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Tim Hyland

SEC Takes a Stand on Oversigning. But Not Really.

By June 5, 2011

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The SEC has finally done something about its oversigning problem.

The only question, it seems, is whether the nation's leading football conference has done enough.

Over the objections of the league's football coaches, SEC presidents have approved new rules that will cap the number of players coaches can sign each year at 25. That's down from the previous cap of 28.

In theory, the reduced cap will curb the potential problems caused by oversigning--most specifically, players losing promised scholarships when coaches sign up more players than they actually have room for. But while SEC commissioner Mike Slive said his league's move represents a big step toward treating athletes more fairly, some critics insist the SEC's oversigning legislation is nothing more than a PR move.

Some of the harshest criticism came from Jeff Schultz, a columnist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, who wrote this weekend that the league "wimped out" with the new rules. According to Schultz, the 25-player cap will still allow coaches to drop some players into a "black hole" should they feel those players aren't good enough to contribute; until that loophole is closed, he says, the problem remains.

Wrote Schultz: "Welcome to the NCAA's mission: Winning and making money, moral compass be damned."

Harsh, yes. But there's some truth there.

And given the lukewarm reaction nationwide to the SEC's move, it's clear that this oversigning issue--an issue that really does need to be addressed, and in a real and meaningful way--is not going away any time soon. Nor should it.

Photo: Nick Saban is among the biggest defenders of oversigning. (Getty Images)


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