The Big Ten to Allow 'Oversigning'

Conference decides to allow its football teams to 'oversign' by three on Signing Day.

The Big Ten has, for a while now, been considering a provision to allow its football teams to 'oversign' on Signing Day. And now the conference has decided to allow it. The decision was actually made a few weeks ago, but has just been announced.

This 'oversigning' would allow Big Ten teams to sign, on Signing Day the first Tuesday in February, recruiting classes larger in number than the NCAA limits of 25 kids in a class/85 scholarships overall -- as long as teams are within the NCAA limit by the start of the next season. Under the new Big Ten rule, teams can go to 28/88 on Signing Day.

NCAA provisions do not prohibit this 'oversigning' practice. And other conferences have been doing it every year, year after year. However, Big Ten rules, up until now, did not allow it -- and the Big Ten was alone in this prohibition.

This former Big Ten prohibition meant that come the first day of school, most Big 10 teams were actually under 85 because of 'attrition': 'medicals', jumping to pros, transfers, academic casualties at many schools, etc. And so conference schools would 'fill in' their rosters by giving one-year scholarships to walk-ons, etc., to get up to the 85 maximum.

The old prohibition may not seem like a big deal for the Big Ten, but it was. The 85 scholarship limit is actually quite severe -- look at how quickly Michigan has gotten 'thin' this season due to injuries at linebacker, safety, and running back. So having, say, three 'walk-ons' on scholarship during the season instead of three 'top recruits' is in-fact of substantial consequence.

The Big Ten has simply joined the 21st Century with this rule. I fully expect all Big Ten teams to take advantage of it.

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