Blog Entry

Spurrier: oversigning a "ticklish situation"

Posted on: March 1, 2011 3:51 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The Offseason of Oversigning continued to make headlines last week when a pair of South Carolina recruits publicly admitted they were told less than 24 hours before Signing Day that the Gamecocks would not have room in their 2011 class for them. (Though academic concerns may have played a role in Steve Spurrier and his staff's decision, other Gamecock recruits with similarly uncertain grade issues were not asked to grayshirt.)

Thanks in part to the timing of that story, it seems, the Wall Street Journal has also turned its attention to oversigning . In this piece , published yesterday, SEC head coaches Spurrier, Houston Nutt, and Bobby Petrino each defend their team's having signed more players than permitted by the NCAA's 25-players-per-class or 85-players-on-scholarship limits.

Petrino said he signed according to a formula that took players' academic standing into account and included players with "absolutely no chance" of qualifying; on oversigning in general, he said he doesn't "see it as a bad thing unless you're being dishonest or waiting until the last minute." Similarly, Nutt said he had never waited until the last minute to tell a recruit "oh by the way you don't have a scholarship." (This might be news to receiver Collins Moore, who Nutt told a week before Signing Day he didn't have a scholarship at Ole Miss, at least not until 2012.)

But the most interesting quotes of all belonged to the "Ol' Ball Coach," who criticized the Big Ten for not oversigning ("I think that really hurts them a lot"), said that initial problem with the two potentially grayshirted recruits was that more prospects had chosen the Gamecocks than had been expected, and that they'd been chosen because they were the two commitments with the most work to do academically. Most intriguing of all, Spurrier admitted he could have handled the "situation" more smoothly:
"What we probably could've done earlier in the recruiting is tell them that this could happen," he said. "But then again, we didn't know it was going to come up. It's a ticklish situation."
"Ticklish" or not, the coach of one of those players clearly isn't happy with the Gamecocks over their approach:
[Jordan] Montgomery's high school coach, Walter Banks , said, "I told them this was foul. I didn't have a clue until 18 hours before signing day, and if they say anything else, they're lying."
To be fair to Spurrier and the other coaches, the story's bevy of quotes from recruits (and their parents) makes it clear that oversigning isn't a particularly big concern on their end (though that also seems to stem from the abundant self-belief that they won't be the ones in danger should the roster ax end up swinging). And with at least one of the two Carolina recruits (and possibly both) still planning on enrolling in Columbia once they can, it's safe to say the parties most immediately affected don't see Spurrier's actions as -- to quote Florida president and grayshirting critic Bernie Machen -- "morally reprehensible."

But whether it's an issue to recruits or not, whether Spurrier and the other SEC coaches defend it or not, the assault on oversigning from power brokers like Machen and Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity mean legislative change on oversigning could be coming all the same. (Maybe as soon as this year's annual SEC meetings , if Mike Slive is to be believed.) And until/unless that change happens, Spurrier and the rest of the SEC can't expect the negative attention from outlets like the Journal to simply go away.

Since: Jan 14, 2011
Posted on: March 11, 2011 6:55 pm

Spurrier: oversigning a "ticklish situation"


Since: Mar 7, 2008
Posted on: March 6, 2011 10:36 am

Spurrier: oversigning a "ticklish situation"

Posted on: March 2, 2011 9:20 amScore: 72 

Spurrier: oversigning a "ticklish situation"

What he was trying to say with out insulting/embarrassing the kids was that they were most likely going to be academically ineligible.

Everyone is quick to jump on the hatewagon.

Then why recruit these kids in the first place, knowing going in that they will probably not be in the class. It isn't that we are "hating" , it is that what is going on is just wrong. Feel the actuality of something man... not the angle that protects your tender psyche about your user coach.

Since: Aug 22, 2006
Posted on: March 4, 2011 4:58 pm

Spurrier: oversigning a "ticklish situation"

would question the ethics of oversigning when you know you can't give kids scholarships, they could have made different decisions and now you have taken that away from them. 

Exactly.  By deceiving the other party in the negotiation, the coach can lock up a player and prevent him from considering other situations.  By deceiving the coach, a kid who commits and switches can cause the school to miss out on a player at a position of need.  For example, if a school projects they need 3 quality O- linemen in a class, and think they have them because of commitments, the others will look to other schools, naturally.  Now, along come Jack the former used car salesman/assistant and tells him he won't see playing time at state U for two years, but if he goes to his school, State Mental Institute, he can start right away.  Now, state U is and offensive lineman down.  That depth could be a factor in losing a close game down the road, if a starter gets injured.

What makes it moral is just the lack of integrity on both sides of a commitment.  It used to be that a handshake was enough to do a business deal.  In small town America, in some places, it still is.  It has been many years, though, since that was the norm- especially in recruiting. 

Since: Feb 11, 2011
Posted on: March 4, 2011 5:51 am

Spurrier: oversigning a "ticklish situation"

Don't believe everything you read PAC-2 !! Clowney's grades are A's & B's ! You read an atricle from a digruntled Jr college coach who wanted to coach Clowney so bad his statement cost him his job!! I detect a hint of jealousy in your vitriolic verbage!!

