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College football is getting an early signing period

Is this a good thing? Er, maybe?

Michigan Signing of the Stars Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

The Collegiate Commissioners Association approved a proposal for an early signing period in college football, and this is something that figures to alter the shape of recruiting substantially. Beginning this December, recruits will have a 72-hour window to sign with a school. This year, that window opens on Dec. 20 and closes on Dec. 22.

Regular ol’ National Signing Day remains in the first week of February, as usual.

I’m ambivalent on this move, mostly because I’m cynical about how coaches will wield this extra piece of leverage. December is also a time of significant coaching turnover, both at the head coach and assistant coaching levels. There’s a lot of turmoil, and things happen unexpectedly. Minnesota, for example, did not fire head coach Tracy Claeys until January. Imagine signing your LOI to Minnesota and then two weeks later your coach is gone, and now you’re stuck.

There will be a lot of pressure on prospects to sign during that early period, which I am sure will lead to some rushed decisions that end up being regretted.

In the past, at least, recruits have used January especially to take some last minute visits as schools scramble to adjust their recruiting boards when they miss out on guys. That’s typically beneficial for players.

And that isn’t going away, necessarily, but you can bet that some kids will sign early for fear of losing their spot instead of taking a little extra time in January and perhaps earning a better scholarship offer in the process.

The early signing period may end up working out well for all parties involved, but I have my doubts. It’s a win for coaches, though, no doubt about that.