Long a champion of an early signing day, even one as early as the middle of summer, a smile came across the Oklahoma State head football coach's face this morning as Mike Gundy was at Stillwater Country Club to greet the former players in town this Legend's Weekend and the Cowboys Orange-Black spring football game on Saturday at Boone Pickens Stadium. Gundy's smile the result of the news that the NCAA Division I Council had passed Proposal No. 2016-116, a series of comprehensive rule changes developed in response to a directive from the NCAA Division I Board of Directors, school presidents and chancellors looking to streamline and improve football recruiting at the Division I level.
Among the package of rules is an early signing date in mid-December, most likely to be the date previously used as a junior college transfer signing date, the second or third Wednesday in December depending on the calendar. The date will be designated and approved at the June meeting of the Collegiate Commissioners Association, the group that oversees signing day activity. Effective next spring football recruits in the second semester of their junior year in high school, seniors to be can begin taking official recruiting visits on April 1 through the Sunday before the last Wednesday in June.
Also, included in the package is a rule limiting schools to 25 initial scholarships period each year. No more over signing to blue-shirt or gray-shirt. Only walk-ons in the program for two-years or more could be awarded scholarships beyond 25 initial new signees to the program. There is a new summer dead period that would include the entire month of August when schools are practicing for the upcoming season and recruits should be focused on the same at their high schools. The dead period would also cover the period from the Monday before the last Wednesday in June (fitting with the visit calendar) and going until July 24. In essence this creates a period of vacation for Division I football coaches where no recruiting will be going on other than mailings and whatever social media is allowed. There is also a rule that dictates if any individual connected or related to a prospect is hired for any position other than a full-time assistant coach then the hiring school cannot recruit the prospect connected to that individual. It is a rule that falls in line with rules in other NCAA sports regarding the similar situations.
Two rules that really don't apply as much to recruiting, but sort of, are that camps are now restricted to a school holding all of their camps in a 10 day period in June or part of any week that includes days in June. Also, camps have to be held on a college campus, so if your coaches are going to work a camp in another state then they better have friends willing to invite them to the camp on their campus.
Starting on Jan. 9, 2018 all Division I football schools will be able to add a 10th full-time assistant coach to their staff.
So which rule changes excite Gundy the most?
"I think the early signing period is going to benefit most of us more than any," Gundy responded. "We always felt like we needed another coach because we have so many players on our team, not just from a football standpoint, but the everyday lifestyle and doing everything we can for our players. Those two parts of the new rule changes I think will impact us most."
Gundy was curious when the 10th coach could be added and told in January, he agreed it create more coaching rumors and heat up Footballscoop.com ;more that usual.
"I think so and I think it will be interesting how it all takes place," he said. "You will see a lot of movement and there will be some shake up."
Proof that Gundy and his staff were feeling good about the proposal passing is in the new Oklahoma State/Gundy camp brochure that is out. The dates all line up within a 10-day period.
"Yes, we were trying to get as close as possible because we felt like these proposals were going to go into effect and our plans were pointed in that direction and we would make an adjustment if we had to," Gundy said of the camp schedule.
No word or mention of satellite camps, which unless Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh finds a loophole may be a thing of the past.