I’ve received a lot of feedback about my post on the Vols’ 2014 class, so I want to highlight something that I wrote in the story but apparently didn’t emphasize enough:
Signees and scholarships (i.e., initial counters) are two different things.
SEC rules limit signees; NCAA rules limit overall scholarships and initial counters.
The possible loophole I described is for the former; there is no loophole for the latter.
At the end of the day, the Vols — like any other team — can give no more than 25 initial counters in any year and have no more than 85 scholarship players overall.
Under the hypothetical theory I floated in the story, the Vols could sign 35 players, but they would still have to cross the scholarship hurdle. (I outlined gray-shirting and blue-shirting as possibilities).
However, under this hypothetical scheme, coaches would have all summer to figure this out. They have the luxury of time to see who qualifies, who’s ready to play, who isn’t, etc. The best signees go on scholarship immediately. The rest can be gray-shirted (or whatever plan they have to push them onto the 2015 class).
Long story short: Signees are a January/February issue. Scholarships are a May/June/July issue.