CHICAGO (AP) — If Nebraska coach Bo Pelini had his way, National Signing Day would be a thing of the past. And the result would be an improved recruiting process.
"You've made a commitment to a young man to come play in your program, why do we have to wait to any certain day?" Pelini said. "Why don't we just go ahead and let's sign on the dotted line, let's get it over with and move forward."
That would be a big change from the system in place, where players have to wait until the signing period even if they've made an oral commitment. But what if they could sign as soon as they decide on a school?
"I think it would slow down some of the early offers," Pelini said. "I think it would slow down some of the ridiculous things that go on on both ends, on the institution's side of things and as far as the recruit's."
He used the word "integrity" and mentioning teaching athletes about honoring their commitment and "what it means to be a teammate."
"There's a bigger picture involved," Pelini said. "And I think sometimes the way the recruiting process works is that contradictory to what we're trying to teach these kids and how we're trying to develop these kids in the long run to be successful, not only as football players and as athletes, but beyond, as husbands, as fathers, and their professions."
Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said the current system is "antiquated" and there needs to be more accountability. His solution? The Internet.
"If I'm offering a scholarship, I've got to go on a website and say I'm offering," Fitzgerald said. "Bing, check the box. Everybody in the country has access to that website. All of a sudden the kid might get 50 of them, but everybody knows I've offered him a scholarship. There's a 48-hour window, a cooling-off period, where he can decide, where we can't pressure him to sign. That website kicks out an NLI (national letter of intent) and he can sign. After 48 hours, the offer is gone. There's no more commitment."
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