Tomorrow marks a historic Wednesday all things considered, for the first time in modern college football, athletes, as they do in every other sport, will have the opportunity to sign letters of intent.
Coaches seem to dislike it, even though the Commissioners of the ten conferences recommended the change, proving once again coaches will bitch about anything. The idea behind the signing period, which was part of other rule changes about things like summer camps, contact, etc., was to allow athletes ready to sign, to sign during a 72 period starting December 20th. If you don't want to sign, great, you can still sign starting in early February.
Most of the coverage has been negative as writers, some of whom are acting as puppets for coaches, generally poo poo'ed the change. For G5 programs the early signing period might be an advantage as tidal shifts in Power 5 commitment list might mean less poaching of G5 commits. G5's often work for years to get three-star players to consider them, but if a four-star kid, committed to a Power 5 program changes his mind, that Power 5 school, whose investment is arguably less, can swoop in, offer, and snatch up a G5 recruit. G5's don't have those existing fall back plans.
The real benefit for most programs is after December 22nd they'll know to a large degree where they stand heading into that crucial January recruiting period. Most schools expect to sign the majority of their classes starting tomorrow.
Detractors will point to the pressure of asking a kid to sign in December and threatening to pull that offer if he doesn't. If you're a recruit and you're in that position, the answer is simple, don't sign on to play for that program. Better yet, type one of those neat notes and post the practice on Twitter. When people want you to sign up for a credit card at a mall kiosk because offer won't last 24 hours, it's best to pass on those too.
Repeat after me: "I don't have to sign tomorrow."
The other criticism is that some kids will sign but won't be academically qualified. Again, if you're a university that's worried about that, caveat emptor, buyer beware. No one is holding a gun to your head to sign academic risks. Again, this runs both ways.
For you coaches out there, repeat after me: "I don't have to sign an unqualified athlete tomorrow."
Finally, a lot of journos are saying this early signing day isn't fair because of all the coaching turnover that might happen between now and February. Bear in mind, retaining a coach on your staff for signing day and firing them the day after signing day is a tale as old as time. The best practice might be for athletes to understand that their position coach right now at State U, won't be their position coach four years from now. Guaranteed. It's the nature of the profession. Commit to a University, a degree plan, an academic environment, not the guy that's going to help you master the button hook.
We're excited about the prospects of what this signing period might mean for the schools that live in that 30 million dollar average shortfall compared to their Power 5 neighbors. If coaches and their journo lackeys want to bitch about things, maybe start with that.