NCAA oversight committee takes next step on early signing periods

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Wednesday January 18, 2017


A December signing period is one step closer to reality, while a summer signing period is off the table.

On Tuesday night, the Division I Football Oversight Committee maintained its support for a 72-hour signing period in mid-December, but also recommended the Division I Council and Collegiate Commissioners Association not adopt a June signing period. On Wednesday, the Council altered the proposal and removed the June signing consideration. Only the CCA can officially change NLI dates, which it will look at in April.

The Division I Council will vote on all other proposals in April, and the Board of Directors finalizes them two weeks later.

At the AFCA Convention in Nashville last week, there was support for the December signing among coaches, but zero support for June. Some coaches have been against any early signing at all, including Urban Meyer and David Shaw, but this has been something making its way forward for years, and December is a compromise.

“What we heard from the coaches at the American Football Coaches Association meetings that the June signing date was problematic,” Big 12 commissioner and oversight committee chair Bob Bowlsby said in a release. “We knew one of the charges to our committee was to open earlier access.

We will continue to look for an earlier signing date than mid-December, but we will move ahead on the other parts of the process. This is a significant move forward in football recruiting. We think it is student-athlete-friendly, family-friendly and coach-friendly.”

That statement from Bowlsby would appear to indicate that the committee would still like earlier signing. But that’s likely down the road now.

The committee also recommended a change to the official visit proposal, and the Council recommended it. The original proposal would allow rising high school seniors to take official visits from June 1 to the Saturday before the last Wednesday in June, along with July 25-31. The committee recommends to allow official visits from April 1 to the Saturday before the last Wednesday in June.

At the AFCA convention, there was concern summer visits would turn into tryouts if there was a summer signing period along with it. There was also concern about adding more to assistants’ already-weighted work-life balance.

There have been coaches asking for spring official visits, given how early players commit these days. Schools can pay for the official visit of a recruit and their parents. 

The oversight committee will also soon release its recommendations on a 10th full-time assistant, camp changes and more, but the official votes and implementation won’t come until the Division I Council votes on the proposals in April.

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.