There’s a sentiment today that Mark Richt is backtracking on his stance against oversigning. (h/t Blutarsky)
Richt became a champion of the anti-oversigning crowd a few weeks ago when he used the occasion of a meeting of fans in South Carolina to speak out against the “winning at all costs” approach “some coaches” use in managing their rosters. Let’s look at what he said though.
Not that we haven’t grayshirted, or talked to guys about grayshirting…If you tell them on the front end and they know that, everyone understands that, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. And that’s how we go about it if we’re going to talk to a guy about grayshirting.
These other coaches have been over-signing, trying to grayshirt, trying to make sure they never come up short of that 85 (scholarship limit) number. But in doing so have they done it in an ethical way, which is what you’re asking. And I’d say not. That’s why the NCAA is trying to change its rules.
Here’s what he said yesterday:
Well, if five of those guys know that there’s no room at the end that they are willing to grayshirt, they’re willing to come in January. The kid knows, the high school coach knows, everybody involved in recruiting if they know that there’s a chance that there’s no space for you. If everybody knows that on the front end, then I don’t see anything wrong with it ethically.
Richt’s stance has never been much about a specific rule or number. As you might expect, he’s more concerned about the treatment of the student-athlete. In both quotes, he mentioned the ethics involved. He’s consistent that he can live with and operate under the existing rules if they’re followed ethically. Creating a set of rules which would handcuff only the SEC has nothing to do with how Richt would prefer coaches deal with prospects and current players. Unethical coaches can still be so whether the limit is 25 or 28.
That’s hardly “talking out of both sides of his mouth”, but it might just be a case of people putting words into his mouth in order to move their cause forward.