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Early Signing Period: Good or Bad for G5 Football Recruiting?

A December signing period is expected to be approved this week. It could be a welcome change for the Group of Five.

Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

(Update: The vote has been postponed. Still, it would be a good idea if it ever happens.)

The rush and madness of national signing day may slow down a bit in Februaries to come as the Collegiate Commissioners Association should vote this week on an early signing period taking place in December.

The SEC (of course) is the only conference speaking out against the idea. Basketball already made the move, to rave reviews, and in fact football is one of the few college sports without early signing. If passed, this year's three-day period would begin Dec. 16.

The national letter of intent recruits sign is itself controversial, considered by some the worst contract in American sports. Some say the most highly sought athletes shouldn't sign one at all, but that's another conversation for another time.

This being a G5 site, we're not dealing with those top-of-the-top athletes anyway unless our name is Houston, and on the surface it appears early signing would be a boost to the Group of Five.

For one, if you can sign five or 10 players early (there's no limit for the December period) it will free up recruiting resources for the final push.

More importantly, it could become harder for brand-name schools to poach players at the eleventh hour. Georgia Southern, for example, lost three players in the final days of the 2015 recruiting period. All were pursued by P5 schools who came into the game late.

This is the Big Deal with early signing -- an end to the circus.

If the big schools weren't willing to offer in December and Southern was, maybe they'd have enrolled. Even if those players flipped during early signing, GSU could spend weeks rather than hours focusing on other recruits. Maybe the three would hold out for that better offer in February and nothing would change, but that's the worst-case scenario I envision -- the status quo.

The ones who stand to lose are those doing the poaching, which probably explains the SEC's whining.

It's all about the intangibles, man

If early signing brings about other notable changes, they'll mostly come in the form of the dreaded "unintended consequence." The committee will revisit the issue in two years to work any of those out.

A few things to watch out for: One, the intensity of recruiting during the season will increase. That could be an advantage for schools with bigger recruiting budgets. It could also raise hell for high school teams as college coaches visit throughout the fall.

Right now, high school players can't take official college visits until their senior year. You tell me when they're gong to do that between August and December while playing football. Changing that rule is a no-brainer that needs to happen soon. Other potential pitfalls include what happens if a coach gets canned after the early signing period.

But the 30,000-feet view is G5s look to be THE big winners if early signing meets approval. Say yes to solid commitments, say no to late phone calls bearing bad news.