Mid-December date viewed as compromise

By Mike Baldwin Published: July 6, 2008
xas coach Mack Brown prefers three signing days, one in August, December and February.

"I believe a student athlete should have options,” Brown said. "Having an early signing day not only would save money but would alleviate the pressure for student-athletes who are ready to make a decision before their senior season.”

Former Baylor coach Grant Teaff, executive director of the American Football Coaches Association, said his organization has studied an early signing day for years with mixed results.

"Whether it's August or December the rush would be on,” Teaff said. "Is that enough time to evaluate kids? And what happens when they start firing coaches in November? If a kid signs in August, is he stuck even though the coach is no longer there?”

That's why if college football adds an early signing day the majority believes mid-December is the most feasible option.

"I think it would clean a lot of things up,” said Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops.

"I would not at all make it before Dec. 20 or 21. (I'd be for) whenever they have junior college guys sign (Dec. 20).”

What date do the coaches want?

History of commitment letters

•Until the late 1960s, all athletes, in all sports, had one signing day (May 20).

•The only letters signed before the 1970s were conference letters. Athletes could sign with more than one school from different conferences.

• The National Letter of Intent was founded in 1964 but wasn't universally accepted until 1973.

•Football is the only sport that doesn't offer an early signing period. Starting in 1984, basketball and other sports were allowed to sign players in November their senior year of high school.

By Mike Baldwin

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