INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The NCAA endorsed a football recruiting rules overhaul on Friday that will allow high school football players to sign with colleges as early as December and put a two-year waiting period on Bowl Subdivision teams from hiring people close to a recruit.
If the package is approved by the Board of Governors on April 26, the signing period change would take effect Aug. 1. The Collegiate Commissioners Association would need to change the dates, a move expected to happen in June. The other significant change to the recruiting calendar would allow recruits to make official visits between April and June of their junior year in high school.
The Division I Council also backed a measure to eliminate two-a-day practices that would take effect immediately if approved.
"Today's adoption of the football legislation marks the most significant progress in recent years to improve the football environment and culture for current and prospective student-athletes and coaches," committee chairman Jim Phillips said in a statement. Phillips is Northwestern's vice president for athletics and recreation.
Not all of the proposals passed, including a push for a June signing period.
"The June date, there was resistance to that, especially among coaches, but we're going to take a look at whether we can find one that's earlier (than December)," said Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby, chairman of the Division I football oversight committee.
Schools will now be limited to signing only 25 recruits per year, in hopes of eliminating "oversigning." Exceptions will be made for current players who have attended classes for at least two years and athletes who suffer incapacitating injuries.
The NCAA Division I Council on Friday approved several changes to recruiting and eliminated two-a-days.
Previous: Prospects can only sign National Letters of Intent beginning on the first Wednesday in February, a day referred to as national signing day.
New*: Prospects can sign during a 72-hour window starting on the third Wednesday in December, coinciding with the junior college signing day. They can also sign on the traditional national signing day.
*Only the Collegiate Commissioners Association can create new National Letter of Intent signing periods. The CCA is expected to approve the council's recommendation.
Official visit calendar
Previous: A prospect can only make his five expense-free (official) visits to five schools after his high school classes have started, usually in August.
New: Prospects will be allowed to take official visits starting April 1 of their junior years in high school and stretching through the first three weeks of June. They will also be allowed to make visits during the traditional times.
Regulating third-party employment
Previous: Those close to a prospect (third parties) can be hired in a support staff role with the school that is recruiting that prospect. They can also be hired to work school-run camps.
New: Third party sources linked to recruits cannot be hired to a school’s support staff for a two-year period before and after the player’s anticipated and actual enrollment at the school. Third party sources, including high school coaches, cannot be hired to work school-run camps.
Previous: Coaches can conduct 30 days of camps, including those on-campus and off-campus within their state borders. They can also partner with other colleges, junior colleges and high schools in other states to host camps. These are widely known as satellite camps.
New: Coaches can conduct camps for only 10 days, and camps are only allowed on campus or practice/competition facilities (like an off-campus stadium).
Previous: Schools are permitted to have nine full-time assistant coaches. These coaches can work with players on the field, recruit, etc.
New: School will be allowed to add a 10th full-time assistant coach starting Jan. 9, 2018.
Previous: College coaches working a camp or clinic could not have recruiting conversations with high school players participating in the camp.
New: It allows coaches employed at a camp or clinic to have recruiting conversations with prospects participating in camps and clinics.
Previous: Schools could conduct as many as five two-a-days – two live contact practices per day – during preseason camp.
New: Two-a-days are abolished. Schools can only conduct one three-hour, on-field practice session and a walk-through. Walk-through must be conducted without helmets or pads.