“What have you done to the early signing period?”

A couple of fallout matters from the LSU recruiting sanctions that occurred as a result of an offensive lineman changing his commitment after signing a financial aid agreement.

First, Miles and his staff had an inkling that there might be issues with contact.

FAAs are only meant for those planning to enroll early. His decommitment and commitment to Alabama came more than a month later.

“LSU knew there was a very good chance Matt wouldn’t enroll early,” the family member said.

LSU’s staff treated Womack like a regular prospect in the first few weeks after he signed the FAA. Coaches played it safe, not risking illegal contact. After all, what if the lineman decided against enrolling early or decommitted?

“For the longest, they were only talking to him through Twitter, which was something they could do legally without the FAA,” the source said. “Somewhere in the process, I guess they felt like they needed to turn up the heat, and that’s when they started texting and calling and stuff like that.”

Miles’ visit came a few days later as the Tigers worked to convince Womack to enroll early, as he originally had planned. He declined, and LSU’s compliance called the Womacks shortly after the visit, telling them that “all contact was cut off” between the staff and Womack.

The horse was already out of the barn by then, of course.  But that goes to show that this wasn’t some huge surprise coming out of the confusion of interpreting a new NCAA rule.  The implication of that seems pretty clear to me – there was an intention by the NCAA to put the brakes on FAA-only deals.

In any case, nobody can say they weren’t warned now.  Which leads to another concern…

Southeastern Louisiana coach Ron Roberts, a 25-year coaching veteran, called the ruling “pretty ridiculous” and said the sanctions are likely to deter coaches from signing prospects to financial aid agreements.

“What have you done to the early signing period?” he said, a question directed at the game’s governing body, the NCAA.

An official early signing period for football is expected to be approved by conference commissioners this spring and will be instituted this fall for a two-year trial period. The 72-hour window in mid-December would allow prospects to sign a binding National Letter of Intent.

The early period would not do away with the financial aid agreement. Early enrollees will still be able to sign FAAs on Aug. 1 of their senior years, granting the school or schools to which they sign unlimited contact until their enrollment.

Pete Boone, the former Ole Miss athletic director, said there should be no early signing date in football at all.

“It’s pretty clear that if you do sign somebody in August and if they’re not going to show up, then you know you’re taking a risk at that now,” he said of the FAA. “Kids nowadays … the problem is there shouldn’t be an early signing date.”

This one I’m not sure I’m getting.  I presume the early signing period will involve NLIs.  If that’s the case, other schools can’t contact the kid and he would lose a year of eligibility if he chose to renege afterwards.  Am I missing something?

5 Comments

Filed under Recruiting, The NCAA

5 responses to ““What have you done to the early signing period?”

  1. 69Dawg

    I’m not up to speed on this FAA thing. Can the kids sign FAA with multiple schools? If they do can all the schools get free contact? If not do any of the schools get free contact? Was the problem that the FAA was signed prior to early enrollment and then the kid didn’t enroll or does the violation result only if the school keeps contacting the kid after he did not enroll. The NCAA really needs to recognize the need for these kids to have at least legal representation for this mess. I would think the courts would make short order of any attempt by the NCAA to keep the kids from getting legal help.

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  2. South FL Dawg

    I think he’s talking about the FAA signing date.

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  3. Cojones

    Let’s see if I have this correct: This year(2015) kids can sign an early LOI in mid-December that would be as binding as the LOI now signed in the first wk of Feb. of the following year . It would have the same restrictions/benefits (?) as the LOI signed in Feb. Why would there be more liability for the S/A or the school because it’s earlier? From Feb to class enrollment the liability is the same as from mid-Dec to class enrollment, is it not? The kids get early relief from hounding and the schools get an earlier cut as to SA turndowns while there is more time to make up for those “committed”, but not signed to a position. I see a slightly increased benefit for both whereas there seems to be no extension of liability EXCEPT in the case of a recruiter transferring to another coaching job at a differing institution after SA signing. That would definitely benefit the institution more than the recruit. It would increase the need to have a caveat in the LOI that would undo the process and free the SA if a better job opportunity occurs for the coach; all before the class enrollment occurs.

    Suppose the kids sign an FAA after LOI signing, even though they won’t register for class until the Fall? Or Summer session? Or Early Entry before Summer session? How would those events affect the picture? Would the additional binding laid on the schools be “mox nix” or helpful to the SA? Is the process over only when they register for class, no matter whether one or both agreements are signed? The LOI would prevent other schools from messing with the SA, but wouldn’t the FAA insure that the school can’t mess with the SA? The “iffys”, “ands”, and “buts” grow larger for the non-distinction of all possibilities.

    Nice feeding grounds for lawyers and agents, not because they have created the litigious mess, but more so due to the martinet stance of the NCAA as presently designed to protect member schools.

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