It's the first Thursday in February. Every year on this day there are grades being handed out for players who have never stepped foot on a college football field during a live game. It's also the day where coaches (read: Nick Saban) get critiqued on their "roster manipulation." Josh Moon of the Montgomery Advertiser tore into Nick Saban Thursday for Saban's actions during the weeks leading up to signing day. I probably have a contrarian opinion compared to most college football fans and even the contributors to this blog on the grey shirting subject. If both parties involved are OK with the idea of grey shirting, then I do not see the problem with it. I do have a problem with managing the scholarship numbers during the last couple of weeks, as Saban did with former Auburn commit Darius Philon and Kentucky signee Justin Taylor.
If there is a mutual agreement between the recruit and the school no later than two months before National Signing Day that the recruit will sign the following January, then I do not see the problem in grey shirting. It works out for both. The school gets the recruit it wants and the recruit can still see his dream of playing college football come to fruition.
Let's be honest, if our coach was manipulating the roster and winning championships, most of us would probably be defending the action. That's what we do as fans.
College football purists won't like this, but this game is a business -- a big one. In business, CEO's must do what is right for the company and make sure that it succeeds. Feelings get hurt sometimes. I understand that these are 17- and 18-year-old kids, but these are not your regular teenagers. A lot of these athletes have been living under a microscope for well over a year and get treated as royalty in many cases.
From the recruit's perspective, when he is choosing the college to go to for the next three to four years, he must look at it as a business decision. It is a difficult decision to make when there are schools lining up to beg you to play for them. I think grey shirting is fair if the recruit has had a chance to look at all of his options, including grey shirting, and then makes the decision to still attend that school.
Greyshirting should be done in a professional manner and is something that both parties should be aware of well before signing day. It is not fair to the recruit to be told only a couple of weeks or even days before signing day that he has to change his plans. If a school wants to grey shirt, that's fine. Tell the recruit that the entire time and leave it up to him to make that decision. At least there is honesty, and it will be much more appreciated by the recruit and his family.
For the record, I am very proud that Auburn and Florida offered multi year scholarships to the football signees this year. It can be commended that they are making an investment in the players for their entire time at those schools. As the oversigning debate continues, look for more schools to do this.
This is just my humble opinion, and I would love to hear everyone's feelings on the subject.