NCAA adopts early signing period, 10th coach for football

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

While some coaches and PSAs, particularly the classes of 2020 and 2021, may feel anxious about this mandatory pause in the process, it is important to remember that having time to develop as a player is a good thing.

And that is just one aspect of a substantial NCAA football recruiting model change that was approved Friday - including the allowance of a 10th assistant coach and elimination of two-a-day practices.

The early signing period would include a 72-hour signing windows for high school seniors beginning on the third Wednesday in December.

Recruits can now take official visits at the end of their junior year.

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Alternatively, early signing period could really benefit WSU.

Football Oversight Committee chair Bob Bowlsby, commissioner of the Big 12 Conference, said the legislation was the result of widespread collaboration with numerous stakeholders.

Big changes appear to be coming to the football recruiting calendar, which has led to mixed reactions from state high school coaches. This rule, referred to as IAWP (Individuals Associated with a Prospect), was adopted by NCAA basketball in 2010.

Four-star ATH Iverson Clement, who verbally committed to Florida on Thursday, weighed in on the new legislation.

"We've got a heck of a coach here, Tavita Thompson, that we have earmarked for that spot", said NU Executive Director of Player Personnel Billy Devaney in February.

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"I hope it's effective immediately, but I think there's a lot of places that want to wait until after the season", Rodriguez said a few weeks ago. "We have every expectation that the December date will be approved".

Next, the Collegiate Commissioners Association would have to approve the early signing period when they meet in June. That's a change from the current rule, which doesn't permit official visits until September 1 of the recruit's senior year.

The Division I Council also approved for FBS schools to hire a 10th assistant coach beginning on January 9, 2018.

The early signing period is new to football, but not new to the NCAA. While many programs have discussed adding a recruiting coordinator to free up time for the other assistants to focus on coaching their positions, Leach says he would probably add a position coach.

"The Council's action reinforces our commitment to the health and safety of our student-athletes", Phillips, who is the athletic director at Northwestern, said. How do you know how an athlete's going to grow physically, how their skills are going to be, game sense, maturity.

The legislation package the committee approved also would allow earlier contact between coaches and recruits, although CBS Sports reported that details of what that entails are unclear.

The original proposal to revise signing day also included a June interval in addition to December and February. "We will continue to monitor the recruiting environment to make sure the rules work as intended and we will suggest adjustments when necessary".

- Coaches employed at a camp or clinic will be allowed to have recruiting conversations with prospects.

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