Monday, January 30, 2012

If Nick Saban is the poster child for oversigning abuse, why is he 4th in the SEC?

image Oversigning. Just mention the word and heads explode in the national sports media. Florida’s Bernie Machen pens a letter to the editor and Georgia’s Mark Richt tsk-tsk’s himself in moral outrage. Fans wag their tongues at the worst of the worst offenders in the worst league for oversigning abuse—Ole Miss?

In a pretty good rundown of the SEC’s newly minted 25-signee class limit, the Birmingham News’ Jon Solomon explains how coaches in the league are adjusting to the new rule and notes that in August, the rule will apply to the entire NCAA membership.

But in an interesting sidebar, Solomon provides an accounting of the SEC programs and recent average yearly signing class sizes. Alabama isn’t even in the top three. So why is all the vitriol heaped upon Nick Saban?

Here’s the lineup, attributed to Average signing class sizes with the 2012 commitment list in parenthesis.

Ole Miss -- 30.0 (16)
Auburn -- 28.3 (15)
Arkansas -- 27.8 (21)
Alabama -- 26.8 (27)
South Carolina -- 26.5 (24)
Mississippi State -- 25.5 (25)
Kentucky -- 24.8 (23)
* Texas A&M -- 24.5 (20)
LSU -- 25.3 (20)
Tennessee -- 22.8 (20)
Georgia -- 22.0 (16)
* Missouri -- 22.0 (17)
Florida -- 21.3 (21)
Vanderbilt -- 21.0 (22)

One thing to note is that the new signing rule will absolutely impact programs like Alabama, who routinely see at least one or two underclassmen forego their senior year and enter the NFL draft. Unless there’s room for backcounting in the previous class, that roster spot can’t be filled by signing beyond the 25-signee limit.

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