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College football's 32 conference commissioners will vote on an early signing period proposal next week

By SI Wire
June 12, 2015

The Collegiate Commissioners Association will meet next week to vote on a proposal in hopes of creating a new three-day signing period in December, the Associated Press reports.

According to the report, the CCA is expected to vote on the proposal on Tuesday or Wednesday during its annual meeting in Asheville, N.C.

The CCA, which consists of the 32 Division I conference commissioners, is responsible for administering the National Letter of Intent high school players sign. The signature binds recruits to a school for at least one year and guarantees their scholarship offer.

If the proposal passes, the early signing period would allow college football prospects to formalize their pledges to their schools and end their recruitment early.

The early signing period for 2015 would start on Dec. 16, and the proposal would be up for review after two years. The mid-December date would align with the date when junior college transfers can sign their letters of intent.

The current regular signing period begins on the Wednesday of the first full week of February.

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"Quite frankly, given the two-year look-in that's part of the proposal, I would just as soon say, 'Let's either move forward or not move forward,'" Mid-American Conference Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher said, according to the AP. "Let's get off of being in limbo, which is where we have been for a long time."

The Southeastern Conference has said it is against the proposal (its coaches voted unanimously that if an early signing period is created, it should begin on the Monday after Thanksgiving), while the Group of Five conferences—the MAC, Mountain West, American, Sun Belt and Conference USA—and the Pac-12 support the proposed early signing period.

Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said in May that most Big Ten schools favor the measure, while Texas Tech AD Kirby Hocutt said the same month that the Big 12 was not unified in its support of the December date. Last May, the Atlantic Coast Conference recommended an early signing period beginning Aug. 1.

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said that he had three pages of concerns about the early signing period, including how decisions would be made about recruits without academic information available from the fall semester.

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"What happens in early December when conferences are playing championship games? When the next week, people are in final exams and you're asking some prospects to sign National Letters of Intent midweek during their own state high school playoffs?” Sankey said last month.

- Scooby Axson

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