Jim Harbaugh, in many ways, is a traditionalist but that doesn’t appear to cross over into NCAA rules about signing high school prospects. Last week, the NCAA announced a proposal that included two separate 72-hour periods in which prospects could actually sign letters of intent prior to the current line of demarcation and Harbaugh looks to be on board (via MLive.com):
“I’d be in the category of for it. I just feel like if somebody wants to sign an agreement they should be able to sign it before the first Wednesday in February.
“We haven’t changed in so long. It’s been the same antiquated system for 30 or 40 years. The obvious thing is that I think people make their decisions earlier. They should have that ability to sign that agreement (earlier).”
Harbaugh’s assertion that the current rules are “antiquated” is certainly a shot across the bow for the NCAA, even if he happens to be correct. College football is currently in an age in which prospects routinely flip “commitments” two and three times before actually signing on the dotted line and, if a prospect is dead set on his collegiate destination, there is a waiting game that frankly takes much longer than needed.
It should be noted that Harbaugh himself has had some issues in keeping recruits committed for long periods of time and, as most would know, college coaches have self-interest at heart in most situations. Still, the backing of a high-profile coach like this can only strengthen the proposal and potentially aid in creating an early signing period in college football.