Nick Saban Explains Why He’s ‘Absolutely, Positively Against’ Early Signing Dates
The NCAA Division 1 Council introduced some proposals to the current recruiting model in college football that would alter the process as we know it. The biggest change would be the addition of two early signing dates.
The proposal would allow student-athletes to sign letters of intent on the last Wednesday of June and mid-December. The NCAA believes it has found a process that benefits both coaches and student-athletes.
“The working group did a deep dive on recruiting from beginning to end, and I think what we came up with as a proposal is both student-athlete-friendly and coach- and staff-friendly,” said Bob Bowlsby, chair of the Football Oversight Committee and commissioner of the Big 12 Conference. “We hit a sweet spot.”
Alabama head coach Nick Saban strongly disagrees.
"I am absolutely, positively against any early signing date," Saban said on Wednesday. "Especially a June signing date before a guy plays his senior year. If we want to have an early signing date after the season, I'd be more for that."
Saban argued strongest against the June date because it creates a list of issues for colleges.
"It creates lots of issues and problems when it comes to, not only evaluation of a guy as a player, but more importantly is evaluation of his character, what kind of person he is, what's his academic status, does he have his academic requirements up to his junior year, what's his test score. So you're trying to make decisions about guys way ahead."
That might sound to some like a coach putting his program ahead of the student-athletes, but Saban pointed out two big problem areas for recruits. First, late developing players - like Alabama freshman Joshua Jacobs - would often miss out on opportunities because schools filled up their recruiting class early. Second, a signed scholarship takes away any motivation for a student-athlete to work hard and continue improving during his final season, which hurts himself and his teammates.
If adopted, the proposal would take effect for the 2017-18 recruiting cycle.