Like a lot — most? all? — of his peers, Gary Patterson isn’t a fan of the new rules permitting official visits in April, May and June. An AFCA board of directors member, he said at the organization’s convention in January that football coaches were unanimously in favor of a December signing period — and still are. But somewhere in the process, an issue coaches weren’t briefed on and didn’t approve of (spring official visits) became tied to an issue that they had discussed and approved.
“I think all the coaches were very excited about December,” Patterson said at Big 12 media days Monday. “I think, if you ask them, if we knew that April and May they were going to put official visits with that, I would have probably told you that all of them would have voted no because we won’t get out until April 15 to start even evaluating kids.”
Patterson said the pressure to host recruits in the spring will in turn put even more pressure on recruits to commit to schools they haven’t fully vetted. “Kids want to decommit, well, a lot of it is because they get talked into going to a place they don’t know anything about. They just read the name, and they don’t really fit in.”
While recruits are pledging to schools they don’t truly know, Patterson said spring official visits will ask coaches to host recruits before they can gather enough information to judge whether or not the player is actually worthy of hosting on an official visit in the first place.
“My biggest thing about April and May is that we haven’t had a chance to go out and evaluate anybody yet,” Patterson said. “If you’d already seen (the rising senior recruits) you’d be recruiting two seasons down the road but that’s not what you’re doing. We all still want to get out and see them practice. By the time you’re talking about (hosting a recruit on an official visit) you haven’t even seen that semester’s grades. How do you know whether the kid’s going to sign?”
So, now, coaches will operate in a world with one drastic change that’s widely popular and another that is anything but.
“I think, if we’re not careful, we’re making it into a show, and that’s not really what we’re trying to get accomplished.”