The NCAA may be nearing a sensible solution to its chaotic December calendar.

In recent years, December in college football has been a whirlwind for coaches, players and athletic departments. In addition to dealing with bowl prep and the head coaching carousel, December is also arguably the single-most important month for roster-building purposes on the calendar because of the Early Signing Period and the transfer portal recruiting cycle.

Well, that could be changing soon.

According to ESPN’s Pete Thamel, NCAA officials are meeting in Indianapolis this week to discuss significant changes to the recruiting calendar. Per Thamel, the new proposal would include 3 signing periods — as opposed to 2 in the current model.

The biggest change would be the addition of a signing period in June, which would allow prospects to officially sign with their chosen program prior to the start of their senior season of high school football. The December signing period would also be moved up slightly to the first Wednesday following the regular season — ahead of the transfer portal window opening.

Here’s a more detailed look at the proposal obtained by ESPN:

Without having any additional details, this reads as an obvious solution to a problem that’s been festering in college football for the last few years. The December signing period is when the vast majority of high school prospects sign, which would make it a logistical challenge for college football programs at any point in the calendar.

The fact that the Early Signing Period is in December means that month is borderline unmanageable for college programs due to the other aforementioned obligations that can’t be as-easily moved from December. There’s no reason for so many key dates to be so congested together in such a tight span, and adding a June signing period would be a significant step in the right direction.

By giving high school prospects the opportunity to sign in June (or in early December), coaches can work ahead on their recruiting classes during the summer before turning their attention to prospective transfers after the transfer window opens in December.

The proposal obtained by Thamel specifically mentions this change as a theoretical win for high school prospects for that reason. Here’s an excerpt:

The three-period model may promote football’s scholastic recruiting model. Two signing periods would occur before the opening of the NCAA Transfer Portal in football, allowing institutions to prioritize high school recruiting before four-year college student-athlete recruitment.

There are always unintended consequences for drastic changes to the calendar, and that may ultimately prove to be the case in this situation as well. But with that being said, this sure seems to be a win-win for both players and coaches in most situations. Committed high school prospects have little to lose by signing in June rather than December, assuming they will still be let out of their National Letter of Intent (as has been the case in recent years) if circumstances change.

Critics could point out that high school prospects who sign in June are at-risk of needing to scramble if their head coach, coordinator or position coach decides to leave or gets fired in the months between June and December. They would be correct, but that reality is not all that different from what we see now. High school prospects being released from their letters of intent after a coaching change has become commonplace in December and January.

The goal with this idea is not to be a perfect solution — it’s likely not possible given the large number of factors at play — but rather alleviate some of the stress from a chaotic few weeks on the calendar. The frustrations of roster churn in the transfer portal era will still be there, but this idea allows coaches and administrators to shift some of their highest-leverage recruiting efforts to a more-barren part of the calendar. That’s a win-win for everyone involved.

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