July 17, 2012; Hoover, AL, USA; SEC commissioner Mike Slive speaks at a press conference during the 2012 SEC media days event at the Wynfrey Hotel. Mandatory Credit: Kelly Lambert-US PRESSWIRE
Everyone seems to love SEC Commissioner Mike Slive. I think he's pretty good. I think he'd be great if he wasn't so focused on academics. Yeah, yeah, that's a horrible thing to say...blah blah blah.
I picture Slive sitting around with some of the SEC presidents and chancellors, having a cup of coffee while wearing their favorite corduroy blazer with elbow pads, and discussing the great pursuit of academia. And those presidents put pressure on Slive to raise the SEC's academic profile. The presidents can't stand the idea of the SEC being an athletic conference first, academics second. Adding Missouri was a bigger feather in Slive's cap with these guys than A&M was to football folks.
Since many schools continually over-signed recruits Slive enacted the 25 limit. The Big Ten already had the rule. The SEC presidents were jealous of the Big Ten's academic prowess. So even though there are millions more jealous Big Ten fans of the SEC than the 12 SEC nerds who are jealous of the Big Ten, the rule was enacted. Seeing as how the south is home to the worst school systems in America, Mike Slive indirectly put the SEC on probation.
Take Mississippi State who signed a full 25 in 2012 (MSU signed 28, but 3 were jucos that were allowed because of State's 22-signee 2011 class). Nick Schuessler and Addarius Perkins left the program in June but they still count against the 25. In the past, if you had guys leave then you could just give a scholarship to someone else. Not here.
Last week, Kivon Coman and Artimas Samuel were unable to qualify so they headed up to Hargrave Military Acadamy. That's two more guys that signed but won't be getting a scholarship this year. Not only that, but they are commits for the 2013 class....so they are taking up two spots in both the 2012 and 2013 classes. This is absurd. Coman and Samuel not getting qualified basically means State will lose two scholarships as they take up four slots. Why can't they just remain in the 2012 class if they re-sign in December...acting as if prep school is essentially a grey shirt?
Even worse is Schuessler and Perkins leaving, so four scholarships are now lost. Those two left the team - why can't we give their spot to someone else? Why can't we at least sign two Jucos in December to take their place?
I understand wanting to make sure we look out for what's best for these kids academically. But are we also taking away potential scholarship offers to other kids who could make it in when the others don't? Georgia only has 72 football players on scholarship right now...13 below the limit. Yeah, they have a lot of delinquents, but attrition happens in all shapes and sizes. There has got to be a better way.
I'm all for not over-signing. I thought limiting it to 28 was the better move, but even at 25 it could work if schools were allowed to back-count December signees to the previous class. It should all be based on the calendar year. If a school signed 25 in February, but three didn't make the team in the fall, they should be able to pick up three in December.