NCAA moves to allow earlier football signings, official visits

Board must approve changes

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - The NCAA endorsed a football recruiting rules overhaul on Friday that would allow high school football players to sign with colleges as early as December and make official visits in their junior years.

The changes must be approved by the Board of Governors on April 26.

"Today's adoption of the football legislation marks the most significant progress in recent years to improve the football environment and culture for current and prospective student-athletes and coaches," committee chairman Jim Phillips said in a statement. Phillips is Northwestern's vice president for athletics and recreation.

A push for a June signing period was rejected.

"The June date, there was resistance to that, especially among coaches, but we're going to take a look at whether we can find one that's earlier (than December)," said Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby, chairman of the Division I football oversight committee.

Under current rules, the football signing period for high school seniors begins on the first Wednesday of February.

The other significant change to the recruiting calendar would allow recruits to make official visits between April and June of their junior year.

Schools will be limited to signing 25 recruits per year in hopes of eliminating "oversigning." Exceptions will be made for current players who have attended classes for at least two years and athletes who suffer incapacitating injuries.

Other rule changes up for final approval by the board:

— Two-a-day practices will be eliminated in Division I.

— FBC schools will be barred from hiring people "close to a prospective student-athlete" for a two-year period before and after the athlete's enrollment at the school. This provision was adopted in men's basketball in 2010.

— FBS coaches will be limited to participating in camps and clinics to 10 days in June and July, and the camps must take place on a school's campus or in facilities regularly used by the school for practice or play.

— Coaches employed at a camp or clinic will be allowed to have recruiting conversations with prospects.

— FBS schools can hire a 10th assistant football coach effective Jan. 9.

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