NCAA committee proposes early signing periods, 10th assistant coach

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Wednesday October 05, 2016




On Wednesday, the NCAA announced several proposals that could have a major effect on college football, touching areas of early signing, satellite camps and coaching staff sizes.

The proposals were submitted by the Division I Football Oversight Committee. Final votes on these proposals will come in April, though the signing period proposal will go to the Division I Collegiate Commissioners Association.

The proposed changes include:

- Two 72-hour early signing periods for the last Wednesday in June and in mid-December. This proposal would be effective for the 2017-18 signing year.

- Allow 10 full-time assistant coaches in FBS.

- No more than 10 days allowed for conducting or participating in camps and clinics. This would begin immediately, if passed. (The current rule is two periods of 15 consecutive days)

- Camps must be owned, operated and conducted by NCAA schools and occur on campus or in the school’s facilities. (Many have taken place at high schools)

- Only full-time coaches and graduate assistants can participate in other schools’ camps.

- Coaches can have recruiting conversations with prospects during the camps. 

Early signing has been a topic for years, with mixed opinions. Some coaches, like Paul Johnson, have said kids should be allowed to make early decisions and stop getting recruited by other schools, also noting kids whose offers are pulled late. Other coaches, like Urban Meyer, have said kids should get as much time as they want and be allowed to change their minds.

“The working group did a deep dive on recruiting from beginning to end, and I think what we came up with as a proposal is both student-athlete-friendly and coach- and staff-friendly,” Big 12 commissioner and Football Oversight Committee chair Bob Bowlsby said in a release. “We hit a sweet spot.”

--

Adding a 10th assistant coach isn’t a surprise when you consider how support staffs have exploded in recent years. Nick Saban has frequently called for a 10th assistant coach, whom he said would handle all special teams duties.

“There was unanimity around the table on the addition of a 10th assistant coach being allowed (in FBS),” Bowlsby said. “We feel it is appropriate from a student-athlete welfare standpoint. The ratio of coaches to student-athlete is much higher in football than other sports, and this helps address that.”

--

The satellite camp changes have also been coming after last year’s ban on them was quickly reversed. If this goes through, coaches would have to carefully pick their spots. Jim Harbaugh wouldn’t be able to travel all over the country for a whole month. Advocates of the camps say they help more kids get recruited, and if coaches don’t want to do them, don’t go. The other side has expressed concern over pressure for kids to attend so many camps.

“We needed to limit the number of days (for camps and clinics) and do things differently than we did before,” Bowlsby said. “But the best chance for us to manage this is to acknowledge that the summer is about recruiting, not skill development, and to manage it in ways that reflect best on our universities and the process.”

Votes on these will come in April, and you can be sure there will be a lot of feedback and conversation on both sides in the coming months. 

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with CoachingSearch.com and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News, MLive.com, 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 chris@coachingsearch.com.