Late yesterday afternoon, ESPN's Big Ten Blog did a piece with a interview of Nebraska Cornhuskers Head Coach Bo Pelini. In said piece, he's got a few statements I'll discuss with you. Then, we'll go ahead and carry on his idea of how to bring his ideas to life.
First off, some of his statements:
Pelini thinks high school players should be able to sign with teams as soon as they receive scholarship offers. If coaches choose to offer scholarships to freshmen and sophomores -- an increasingly common tactic -- they have to be prepared for those players to sign on for the distant future.
"If somebody has offered a kid, let him sign, it's over," Pelini told ESPN.com on Wednesday. "That will stop some of the things that are happening -- people just throwing out offers, some of them with really no intention of taking a kid."
Well, okay. I like this actually. I do think that all offers should be given with the ability to commit to that school on the spot. However, I do kind of call a bluff there considering Nebraska last season gave out over 300 reported offers and have already given out 200 this year alone before either Big Red Weekend. But, hey, that's part of the game right? Okay, lets move on...
"Make [the offer] mean something," Pelini said. "People will be like, 'Whoa, I've got to take this kid now.' It will slow things down for the kids, for the institutions. There will be less mistakes.
"Why does there have to be one specific day? And it will get rid of some of the stuff that goes on, kids pulling the hats and so forth."
Well, okay, but I don't agree this ends. Matter of factly, I would think in a way this keeps the power in the control of the player. Let us say that Player A has gotten offers from School A, B and C. School D isn't sure about offering, but the player looks at him and (with Bo's thought) says "Well, I can call Coach of A or B and commit in your office. What you going to do to make sure that doesn't happen?". I'm not saying that's going to happen with a lot of kids, but you can't have kids hold your school's progress up just to find out whether he's gonna say yes or no. Also, that's the way a lot of schools could get dirty, if you know what I mean. And by golly, I bet you do.
Also, what's make one thing that the hat ceremony would be allowed to stop? Heck, that will blow it up even more. If they can sign on the dotted line after a game on the regional sports network in full pads after going for 200 yards and 3 touchdowns at Homecoming? Yes, someone will think of it.
Pelini doesn't think his plan will happen because guidelines for when prospects can sign have been in place so long.
"Things would slow down dramatically," Pelini said. "Some of these kids get 60 offers. Some of these people don't even know who a kid is. The whole thing gets watered down. There's no way some [team] can take that many guys."
I don't necessarily agree with Bo here, but only because this was the reason that the NCAA wanted to have recruiting teams do the work for coaching staffs. You know, the same staff that Bo Pelini didn't think was necessary a few months back?
If you had at least a few people on that staff (which Bo happens to have now), they could do the homework on a player and let the staff/HC make the final call on the offer, which then has so much more weight.
So now, after I've told you all that, here's a good listing of what one person would do to reform the recruiting cycle if you want offers that a recruit could sign a Letter of Intent immediately. Remember, this is one person's ideas.
Do not allow any offers before July 1st of a recruit's Senior year.
This idea comes from incoming B1G Head Coach Randy Edsall of Maryland.
There's too much of a emphasis on trying to get onto a recruit as soon as they can be seen. Theoretically, you can't offer anyone the chance to sign a LOI until a certain date in Feb, right? I say the rule should be that you can talk to a recruit all you want, and they can "unofficially" visit your campus for a Junior Day or such. However, there can not be a single offer given out to a potential recruit or taken/signed till July 1st of the player's Senior year, and only if the school's admissions would green light the admission process. Granted, it makes a flurry of action for staff, reporters, and coaches and kids alike. However, who's really going to be upset a 9th grader isn't getting offered, other than the kid who is getting free print?
Allow more Official Visits for both recruits and schools, and let that start earlier.
With this, you're giving more of a chance for both schools and kids to see what they want. It not only helps that you get kids to your school when games for both the college and HS aren't going, and weather (for the most part) isn't an issue. Most schools take Sunday's off during the preseason camp time (or some weekend day).
I wouldn't start this earlier than August 1st maybe, but this gives the chance for kids to get in when facilities are at their best. I would say that giving schools 65 or so OV's to use, and a recruit to get up to 10 OV's to use, should be fair. Maybe you take that number and tinker it on either end, but you have to have more if you have the ability to host more kids.
Allow anyone that has signed a LOI that hasn't completed their Freshman year to transfer if conditions warrant it.
Lets say a kid signs his LOI in October. In December, his HC decides to head to another school, or the decision is made for him. Or, his mom gets sick and such and he wants to be closer. That LOI should be null & void, and the recruitment option comes back open for him. Enough schools turn over coaches and such, and you wouldn't have that big of a fear of not finding a good school. Freshman who have not been at the school a full 2 semesters could possibly have the same ability, but that would be tougher and they would have to sit out their transfer year.
Now, lets take the case of Spencer Tears yesterday. Lets be honest, when he committed to Nebraska, he didn't think that Damore'ea Stringfellow was coming to Lincoln 2 months later and he'd have to battle with him. I'm alright with that, because you can say the situation you're coming into has changed since when you've committed. It's not bad for Bo & staff to take a kid like Stringfellow, but at the same time, realize that a kid may go to JUCO over it, and it's not the best for both parties. There's no reason to ruin a kid's career over a roster change like that.
Put a HARD deadline on that offer.
So, lets say kid A has 14 offers. One of them School B. But he wants a offer from school J really, really badly. Well, he never gets that offer, but School B moved on. HOWEVER, he still has a offer from School B. Granted, somewhat of a far fetched idea, but human error could let this happen. Would the school say "no thanks" and not sign the piece of paper? Or would the fax come in and a Recruiting Coordinator say "oh shit" and such?
Plus, that takes the whole holding A hostage to see if B jumps. You want an offer? 2 weeks max on this or we move on. Or, if we take enough guys, we move on without you. Which sucks if you wait too long (although it's your fault), but would suck more if someone is ready to sign and you tell them that you can't sign the piece cause a fax came 20 minutes ago.
So, that's a way to get Bo Pelini's idea off the ground. Are they viable? Hell, who knows in this world of the NCAA. Maybe if and when the Power 5 theory comes abound. But until then, the NCAA will move as quickly as a rock in the ocean makes it back to the shore when dealing with every FBS school.
These ideas may work. These ideas may not work. Either way, something should change. Have a idea on how to help? Leave it in the comments below.