The New Early Signing Day Becomes a Point of Contention For Big 12 Leadership

Is it rushing an important decision or a necessary speed-up?

With the NCAA implementing a new December signing day, and some pushing for an even earlier date, college football leadership still hasn’t reached a consensus on the idea. The Big 12 is no exception – some teams have chosen to embrace it, others see it as rushing an important decision for both the student-athlete and football program.

The early signing day, which allows high school athletes to now sign their letter of intent in December instead of waiting until February, was deemed a work-in-progress by Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby, but a step in the right direction.

Data indicates “about 70 percent of the Division 1 football prospects make their decision before the 1st of October and really would like to get the recruitment process over,” said Commissioner Bowlsby, but “there’s still more to be done.”

Bowlsby also questioned if a signing date might be the problem to begin with.

“I have asked… repeatedly over the past 12 months why we have a signing date,” said Bowlsby – adding that no one seems to have a good answer.

Bowlsby followed that up by saying “you could end up with a singing window,” where a player might have two weeks to sign a letter of intent.

He believes if a player and institution know they’d like to make a decision, then little should interfere with getting that done. Some coaches, however, have their doubts.

“What I worry about is us not being able to evaluate,” said TCU Coach Gary Patterson. “But obviously they didn’t ask me, or we would have not put a rule in effect that we have right now.”

Coach Patterson also believes that moving official visits to April and May – a byproduct of the new December signing day – could leave more kids displeased with where they end up.

“They just read the name, and they really don’t fit in. We’ve got to get back to kids going to our campus and see if they like the coaches," said Patterson.

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