After an NCAA official floated the idea that the Conference Commissioners Association is considering an early-signing date to supplement college football’s traditional February date, Stanford Cardinal coach David Shaw said he is strongly opposed to the notion.
“I might be alone in this, I think it’s terrible,” Shaw told ESPN.com. “I think it’s terrible. The reason, in my opinion, is coaches don’t like when kids commit and switch late.”
Shaw doesn’t think a change in when high-school players can sign letters of intent will stop the kids from changing their minds.
“What’s going to happen is, if a kid wants to change his mind late after the early signing period, he’s going to appeal and that appeal is going to go through because the committees that decide those appeals, they always give in toward the student-athlete,” Shaw said. “So you have a kid that might be 16 going on 17 that commits and then really has a chance to think about it and changes his mind and we’re going to try and hold him to it.”
Shaw said academic issues might also come into play.
“I’ll be honest here, which is rare for a football coach in a setting like this—but we have a lot of kids that don’t know if they’re going to get into school until after that early signing day,” Shaw said. “So we’re going to punish the academic schools just because coaches don’t want a kid to switch their commitment? People can make whatever argument they want, it boils down to that. Coaches don’t want to keep recruiting an entire class all year.”
Stanford picked up three players in its most recent class that chose the Cardinal after making verbal commitments at other schools. Offensive linemen Casey Tucker (originally made verbal commitment to USC), Reilly Gibbons (Miami) and Jesse Burkett (Vanderbilt) chose Stanford in late January or early February.
Stanford’s strict admissions guidelines could create problems for an early signing period. Shaw said that less than half of this year’s 20-player class was cleared for admission before November.
“That’s a kid we never would have gotten because someone would have pressured him into forcing him to sign some place because they say, ‘You don’t know if you’re getting into Stanford so you got to sign with us,’” Shaw said. “I don’t think these kids should be pressured into decisions and that’s what this is all about.”
It’s shocking—shocking, I say—that the NCAA would be up for making life easier for the football factories and more difficult for institutions that place a greater emphasis on academics.
Actually, it’s not that shocking at all, even if the NCAA continues to insist that it’s all about the student-athletes.