SEC prepares for recruiting reform, creates model

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 28, 2014 at 8:12 pm •  Published: May 28, 2014

DESTIN, Fla. (AP) — The Southeastern Conference is preparing for the possibility of recruiting reform, change the football powerhouse would rather avoid.

Commissioner Mike Slive said Wednesday the conference agreed on an early signing day model that would be presented to the Collegiate Commissioners Association if necessary.

The SEC would prefer to keep things status quo, with the signing period starting on the first Wednesday in February.

But if things change, the SEC has an idea.

The conference is essentially responding to the Atlantic Coast Conference's desire to create an early signing period in August. The SEC wants no part of that. The conference would rather allow recruits to sign on the Monday after Thanksgiving.

"One of the other leagues proposed Aug. 1," Georgia coach Mark Richt said. "We think that would be crazy. We think there would be no summer for anybody, no sanity for anybody."

Added Greg Sankey, the SEC's executive associate commissioner and chief operating officer: "The ACC decision is not something that was identified as a solution that was practical."

Under the SEC model, recruits would only be eligible for the early signing date if they haven't taken any official visits. They would be allowed to visit after signing a national letter of intent.

For recruits wishing to take up to five official visits to various schools, they would have to wait and sign in February.

"If we can clean up some of the things around the edges, meaning there's a lot of kids that know where they want to go and don't want to go through the process of wasting all those trips, the time and expense that it takes to take five official visits," Mississippi athletic director Ross Bjork said. "If you can sign a few kids early to focus on some of the kids you don't have locked in, then I'm all for looking at that."

The bottom line, though, is an early signing day would lessen the amount of time coaches spend worrying that kids would change their minds — sometimes repeatedly — in December, January and February.

"Everyone would like some sanity in that regard," Richt said.