Spring Signing period: Why is it taking so long?

ncaacartoon22Citygriz over on egriz, post a thread on multiple issues concerning basketball recruiting, and the lack of announcements that have been forth coming by the Griz and Lady Griz 3 weeks into the 5 week late period. You can find the post here. I started to write a response to his thread/post and before I knew it I had a frack’n novel! So I thought if I am going to write a novel I might as well post it on my own blog, and make you all think I came up with this topic all on my own.

I am not going to address the Griz (or even the Cats) directly, but mainly comment on some of the differences between basketball late singing period and the football signing period., and why football can get it all done on the first day and basketball can not. While there are some facts sprinkled in to this topic, it is mostly my opinion.



I want to tell you that many years ago, the first day of the basketball signing period was great. I used to have a ritual, where on the signing day, (traditionally the second Wednesday of April) I would have lunch at my favorite Pizzeria with a copy of that day’s USA Today hot off the presses. Twelve hours into the signing period, USA Today would have every single D-1 program with a list of players they have signed. That list would have 80-90% of all D-1 signee’s for that years recruiting class. So essentially as of the second day of the recruiting period most schools were done.

Things started to change about the same time the NCAA added the early signing period (traditionally the second week in November). At the same time the NCAA enacted a few other rules which changed recruiting. Players could not longer sign letter of intents while on official visits, nor could coaches be present when a player signs his LOI. Further more the NCAA started to implement educational reform requirements all of which slowed down the recruiting process to a certain degree. The main factor in my opinion, though, that has effected the spring basketball period more than any other thing is the implementation of the NCAA recruiting calendar.

Currently the biggest difference between football and the spring basketball recruiting is the amount of time between the end of the season and the signing day. In football most schools season end in mid November, and the signing dated is a full month and half later in February. In basketball most teams finish their season in mid March and the recruiting period starts 4 weeks later in April. Furthermore the current NCAA calendar has made almost impossible for Coaches to get their recruiting done in this short time period. The Calendar has limited the amount of contact periods allowed to on e week in late March and 4 days in April. Contact periods are extremely important. Most recruits use the in-home visits, which can only take place during contact periods, as a way of deciding which programs they will go on official visits to. Recruits will not even start their visits until after the home contacts. The end results are that because of the recruiting calendar, the whole process is being pushed well into April and May, before kids can make their choice. It gets even worse in the JC ranks were the new trend by JC coaches it to severely limit access to their athletes until their season ends, which in some case could be mid March. In football there is similar recruiting calendar but it is spread out over the 2 ½ months and coaches and recruits can get it all done a little easier.

There are a few other items that I think come into play. Basketball players have more power in the recruiting process than football players. In basketball coaches will sign 4-5 players a year, but in football they can sign 20-25 players in a season. I just think it is easier for a football coach to move to his second choice if his first is not ready to commit on the signing day. I also believe football players know this and feel a lot more pressure to commit earlier than later. In basketball one player/recruit can have such a huge impact on a program that coaches are willing to wait. Both players and their coaches have recognized this, and are much more inclined to take their time. Waiting has become the norm. Prep schools have become very prevalent in the last 10 year not only for kids with academic problems, but for kids that wasn’t to attend one to increase their recruiting status. The April / May AAU circuit has had a similar effect. Many players who are not satisfied with the schools recruiting them will put off recruiting and try to improve their stock in the AAU tourneys. You just do not see anything like this in the football recruiting world, nor do I think college football coaches would put up with it. The basketball coaches do, though, and that gives the power to the recruits.

The other question that was posed was; Why do coaches wait now to announce their recruiting class until their recruiting is complete? From what I can tell it is totally a control thing. If a coach is recruiting more than one player at a position he does not want a potential recruit to be influenced because another player at the same position was signed. Some times they want to keep info from existing players until they know exactly what there class is. Sometimes they don’t want other coaches to know what they are doing, and use that against them. I could go on with more reasons I have been told, but it all comes down to control, and managing recruits and existing players.


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