By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – SEC presidents and league officials stressed that they will push the oversigning legislation they passed into conference law earlier this month to be passed by the NCAA.
Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt hopes they are successful in that effort.
“It needs to be … to make it a level playing field,” Nutt said.
Nutt was a vocal supporter of oversigning – the practice of signing more recruits than the NCAA’s allowable number to off-set attrition – going into the SEC business meetings in Destin earlier this month.
The current rule allows coaches to sign 28 players to scholarships in February on “national signing day.” The NCAA limits schools to 25 scholarships per year, but coaches had until Aug. 1 to make the numbers work out. The three extra scholarships helped them off-set surprise losses by players who signed but didn’t show because of academics or other reasons.
Reducing the signee-to-scholarship ratio to one-to-one brings a recruits academics and character into even sharper focus.
Nutt and other coaches believe the new legislation will hurt “at-risk” players.
“It will be tougher to jump out on that limb, and you probably won’t with that guy who lacks a little bit of character. ‘He’s not a bad kid coach. All he needs is you coach.’ That’s what you hear a lot,” Nutt said.
The new legislation goes into effect with the 2012 signing class, which leaves open one more “grayshirt” window.
Nutt had discussed the possibility of a grayshirt year – when a February recruit is asked to delay his enrollment until January to help a coach who has oversigned reach the 25 number – with signees Collins Moore, a wide receiver, and Maikhail Miller, a quarterback.
Nutt has not gotten word yet on South Panola star Nick Brassell, who is awaiting his standardized test score.
The status of Brassell and others will affect whether Moore and Miller are delayed enrollees.
“We don’t know for sure. We still have some who are not qualified. We’ll have to see how it pans out. That’s why you oversign.”
SEC presidents and coaches could not have been farther apart on the issue. Coaches voted 12-0 to keep the existing rule and allow 28 signees. Presidents voted 12-0 to reduce the number to 25.
Nutt says he doesn’t like the new rule, but he’ll make it work.
“It’s a very, very big disadvantage. I was vocal against it, as were all coaches, but the rule is the rule. We always followed the rules, even when there was oversigning, and you could sign as many as you wanted,” he said.
Contact Parrish Alford at 678-1600