Three-Point Stance: Early Signing Period, NIL ruling, whining coaches

Three-Point Stance: Early Signing Period, NIL ruling, whining coaches


Rivals national recruiting director Adam Gorney has thoughts on the plan to move signing day to earlier in December, what the new NIL ruling means for the NCAA and he applauds Arizona State coach Kenny Dillingham for saying what he did about the college coaching landscape:

This week after reports emerged that the Early Signing Period would move to earlier in December, before the conference championship games, I talked to a few coaches and asked them what they thought about the move.

Would it help? Would it hurt? Would it make any difference at all?

The resounding response was that moving it up a few weeks wouldn’t change much at all and there is a feeling it could cause even tighter schedules to make decisions tougher.

December is a mess however you cut it so get signing day out of that month entirely. Put it in August. This might not be good for business but have an open signing period from August through December when a player can sign whenever he wants.

Moving it up a few weeks doesn’t really help. The transfer portal window will open around the same time so issues that coaches have of contacting and then hosting portal transfers will now be coupled with closing on final targets and the craziness of signing day just when they’re supposed to be preparing for conference title games.

It also doesn’t help the high school prospects much. One day loved, the next forgotten, because a college quarterback or wide receiver jumps in the portal and now you’re being recruited over. Just in time to finish your state championship run in high school and right around the time that the coaching carousel is kicked into high gear.

Having signing day in December is quintessential college football. Let’s have the most important day of the recruiting calendar – and the most-important few weeks before it – right when everything else is hitting the fan as well.

Go August and February. Push everything to February again. Have a completely open window so players can sign whenever they want. But December has become a bad idea whether keeping it where it is now or moving it up a few weeks, the problems all still exist.

If there are no guidelines, no guardrails and NIL becomes a free-for-all, even more than what it is now, after federal judge Clifton Corker on Friday granted an injunction suspending the NCAA’s NIL rules, then why is a governing body needed at all?

It probably won’t get to that tomorrow – or anytime soon – but the NCAA’s power, its relevancy and the need for it becomes conspicuous at best.

What Corker decided in his ruling is that essentially prospects are completely free to negotiate their own NIL deals before enrolling at a school which takes any pay-for-play guidelines and throws them right in the trash.

There will be a court case around this issue but the NCAA doesn’t have a good track record in this area. For years now, many involved in college athletics wanted clearer rules around NIL, the roles of collectives and more. Many said only congressional oversight would be the appropriate path but Washington, D.C., is gridlocked on every issue.

You think NIL was wild before? You ain’t seen nothing yet. Everything that used to be against the rules, even at the onset of the NIL world in college football recruiting, is now right-side up. It’s going to be even crazier than before – and might stay that way.

Arizona State coach Kenny Dillingham has been a little bit of a visionary recently about the college football landscape from his interesting thoughts on what signing day now means to his recent comments about coaches complaining about their never-ending work schedule.

On a recent Arizona sports radio show, Bickley & Marotta, the 33-year-old Dillingham was blunt about coaches whining about the demands of the job and on their time and why there is a new trend of coaches leaving for lesser jobs (Chip Kelly) or leaving head coaching jobs for the NFL (Jeff Hafley).

“I joke around but you know how many people want my job?” Dillingham said. “You know how many people want my assistant coaches’ jobs, and my analysts’ jobs, and the (quality control) and the (graduate assistant) jobs? So don’t complain about what we do. We’re blessed.”

The ASU coach didn’t stop there.

“There’s a lot of negative to it, yes, but do you know how many people want to be a college football coach?” Dillingham said. “I literally spent nine years of my life doing anything to become a coffee boy. So don’t give me the, ‘Oh, it’s hard to be a college coach right now.’ Then quit.

“You adapt. You adjust. And is it hard? Yes. But if you love it, you’re going to do it. Does it pull away from other things? Yes. Find a way to have life balance. Recruit the kids who understand that I’m not going to call you every single day because I’m going to go home to my kids and my wife. Find the balance that works for you. It’s very, very difficult because you never have to turn the switch off.”

Good for Dillingham. No one is forcing these guys to coach college football. Sure, the demands have become more difficult. But the paychecks have never been more incredible, either.

Want a hard job? Try being a soldier. Go work two shifts in an Amazon warehouse every single day. In the big picture, college football coach is a pretty sweet gig.

Are there concerns that need to be addressed and issues that need to be rectified in this new world of endless recruiting, NIL and now transfer portal? Of course. But welcome to every other job where everyone has complaints about their ever-expanding duties.

Perspective from coaches is also needed. Former TCU assistant Joe Gillespie belly-ached to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram recently that “at times, you had kids asking for more money than I make, certainly asking for more money than some of my assistants were making. … I grew up in the school of, ‘Holy moly, I get my school paid for?’ That would have blown my mind.’”

Well, that school is out. Gillespie doesn’t get it. Dillingham does.



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