Friday, April 19, 2013
Advantages of the spring signing period
By Reggie Rankin
While the majority of basketball recruits sign during the fall, the spring signing period (April 17-May 15) can offer plenty of recruiting advantages for both prospects and college coaching staffs.
Let's take a look at a few scenarios for how the late signing period can be used and why it can benefit programs and players of all Division I levels.
• The spring signing period allows college coaches an opportunity to address roster weaknesses that became evident during the season or fill roster holes created by injuries, transfers or players declaring for the NBA draft. The spring period will allow teams to fill those weaknesses or holes with another prospect as long as they have a scholarship available.
• Transfers are plentiful during the spring signing period. There are two types of transfers. One is the fifth-year senior transfer who has graduated but still has eligibility (due to a redshirt season) and can play immediately for his new team. These types of grad-school transfers have maturity and experience and can immediately impact a program. The more common type of transfer is one leaves a program before graduating and will have to sit out a year per NCAA transfer rules. Both can have a huge positive impact on a program.
• Coaching changes can also cause prospects to reopen their recruitment in the spring and sign with a different school. Even if they signed in the fall, players can ask for and are usually granted a release from their letter of intent in the case of coaching changes. Sometimes prospects who reopen their recruitment eventually sign with a program that was a finalist the first time around only to lose the initial recruiting battle. That’s why it’s important to end the recruiting process with class even when you don't land a recruit because he may fall right back into your lap due to your previous relationship.
• The spring also allows programs that missed on early targets to evaluate new prospects during the high school season. Colleges can search for sleepers, late bloomers or possibly a great player who needed time to improve academically or overcome a personal issue.
• Many prospects commit early but don't officially sign until the spring because they want to protect against a possible coaching change, see who declares for the NBA draft or simply take their time and be sure. This allows them to watch a program during the season to make sure it is the right fit for their style of play.
• Many prospects who want to be recruited at a higher Division I level wait until spring to give higher-level programs a chance to re-evaluate them in hopes of landing an offer from a potential dream school. Every spring, there are prospects who get recruited at a higher level because of the lack of available players at certain positions. Low-major prospects become mid-majors and mid-majors become high-major recruits. Sometimes the longer a prospect waits, the higher level they might sign at. Of course, that also comes with risks because coaching staffs could decide to hold the scholarship for the next class or a possible transfer.
These are just a few of the many advantages and scenarios of the spring signing period that can help address changes throughout the world of college basketball.