Swinney: Early signing period makes communication with recruits easier

by - Staff Writer -
Swinney, shown here at the team community function Friday, says there are no cons with early signing period

College football coaches have been clamoring for an early signing period, and in October the NCAA gave them one…

Sort of.

During an October meeting, the NCAA’s academic and membership affairs staff provided an interpretation to the existing rule concerning early signing periods for midyear enrollees. The new interpretation allows prospective student athletes to sign a financial aid agreement beginning August first of their senior year.

In an official statement, the NCAA explained the interpretation:

"The academic and membership affairs staff determined that a prospective student-athlete who intends to graduate from high school midyear and enroll at a member institution midyear during the same academic year (e.g., spring semester) may sign an institutional financial aid agreement on or after August 1 of his or her senior year, provided the institution issuing the financial aid agreement establishes, prior to issuing the agreement, that the prospective student-athlete is enrolled in all coursework necessary to graduate from high school at midyear."

Essentially, if a prospective student athlete has taken the coursework to graduate from high school early, he (or she) can sign a financial aid agreement, requiring the school to provide a scholarship to the prospective student athlete; however it does not bind the athlete to the school.

By signing the financial aid agreement, the school can have unlimited contact with the prospective student athlete, eliminating many of the recruiting communication restrictions. Schools can also publicly announce their recruitment of a prospective student athlete.

Clemson head coach Dabo SwinneyDabo Swinney
Head Coach
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told TigerNet Friday afternoon that the new interpretation makes communication a lot easier for coaches and recruits.

“It’s just that if you are able to sign them to the financial aid, it eliminates all of the recruiting rules – text messaging, phone calls, you can’t go to the school, but you can go see them in person anytime you want,” told TigerNet. “It makes it very helpful in the communication process for the player and for us.”

Eliminating the communication restrictions is the biggest advantage, and Swinney said that there aren’t any concerns with the way the rule currently reads.

“I don’t really see any cons. The pros are that all of the recruiting communication rules go away,” Swinney said. “Instead of being able to call someone once a week, you can call them anytime you want. You can text them anytime you want. You can go see them anytime you want.”

Clemson is expected to have five mid-year enrollees - wide receiver Demarre Kitt Demarre Kitt
Wide Receiver
6-1, 195
Tyrone, GA

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, quarterback Deshaun Watson Deshaun Watson
6-3, 190
Gainesville, GA

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, linebacker Chris Register Chris Register
Outside Linebacker
6-4, 210
Greensboro, NC

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, wide receiver Artavis Scott Artavis Scott
Wide Receiver
5-11, 180
Tarpon Springs, FL

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, and wide receiver Kyrin Priester.

Swinney declined to comment on if any of the early enrollees have signed a financial aid agreement, however, TigerNet confirmed Friday afternoon that Kitt and Scott have both signed the agreement.

Swinney said that as the number of mid-year enrollees continues to trend upward, we will see more and more prospective student athletes take advantage of the August 1st signing period.

“I think so. It’s one of those things that as midyears grow and guys have enough work to qualify for the early enroll, I think you’ll see more of it,” Swinney said.

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