NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A proposed June signing period for college football recruits has been rejected by the NCAA’s Division I Council, but a possible December signing period remains very much in play.
The council modified a wide-ranging reforms proposal for flexibility in the recruiting calendar at the NCAA’s annual convention on Wednesday by removing a request for a 72-hour signing period that would have started on the last Wednesday in June. The council acted on the recommendation of the NCAA’s football oversight committee.
“I think this was a good compromise,” said Northwestern athletic director Jim Phillips, who chairs the Division I Council. “I would say to you we’ll continue to assess an even earlier signing period, but for right now I think everybody’s really comfortable with the December date.”
At its convention last week, the American Football Coaches Association supported the December signing period but came out against the June date.
Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby, who is chairman of the football oversight committee, said he met with about 90 FBS head coaches at the convention. Bowlsby also called the recommendation from the committee a compromise.
“They were almost unanimous against the June signing date, and yet we heard they want more transparency and they want more early access,” Bowlsby said. “So in addition to taking the June signing date out, we also made April and May available for official visits.”
Football recruits would be permitted to take official visits from April 1 through the last Wednesday of June during their junior year of high school. The original proposal would have allowed official visits to occur through most of June and from July 25-31 after a prospect’s junior year.
Bowlsby said the committee has seen data showing that about 70 percent of recruits are making nonbinding verbal commitments by October.
“And many of them are making commitments without ever having visited the school or taken an official visit,” he said.
The proposed calendar, which still includes a 72-hour December signing period, awaits a vote from the council in April. That December signing period already serves as the time junior-college players can sign with a four-year program. The proposal also includes regulations on summer football camps for prospects, an expansion of opportunities for official visits and the addition of a 10th full-time football coach.
The proposed December signing period requires approval from the Collegiate Commissioners Association, which administers the national letter of intent.
The traditional national signing day takes place on the first Wednesday of February. That signing period would remain in place under the modified recruiting calendar.
“Earlier and more official visit options for prospects is (an) improvement, and maintaining an earlier signing portion was very important,” said Nebraska athletic director Shawn Eichorst, a member of the oversight committee who led the subcommittee that put together the original reform proposal. “We will continue to closely monitor the recruiting/signing environment in the future to determine the next steps, particularly if June or other earlier signing options are necessary.”
If approved, the changes on official visit dates would be effective Aug. 1.
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