Since: Feb 11, 2011
Posted on: March 4, 2011 5:43 am

Spurrier: oversigning a "ticklish situation"

I find it ironic that ESPN's resident idiot Lee Courso who stated Spurrier will NEVER win at USC (SEC East champs) & will NEVER recruit at USC! Now here we are talking about USC oversigning!! Strange how kids,like Jadeveon Clowney,Brandon Shell,Sheldon Royster,ETC now want to come to USC!! They see a school on the rise in the toughest conference! In order to compete in the SEC you have to push the rules to the edge of the limit!! Had it not been for Cam Newton, South Carolina would have won the regular season game aginst Auburn when USC had the lead but Newton (who is GREAT) came to life! And we would have won the SEC title in the Georgia dome! Now that USC has reloaded with a top class(depending on which service you read,EG; Rivals,Scout,Bleacher report anywhere from 18 to 8 ! And our team last year was young! 3 years in a row Spurrier has landed South Carolina's Mr. Football (Gilmore,Lattimore and Clowney!)This is another powerhouse team in the SEC and the rest of the conference should be glad as it will only bring even more attention to the conference and the strength of schedule ,which helps in the computer portion of the ranking system!  And by the way how did and what did Lee Courso EVER do to garner any credence ? Why is his opinion even viable??? Who did he coach? LMAO what was HIS RECORD?LMAO!! HE needs to go! Even though Lou Holtz left the program in a bit of trouble ,he understands how fanatical the Gamecock fans are about football! It Began with the Baseball team's CWS Championship & National Title !! Lattimore was voted "King of the weightroom" in the off season and has added 15 Lbs. of pure muscle to his already impressive frame!! If he can avoid any major setback he will start gaining attention for Heisman votes as the duel threat he is as a POWER rusher and soft handed receiver! Four recruits started classes in January so the don't count against you skewed mathmatics ! This mat be considered a loophole but as I said in the SEC one MUST take every advantage he can!!

Since: Aug 22, 2006
Posted on: March 2, 2011 2:30 pm

Spurrier: oversigning a "ticklish situation"

This is my only complaint with the SEC, and its member schools who do this up to signing day.  Its one thing to do it before the "dead' period, but after that its very poor.  Its all Saban and Nutt, Spurrier is just trying to keep up.  I can't blame the old guy for keeping up, but its not a fair practice.  Not fair for the player.

I'm not saying the SEC cheats in this area, or that this might be the only reason why the SEC has been very good over the last 5 years.  I'm saying its not fair for the 2-3 star recruits trying to line up a roster that they might fit in.

Also, its one thing for a school to sometimes run into this problem, but it seems schools in the SEC plan this route.

I believe the SEC is the deepest conference around, and it should stay that way for a few years.

Since: Sep 17, 2007
Posted on: March 2, 2011 1:01 pm

Spurrier: oversigning a "ticklish situation"

FWIW, I believe wooing these kids and then dropping them at the 11th hour is still mostly the fault of the coaches. Who is the alleged adult in this situation?

Try this on for an analogy: Your 18-year-old daughter is a waitress at a bar. Some 45-year-old guy (who happens to be the same age as you) hits on her. She decides his attention is worth having, and starts sleeping with the guy when he talks about marrying her. She hears he is sleeping with other 18-year-olds, but is convinced she is the ONE! She gets pregnant, and the guy drops her. Then you find out he's been hitting on four or five other 18-year-old girls, and is married with three kids. Would you not be PO'd at that guy? Sure, your daughter made some stupid choices, but she is 18! I view that guy as a predator who should be neutered and then thrown in jail.

Spurrier and others can rationalize this all they want to; personally, I believe it speaks to their character and integrity. That's my opinion, folks; you are welcome to form your own.

Since: Aug 18, 2010
Posted on: March 2, 2011 12:42 pm

Spurrier: oversigning a "ticklish situation"

I have a hard time believing that these kids were somehow blindsided by the news that they would be greyshirting.  Every sports publication puts out recruiting rankings for several months prior to signing day, and they should be able to read what the experts are saying.  If they see that SC has thirty verbal commits and the rule states that only 25 can sign, what do they expect?  Clearly, at least five are at risk of not getting a scholarship for the upcoming season.  The kids, their families, and their coaches ought to be following the recruiting grind so that they always know where they stand.  I do not defend oversigning by any means, but if the kid is not smart enough to know that his spot may be in danger, then he is probably not bright enough to make it in school anyway. 

Since: Mar 29, 2008
Posted on: March 2, 2011 11:54 am

Spurrier: oversigning a "ticklish situation"

The recruits that go to the institution have a responsibility here. If there are 3 top 100 recruits at your same position in front of you at the school you are wanting to attend, then consider going somewhere else. When the time comes to make sure they have met all of their needs, they are going to cut who they have to to make room for the positions they most desire.

Since: Aug 22, 2006
Posted on: March 2, 2011 11:25 am

Spurrier: oversigning a "ticklish situation"

Oh for God's sake people, grow up.  This is big business and a few marginal people are going to get ground up in the mix.  They have the talent on the football field but don't think they need to have a bit of educational aptitude at the same time are just living in a dream world.  I have no problem with coaches/programs making sure they have the "opportunity" to sign the best recruits they can.  Welcome to the real world.  Deal with it.  Hopefully nobody told you that life was going to be fair.

I am on record repeatedly for being against oversigning and grayshirting.  I think it's a case, more often than not, of intentional deception- lying and fraud.  Now, having said that, there's a flip side to this sob story.  How about the recruit who games a coach and a university by shining them on and pulling a last minute commit switch?  How many big- headed, egotistical fools tell coaches they're committed, and the coaches back off another player, only to be left holding the bag when the leaves for rival U?  Not only did they $crew the coach, the university, but they also managed to deny an opportunity to another player who may have really wanted it.  

I don't believe that half of the last minute commit switches are really that confused about their intentions until the last minute- they love all the attention, and the ability to stick it to a big name coach.  It gives them an inflated sense of self worth.  If it's lie for the coach to mislead the recruit, what about the schools that under- recruit because a commit lied to them, and now they're short- handed?   

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or