NCAA approves early football signing period - - Columbia, South Carolina

NCAA approves early football signing period

(Source: NCAA) (Source: NCAA)

(THE BIG SPUR) - The NCAA Division I Council on Friday approved an early signing period for football, the NCAA announced.

The NCAA's approval, however, is considered a recommendation and is not official until voted on in June. The Collegiate Commissioners Association must sign off on the change as well.

Football Bowl Subdivision members voted 14-1 for the proposal.

The early signing period would include a 72-hour signing windows for high school seniors beginning on the third Wednesday in December. National Signing Day on the first Wednesday in February wouldn't be affected.

"If this rule goes into effect, it clearly benefits programs but not prospects," 247Sports Director Of Recruiting Steve Wiltfong said. "College programs, majors in particularly, their resources will be better spent when a kid is signed. You're not going to have wasted travel trips in January from max schools like Florida, Georgia, and Texas when they don't have to worry about a mid-major stealing him.

"For a mid-major school, it’s a win all the way around. Their resources should be better spent down the stretch. The mid-majors aren’t being poached by the Notre Dames and Alabamas of the world. But none of this helps the kid. The excuse now for the kid who signs in December will be that he doesn’t have all the information he has if he waits (until February). And if he waits, the school he's committed to will have a different view. It's the kid who loses out. There's no doubt in my mind early Signing Day will add to the circus and late decisions not to sign early."

Per the NCAA's official release, new legislation accomplishes the following:

It changes the recruiting calendar to allow for an early signing period in December (effective Aug. 1). Only the Collegiate Commissioners Association can create new National Letter of Intent signing periods. It adds a period for official visits that begins April 1 of the junior year and ends the Sunday before the last Wednesday in June of that year. Official visits can’t occur in conjunction with a prospect’s participation in a school’s camp or clinic (effective Aug. 1).

It prevents Football Bowl Subdivision schools from hiring people close to a prospective student-athlete for a two-year period before and after the student’s anticipated and actual enrollment at the school. This provision was adopted in men’s basketball in 2010 (effective immediately, though schools may honor contracts signed before Jan. 18, 2017). Football Bowl Subdivision schools are limited to signing 25 prospective and current student-athletes to a first-time financial aid agreement or a National Letter of Intent. Exceptions exclude current student-athletes who have been enrolled full-time at the school for at least two years and prospective or current student-athletes who suffer an incapacitating injury (effective for recruits who sign after Aug. 1, 2017).

It limits the time for Football Bowl Subdivision coaches to participate in camps and clinics to 10 days in June and July and requires that the camps take place on a school’s campus or in facilities regularly used by the school for practice or competition. Staff members with football-specific responsibilities are subject to the same restrictions. The Football Championship Subdivision can conduct and participate in camps during the months of June and July (effective immediately, though schools may honor contracts signed before Jan. 18, 2017).

It allows coaches employed at a camp or clinic to have recruiting conversations with prospects participating in camps and clinics and requires educational sessions at all camps and clinics detailing initial eligibility standards, gambling rules, agent rules and drug regulations (effective immediately).

It allows Football Bowl Subdivision schools to hire a 10th assistant coach (effective Jan. 9, 2018).

“Today’s adoption of the football legislation marks the most significant progress in recent years to improve the football environment and culture for current and prospective student-athletes and coaches,” Council chair Jim Phillips, Northwestern’s vice president for athletics and recreation, said. “Importantly, the action of the NCAA Division I Council delivers on the charge of the Division I Board of Directors to comprehensively improve the football recruiting environment.

"This affirms that the new Division I governance structure can effectively and timely address important issues.”

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