National Signing Day — which in some quarters has become something akin to a national holiday — might never be the same. In a vote Friday, the NCAA’s Division I Council gave the go-ahead for an early signing date in college football.
The addition of the December signing date, which will join the traditional early February date, was part of a comprehensive reform package to the sport’s recruiting model that included everything from the addition of a 10th assistant coach for FBS programs to significant changes to the summer camp model and the recruiting calendar.
During its annual meeting last January, members of the American Football Coaches Association voted to support the package. Earlier this week, Todd Berry, the AFCA’s executive director and the former coach at Louisiana-Monroe, called it “by far the most sweeping legislative package we’ve had since I’ve been in coaching.”
“There’s been nothing that’s come as close to moving the needle as this,” Berry said. “This isn’t perfect but it’s a big step. We’ve been so caught up in the past with perfection that what happens is nothing ever happens.”
The early signing period must be approved by the Collegiate Commissioners Association, which administers the National Letter of Intent program. The CCA meets in June.
The Division I Council also approved a change to the recruiting calendar allowing recruits to take official visits to schools beginning April 1 of their junior year in high school (and ending in June of that year).