You know how we like to say around here if they tell you it’s not about the money, it’s about the money? Well, see if you can catch the common theme here…
Not everybody is for the early signing period, but SEC coaches voted 14-0 to have it the first Monday after Thanksgiving if such a day is established.
“I think it’s a great idea,” LSU coach Les Miles told reporters in Destin, Fla. “It’s all based on trying to serve the student-athlete. If he’s grown up, wants to go to LSU or Missouri or wherever, his father and mother have gone to school there and he’s been unofficially on your campus a bunch of times, then let’s give him an opportunity to sign early.
“Let’s not change the recruiting calendar, and let’s not create a bunch of difficulty based on that. We’re really only trying to serve those young men who want to come to your school.”
The early signing period would apply to recruits who don’t take visits to other schools.
… and here.
To Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen, it clearly makes sense for the league.
“It’s one that keeps our calendar pretty consistent. It allows the guys that have been committed to their school to sign with that school,” Mullen said. “It also protects the student-athlete as best as possible.”
At least Mullen had the sheepish decency to cover that with an “as best as possible” qualifier.
Look, this has almost nothing to do with student-athlete welfare and everything to do with making life easier for head coaches. A kid who wants to sign with dear ol’ State U and nowhere else is gonna be there at Thanksgiving and he’s gonna be there in February. The only positive an early date brings for him is that he won’t get screwed out of a scholarship if he gets hurt over the holidays.
How good is this for the SEC coaches, though? Let me count the ways.
- It cuts down on in season recruiting trips. (“We want to coach our players in season,” Richt said.)
- It’s a money saver. Coaches wouldn’t have to invest in recruiting trips to re-recruit already committed prospects.
- “Mullen also said that the SEC’s proposal would protect the schools that don’t want to lose those recruits with months remaining before they sign their national letters of intent.” You may say you trust the word of that gifted athlete you really want in your program, but if you have any doubts – or simply don’t want to tempt your competitors – why take a chance?
- It undercuts the ACC’s early signing proposal and keeps a handle on summer recruiting. (“Some of us would like to have a little sanity in our lives,” Richt said.)
The reality is that if you’re a power school in a power conference, an early signing period makes little sense. You’ve got the resources at hand to scratch and claw over every five-star stud you’re interested in. So whatever new signing day wrinkle you’re going to sign on to is going to have one very important feature to it –
serving the student-athlete conveniencing the head coach.