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NCAA Proposes Early Football Signing Periods

Mike Gundy has been a long-time supporter of establishing an early signing period of football, and on Wednesday the NCAA Division I Council proposed two such periods – the last Wednesday in June and again in mid-December.

Wednesday the NCAA Division I Council tackled two hot issues in college football, both of which Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy has shown extreme interest.

The Council submitted a proposal on Wednesday that would establish two early signing periods for NCAA Division I football and allow recruits to sign a National Letter of Intent with the school of their choice. The first of the two 72-hour signing windows would take place beginning on the last Wednesday in June and the second of the 72-hour signing periods would coincide with the mid-December current signing period for mid-year junior college prospects. 

This proposal will go before the Division I Collegiate Commissioners Association and if passed then it would become effective in the 2017-18 signing year, in other words next year. For example, recent 2018 class quarterback commitment Spencer Sanders of Denton Ryan in Texas could sign and make his decision on Oklahoma State official as early as June 28 of next summer.

The only issue that I can see with this proposal is that the recruiting calendar would need to be updated to allow for earlier official visits and potential contact periods with prospects earlier than the Sept. 1 date that is now allowed. 

Gundy has long been a proponent of an early signing period. The June date is a little earlier than Gundy has proposed or recommended in the past, but it does clear the summer recruiting period prior to the month of July when so many Division I college football coaches take vacation. That could still happen and it is something coaches have hoped could be preserved even with the prospects of a summer signing period. 

Gundy might not be as excited about the proposal for satellite camps as Council proposed legislation that would restrict schools and their accredited coaches from 30 days now to just 10 days where they can conduct camps. Only coaches permitted to recruit off campus could participate and the camps would be required to take place on campuses or in facilities used primarily for practice or competition by member schools.

In the case of Oklahoma State's camp tour with Mary Hardin-Baylor, they could participate in a camp on the MHB campus in Belton but not in the high school facilities that were used last year in San Antonio, Houston, East Texas in Tyler, and at L.D. Bell High School in Hurst.

The vote on the camp proposal would come next April and if passed then would end the more barnstorming in design satellite camps that many schools participated in last summer and that Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh pushed to the headlines last summer.

Gundy likes the satellite camp process and originated the mega camp last summer that included host Mary Hardin-Baylor, Oklahoma State, Missouri, Northwestern, Kansas State, Tulane, Memphis, Kansas, Boise State, Colorado State, Mississippi, and several other schools.

It makes for an interesting new landscape for football recruiting, one that could help level the playing field some as some powerhouse schools have become used to waiting until the final months and trying to pick off commitments from other schools.


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