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Mark Richt: 'I'd be afraid' to add early signing period

By Jerry Hinnen | Staff Writer

Mark Richt isn't sold on an early signing period. (Getty Images)
Mark Richt isn't sold on an early signing period. (Getty Images)
The possibility of an early signing period for college football similar to that of college basketball has the support of many coaches across the FBS -- but last week's revelation from NCAA official Susan Peal that the idea will receive serious consideration from her organization in the near future has also revealed that not every coach is on board.

Stanford's David Shaw has already ripped the proposal, and Monday the Atlanta Journal-Constitution published comments from a "recent interview" with Georgia's Mark Richt in which the Bulldogs coach also expresses some serious misgivings:

"I always say 'Be careful what we ask for''because I don't know what that will do to our recruiting calendar ... I'd be afraid to change it. I don't want to turn the regular season into such a recruiting frenzy that you can't even coach your team on a weekly basis. I enjoy coaching football, too.

"I think if you moved the signing date up, I think you push more official visits to the football season. Sooner or later, they'll say 'We don't want all these official visits during the season. Why don't we move them to the summer?' Then we'll have official visits in the summer, and no one will get any time away. Not me, not our assistants coaches, not the kids, not the high school coaches, and not the families. Where does it end?

The good news for Richt is that as the full cost of attendance scholarship veto and brouhaha over the "10-second rule" have shown, it's currently difficult to force through any major changes to the way major college football operates -- and as the cases of Shaw and Richt have shown, the opposition to an early signing period will likely be as vociferous as with any other recent NCAA debate.

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