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College Football early signing period nears implementation

Opinions vary on the merits of an early Signing Day in college football, and even our coach has wavered on the topic.

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When WSU's 2015 recruiting class was taking shape, it looked to possibly be the most-decorated class in school history. Then bad things started happening. On January 26, Dillon Faamatau decommitted and ended up signing with Arizona State. He was followed on the decommitment train by Willie Sykes (Arkansas), Dahu Green (Oklahoma), Kyahva Tezino (San Diego St.), Deontay Burnett (USC) and Jonah Moi (Oregon).

As Jeff Nusser pointed out in his class recap, nearly every one of those commits was recruited by Dennis Simmons, who was rumored to be on his way to Oklahoma. That rumor surfaced on January 29. Within a week, those guys (all of whom had other Pac-12 and/or Power Five offers) were gone. By the time the smoke cleared, WSU's class ranking had gone from potential Top 25 to the mid-40s and below.

While decommitments are a part of recruiting, the perception is that WSU tends to be hurt late in the game more than many. Some recruits jump on WSU's offer and commit, while keeping their eyes out for other offers from better programs. Combine that with a player's primary recruiter headed toward the exit, and you have the potential for the type last-minute damage that WSU suffered in February.

All of that is background for some potentially good news that surfaced this week. According the the AP, an early signing period could become a reality when the Collegiate Commissioners Association meets this week.

The Collegiate Commissioners Association, which administers the national letter of intent recruits sign to make their verbal commitments to a school binding, will meet next week in Asheville, North Carolina, and are expected to vote Tuesday or Wednesday on a proposal to create a new three-day signing period in December.

The dates would match-up with the signing period for midyear enrollees, who are usually transferring in from junior college.

The early signing period would start this year on Dec. 16 and be reviewed after two years.

Mike Leach was a vocal opponent of the early signing period for a long time, but has since come around to the idea. I get the feeling that this year's class had a big impact on his opinion. Allowing high school players to sign early wouldn't necessarily be a panacea to schools like WSU. Schools like USC and Oregon could possibly sign their biggest targets in December, figure out their remaining gaps, and then go after WSU commits who haven't signed their LOI.

While the latter possibility exists, I am in favor of the December signing period, especially since the CCA intends to review the policy after two years. That should allow everyone to get a read on whether it evens the playing field a bit, or simply results in the rich getting richer. As Cougar fans, we're aware that WSU is not part of the "rich." While I think a December window would not have kept every lost recruit in the fold, largely because some of those players committed afterward, it could have at least ensured that WSU secured a couple of them. What do you think?


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