The NCAA Division I Council announced sweeping proposals on Wednesday that would change much of how Division I football programs do business.
The first would be changing the recruiting calendar to add not one but two early signing periods. The first would begin the last Wednesday in June, the second would occur “in mid-December” — when the junior college signing window currently occurs. Each would last 72 hours.
The proposal was offered after months of study by an NCAA recruiting working group.
“The working group did a deep dive on recruiting from beginning to end, and I think what we came up with as a proposal is both student-athlete-friendly and coach- and staff-friendly,” said NCAA Football Oversight Committee chairman and Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby. “We hit a sweet spot.”
The concept of early signing is a controversial one. Many coaches, including Urban Meyer, have come out against it as unfair to the players, and the NCAA’s announcement included no provisions for players who sign with coaching staffs who are later fired or move on to other opportunities.
If approved, the proposal would go into effect for the 2017-18 year.
Pursuant to the two additional signing periods, the D1 Council also advocated for hiring a 10th assistant coach.
“There was unanimity around the table on the addition of a 10th assistant coach being allowed (in FBS),” Bowlsby said. “We feel it is appropriate from a student-athlete welfare standpoint. The ratio of coaches to student-athlete is much higher in football than other sports, and this helps address that.”
The NCAA’s Football Oversight Committee also pledged to address the constant growth of support staffs “in the coming year.”
Each proposal must pass through the car wash of NCAA bureaucracy before seeing the light of day.