The NCAA Football recruiting "dead period" is scheduled to conclude at the end of August, although multiple coaches and administrators have expressed doubts regarding that timeline due to the ongoing health/safety concerns of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since the coronavirus impact created a “new normal” of quarantine and social distancing in March, schools have been forced to get creative and modify their recruiting efforts. With little-to-no visitors allowed on campuses, coaches and relatable personnel are now hosting virtual visits or relying on previously-established relationships through phone calls and texting.
This dynamic, should it remain intact, will create some interesting storylines and scenarios this as fall programs look to solidify their 2021 recruiting classes.
The next NCAA Division I Football “Early Period” Signing Dates are scheduled for December 16-18, while the “Regular Period” is slated to begin February 3. These apply to prospective student-athletes enrolling 2021-22.
Various aspects are going to impact the decisions of many young, promising players and their families. Schools may want in-person visits to try and help sway a prospect, but also don’t want multiple recruits traveling around to multiple schools, then arriving to campus and, potentially, infecting their current players middle of the season.
Programs would possibly have to quarantine a player for 14 days if they come into contact with a recruit. The other (safest) approach, would be to not allow anyone from the football program in contact with that recruit… but then what kind of visit would that even be? It would essentially defeat most of the initial purpose.
Other schools might be content with their recruiting classes and/or don’t want bigger schools regaining the ability to swoop in and steal a target. This current format benefits those staffs who have previously established strong relationships with recruits.
If the early signing period remains in December, it seems that not as many surprises may occur with late flips or 180 turns. Keep holding your breath for what is going to be a unique season of college football from many angles.