Mike Slive's Oversigning Proposals Revealed

Marc Weiszer of the Athens Banner-Herald reported today that the newspaper got a hold of Mike Slive's proposals on oversigning and roster management (H/T Blutarsky). Given that it's the hometown newspaper of an SEC member school, I think the intel is probably pretty solid. We'll see if anything changes between now and the SEC meetings.

Edit: SI's Stewart Mandel says that these proposals came from the conference's athletics directors, though Slive is in favor of them. Which ADs, I don't know.

Edit 2: Houston Nutt doesn't like these proposed rules. I know, right?

Here are the proposals as reported:

Limiting the size of a football signing class in each academic year to 25, down from the current level of 28. The NCAA adopted that SEC-sponsored legislation put forward in 2009. The 25 limit would cover those who sign from Dec. 1 to August 1. The rule now runs from the February signing day to May 31, which allows schools to exceed 28 by enrolling signees before or after those dates. An exception would be made for mid-year enrollees included in the current academic year's initial counters.

I can imagine there would be a lot of resistance to from all of the conference's coaches. Even Florida, whose president famously railed against oversigning and roster management, has signed more than 25 players three times in the last six years. Vanderbilt is the only SEC school that hasn't signed more than 25 recruits since 2006.

Signing more than 25 in a year and counting early enrollees towards empty spots in the previous year's class is useful, legal, and not considered shady by anyone, so I wouldn't be surprised if this gets shot down or at least modified in some way.

Making football signees who attend summer school on athletic aid before the fall semester count against a school’s scholarship numbers for that next academic year.

There currently are no limits on how many can attend summer school, which can leave a recruit already on campus to be asked to delay enrollment until January if there’s no room. The proposal would go into effect in summer 2012.

Absent any other rules, this one would basically move the deadline for roster management from the start of fall practice to the beginning of summer school. You may as well call it the Elliott Porter Rule, as he infamously had already moved into his dorm room for the fall semester at LSU before he was told he'd be getting a greyshirt. As always, it's worth noting that Porter is back at LSU after spending some time away at Kentucky.

I imagine this one would be a bit contentious between those in favor and those not. I would be all for it though, as it gives players more advance warning about what their future will be. More time for players is always a good thing.

Giving the SEC office more oversight in medical scholarship exemptions to review and determine outcome for cases. A team doctor, trainer and athletic director would need to sign off on each case.

As long as we're naming these rules, go ahead and call this one the Nick Saban Rule. Or at the least, the Alabama Rule, as Saban says he's not part of the decision-making process on medical hardships. By the Wall Street Journal's count, Alabama issued 12 medical hardship scholarships between 2007-10, one short of the combined 13 the rest of the SEC gave out over the rest of that span.

Obvious objections from Alabama aside, I still think this one will get some measure of push back from member schools. It's like ceding some measure of their authority to the league office, as it sounds like the SEC would have to approve every medical hardship scholarship before it could officially be given. At the least we can all probably agree that someone in Birmingham should be keeping track of the numbers, but this might be a step too far for the schools' tastes.

Keeping early enrollees from signing an SEC financial aid agreement until they are enrolled and attend class at the school. Currently, recruits can begin to sign a financial aid agreement after their junior year of high school, which keeps other SEC schools from recruiting them.

This one I don't have any idea about the potential resistance to it because I don't know who thinks these financial aid agreements are a bad thing. On the one hand, this rule would mean that it's still open season on early enrolees until they step foot in a classroom; on the other, it means that coaches wouldn't be able to lock in their early enrolees with financial aid agreements. This one cuts both ways.

Overall, I think this package of rules is a bit of a mixed bag. Limiting schools to signing 25 per year is not really necessary, though limiting schools to 85 scholarships in summer school and greater oversight over medical hardships would be improvements. There's a zero percent chance that they'll all get adopted as-is, so there's no need to wring your hands over that prospect.

How much they'll change from here will be the story of the SEC meetings. We're about to find out just how good a salesman Mike Slive really is.

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