Les Miles has many strengths as a coach. His players seem to like him very well. He recruits aggressively and continues to bring in talent from across the region to play at LSU. He has not had a losing record at LSU, and is the holder of a national title. He is not without his charms, giant white hat notwithstanding.
Basic mathematics would not make the iist of his strengths, however. After losing count of the clock last year against Ole Miss, Miles is once again mentioned in the same breath with basic math issues, this time regarding the number of players LSU actually has on scholarship.
To review: each team may have 85 players on scholarship total.
LSU offered 27 for this season, and to the surprise of the school all 27 actually qualified and are academically eligible to play football. This meant that after LSU ran the numbers the total number of scholarships added up to 86. This is more than 85, and by agreement with the NCAA is deemed bad and against the rules.
What LSU Says: At this point, Porter asked for his release from his scholarship, and was graciously granted it. Well, that worked out a lot better than everyone expected. They hugged on the way out, and promised to send hams to each other at Christmas! Ah, cooperation and understanding: will you never cease to be intoxicating?
What Porter Says: At this point, Porter was asked to grayshirt, a practice where the player does not enroll full-time in school for a semester, and thus takes the scholarship off the cap for a while until numbers even out and they can re-enroll in school. In his own words:
"I got called to coach Miles' office. I had no idea it was coming," Elliott Porter said of his being asked by LSU to 'grayshirt' this season and re-enroll next year. "He just told me that they didn't have room for me. I moved out of my dorm today and I am now back home trying to figure everything out. It's been a rough 24 hours."
He was evicted because of oversigning, and is now without a college or football team a month before school starts up again. Elliott goes on to say that he isn't happy but understands, because this is "a business" we're dealing with here when talking about college football.
If it is a business, college football is a business whose books you should not put in the hands of the accounting firm of Miles and Miles. Counting to 85, daunting as the task might be, is not that hard for even the most mathematically disinclined (especially when that person makes over three million dollars a year, and can hire someone just to count to 85 for him.) LSU is not the only SEC school with an oversigning problem, but it is the only one to have a player go on the record in saying the school told him to grayshirt or go.
That in itself is bad public mojo enough to merit a serious look at making the letter of intent as binding for schools as it is for players. There is already a league where football players are treated like interchangeable pieces of meat, and they have the decency to pay them for the privilege there. Unless the letter of intent guarantees something for the players, the last scrap of the figleaf of amateurism falls, and we're all staring at the naked truth of college football's status as a low-paying developmental league for the NFL. And we certainly cant have that, can we?