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Thursday, February 14, 2013
Roundtable: Early signing period?

By WeAreSC staff

What do you think of an early signing period for football? Would you let recruits out of their letters of intent if the head coach or position coach leaves?

Su'a Cravens
An early signing period could help recruits such as Su'a Cravens, who never wavered from his USC commitment.
Garry Paskwietz: I understand the merits of considering an early signing period for football, especially for recruits such as Max Browne and Su’a Cravens who made their decisions early and never wavered during the process. I think a big key would be the ability to take official visits before an early signing period because there is so much to be learned on those trips. In the end, however, I think an early signing period would also create a whole new set of problems because there is so much that can change during a recruit’s senior year. I very much agree with the thought that a player commits to a school and not a coach, but that’s not always reality. There are certainly times when a recruit commits in large part because of a relationship with a certain coach and those situations can be tricky if the coach leaves. There are also times when a school may cool on a player based on his senior year and decide to go in another direction. How are those situations handled? It’s a complicated issue for a recruiting process that is already getting bigger and bigger every year.

Johnny Curren: While it would certainly take away from the drama and build-up associated with the current format, I think an early signing period might actually be a major benefit for the athletes and the college football programs in the long run. For the athletes who would opt to sign early, they would get the security of knowing they have their scholarships locked up, while also putting an end to the mad rush of calls, letters, visits and pressure that come with the recruiting process. For the football programs, they would get to secure a certain portion of their incoming classes early, cutting down on the likelihood of getting blindsided at the last-second by the defections of a longtime verbal commits. This format would also allow the coaching staffs to take a step back and re-evaluate their needs and recruiting strategy for the second signing day. If the head coach leaves, I can see letting the prospect out of his LOI, but not necessarily if the position coach bolts. There would ultimately have to be benefits and drawbacks for both parties. For example, if a player signed early but had a major injury or performed poorly in his senior season, the college would ultimately still be bound to take him. So it would work both ways.

Greg Katz: For the most part, I don’t like the idea of an early signing period. I think it would create more problems than it would fix. I could see more than a few kids getting lawyers attempting to get out of the early signing period, especially if a kid thinks that the university wasn’t truthful in various aspects of his recruiting. However, if there was an early signing period, a player should have the right to have his letter of intent voided if the head coach or position coach departs.