Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Early Signing Period Suits Football Coaches Just Fine

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Early Signing Period Suits Football Coaches Just Fine

Article excerpt

AMELIA ISLAND, Fla. - As the ACC football coaches and athletic directors met Monday to kick off their annual spring meetings, one of the first topics on the agenda was one that is pretty well-worn at this point.

The NCAA appears closer than ever to adopting an early signing period for the football recruiting process, which is welcome news to most - if not all - of the ACC's coaches and their bosses.

"I think it'd helpful," Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi said.

The league coaches had a formal vote on the topic at these meetings last year (and will do so again later this week) in which they voiced support for an additional early signing period in August of a prospect's senior year. Currently, high school football players cannot sign national letters of intent until February of their senior year.

Since then, a working group formed by the Conference Commissioners Association - the body that governs the national letter of intent program - came out in January with a proposal for a December signing date.

That proposal will go to a vote next month and could be enacted as early as next December.

"I think an earlier one would help," Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said.

"Whether that's the right date, we'll only find out by implementing it and seeing how it works. There are always unintended consequences with these things."

Narduzzi - who was not Pitt's coach at these meetings last year - said he preferred the December date to one in August because it required minimal changes to the current recruiting calendar.

Specifically, July is now one of the only months when coaches can spend extended time with their families. An August signing date could turn it into the recruiting stretch run.

"You're recruiting every month of the year," Narduzzi said. "There's got to be some down time, and that would be the one time you can do it. …

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