SEC bracing for early football signing period

College football may be inching closer toward a long-awaited early signing period, and the Southeastern Conference is expected to wield some heavy emphasis when the time comes to determine how the plan might unfold.

According to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution report on Wednesday, the league's coaches voted unanimously at their annual spring meeting in Destin, Fla., that, if an early signing period is implemented, it should occur on the first Monday after Thanksgiving each year.

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Additionally, the coaches agreed that any early signing period should be limited to that one day, leaving recruits who do not sign at that time to wait until the traditional first Wednesday in February.

The SEC coaches have also urged that any early period signings would be limited to players who chose not to make any official visits to college campuses.

According to the report, Georgia coach Mark Richt indicated that several league coaches were in opposition to any kind of early signing period, but they are preparing for what appears to be an inevitable change.

Proponents of an early signing period have long argued that it allows prospects who are certain about their college choice to be able to make it official and focus on their high school teams and academics throughout the fall instead of having the added pressure of schools continuing to pursue them.

It is also considered to be another way of leveling the playing field between the haves and have-nots of college football. Many traditional powers delay offering prospects until the proverbial "11th hour" knowing they can likely sway a player committed to school with lesser stature if their other main targets choose to go elsewhere.

Kentucky has experienced that sting many times over the years from its SEC rivals. Former UK head coach Rich Brooks had often stated his preference for an early signing period, suggesting that his staff often did the groundwork on scouting players who ultimately signed -- and often starred -- with other league programs.

The stipulation that players could only sign early if they had not taken official visits may be a way of the traditional power programs maintaining some of the leverage they've long held. Look for some of those schools to start pushing harder for official visits in September or October as a tool of keepign the prospect in play until the latter signing period.

The ACC has proposed an early period that begins Aug. 1, a date that the SEC coaches oppose, according to the report.

CLICK HERE for more ESPN's original report on the NCAA seeking a change to the current rules.

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