Could the SEC be headed towards a showdown over oversigning?
Mike Slive has promised the league will "take a look" at stronger measures to address the issue during its annual spring meeting, and you don't have to squint to see two factions forming as regards that "look": one featuring coaches like Nick Saban and Steve Spurrier (amongst others) who have defended their use of "grayshirts," and one with Florida president Bernie Machen and Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity who would like to see it prohibited.
So where does Mark Richt's allegiances in this potential battle lie? If McGarity's position didn't already make them plain, his comments to a Greenville (S.C.) gathering of Bulldog alumni this past week put them beyond all doubt:
"If you sign a class, you can only bring in as many as you have room for, so let's say you have 85 on scholarship and let's say you have 15 seniors graduating. Well, there's only 15 more spots for 85, you can sign 25 guys, by rule, and in February you can sign those 25 guys," Richt said. "Now, by the time that season starts, you may have more attrition, five more guys may leave for whatever reason, may go pro, transfer, so let's say you're down to 20.Of course, with his very next breath, Richt admitted that he had "talked to a kid about grayshirting" before Signing Day, in the unlikely event the Bulldogs roster remained too full for fall enrollment. (He said that despite those discussions, the Bulldogs' recruits had all "come in with their class.") It'd an admission that illustrates how difficult legislating change would be for Slive and proponents like Machen. How do you write a rule that differentiates between the kind of agreed-upon-by-all-parties scenario Richt describes, and a case like LSU's Elliott Porter, who last August was asked to move out of his LSU dorm room after Les Miles ran out of scholarships?
"You've got 20 spaces but you've still signed 25. Well, you can bring them in during the summer, work them and let your strength staff work with them, and decide which ones you like the best. The other five, you can tell them, 'Hey, we know we signed you, we expect you to come in, but we don't have space for you, we're sorry, but you have to leave and come back in January.'"
After a brief pause, Richt gave his feelings on that particular tactic.
"I think that's an awful thing to do," Richt said. "It's nothing that we have ever done since we've been at Georgia."
We're not sure. But given his vehemence, it sounds like Richt will be perfectly happy to see Slive and Co. try ... or simply do away with grayshirting all together.
HT: the AJC.