NCAA approves early football signing period

NCAA approves early football signing period

(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).

"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."