Significant changes could be coming to the college football recruiting calendar.
FBS coaches surveyed at the American Football Coaches Association convention this week in Nashville were "unanimously" in favor of adding a December signing period, AFCA executive director Todd Berry told reporters Wednesday. Berry said the timing would likely be pegged to the third Wednesday in December, the day junior-college recruits currently are allowed to sign.
Exec. Director Todd Berry says that coaches are pushing to revised recruiting model. Early signing date: 3rd Wednesday in December. #AFCA17 pic.twitter.com/p3VAZrMqh4
— AFCA (@WeAreAFCA) January 11, 2017
High school recruits who aren't graduating early and enrolling in college in January currently cannot finalize a national letter of intent until the first Wednesday in February. That month has been the earliest signing opportunity for most players since the NCAA took control of the signing process from conferences in 1982.
Other sports, most notably basketball, have multiple signing periods, allowing recruits who make their decisions early to put an end to the drama. Buzz has been growing for years in football coaching circles about instituting a similar rule, and a pair of proposals were floated at the AFCA convention.
While the December signing period had strong backing, Berry said a proposed June window received "zero support," per ESPN. Some coaches expressed concern to Berry that a June period could become problematic because elite recruits might be tempted to skip their senior season in high school, ESPN said.
The AFCA's preferences will carry some weight, but the decision on whether to add an early signing period for football ultimately will rest with athletic directors, school presidents and the NCAA.