Recruiting Changes Outlined

April 17, 2017

Last week, the NCAA Division I Council approved of numerous legislative changes to the sport of football. One that is receiving a lot of play is the eradication of two-a-day practices. Also garnering attention has been changes in recruiting. 

One new rule allows for an early signing period. While the traditional signing day in February will still exist, college coaches will now have the chance to sign prospects during a three day period at the end of December. 

In an article for SBNation, National Recruiting Analyst & Editor Bud Elliot discusses the pros and cons of this change. A negative is that athletes who sign early might miss out on better options that could come later. Also, scholarship opportunities could be filled earlier, meaning less might be available for athletes who haven’t been discovered by recruiters or those who have not yet made enough academic progress to sign on early.

A positive is that a student who is set on a decision could benefit from no longer being bothered by an overwhelming amount of calls, texts, and emails from recruiters. Some schools believe the early date will help streamline recruitment and better prepare for the February signing day.

University of Wisconsin Head Football Coach Paul Chryst weighed in on the ruling:

“I think the general consensus is, there is a pool of guys that are legitimate, solid commitments,” he told SBNation. "If you can sign them and that part would be done, it would be good. ... No one’s fighting the early signing in the discussions I’ve been a part of."

Another NCAA Division I rules change prevents schools from hiring high school coaches to non-coaching positions during the two years before and after a student-athlete from their high school enrolls at the college. This ruling is meant to decrease the amount of hires made by colleges just to gain an advantage when it comes to recruiting. Some coaches feel like this will make it harder for high school coaches to move into the college ranks.

According to the Montgomery Advisor, Auburn University Head Football Coach Guz Malzahn, who was once a high school coach, believes that this ruling is “a death sentence to any high school coach wanting to coach college football.”

Northwestern University Vice President of Athletics Jim Phillips, who serves as NCAA Division I Council chair, hopes that these rules changes will make the recruiting process more student, parent, and coach friendly.

“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,” he told

Here is a complete list of the effects of the legislative action, as posted on the NCAA website:

  • It changes the recruiting calendar to allow for an early signing period in December (effective Aug. 1). Only the Collegiate Commissioners Association can create new National Letter of Intent signing periods.
  • It adds a period for official visits that begins April 1 of the junior year and ends the Sunday before the last Wednesday in June of that year. Official visits can’t occur in conjunction with a prospect’s participation in a school’s camp or clinic (effective Aug. 1).
  • It prevents Football Bowl Subdivision schools from hiring people close to a prospective student-athlete for a two-year period before and after the student’s anticipated and actual enrollment at the school. This provision was adopted in men’s basketball in 2010 (effective immediately, though schools may honor contracts signed before Jan. 18, 2017).
  • Football Bowl Subdivision schools are limited to signing 25 prospective and current student-athletes to a first-time financial aid agreement or a National Letter of Intent. Exceptions exclude current student-athletes who have been enrolled full-time at the school for at least two years and prospective or current student-athletes who suffer an incapacitating injury (effective for recruits who sign after Aug. 1, 2017).
  • It limits the time for Football Bowl Subdivision coaches to participate in camps and clinics to 10 days in June and July and requires that the camps take place on a school’s campus or in facilities regularly used by the school for practice or competition. Staff members with football-specific responsibilities are subject to the same restrictions. The Football Championship Subdivision can conduct and participate in camps during the months of June and July (effective immediately, though schools may honor contracts signed before Jan. 18, 2017).
  • It allows coaches employed at a camp or clinic to have recruiting conversations with prospects participating in camps and clinics and requires educational sessions at all camps and clinics detailing initial eligibility standards, gambling rules, agent rules and drug regulations (effective immediately).
  • It allows Football Bowl Subdivision schools to hire a 10th assistant coach (effective Jan. 9, 2018).



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