Changes are coming to Division I Football recruiting, and possibly soon.
In a story posted Wednesday afternoon, the NCAA announced that they were considering adopting an early signing period for the 2017-2018 season. Despite heavy debate within the ranks of the Division I Council, it’s believed that the introduction of two 72-hour early signing periods could lead to more transparency in the recruiting process and a better environment overall for student-athletes.
The proposed changes would allow high school prospects to take advantage of two separate three day periods, one on the last day in June and another in mid-December (at the beginning of the junior college signing period), taking some of the pressure off of the traditional signing day - the first Wednesday in February.
“The working group did a deep dive on recruiting from beginning to end, and I think what we came up with as a proposal is both student-athlete-friendly and coach- and staff-friendly,” said Bob Bowlsby, chair of the Football Oversight Committee and commissioner of the Big 12 Conference. “We hit a sweet spot.”
The proposal would certainly limit the amount of signing day ‘flips’ that occur, and also allow coaches a better idea of what needs remain on their roster throughout the process. It would work hand in hand with the abundance of camps being held throughout the summer, allowing prospects to sign almost immediately after being offered, and take the pressure off of them to field the calls and messages as they turn their attention to their school work and football seasons in the fall.
Different coaches have different thoughts on the matter, as Urban Meyer has been vocal in opposing it, citing the current ability of 17 year olds to change their minds. But for schools that don’t have the resources to ‘babysit’ prospects that want a lot of attention throughout the year, being able to cross early signees off their list could be a boon. If you’re Gary Patterson, who is often one of the first to identify talented, under the radar players only to see them flip once bigger schools catch wind of them, an early signing day would likely be a relief.
You can read the release in its entirety here.