NCAA Rejects June Football Signing Period Proposal: Latest Details and Reaction

Tyler ConwayFeatured ColumnistJanuary 18, 2017

HOUSTON, TEXAS - MARCH 31:  National Collegiate Athletic Association President Mark Emmert speaks during a press conference prior to the 2016 NCAA Men's Final Four at NRG Stadium on March 31, 2016 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

A December early signing period is still a possibility, but the NCAA's Division I Council rejected a proposal Wednesday that would create a June window.

According to the Associated Press, the council rejected a plan that would have put a 72-hour period on the last Wednesday in June. The modified proposal of a new recruiting calendar would include a three-day window in December.

A formal vote on that proposal will happen in June. There is already a December signing period for junior college transfers.

High school players can currently begin signing their national letters of intent on the first Wednesday in February. Until then, commitments are nonbinding verbals.

The American Football Coaches Association was unanimously in favor of a December signing period but against a June window.

"We think this is the least intrusive to the current model and allows for the best study because this is the biggest step," executive director Todd Berry told reporters. "What is a multiple signing date going to do to the recruiting date? This is the biggest step of all. We need to evaluate that."

The benefit of a December window is inherent from a coach's standpoint. When commitments are verbal only, players can back out at the last minute and change the trajectory of an entire class. Coaches undoubtedly prefer the stability that locking in a December commit can provide, allowing them to focus their last two months on undecideds.

It's also no coincidence that coaches would want a December period because it comes after the conclusion of a player's senior year. A June window would lock both parties into an agreement before a player's senior year, putting the school at risk of signing an injured player or one whose production tapers off.

However, there is some benefit to signing a recruit to an early national letter of intent. In most cases, it would be before or right around the time when a school is making coaching changes. The case of former Connecticut recruit Ryan Dickens showed how cutthroat the recruiting process can be—even weeks before signing day.

UConn, equipped with a new coaching staff that did not recruit Dickens, pulled its offer and left him scrambling for a scholarship. If there was a December signing day, players like Dickens would not lose their offers if they were to take advantage of the opportunity.


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