TEMPE, Ariz. — After five years of debate and countless proposals that were reworked, reworded or set to a flaming match, the NCAA is finally reforming college football recruiting. The NCAA Division I Council adopted Proposal No. 2016-116 on Friday, bringing about several changes.
Count Arizona State coach Todd Graham among those in favor of the alterations, which were pushed by university presidents and chancellors.
“I think a lot of the changes were very positive,” Graham said Saturday after the Sun Devils wrapped up spring ball with a practice and scrimmage at Sun Devil Stadium before an announced crowd of 4,624. “I’m excited that they’ve given us another coach. I think that’s really going to help us as well when you talk about player safety and being able to do a better job coaching safety.”
Among the changes:
— A change in the calendar to allow for an early signing period in December (effective Aug. 1) that likely would fall during the same 72-hour period during which junior college players currently sign. The change must be approved in June by the Collegiate Commissioners Association, which administers the National Letter of Intent program.
— Prospects will be allowed to take official visits during their junior year. The visit must occur between April 1 of their junior year through the Sunday before the last Wednesday in June, while the prospect is not visiting the school for a camp or clinic.
— FBS programs cannot hire people close to a prospect for two years, before and after the arrival of the prospect.
— FBS programs are limited to 25 first-time scholarships to eliminate over-signing.
— FBS coaches will have a 10-day window in June and July to participate in camps and clinics, provided the camps take place in facilities used by their team.
– FBS programs are allowed to add a 10th assistant coach, effective Jan. 9.
Other than the additional assistant coach, the change that drew the most national attention was the allowance for an early signing period, a change that the top programs may not favor since many wait to sign their second wave of recruits until after they have landed their top targets.
“I’m an old high school coach and I care about the kids,” Graham said. “I think the early signing period is fine to be in December but I’m not for moving it in front of the year because it backs the decision up for the kids too far.”
Coaches and administrators were considering a June signing date, but it met with resistance from college and high school coaches for the reason Graham outlined.
“You can get go ahead and get those guys signed, but at the end of the day you want kids to end up where they’re supposed to be,” Graham said. “The best place for them to be successful.”
Graham also approves letting recruits visit in April, May and June.
“Most kids are committed by August and then they’re having to pay their own way,” Graham said. “They shouldn’t have to pay their own way to come see our campus.”
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