DESTIN, Fla. — The majority of Southeastern Conference football coaches want an early signing period similar to the one used in basketball.
The coaches voted 9-3 Wednesday in favor of asking the league to support an early signing period proposed for late November, and presented their case to SEC athletic directors to be considered as national legislation.
The proposal would give prep prospects who have not taken any official visits one day before the start of the official contact period on Dec. 1 to sign a binding national letter of intent.
"I think this is the best concept we could have because it minimizes most concerns," Alabama coach Nick Saban said. "I’m for it, but all coaches are paranoid. They’ll have to go back and digest this and figure out if this is an advantage for this school or that school. But the rule would be the same for everybody."
A recent Football Coaches Association survey indicated that 70 percent of its members like the idea of an early signing period.
With more prospects committing earlier, LSU coach Les Miles said he could be able to sign as many as 15 to 20 players on the early day, freeing his staff to spend more time recruiting and evaluating the remaining prospects.
"It’s the only thing that makes any sense," Miles said.
Mississippi State’s Sylvester Croom, chairman of the football coaches, said he believes the one-day period would be a positive for college football, particularly the prospects.
"We’d like to have it, but we do not want to change the recruiting cycle or the recruiting culture," he said.
Mississippi coach Houston Nutt said it would remove the concern of coaches trying to sway players committed to other schools.
"If a kid knows what he wants to do, then let him sign early," Nutt said. "You don’t want to add a visit. You don’t want to add contacts. ... He’s on the dotted line and he’s done, instead of a coach trying to guard the chicken and make sure nobody steals the eggs."
The three coaches voting against the proposal were Florida’s Urban Meyer, South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier and Arkansas’ Bobby Petrino.