How the new early signing period could impact the B1G
From now on, “National Signing Day” won’t just be the first Wednesday in February.
On Monday, The Collegiate Commissioners Association approved a 72-hour early signing period, which will begin on Dec. 20, 2017.
So naturally, everybody had the same question. What will that change?
Well, only time will tell as to how that will alter the traditional February signing day. For all we know, this will only impact a fraction of the recruits and it’ll be a case-by-case basis. We don’t know yet how many recruits will even want to sign in December, which makes this whole process a bit of a “wait and see” scenario.
But we do know how it could potentially impact the B1G, at least based on the reaction to it.
This was considered a rare victory for Group of 5 schools. ESPN’s Tom VanHaaren spoke to a Group of 5 coach about how this impacts them.
“There is a definite benefit for Group of 5 teams because they do not have to worry about their guys getting poached in January, when the Power 5 schools waiting on certain prospects learn they aren’t landing the kid,” one Group of 5 coach said via ESPN. “It forces the Power 5 schools to show their hands and make decisions on kids earlier in the calendar.”
As that relates to the B1G, that means programs hoping to steal a Western Michigan or a Toledo commitment in January will have to be more direct about their intentions.
Those MAC recruits can still, of course, decide to wait until February if they think a Wisconsin or a Michigan State will make a late offer. But a B1G school rolls the dice and risks losing out on that player if it chooses to wait on extending an offer.
Inevitably, MAC programs will push all of their recruits to sign in December. That creates an interesting postseason dynamic, as well. The majority of B1G teams will still be preparing for bowl games while most Power Five schools will already be done for the year.
B1G teams could be caught in a tough spot if they’re waiting on blue-chip recruits who aren’t announcing until January or February. MAC commits are often poached by B1G teams and other Power Five teams after they miss out on a big-time recruit.
The whole goal of this is to make the recruiting process more transparent. Less de-commitments is supposed to be the result, but not everyone is on board with that rationale.
“I hear the reasoning is because there’s so many decommitments,” Urban Meyer said about an early signing period back in September. “What the hell does that mean? So because 17-year-olds are decommitting, let’s give them a legal document so they can’t decommit? That’s not very smart. Young people have a right to choose where they want to go to school. Period. Let them decommit 100 times. They’re 17 years old. That’s why they’re called 17-year-olds.”
But while Meyer has a point, there could also be some benefit to the big programs.
It’s no secret that B1G teams like Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan invaded SEC territory in the 2018 class. Shoot, there are more top-20 Georgia recruits currently committed to B1G schools than SEC schools.
Whenever a blue-chip recruit from SEC territory commits to a B1G school early in the process, the thinking always seems to be that he’ll eventually flip to an SEC school. The early signing period could limit those instances and help the B1G keep those commitments.
With that in mind, as well as the proposed spring official visits, the B1G could certainly come out ahead with these changes. The proposed spring official visits — if approved this summer — won’t go into effect until spring of 2018.
The NCAA, of course, spun these changes as being pro student-athlete. The idea is that they get more transparency earlier in the process to make their decision easier. Though that’s all for naught if a coach is fired or leaves for another job after the December signing day, which could easily happen.
The main point is that the new recruiting model is earlier. Offers are going out earlier than ever, signing day is earlier than ever, there are more early enrollees than ever and by next year, official visits will likely be earlier than ever.
How will that impact in the B1G in the long run? We won’t have that definitive answer until after signing day.
Rather, signing days*.