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News broke this week that the Collegiate Commissioners Association approved a 72-hour early signing period on December 20-22 starting this year. This has been coming for a long time now and it isn’t a big surprise and there are multiple takes on this signing period and I’m very interested to see how it plays out. Another change with this rule, is that starting in 2018 recruits will be able to start taking official visits starting on April 1st of their Junior year.
My take on the ealy signing period is that it can be really good for some, bad for others. The biggest winners in this vote were the mid-major schools. I say this because there are recruits every year that are committed to mid-major schools, then the big schools swoop in when January rolls around and steals their commits. They now have a chance to lock those guys up. But at the same time, most recruits would rather play at a bigger school, and the early singing period could cause them to miss out on other opportunities. That is the reason I’m very interested to see how many guys sign when December rolls around.
Another thing to watch will be, for example what happens if a guy like Ron Tatum, a guy who would be committed to Texas for 8 months decides not to sign with Texas in December and wait until NSD. That will clearly show he’s not fully committed, so we will know about how commits stand in December.
The biggest reason I would be against the early signing period if I was a recruit, parent, HS coach, etc, is that if you sign and the coach at your school is fired and you want out you still have to go through the long process of getting out of your NLI. There is no “waiver” for recruits wanting out if their coach is fired/leaves for another job. The NCAA and the NLI have said that in other sports with an early signing period, recruits appealing their NLI after coaching changes is “a very small percentage”. I don’t think that will be the case with football.
At the end of the day, the early signing period is a bit of fool’s gold IMO. Though it will bring some recruiting excitement a month early and will be an early Christmas present for some college coaches. It will give most early enrollee’s a NSD as they have never really had one since they enroll in January and NSD is in February. The biggest question will be, how many recruits actually sign the papers in December?