Early football signing period makes sense

Sometimes college coaches just befuddle me with their logic. Consider the Southeastern Conference football coaches. Why they rejected a proposal to support adding an early signing date for their sport is beyond me? Only Kentucky's Rich Brooks, Vanderbilt's Bobby Johnson and LSU's Les Miles voted for the proposal that already had the approval of the Atlantic Coast Conference and the Big 12.

"It's something that the prospects want," Miles told the Associated Press. "It makes sense. You can script it and guide it so it's reflective of what the prospects want. It limits exposure to our coaches' travel. It would have a cost-saving affect on our teams and our schools."

It also likely would stop so many players from committing to one school and then changing their minds months later and signing with another school. It would give a player an option to make his decision, sign early and then enjoy his senior year like basketball players can do.

Opponents argue it might cause more recruits to schedule official visits during the season and that would be a distraction for the coaches and limit the amount of time coaches have to get to know recruits.

Bull! No way will I believe that. Not with the one-day tryout camps held every June on almost every major college campus now. I know they technically are not tryout camps, but look at how many players get offers after they "go camping" at a school.

Florida coach Urban Meyer said it would have been "awful" to have 15 or more recruits visit on game day.

"Those are hard days. We've done that. We've had like 10 kids visit during a Tennessee weekend. That's rolling the dice. If you don't (win), that's a bad day. And also if you're beat up on a Saturday night, you don't want to go to dinner," Meyer said.

Excuse me. I had to stop a moment to wipe away the tears thinking about Meyer and his staff being overworked.

Guess what? Florida wouldn't have to use the early signing period. There would still be the traditional February signing date that the Gators and others opposed to signing players early could use to stock their teams with talent.

Brooks has been for the early signing period since his arrival at Kentucky. He understands the pressure on high school athletes and how the early period could ease that pressure. Too bad more coaches don't have his wisdom.

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