Coaches play the curious game of oversigning in college football

The fax machine in the Ole Miss football office began spitting out signed National Letters of Intent early in the morning Feb. 4. As the day went on, the fax machine kept humming. By the time Rebels coach Houston Nutt addressed the media on Signing Day, 37 players had inked with Ole Miss. In other words, 37 players had signed a document that promised them a one-year, renewable athletic scholarship provided they met the school’s academic requirements and the NCAA’s academic and amateurism requirements.

Here’s where the math gets sticky. The NCAA allows schools to bring in a maximum of 25 new scholarship football players in an academic year. Furthermore, each school can keep only 85 players on scholarship at any given time. After subtracting departing seniors and walk-ons from the Ole Miss roster, the Rebels could bring back as many as 64 current scholarship players next season, though, since most schools lose between five to 10 players a year through attrition, that isn’t likely. So how will Ole Miss accommodate all those players?

si.com
2/25/09