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It's great to see so many new subscribers this week! For those that are new, Extra Points covers the off-the-field forces that shape all of college athletics. As a free subscriber, you get two newsletters a week...but paid subscribers get four newsletters a week. Yesterday, for example, paid subscribers got to see what one industry consultant proposed as a way to reorganize the Sun Belt and Conference USA, and what I'm hearing about realignment strategies for both leagues.
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The latest episode of Going For Two should have published by now, and this episode is going to sound a little different. Bryan Fischer, my co-host, isn't on this episode...but he has an excellent excuse. He just had a baby, and the man is still exhausted from all those 3 AM diaper changes. Hopefully, he'll join us later this month, after he is properly caffeinated. We're very happy for the Fischers, and wish them all nothing but health and happiness.
With Bryan sleeping it off, I figured this might be a good week to re-introduce my readership to the newest member of the Extra Points Extended Universe, Andy Wittry. I acquired Andy's excellent college sports newsletter, Out of Bounds, last week, and plan on Andy being a regular contributor here on this newsletter. He made his Extra Points debut earlier this week.
In this podcast episode, we discuss:
- How Andy's previous work differed from Matt's, and how he expects to fit in on Extra Points
- What other stories he's working on in the near future
- An extended conversation about what makes a college coaching job a good job, and how we ought to evaluate what jobs are the best.
- Is the ability to win the most important thing, or even the only important thing, in determining the relative quality of a job?
- How good is coaching at D-III, really?
- Why are some jobs that attract high profile candidates secretly not so good jobs?
- How working in college athletics is similar, and different, from the desk jobs we've had in our lives
- and more!
Going For Two is the official podcast of Extra Points, and publishes every Wednesday. It's completely free, and you can download it however you get your podcasts.
This could probably be its own newsletter, so I wanted to make sure I mentioned it here. ESPN, among other outlets, is reporting that the Division I football oversight committee is considering a proposal that would allow teams to temporarily go over the 25-man counter limit in recruiting classes.
The 25-man limit was put into place for a few reasons. The NCAA doesn't want schools to sign 40 kids in a recruiting class, only to run half of them off the team when they don't pan out. They also don't want programs to "hoard" talent like they might have back int he 1960s and 1970s, where some programs had over 100 scholarship players on the roster.
But in an era where players can more freely transfer, a school could risk being well under the 85-man roster limit for years if they suffer unexpected attrition in or two classes. Kansas is the most memorable example of this, a squad forced to essentially trot out an FCS roster for multiple seasons as they tried to claw back to 85 scholarships.
The current proposal would allow for schools, on a temporary basis, to "recoup an initial counter for every current player that transfers, up to seven players and a max of 32 initial counter." That means if a school suddenly has a bunch of athletes hit the portal, they could potentially hit the portal themselves to replace them.
Having some sort of hard cap still makes sense. After all, if schools could get unlimited replacements via the portal, there would be nothing stopping programs from turning over half their 85-man roster each off season, an outcome that would be bad for players. The current uncertainty isn't great for players either, though, especially high school players, who become substantially less attractive as potential recruits. After all, if roster space is at a premium, some coaches will prefer to stock their rosters with players they know can compete at the college level, via the portal, rather than via high schools.
I don't know if this is the best solution, honestly. Almost any tweak to the 25/85 rule could have unintended consequences, and certainly coaches will look for any loophole they can find to aggressively exploit. But after COVID super-seniors, an entire recruiting class that wasn't properly scouted, and with players enjoying more freedom of movement than ever before, it's clear to me that some adjustment is needed to create a system that's more fair for all parties, including high schoolers, who don't typically have anybody representing their interests.
This is certainly a proposal to watch....and if football gets an exemption, perhaps other sports should as well.
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