College football coaches expected to propose early signing period

The American Football Coaches Association is leaning toward proposing an early signing date for the third week of December beginning in 2009.

AFCA Executive Director Grant Teaff said that would probably be the group’s recommendation. Teaff expects the AFCA will examine a proposal by August and, if approved, make a recommendation to conference commissioners in September.
“There will not be a recommendation to have an early signing date in August and most likely not within the football season,” Teaff said. “Based on those two facts, we’ll probably look at the third week in December.”
As players commit to schools earlier than ever, the AFCA has surveyed coaches and conferences about allowing players to sign a National Letter of Intent before the current February signing day.
When the AFCA surveyed more than 5,000 college football players in 2002, 70 percent said they would not sign a National Letter of Intent in December rather than February. Some believe times have changed.

Teaff said more than 60 percent of college coaches favor adopting an early signing period – a higher percentage than in the past – and the majority prefer early December.
For the last two months, the AFCA has listened to the opinions of high school coaches, who are the final group of stakeholders being surveyed.
“Our survey shows high school coaches are very much against a signing date where there are games left because of the distraction to their season,” Teaff said.
Teaff said high school coaches overwhelmingly disapproved of a proposal from SEC coaches for a one-day signing date in late November.