Early signing period, 10th assistant approved by NCAA Division 1 Council

Wes Mitchell, GamecockCentral.com
Gamecock Central

The Division I Council approved an early signing period in December for prospective student-athletes, the NCAA announced Friday.

Decisions are not final until the close of the Division I Board of Directors meeting April 26 and the Collegiate Commissioners Association also has to approve the early signing period.

The council also approved the hiring of a 10th on-field assistant for FBS programs, effective Jan. 9, 2018, and limited the number of camp days a school can have.

Here's a complete list, from the NCAA's release, of changes the new legislation introduces:

** It changes the recruiting calendar to allow for an early signing period in December (effective Aug. 1). Only the Collegiate Commissioners Association can create new National Letter of Intent signing periods.

** It adds a period for official visits that begins April 1 of the junior year and ends the Sunday before the last Wednesday in June of that year. Official visits can’t occur in conjunction with a prospect’s participation in a school’s camp or clinic (effective Aug. 1).

** It prevents Football Bowl Subdivision schools from hiring people close to a prospective student-athlete for a two-year period before and after the student’s anticipated and actual enrollment at the school. This provision was adopted in men’s basketball in 2010 (effective immediately, though schools may honor contracts signed before Jan. 18, 2017).

** Football Bowl Subdivision schools are limited to signing 25 prospective and current student-athletes to a first-time financial aid agreement or a National Letter of Intent. Exceptions exclude current student-athletes who have been enrolled full-time at the school for at least two years and prospective or current student-athletes who suffer an incapacitating injury (effective for recruits who sign after Aug. 1, 2017).

** It limits the time for Football Bowl Subdivision coaches to participate in camps and clinics to 10 days in June and July and requires that the camps take place on a school’s campus or in facilities regularly used by the school for practice or competition. Staff members with football-specific responsibilities are subject to the same restrictions. The Football Championship Subdivision can conduct and participate in camps during the months of June and July (effective immediately, though schools may honor contracts signed before Jan. 18, 2017).

** It allows coaches employed at a camp or clinic to have recruiting conversations with prospects participating in camps and clinics and requires educational sessions at all camps and clinics detailing initial eligibility standards, gambling rules, agent rules and drug regulations (effective immediately).It allows Football Bowl Subdivision schools to hire a 10th assistant coach (effective Jan. 9, 2018).

Football Oversight Committee chair Bob Bowlsby, commissioner of the Big 12 Conference, weighed in on the new rules.

“This is a significant move forward for football recruiting,” Bowlsby said. “The entire package of rule changes is friendly for students, their families and their coaches. We will continue to monitor the recruiting environment to make sure the rules work as intended, and we will suggest adjustments when necessary.”

Football Bowl Subdivision members voted 14-1 for the proposal, according to the release. Voting is weighted, with the autonomy conference representatives each receiving two votes and the American Athletic Conference, Conference USA, Mid-American Conference, Mountain West Conference and Sun Belt Conference representatives each receiving one vote.

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