theadanews.com - Ada, Oklahoma

Z_CNHI News Service

March 13, 2014

Early signing changes calculus of college football recruiting

College football fans have two loves – the fall season and recruiting, not necessarily in that order. Those who follow the game cannot get enough information about their team, present and future.

Thus a storm of debate at the mere suggestion of an early signing period in which recruits could submit national letters of intent to colleges ahead of the traditional date in early February. It’s an idea that an NCAA official told ESPN.com has “more momentum now than ever.”

It would seem that college coaches would embrace the chance to get top targets to ink binding agreements in the fall. If the change is adopted, college football recruiting would move to a dual framework followed by college basketball and other sports.

If anything, this would help minimize the growing practice of trying to get high school football stars to bypass “committed” status - which means little anyway - in favor of a system of locking in future athletes even before bowl season begins.

Susan Peal, the NCAA’s associate director of operations, said the 32-member Conference Commissioners Association will review a possible expansion of the  signing period in June.

She thinks it has support, though questions remain over whether high school seniors would be permitted to sign in the fall, late summer or even earlier. Those who want to wait until the February of their senior years could reserve that option.

Not all coaches see the need. An earlier signing period would only add stress to the fall schedule. Coaches would face the added pressures of coaching the current team while attracting talent that wouldn't arrive until the following year.

Which begs the question: Who does this proposal benefit?

Basketball recruits frequently endorse the idea of signing early because it allows them to enjoy their senior year without the constant focus and demands of recruiters.

From a coach's perspective, a player who signs in the fall is one who won’t require the same level of attention over the winter. If a team recruits 10 players during the early period, its staff can focus on 15 or so prospects needed to complete the new class, instead of wondering how many verbal commitments really are solid.

Early signing has drawbacks, too. What happens when a player signs long before graduation, and in the meantime the college coach that made the offer gets fired or hired away? Is the athlete still locked into that team?

That’s critical because players in many, many cases are attracted to a program and its coaching staff, rather than the academic institution they’ll attend.

Academic eligibility could be a factor. How will high school students who haven’t qualified academically be treated under early signing provisions? Not all students achieve the necessary ACT or SAT scores the first time they take the test.

Of course, top-flight academic institutions like Stanford, Notre Dame and Duke have higher admittance standards. Coach Mike Krzyzewski seems to have found a way to make things work at Duke.

In the end, major college football powers are going to recruit the best players regardless of the system. It’s unfathomable that teams like Alabama, Ohio State or Texas might suffer because a player is given the opportunity to sign in the fall.

With this change, the intense recruiting season will start earlier in the year. Maybe an early signing period will also end the charade of college recruiting in which it's been said that the real persuasion starts once a high school player is committed.

Recruiting college athletes is an evolving system. It wasn't long ago that coaches recruited without Twitter, blogs or other digital portals that are now part of everyday life. Early signing seems like the next logical step.

Then again, the persuasion of 18-year-old kids by silver-tongued recruiters doesn't always involve logic.

Tom Lindley is a CNHI sports columnist. Reach him at tlindley@cnhi.com.

Tom Lindley is a CNHI sports columnist. Reach him at tlindley@cnhi.com.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Z_CNHI News Service
  • Brother sues W.Va. senator over business loan

    U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin's brother claims he's owed $1.7 million that he loaned to keep a family carpet out of bankruptcy in the 1980s.

    July 25, 2014

  • How spy agencies keep their 'toys' from law enforcement

    A little over a decade ago, federal prosecutors used keystroke logging software to steal the encryption password of an alleged New Jersey mobster, Nicodemo Scarfo Jr., so they could get evidence from his computer to be used at his trial.

    July 25, 2014

  • Russia's war on McDonald's takes aim at the Filet-o-Fish

    Russia said earlier this week that it had no intention of answering Western sanctions by making it harder for Western companies to conduct business in Russia.
    But all bets are off, apparently, when you threaten the Russian waistline.

    July 25, 2014

  • cleaning supplies Don't judge mothers with messy homes

    I was building shelves in my garage when a neighbor girl, one of my 4-year-old daughter's friends, approached me and said, "I just saw in your house. It's pretty dirty. Norah's mommy needs to clean more."

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Inequality crisis shot with factual problems, hypocrisy

    President Obama, various media and political liberals say inequality, of all things, is the defining issue of our times. Yet this message is delivered by multimillionaires and a president who jets from tee time to stump speech on the taxpayer's dime.
     

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Arizona's prolonged lethal injection is fourth in U.S. this year

    Arizona's execution of double-murderer Joseph Wood marked the fourth time this year that a state failed to dispatch a convict efficiently, according to the Constitution Project, a bipartisan legal group.3

    July 24, 2014

  • Police Brutality screen shot. Technology plays key part in battling police brutality (VIDEO)

    Allegations of police brutality are nothing new -- as long as there has been law enforcement, citizens have registered claims that some officers cross the line. But in the last few years, the claims of excessive force are being corroborated with new technology from cell phone cameras, police dash-cams and surveillance videos. 

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Better police needed for college teams enticed to cheat

    The NCAA once cracked down on colleges that went too far luring top prospects, then it targeted teams that lathered players with special treatment. That was until the NCAA's get-tough approach backfired, rendering it ineffective and creating an opportunity for those who want to play dirty.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Facebook continues moneymaking trend

    Facebook seems to have figured out - for now at least - the holy grail for all media right now: how to make money selling mobile ads.

    July 24, 2014

  • Has the ipad lost its swag?

    July 24, 2014

AP Video
Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites
Stocks
Poll

Who do you blame more for the trouble in Gaza?

The Israelis
Hamas
     View Results