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Florida president blames fellow SEC bigwigs for oversigning

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Last year, the SEC made headlines when the conference adopted a rule stipulating that schools would be limited to 28 signed letters of intent between National Signing Day and May 1 — affectionately referred to as the “Houston Nutt Rule“, referring to the Right Reverend’s 2009 class of 37.

The NCAA adopted the rule this year.

But that hasn’t stopped SEC schools from continuing to oversign their recruiting classes. In 2010, Auburn and LSU oversigned their classes by 4 LOI’s and 1 LOI, respectively. We haven’t even hit National Signing Day 2011 yet and already South Carolina has more verbal commits than the 28-LOI cap.

To meet the 85 scholarship limit with 25 new athletes enrolled in the fall, programs can still grayshirt an incoming player, send an them to the JUCO ranks, or revoke the scholarship of a current player (by definition, scholarships are “one-year contracts” renewed based on merit).

And Florida president Bernie Machen says it has to stop.

“There are still universities that will oversign and it’s going to end up with a student-athlete being left out,” Machen told the USA Today. “I think we either have to get the universities to be more serious about it, or the league and the NCAA are going to have to pass more stringent punishments for those who do oversign.

“Every (SEC) president sat at the table when we had that discussion. For some reason, some of them are not stepping up and stopping it.”

First of all, I wouldn’t bet Terrelle Pryor‘s 2008 gold pants that the SEC is going to govern themselves on this one because nowhere in college football is competition as fierce as it is in the SEC. Secondly, all 12 members had a chance to follow the rule last year and two of them didn’t with no punishment.

That leaves the NCAA (gulp).

According to the NCAA’s website, their core purpose is to “govern competition in a fair, safe, equitable and sportsmanlike manner, and to integrate intercollegiate athletics into higher education so that the educational experience of the student-athlete is paramount.”

At this point, we know those are just meaningless words. Machen wants action. Or, at least, a level playing field. Whether he gets it remains to be seen.

“Imagine what would happen if in the general student body admission process, the same thing happened,” exclaims Machen. “The public wouldn’t stand for it, and I don’t believe, if we put enough sunshine on this, the public will allow this to happen, in intercollegiate athletics.”

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3 Responses to “Florida president blames fellow SEC bigwigs for oversigning”
  1. southernpatriots says: Feb 2, 2011 3:08 AM

    Well, Bernie, you and the other universities in the SEC can agree in writing to a new “contract” limiting the number of signees. That would make the coaches work harder and select only those they had great reason to believe would perform well (both athletically and academically, and may we add morally and ethically) in at their university. If a mistake is made, it would punish the coach, not the athlete. It would not reward someone just for athletic prowess and coaches in the high school ranks would need to start emphasizing character a little more and let a “character word” not just be a slogan on the school marquee sign. It may help to avoid the scandals which seem to mark the “off season” every year. Come on SEC, come on member university presidents! Let’s get an agreement with a “consent decree” or similar with some bite in it. Add maybe some other clauses as well, but at least let us get an agreement on this. This is not enabling SEC teams to win BCS championships because the pool of football talent in the South is so strong, but it would take away one “ready made” accusation from other conferences and their supporters.

  2. dryzzt23 says: Feb 2, 2011 8:06 AM

    Well the media, and the NCAA will do whatever it takes to “enable” the SEC.
    If the Big 10 oversigned the world would end and the media and the NCAA would strip scholarships from everyone and scream “ethics violations”.
    But if the SEC does it, well that’s just cuz they’re the SEC and they’re super-competitive

  3. gamecockinfl says: Feb 2, 2011 8:17 AM

    We will see how it shakes out after today

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