NCAA must allow athletes the opportunity to see and visit with schools during the recruiting process, meaning that the scholarship signing day must be pushed back.
The world is still grappling with the affects of COVID-19 and its lasting and lingering effects on all facets of life. Sports have and is working to do it’s best to bring games back to the field while ensuring a safe environment for all participants.
One aspect that college are working with and adapting is recruiting, and doing so without in person conversations or visits. One thing the NCAA must change, for this recruiting cycle, is national signing day.
Currently, national signing day’s early signing window is scheduled for December 16th and the second window is in February, on the 3rd. Considering it’s highly unlikely a college football recruit will be able to visit before the December signing date (and even perhaps the February one) the NCAA needs to do the right thing and move the dates back.
With some states simply moving fall sports to the winter or spring and some states having discussed delaying the start of practice and competition, moving the signing days back provides for schools to bring recruits on campus safely while also ensuring the athletes have an opportunity to visit and see the various options for future education.
For some kids, they want to enroll early, and begin their college career during the spring semester of what would be their final semester of high school. Regardless of what happens with signing day, that option still exists. Before the early signing period was enacted, recruits were still able to enroll early.
If I were in charge, the first signing day option would be in late February, perhaps February 17th, moving off the current date of December 16th. That initial window allows kids to sign if they are ready while still providing the opportunity to visit campuses after their football season has ended.
The second signing day, currently scheduled for February 3rd of 2021, would move back into March, perhaps March 9th, but possibly move it all the way back to the end of March to the 23rd. That would provide high school seniors with spring break windows an opportunity to visit schools before signing.
Society is still adapting and learning how to best navigate the uncertain waters of COVID-19, and what will life look like in the months to come? In the narrow scope of football recruiting this year, the NCAA needs to do right by both the schools and the recruits, pushing back signing day to allow the young athletes an opportunity to get a better understanding of their future.