Kirk Ferentz: 'In-season visits are a total pain in the butt'

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Wednesday October 12, 2016

Early signing periods may come to college football soon, but the NCAA proposal also included another piece many coaches would like: earlier official visits.

Only high school seniors can make official visits, which come in the fall and after the proposed June signing. Players are committing earlier and earlier. If they can sign earlier, why not move up the official visits, too? That’s when schools can pay for parents’ travel. As it stands, official visits happen during the season, and Kirk Ferentz says that doesn’t give a prospect the best experience.

“I’m 100 percent for (earlier official visits),” Ferentz said on the Big Ten coaches teleconference. “… If you offer somebody, they’ll typically try to get to your campus. That’s not easy for people from distance. Prospects and families are traveling. I don’t know why we should wait until December, January or the season.

In-season visits are a total pain in the butt, and they cheapen the prospect of important things on a visit. To me, it makes perfect sense. College coaches, our lives are all turned over anyway in March, April June. What’s a little more activity?”

Gary Andersen made this same argument in the spring. Iowa’s also a school that can’t rely on in-state talent. It’s a trek for many families to get to Iowa City. Those trips the school can pay for don’t happen until after the first proposed signing period.

But Ferentz is in favor of the early signing, and he noted it may change how coaches make offers, making them more careful.

“In general terms, I’m in favor of some form of early signing. It’s much-needed,” Ferentz said. “The two key components, none of us as college coaches have to offer a scholarship to an individual. More importantly, prospects don’t have to accept an offer. A kid could still wait until August before deciding. The most important thing for the prospect is finding the right place. If that takes until August, he has that option.”

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News,, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to