Come Dec. 17, junior college players across the country can begin signing National Letters of Intent as mid-year transfers. Other players, including all high school commits, must wait until Feb. 4 next year to sign.
The later date only prolongs the inevitable for many commits who would sign early otherwise. It also adds time for coaches to hold onto recruits who continue to draw interest from other programs in the final weeks.
That’s why Rhoads would prefer an early signing opportunity.
“I think it benefits all schools, I really do,” Rhoads said. “The fact that you’ve got a young man who has told somebody — schools, head coaches — that’s where he wants to go and his decision is made up, give him the opportunity to be done with it and not prolong it. It takes away a lot of babysitting that has to take place leading up to that first Wednesday in February.”
In addition to eliminating the “babysitting,” an early signing opportunity would also cut recruiting costs. Rhoads will spend the coming weeks and months making home and school visits to commits. It also, Rhoads said, allows recruits to potentially focus on basketball or wrestling season.
A similar sentiment was shared by center Tom Farniok, who drew some interest late, but never looked elsewhere after committing in September as a senior.
"I think a benefit, from a school’s standpoint, is when you get early commits you don’t have to worry about them decommitting because 18-year-old kids don’t always think clearly and it’s easy to persuade them,” Farniok said. “It takes a load off [the commits’] shoulders because having to tell someone no every single night I can imagine would get really old. I think for them it would be a good thing.”
Rhoads said the best date for an early signing period would be at the same time mid-year players sign in December.
“That still allows kids to have a season to take trips and make comparisons,” Rhoads said. “You can get official visits in and not get restricted in that regard. And also, if they don’t have open dates and they can’t do that during the fall, it still gives them a couple weekends in December to get that done.”