Two potential game changers for Cougs & NCAA football: Early signing period and new pro league for players straight out of high school

THERE ARE TWO potential game changers on the horizon when it comes to NCAA football. One, from this chair, could be a boon to Cougar recruiting. The other would be a detriment, not just to Washington State but to every school that plays college football.

The more timely news first: College coaches at the AFCA convention this week voted in favor of an early signing period in December. If it comes to fruition, prep recruits could sign in the same mid-December window that midyear junior college transfers sign. The traditional signing period - on the first Wednesday in February - would remain in place.

There have been many times over the years where the prospects for an early signing period seemed promising -- only to fizzle. But it should be noted this is the first time the college coaching community has lent such a proposal “unanimous” support.

Other proposals at the convention -- a possible June early signing period, and also June and July official visits -- had little to no support among the coaches.  But the coaches were in favor of a 10-day limit for summer camps.

So how might an early signing period affect WSU?  CF.C asked WSU football chief of staff and recruiting coordinator Dave Emerick about it a while back. Here’s what he said.

Also, here’s CBSSports.com columnist Dennis Dodd’s take

MEANWHILE, IF YOU think college football recruiting is tough now, consider that schools will be competing for players going pro -- straight out of high school -- if a new professional league has its way beginning in 2018.

The Pacific Pro Football League has “a long way to go financially and otherwise just to get their venture off the ground. But if they can play even one season, paying the bills and cutting 18- to 22-year-olds in on the action, it’s easy to see where the impact could be significant,” writes Tom Pelissero of USA Today.

Christian McCaffrey’s dad, former longtime NFL receiver Ed McCaffrey, is one of the league’s co-founders. It proposes four teams based in Southern California, each playing an eight-game schedule on Sundays starting in July and August of next year. Roughly 50 players per team would receive an average salary and benefits package of $50,000, not including any endorsements players could land.

“Rules tweaked to enhance safety and give NFL scouts matchups they want to see. Coaches with NFL experience, who would teach pro-style schemes in an immersive environment unbound by rules regarding classroom time. Any player four years or fewer removed from high school would be eligible, including college underclassmen who’d entered the NFL draft ... Any player signing a Pac Pro contract would forfeit NCAA eligibility, so the decision would need to be well-informed,” the article continues.

For the full USA Today piece click here.   And here is an ESPN article on the pro league.

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