Over-signing may be a thing of the past in SEC

May, 27, 2009
5/27/09
8:51
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

DESTIN, Fla. -- The SEC is considering sponsoring proposed legislation to the NCAA that would cap the number of football players a school could sign at 28.

Rules are already in place that limit the number of signees a school can bring in each year to 25. But that hasn't stopped some schools from over-signing in February and then whittling that number down one way or the other by reporting time in August.

During this most recent class, Ole Miss signed 37 players and Arkansas 32. The Rebels' total really got SEC commissioner Mike Slive's attention.

"I have not been really concerned about it at the current number," said Slive, noting that most SEC schools had been around the 28 to 30 number in recent years. "But last year, I was really concerned about it when we had one or two that signed a lot of kids. That was a catalyst for these discussions."

Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt apologized during Slive's meeting with football coaches and athletic directors Wednesday for any embarrassment the Rebels might have caused the league for signing so many players.

Nutt explained earlier in the week that one of the reasons the Rebels signed so many players was that they knew several weren't going to qualify academically, and he wanted to build relationships with the junior colleges in the state.

"We knew seven to eight of those guys 100 percent would not qualify, so you're able to help some junior colleges," Nutt said.

Several of the SEC athletic directors said Wednesday they thought the 28 limit would be endorsed by the presidents and sent onto the NCAA. Slive also said he wouldn't be opposed to the SEC adopting its own league-wide policy capping the number of players a school could sign.

Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley said it's a decision each school has to make, but that the Gators rarely over-sign players.

"Candidly, I don't think it's healthy to do that, but that's one man's opinion," Foley said.

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