ACC renews push for early signing period, Auburn on prowl and more
Despite a resounding defeat by conference commissioners in January, the push for an early signing period in football just won't die. On Wednesday, ACC athletic directors voted to again support a three-day signing period beginning the third Wednesday in December. The question is why, after the idea got thrashed just a few months ago, would a conference put it right back on the table?
Because every time a conference or an organization -- the American Football Coaches Association, for example -- pushes for an early signing date, more people seemingly jump on board. A few more conferences probably will vote to push the idea at their spring meetings. The one to watch, though, is the SEC, where coaches have warmed to the idea in recent years but athletic directors have not. If the SEC pulled the switch, some of the other opponents (Pac-10, Mountain West) might follow.
Conference commissioners, who answer to university presidents and athletic directors, are the only ones who need to approve the idea. The Collegiate Commissioners Association administers the National Letter-of-Intent program, and -- as you might have guessed -- the commissioners run the CCA. If they voted in their June meeting in Colorado Springs, Colo., to approve an early signing day, it would happen.
Very little will have changed by then, though the end of the class of 2009 recruiting process might have swung a few more influential people to the other side.
Though there weren't any more last-minute switches than usual this season, coaches spent a lot of money playing defense on committed players. In any other year, that might not be a big deal. But after an economic collapse that has left universities pinching every penny, presidents may want to examine why coaches need to fly across the country in January to recruit a player who committed six months earlier. Judging by the commitment dates of the members of the class of 2009, more than half probably would have signed in December. At some point, athletic directors may decide those cost concerns supersede the thorny issues an early signing period would produce if a given AD wanted to fire his coach.
The specifics of the plan remain up for debate. ACC coaches would like to ban official visits before Dec. 1 to allow them to concentrate on the season, but SEC and Big 12 coaches who want recruits to soak in the majesty of the gameday experience might disagree. Clemson coach
So while we don't know exactly what version of the plan will appear in front of commissioners in June, we know this: ACC commissioner
Ole Miss coach
The NCAA docked the scholarships because the Rebels' Academic Progress Rates score fell to 910 after several players recruited by former coach
Ole Miss athletic director
Alabama fans got quite a chuckle when Auburn assistant coaches began arriving last month at high schools in stretch limousines
Until everyone realized the prowl had served its purpose.
The idea -- hatched by assistants
That's exactly the boost Auburn needed. In the final years of former coach
"We're all selling the same product," Taylor told