Oversigning in the Big East

January, 25, 2011
1/25/11
9:11
AM ET
Sports Illustrated's Andy Staples has an interesting look at the practice of oversigning, including this chart on the biggest oversigners in college football the past five years.

NCAA rules limit teams to 85 scholarship players at any given time and 25 signees per recruiting class. But some schools routinely announce classes of more than 25 each year, figuring out the math later. That math often means ushering some signees to junior college or delaying their enrollment. Or it can mean pushing out players on the current roster by encouraging them to transfer or taking medical hardships.

The NCAA has a new rule this year that limits schools to no more than 28 signees between next week's national signing day and May 1.

The SEC has been notorious for stockpiling players on signing day. How does the Big East stack up?

According to the chart, 25 of the 120 FBS programs have averaged more than 25 signees per year in the past five years, and that includes one Big East program: South Florida. However, the Bulls have averaged just 25.4 signees per class, ranking only 23rd among the oversigners. Twice in that five-year span, USF signed 28 players, but several of the Bulls' signees didn't qualify and headed off to junior college.

Louisville was next on the list, averaging right at 25 players per year in the timeframe. Syracuse is a few spots lower at 24.6 player per year, including a 30-man class in 2010. Both schools were trying to rebuild their rosters under new head coaches and saw quite a few departures from the roster in recent years.

The rest of the Big East teams all averaged fewer than 24 players per class. Pittsburgh brought in the fewest per year among Big East teams at 22.6 signees per year. The Panthers brought in fewer than the 25-man limit in four of the five years.

In short, oversigning remains a practice that demands oversight and regulation. But it doesn't seem to be a huge problem in the Big East.

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BIG EAST TEAM COVERAGE