 2011
11:44 pm

Tide Rising…Now why do you think Troy would lead the country in oversigning? Could it be that they offer scholarships to more kids with questionable academic records? Troy’s program is based on signing kids that can’t get into an SEC school but has higher requirements than JUCOs. There is more risk there…with those questionable kids.

If the SEC really wanted to level the playing field they would adopt league wide entrance requirements for football players. Why do you think Vanderbilt is bottom tier football-wise but top tier education-wise? Because they are looking for smarter kids maybe? (BTW–no idea how Stanford gets it done on the football field) This may already be in place–but you can’t compare Troy and South Florida to the SEC to protect your coach. That argument is flimsy at best.

Do I think the dicrepancy between 25 a year and the 85 scholarship limit will still be exploited? Absolutely–especially by Nick Saban. Do I think this changes anything? Yes!

The change that will occur is at the highschool level. These kids will have to start getting their grades in order way before their senior year now…and that is a great thing. Great players with questionable academic records will be less desirable. So start studying dumb highschool football players!


June 3rd, 2011
11:50 pm

Embarrassed…you should be embarrassed by the fact that you consistently post the same exact thing with nothing new to offer. Here is the news…UGA has had no arrests this year…that is right ZERO. So half of your post is about something bad that happened at UGA 30 years ago…and the other half is outdated too!

So until you decide to darken this blog by your presence by cutting and pasting the same post for the third straight year…I say good day sir.


June 4th, 2011
12:13 am

June 3rd, 2011
6:00 pm
“MIke are you saying they should have cut deeper or done nothing? Seem to be making a case both ways.”
Sorry if I wasn’t clear. I think doing nothing would have accomplished just as much as this, and would not have put the SEC at a competitive disadvantage.


June 4th, 2011
12:20 am

Quoting Score Check: “The real issue is the Presidents are not putting up with Coaches (Satan) running off players under the guise of Medical Hardships anymore.”

Nonsense. You are now my least favorite person because you’re making me take up for $aban. But: The medical hardship was a very humane way of telling a player he isn’t good enough to play. “But, son, I’ll put you on medical scholarship ’cause I think you have a hangnail. Now you get to stay here and get your education paid for.”

Now, instead of that , the coach will simply say “Son, last year I’d have put you on medical scholly and you’d still get your schoolin’ paid for and get your degree. But that’s out now. All I can do now is tell you to hit the street and good luck flippin’ them burgers.”

A scholarship is a one year thing renewed at the pleasure of the head coach. He’s always had the power to refuse to renew a player’s scholarship for whatever reason or no reason at all. The medical out was a way for the kid to complete his education. The presidents took that away, but they must be proud of themselves because they saved a few bucks at the expense of the players.