|USC Legends News|
Football coaches debate early signing period
The coaches met Tuesday about implementing an early signing period, similar to what the NCAA employs for men’s and women’s basketball. Most of the discussion centered on a December date, two months before February’s National Signing Day, the first day football recruits can sign a binding national letter of intent.
“It just makes you recruit year-round a lot,” USC’s Steve Spurrier said. “Everybody’s going into early commitments and kids are committing earlier. But they’re changing their mind a lot, too.”
Reaction was mixed among the league’s 12 coaches. Vanderbilt’s Bobby Johnson and Kentucky’s Rich Brooks are in favor of the earlier signing period.
“It helps everyone. You don’t have to babysit (a committed prospect) or protect eggs, as they call it, every week,” said Johnson, adding the measure would save schools money on recruiting costs. “Let them enjoy their lives and senior seasons. We can concentrate on guys who haven’t signed.”
Other coaches are not so sure. Alabama’s Nick Saban said an earlier date would intensify in-season recruiting and could detract from a staff’s game-week preparations. Florida’s Urban Meyer said it takes time for coaches to develop relationship with recruits.
“I’m not comfortable signing kids you don’t know,” Meyer said. “I’d rather move it later. I don’t want to make a mistake on a kid.”
APR on the agenda. USC men’s basketball coach Dave Odom has issues with the Academic Progress Rate. With the Gamecocks likely to lose at least one scholarship next year in the NCAA’s new academic reform plan, Odom plans to talk with conference officials this week about inconsistencies in how APR is calculated.
Odom is miffed that the Gamecocks were penalized for two players who earned their degrees — Mike Boynton and Ivan Howell — but left school in the middle of a semester after the season was completed.
“The object is to graduate kids,” Odom said. “We did it and we got no credit for it.”
Odom’s squad’s 902 APR was the worst of the Gamecocks’ 19 teams this year.
“(APR) has already been tweaked. It’s still being tweaked,” USC athletics director Eric Hyman said. “But it’s not going away.”
Unlimited calling plan. Now that coaches are no longer allowed to text-message recruits, Florida men’s basketball coach Billy Donovan suggests the NCAA re-open a more traditional line of communication.
Donovan, regarded as one of the country’s top recruiters, said NCAA officials should consider removing restrictions on phone calls to recruits.
“Everybody has caller ID. They’re either going to pick up the phone or not pick it up,” Donovan said. “I think we’re getting away from the communication part of it with the coaches and the kids. One phone call a week or two phone calls a week is not enough.”
Odds and ends. Spurrier said USC’s Sept. 8 game against Georgia is set for an ESPN “twilight” broadcast, an apparent reference to the network’s 5:45 p.m. slot. ESPN will announce its broadcast lineup for the first three weeks of the season today. ...
Spurrier shot the low round at Augusta National two weeks ago in a foursome that included Hyman, assistant coach Steve Spurrier Jr. and former Masters chairman and ex-USC football player Hootie Johnson. Spurrier reiterated he has “no desire” to join the private club, where his USC predecessor, Lou Holtz, is a member. ...
Spurrier said “two to three” of the Gamecocks’ 30 signees could fail to qualify academically. He also expects to ask several players who “are definitely going to redshirt” to enroll in January so that USC does not exceed the NCAA maximum of 25 scholarship newcomers.
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