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Report: NCAA considering early signing period for football recruiting

Though elite recruits like Jabrill Peppers often commit early, they cannot officially do so until National Signing Day. Top recruits such as Jabrill Peppers often commit long before National Signing Day. (Michael LeBrecht III/SI)

The NCAA is considering establishing an early signing period for college football, Mitch Sherman of ESPN.com reports.

Thanks to the changing landscape of recruiting in recent years, the NCAA's Conference Commissioners Association is considering an earlier date for prospects to sign -- if they choose to do so -- one that could fall as early as the summer before their senior years. Recruits who plan to enroll in college in January are already allowed to sign financial-aid agreements on Aug. 1 of their senior years.

Though many coaches don't support an early signing period, Sherman's report says that some coaches would prefer an earlier date in order to secure written commitments from recruits who verbally commit months before National Signing Day in February.

Susan Peal, the NCAA's associate director of operations, told Sherman that while an early signing period has been discussed before, today's recruiting regulations have given new life to the debate.

"I think there's more momentum now than ever just because of the changes that are happening with recruiting regulations," said Peal, who works closely with the commissioners on topics related to national letters of intent. "The landscape is changing, so it's time to look at it again."
The CCA, which is comprised of Division-I conference commissioners, will meet in June to discuss the proposal, among other topics. Peal said that if the proposal were eventually implemented, it could coincide with earlier official visits for prospects.

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