Anderson on Early Signing Proposal

Should FBS football have an early signing period? That's one of the questions being debated by the Division I Conference Commissioners this week.

A number of dates have been put forward ranging from early spring (immediately following a player's junior year of high school) to as late as the Monday following Thanksgiving (the date favored by the SEC).

The Atlantic Coast Conference has said they will pursue the issue and the league has put forward August 1 as the date for their proposal. There is some expectation that the Big 10 will endorse the ACC proposal.

With recruiting gaining ever increasing intensity, supporters of the proposal hope it may allow student-athletes the opportunity to step out of the recruiting pressure earlier in their senior year. A quick search reveals that already a few players who will be high school sophomores this coming season have already given verbal commitments.

Georgia's Mark Richt was quoted by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution as having misgivings about an early signing period but his concerns seemed directed to the SEC proposal because he said he did not want to be in a position where recruiting during the season took away from coaching games.

ESPN.com states that Stanford coach David Shaw is opposed to an early date as well. Stanford football players receive no extra consideration in admission standards so Shaw wants the later date to be able to better assess the academic potential of recruits.

What does Arkansas State head coach Blake Anderson think of the proposals?

"I don't have a problem with it. There are some things it can do. It can clears the picture up for some guys and there are some holes in it as well," Anderson told AStateNation.

Anderson noted that the turnover in coaches in college normally happens at the end of the regular season and during the bowls. The current signing period happens after the normal turnover takes place. With an early signing period, players would be locked in to a school before those changes take place.

In a normal year about 20% of all FBS head coach positions become vacant. There were 20 FBS coaching changes at the end of the 2013 season, a much calmer year than the 31 changes at the end of the 2012 season or 26 that happened at the end of the 2011 season. In fact the 20 changes after the 2013 season was the smallest turnover since the end of the 2005 season when only 11 jobs opened up.

If every school just had 15 early signings, there would on average be more than 300 players each year who signed a letter of intent offered by a head coach who would be let go or leave before they arrive on campus.

Anderson added that junior college players would be not be impacted under the proposals that have come out so far, allowing juco players to take coaching changes into account.

If the Commissioners Association votes in favor of the proposal it will be referred to the NCAA for further consideration.