As it stood a few weeks ago, Alabama had 95 players returning that were part of the recruiting classes from 2009 to this current one. The limit for players you can have on scholarship going into the fall of any given year is 85. For perspective, you can read THIS ARTICLE by Matt Hinton on CBS Sports and see how many more players Alabama has to somehow part with than any other school.
Also from CBS Sports, HERE IS A CHART that shows the Alabama players that were scheduled to be a part of Alabama's team this year organized by recruiting class.
It is true that Saban runs his recruiting machine differently than alot of other schools. Every year, every school is going to lose at least a few guys in the offseason, whether it is to criminal activity that gets them dismissed or they just transfer cause they want more playing time or they are not happy there. It's a reality, I believe, that some players are taken into an office when they are juniors or seniors going into that season, and told the truth that they are not going to be seeing any playing time this coming season. At this point, some of them choose to transfer, and some have injuries, major or not, that can technically be used within the rules to justify a "Medical Scholarship", which means they can still stay in school but are no longer on the football team and therefore free up another scholly.
Nick Saban is the all time master at this wizardry.
Those rosters above still include the 4 who were arrested and dismissed and they also include Marvin Shinn who is planning to transfer, as well as Danny Woodson Jr, who is suspended and looking like he may be leaving as well.
So just like that we are down to 89 possibly.
But the thing about all this is that Alabama's official list of players that are on scholarship and count toward the 85 limit is not public information. There may be a few players who are well off enough to pay their own way and not count toward the 85. We are never allowed to know that, but it does happen. One thing is for sure though. The NCAA pays alot of attention to this stuff, especially from a school that is constantly accused to breaking these rules, as well as any other rules opposing fans and schools can come up with. Real or imagined.
I have no doubt that Saban finds a way for the team to be legally at or below the 85 number.
Another way players can part ways, and this is something that happens every year at Alabama, is that there are a couple of players who are seniors by eligibility, but already have their degree, and aren't going to play anyway. Some of these guys voluntarily give up football.
And there are also a couple of this year's incoming recruits who are going to have to grayshirt, which means they won't enroll until next season and therefore won't count against this year's limit.
Saban uses every one of these legitimate methods of trimming the roster down to 85 and being able to sign at least 25 new players every recruiting class.
He could just be a pussy like a lot of coaches in the Big Ten who feign outrage and look down on the SEC from their phony moral high horse. These guys only sign the amount of players they have scholarships available for at the time. Which SOUNDS like the way you should do it, if you're a child or don't understand the development of football players, or real life. For these coaches, when the season comes and they've had guys transfer or are no longer on the team for whatever reason, they are just short of the maximum amount of players they are allowed to have. If I were a fan of one of those teams, I wouldn't think my coach was doing his job to the fullest extent if he was allowing us to have less players on the team than he could.
I think it is a head coach's JOB to do everything possible to make the team as good as possible so that you have the best chance to win. Nick Saban does this in every possible way. And those ways are all legal.
So all y'all that get on your moral high horse about this stuff can just admit that you are jealous of Nick Saban and Alabama's sustained dominance right now and if it was your team, you'd be perfectly fine with it and thrilled.
And hey, if you think Nick Saban is unethical or wrong about any of the things he does concerning roster management, you should check out WHAT LES MILES DID! Les let a kid sign with LSU, put the kid on scholarship, let him move into his dorm and start taking classes...then realized he didn't have room for him and sent the kid home. At least Nick Saban's players know what the deal is when they sign. The guys who might have to grayshirt are told during their recruitment that this might become a possibility when the time comes. They sign with all that in mind. They are not lied to or manipulated. Les promised a guy a full ride and a spot on the team right way, and then snatched it away after the kid had already started being a part of the team.
But Nick Saban is such an evil bastard.
- Eric Blackerby
- My name is Eric. My love of and loyalty to the University of Alabama football team is unparalleled and completely inappropriate. I hate all other teams, and wish them peril. Also, you can hear my music at www.reverbnation.com/EricBlackerby or www.youtube.com/EricBlackerbyMusic