The Football Oversight Committee proposed several significant changes to the recruiting process to the NCAA Division I Council last week and one of the most talked about items was the addition of two early signing periods for high school football players.
While some big names have come out against an early signing period like Urban Meyer and Nick Saban, several other coaches seem to be all for the idea. Count Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy among the latter group and he thinks there could be added benefits for the schools themselves in addition to less stress on the players.
“In my opinion, anybody at our level that doesn’t agree with (an early signing period), I would like to have a debate with them on why they didn’t agree with that,” Gundy said, according to the Tulsa World. “It won’t eliminate, but I think it will greatly reduce cheating in recruiting. There won’t be as many games that are played in January because 90 percent or of the young men that are going to sign in February will have already signed in December.”
Gundy also mentioned that it’s going to save quite a bit of money spent on the recruiting budget for some schools as well. He also noted that most of the Cowboys recruiting classes will already be committed to the school by December, which is when the second of the early signing periods was proposed to begin.
Currently, high school recruits are limited to signing a National Letter of Intent starting on the first Wednesday of February. While those restrictions have been loosening recently, including the ability to sign financial aid papers early, many coaches have brought up the need to allow players to end the recruiting process even earlier than that.
You can understand why coaches like Gundy would be in favor of the changes announced last week, which would allow him to keep more players in a recruiting class and help fend off late offers from those at bigger schools like Ohio State, Alabama or even in-state rival Oklahoma. Still, there’s a case to be made that moving up commitments might have an adverse effect on the players if a coach were to leave a school (or get fired), on top of a kid simply wanting to change his mind about what college he wants to go to.
As for the argument that an early signing period will help crack down on cheating, that’s something Gundy might want to explain a little further but certainly would be a nice benefit to the proposal.