01 June 2011
I've been having a protracted debate on Twitter about oversigning. In essence, my gripe with the two most vocal opponents of oversigning is that they inevitably throw the baby out with the bathwater. They're unwilling to admit that their arguments are not perfect in every way, and that this attitude only causes their opponents to become less likely to acknowledge when they do have a good point.
It's a vicous circle that really is more a symptom of modern life and culture than just this particular debate, but I digress. There's a ton of grey area here, and it's time we're honest about it.
For every "Chuck" Kirschman*, who's bitter about taking a medical hardship, there's a Tyrone Prothro, who is grateful for the opportunity to finish school.
* That he's not Charlie, as he was on our roster for what seemed like forever, always cracks me up.
For every Daryl Collins who chafed at the idea of greyshirting and instead went to Kentucky, there's a John Parker Wilson, who took a greyshirt, capitalized on the opportunity and made it to a BCS bowl and now the NFL.
If the SEC closes the gap on oversigning, then there will be less borderline kids who get a shot at major college football. By that I mean that if a school can only take 25 LOIs, those kids will be 25 kids who WILL qualify. Those borderline kids will then trickle down to the UCFs and Lousiana Monroes of the world. Carve that in stone.
If those kids (who do qualify late) were given the shot to compete at the highest level, inevitably, they would have had a better shot at a pro career. And a degree from a major university.
Yes, "borderline" academic kids are more likely to not graduate. But that doesn't mean that some don't. They probably have a better shot at the Alabamas and Auburns of the world where they'll have access to tutors and resources that smaller schools can't provide. And it certainly helps years down the road when you can check the "Some College" box as opposed to "High School Graduate".
There is an issue with oversigning. We should all be able to admit that. It's NOT OK when coaches aren't honest with kids and when kids like Elliot Porter at LSU think they have a scholarship and suddenly don't.
But to paint the whole debate with an incredibly broad brush makes even those good arguments hard to swallow. If we all dial it back a bit and have an honest discussion, we're a ton more likely to encounter some things we all agree about. And then we can hopefuly push on to meaningful change.