No, SEC, You Can't Sign Three Dozen Players Anymore

In a rather jarring move from Football Country, the ESS EEE CEE WHOOO HOW BOUT THEM TIGERS WE'RE GONNA GITCHA--pardon me, the SEC has struck a blow for the academic integrity of their schools. The conference capped signings per season at 28, meaning the practice of handing out as many letters of intent as possible and hoping 25 guys can show up in the fall are over.
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↵The decree may as well have started with the words "Dear Houston Nutt," since his first class was a primary impetus for the ban, and not in a good way. Recall, if you will, that the Rebels signed 37 players this winter, which is pretty unseemly in and of itself. Nutt's initial statement on the matter--"...there's no rule that says we can't sign 80."--really didn't help anything.
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↵Of course, this doesn't really solve the larger, thornier issue of oversigning. Just like before, the maximum amount of players these teams can actually bring in remains fixed at 25, so whether 25 players out of 37 or 25 out of 28 qualify, there's still 25 new freshmen.
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↵The problem arises when a school brings in their 25... and there's only about 18 scholarships available. Remember the mess Alabama found itself in when they had, oh, about 17 too few slots for incoming freshmen before the 2008 season?
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↵Sure, it worked out in the end through a melange of academic casualties and criminal behavior, but what if it hadn't? What if Jimmy Johns doesn't go Scarface and Jeremy Elder deciides not to commit two counts of robbery? That's still going to be an issue when schools are bringing in 25 kids; a cap of 28 signings accomplishes little.↵

This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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