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On Wednesday, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said there have been some discussions about potentially moving the early signing period. It was also made known that the American Football Coaches Association have been in early discussions about potentially moving the date of the signing period, which has been in place since 2017.
The committee has already begun discussions about removing the required testing for coaches to be able to go on the road to recruit.
This conversation began because of the overall coaching landscape in college football and the fact that multiple coaches have left before or right after the early signing period. This has put potential student-athletes in a very bad spot, as they sign with a coach who then all of a sudden takes another job.
Most of the time, the moves are made because of bigger contracts, which we’ve seen recently, but they put recruiting in a very bad spot. It’s also very hard to get a new staff in place before the early signing period, which makes it difficult for schools to build their future. Simply put, too many coaches leave their former schools in tough situations, and their recruits pay for it down the line.
SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey has long opposed the early signing period, saying he could see this mess coming as far back as 2009.
“So we’ve been engaged in that dialogue for 12 years. If others are ready to go back and rethink what’s resulted from the current early signing approach, I’m certainly ready to be a part of that dialogue.
“Now because you have to have your class in place by mid-December, [the hiring cycle] accelerated,” Sankey said. “If we change the signing date again, will it eliminate this accelerated timeline? I’m not sure it will. We may have let the toothpaste out of the tube.”
A summer signing date is not the solution, according to Greg Sankey, as the coaching carousel in December would automatically make life difficult for schools, especially since they’d have to release players from the letters of intent.
“There was something sensible about February,” Sankey added. “You were through the hiring cycle — very rarely did you have any coaching changes after signing day. There was relevance to that.”
I think it’s safe to say that Sankey would’ve loved to keep the February signing period as the main course, but when the new December date started in 2017, there wasn’t much he could do to stop it.
Now, it’s causing problems around college football, though some schools are benefiting from it as well.