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Univ. of Georgia takes advantage of NCAA recruiting loopholes

Published 10:16am Thursday, December 27, 2012

Rules you say? Who needs stinking rules?
Those, my fellow fans, are the chants I am hearing throughout the
various Southeastern Conference football programs.
One year ago, the SEC passed some new rules pertaining to “over-signing”, which limits any team from signing over 25 players. So how does Georgia have 30 commits as of today, with a possibility of another five before national signing day?
It is called “Early enrollees”.
This is not something the SEC just figured out, no, it has been done for years by many teams across the country.
This term will soon be as famous or infamous as “over-signing” was from the likes of a Nick Saban and Houston Nutt.
The major difference between the traditional signee and the early-enrollee (henceforth referred to as “EE”) is that the “EE” as they are referred to as, can graduate early, either from high school, prep school, or junior college, and then enroll in January classes, well before national signing day.
The major advantage for the EE is their early participation at spring camp.
Okay, how does that make a difference and allow teams to still bring in over 25 athletes? Remember, the normal limit for any team is 85 scholarship athletes.
If a team only signs 20 the previous year, then say loses another five to other reasons such as grades, injuries or transfers, then the school can start “back-counting” towards the previous year.
Then you have the kids who committed, sign, and did not meet the NCAA academic requirements. Last season, Georgia signed 19 players.
Two did not meet the academic requirements and three enrolled early, with two of them “back-counted “towards the 2011 class. All of this means that Georgia signed 15 for the 2012 class, which are 10 under the limit.
Now there are as many as 17 commits that may try and enroll early for 2013.
The problem now is that Georgia is limited to “back-counting” 10 towards 2012.
The major difference between what Georgia is doing and what Saban and Nutt did prior to the new rules, is that both these coaches (and others) over-signed, then told a kid he would not get his scholarship until next year. Then, they told the recruit that he must either wait until next winter to come in or take a gray-shirt.
The new rules were implemented to stop the mishandling of student-athletes and the over-signing process, which led to a kid being left out in the cold. What Georgia is doing is perfectly legal and within the rules of not only the SEC, but the NCAA.
National letter-of-intent (LOI) Signing Day is Wednseday, Feb. 6th, which leaves little time for the coaches to leave a lasting, final impression on these recruits.
If you really want to see how all of this has evolved into a three-ring-circus, just tune in on Friday, Jan. 4th for the Under Armour All-American High School Game, where half of the nation’s elite athletes will make their verbal commitments on national television.
You will see kids with various hats in front of them, with one hat being selected as the winner, where that kid has decided to play football and don’t let me leave out, possibly get an education.
If you feel cheated and you need more, just tune in the next Saturday, Jan. 5th, with the Army All-American Bowl, where the other half of these athletes repeat this same act.
I follow recruiting all year long, so for yours truly, these games are a must see.
National signing day is like the Oscars around here.
I do not answer the phone, text messages or emails.
Until next time …
Meyers is a college football columnist.

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