SEC won't endorse early signing period -- but it has a plan anyway

The SEC has been opposed to an early signing period but is willing to discuss it now. (USATSI)
The SEC has long been opposed to an early signing period but is willing to discuss it now. (USATSI)

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DESTIN, Fla. -- The SEC wants to keep the status quo on early signing period but gave a nod to its league coaches by outlining a contingency plan.

The league would favor a signing date the Monday after Thanksgiving if the Collegiate Commissioners Association decide to support an early signing period -- which commissioner Mike Slive hopes doesn't happen.

Under that plan, only players who haven't taken an official visit could sign on that date, while the remaining recruits would sign on the first Wednesday of February as normal.

“There’s understanding there’s mounting interest in an early signing date," said SEC associate executive commissioner Greg Sankey on Wednesday from the spring meetings in Destin, Fla. "There’s a need to identify a workable model that respects the current recruiting calendar that I think in many ways has worked well."

The ACC's proposal for an August signing date is not "a solution we think is practical" because fo the effects to the calendar, Sankey said.

SEC administrators and athletic directors this week appeared lukewarm on changing the date, but coaches such as LSU's Les Miles are in favor.

Many coaches from other conferences prefer a mid-December signing built around junior college signees. Sankey said SEC coaches didn't support that because of the coaching transition that occurs around that time. Signing on the post-Thanksgiving Monday would pose similar problems but probably less so than midway through December.

Buzz for early signing period is growing in part because players are taking official or unofficial visits earlier in the process.

The SEC has been opposed to early signing period for years, so Wednesday's announcement from Sankey should not be a surprise. But publicly outlining a plan shows league coaches the SEC is at least willing to discuss it.

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