Alabama Football: Crimson Tide Close to Getting Under the 85-Player Cap

Barrett SalleeSEC Football Lead WriterMarch 22, 2013

Alabama head coach Nick Saban
Alabama head coach Nick SabanMichael Chang/Getty Images

Alabama head coach Nick Saban is a stickler for "the process."

Winning is a process. Game-planning is a process. Conditioning is a process.

That term is also associated with Alabama's seemingly annual offseason effort to get under the NCAA's limit of having 85 scholarship players on the roster during any given season.

Oversigning zealots use it as a criticism toward the seventh-year head coach of the Crimson Tide, while Alabama fans may view it as a "rich man's problem" in a program that has achieved modern-day dynasty status in a day and age where that is close to impossible.

However you view "the process," it is coming close to a conclusion this offseason.

According to, defensive lineman William Ming, and linebackers Jonathan Atchison and Chris Bonds were not included on Alabama's spring roster and are no longer with the program. All three were fifth-year seniors.

Atchison was the most accomplished of the bunch, seeing the field in eight games during the 2012 season—primarily on special teams. But the trio combined to appear in just 16 games with the program.

Scholarship numbers are a moving target in college football, but using's oversigning index as a jumping off point, that brings Alabama down to 86 scholarship football players on the roster—one away from the 85-player limit.

The Crimson Tide sat at 95 players after national signing day. Since then, four players—Eddie Williams, Tyler Hayes, D.J. Pettway and Brent Calloway—were dismissed following arrests for second-degree robbery and fraudulent use of a credit card in February. 

Not surprising. Considering the circumstances surrounding the arrests, Saban really had no choice.

But there was still work to be done.

It was also announced in February that sophomore wide receiver Danny Woodson was suspended for violation of team rules, and fellow receiver Marvin Shinn is sitting out and said to be considering a transfer, according to

Is Saban wrong for letting three fifth-year seniors go? That's in the eye of the beholder.

Personally, oversigning is a bit overblown in my mind as long as all parties (coach, player, etc.) are kept informed of their respective situations. Players are competitors, and that isn't limited to game day. Competition can, should and does take place on the practice field with teammates all the time.

Whether you think oversigning is the worst problem in college football history, view one-year renewable scholarships (which aren't the only option now) as subject to review or stand somewhere in the middle on the issue; the storyline for Alabama this offseason is nearing its annual conclusion.

Well, until next offseason.