College football is one step closer to an earlier signing period for high school football recruits, one step in the right direction.
The NCAA Division I Council on Wednesday reaffirmed support of a new December early signing period in the sport but has taken a proposal for a separate early-signing period that would have started in late June off the table because of negative feedback from coaches.
The debate surrounding a potential early-signing period in football similar to one that has been in place in basketball for decades is somewhat controversial, but the package of proposals finalized Wednesday at the NCAA Convention is expected to receive the support of the NCAA Board of Directors when it votes in April.
The addition of a 72-hour signing period in December to coincide with one already in place for junior-college players makes sense and is a bit of a compromise between coaches who wanted no change and those who have supported an early-signing window.
It allows prospects who have reached a college decision to sign on the bottom line and it allows programs to collect binding signatures from committed prospects and then evaluate remaining needs before the traditional February signing date which will be maintained under the proposal.
In addition to that change, directors will also vote on the most commonsense proposal being offered as part of a recruiting reform package.
If passed in April, it would allow prospects to take official visits beginning on April 1 of their junior of high school during a period which would extend through the Sunday before the final Wednesday in June.
The summer official visits would not be permitted to coincide with a prospect's participation in an instructional camp hosted by the institution.
Coaches, including Iowa's Kirk Ferentz, have supported that idea which would allow recruits and their families to visit campuses in the summer.
Many recruits are making those trips now, taking unofficial visits during spring break and summer months of their junior year.
The Division I Council on Wednesday also supported proposals which would eliminate satellite camps and limits schools to 10 days of camps only on college campuses and the addition of a 10th full-time assistant coach to staffs.