Early football signing period moving to early December

League: NCAA Football

Posted on: 07 Mar, 2024 at 07:38 PM

Credit: James Weber/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

The early signing period for Division I-bound high school football players will move to early December, the Collegiate Commissioners Association announced Thursday.

The change takes effect this fall, and the signing period will begin on the Wednesday after the final FBS regular-season game and before conference title games. It will last three days, though most players sign on the first day.

The early signing period has been the week before Christmas since it was added to the recruiting calendar in 2017. The regular signing period will remain as is, opening the first Wednesday in February and running through April 1.

The move is being made, in part, to clear up a crowded late-December calendar for coaches who are preparing for bowl games. It also will put some separation between the signing period and the opening of the transfer portal, allowing coaches to put their concentration solely on high school athletes in that time span.

"The CCA supports providing high school and two-year college prospective student-athletes with the opportunity to sign (national letters of intent) before coaches turn their focus to four-year transfers during the opening of the Division I transfer window in December," the organization said.

The group tabled, for now, consideration of another signing period that could begin in June 2025. A decision on whether to add a summer signing period is expected to be made no later than June of this year.

Missouri head coach Eli Drinkwitz said before his team's appearance in the Cotton Bow at the end of last season that the NCAA recruiting calendar needed to change.

"There's no way possible for us to have a 12-team playoff next year, and be recruiting in an open period, and have transfer-portal additions and subtraction going on and be preparing for a game," Drinkwitz said. "It's just not possible."

--Field Level Media