Friday, August 24, 2007

Interesting Recruiting item

On the eve of the college football season, we have a new set of rankings from Rivals, ranking the 2007 recruiting classes based on who actually enrolled. Especially noteworthy is the list of players who didn't even make it to the start of classes. Several teams have remarkable lists of players who signed letters of intent, but didn't actually enroll in classes: Virginia Tech lost six players, Baylor, Mississippi State and South Carolina lost 7 each, Auburn lost 10 players, and Oregon State didn't enroll an amazing 16 players out of the 34 players that signed letters of intent.
(climbs on soapbox)
Now I understand that there are any number of legitimate reasons why a 18-year old kid would change their mind between February of their senior year and the time it comes to go to college. But half of your recruiting class?!? That's not an accident, and it's not random, it's by design. Schools are purposely recruiting more players than they have space for, knowing that they can kick them to the curb when they get to the fall. It's no accident that many of these players are the lower rated recruits. These schools are selling these kids a bill of goods, convincing them that they can compete, or that they belong at a BCS school. When they sign a letter of intent, it prevents them from enrolling at another school, where they might have a more realistic chance of success for at least a year.
So how do you fix this? Simple, make the LOI two-way (HT:Mgoblog) When a school accepts a player's Letter of Intent, tie the scholarship they are offering to that player for at least two years. That is, if Billy Bob Three-Star signs a letter of intent to play for Enormous State University, the Sandcrabs can't offer that scholarship to anyone else unless Billy Bob transfers to another school or suffers a career-ending injury. Do this, and schools will stop signing so many players. This will also help lower end D-I schools. How many of those players who signed with Mississippi State or Auburn might have considered Southern Miss or UAB if they hadn't been drawn in by the big name school?
(climbs off soapbox)