Leading off today:
A verbal contract isn't worth the paper it's written on.
I think I first heard that said in relation to a deal that had soured in the world of professional boxing. (Shocking, right?).
Well, Sports Illustrated did some reporting last week about college football recruiting that makes the shadiest of shady boxing promoters look relatively good.
Writing ahead of the start of the traditional signing period, Ross Dellenger exposed the ugly truth about scholarship offers: Every Division I coach offers more scholarships than their school can possible honor. The fact that the NCAA allows a maximum of 25 scholarships per year (assuming the school doesn't exceed its roster limit of 85) didn't stop Syracuse and Tennessee from putting more than 400 offers on the table, Dellenger after reviewing the 247Sports.com recruiting database. Tennessee offered scholarships to 112 defensive linemen, and Syracuse made offers to 109 defensive backs.
For the 2019 cycle, the 65 programs in Power 5 conferences made more than 15,000 scholarship offers while knowing full well that they only had about 1,600 spots to fill. Louisville hit the 400-offer mark in 2017 to set a record and six programs have delivered at least 400 offers this year.
And the big boys of the major conferences are hardly the biggest culprits. The schools passing out the most offers are typically lesser programs in the top conferences.
"They've got to get in early to beat the big dogs," 247Sports scouting director Barton Simmons said. "Others try to create the narrative, 'We don't offer as many kids, so ours mean more!' But that's really hard to do."
The growth in so-called "uncommittable offers" is aggravated by unofficial offers that are made several years before prospects' graduation date. Schools want to be the first to offer on the theory that they'll be remembered longest by the player.
"It's so fast they don't know the kids at all," one assistant coach told the magazine. "The worst job in America right now would be a high school coach. You're coaching a 6'6", 350-pound lineman who needs to lose weight, but he has 25 offers as a sophomore and he doesn't listen to the high school coach. We've created something bad."
The story reported that officials have considered allowing players to sign immediately once an offer is made, perhaps adding a clause to void any unaccepted offer after one month. That would force schools to be much more fussy about who they offer and when.
The drive for five: Eastport-South Manor's Adam Busiello won his fifth Section 11 wrestling title on Sunday by scoring four consecutive first-period pins in the 138-pound weight class. The four-time state champion, who'll head to Arizona State in the fall, pinned Lindenhurst's Ryan Meisner in 1:22 in the final.
"I've really dedicated and focused myself on my skill set and not my weight this season," said Busiello, who'll go for state crown No. 5 in Albany, Feb. 22-23. "I'm really comfortable at 138 and I've embraced where I am in my career. It's been a great run and there's one more step."
Catching up: I didn't get around to blogging Sunday, so there are a few notable developments from Saturday that I want to acknowledge:
• Bronxville senior Matt Rizzo pulled off a huge victory by moving up from third place on the bell lap to capture the boys high school mile at the 112th Millrose Games.
The Stanford recruit finished in 4:09.12 to edge Tennessee's Jack Renefree (4:09.27) and crush his PR by more than eight seconds.