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Edsall wants to change process

Maryland coach Randy Edsall wants to reform the recruiting process in college football by delaying scholarship offers to prospects and putting offers in the control of institutions.

Edsall's plan calls for preventing any type of scholarship offer -- written or verbal -- until Sept. 1 of a prospect's senior year in high school. Any offers would come from admissions or financial aid offices, not football coaches.

As the NCAA considers an early signing period for football in response to an accelerated recruiting cycle, Edsall wants to slow things down. Under his plan, offers of scholarships or any other financial aid wouldn't come until after a prospect's junior-year transcripts and ACT and SAT test scores are reviewed.

"My expertise is football; their expertise is admissions," Edsall told ESPN.com on Friday. "So you tell us if this kid can be admitted or not, or this kid can be offered financial aid. That's your call. Instead of trying to be so quick to offer somebody, get all the information and put it back in the control of the institution."

The NCAA prevents institutions from extending written scholarship offers to high school prospects before Aug. 1 of their senior years. But many coaches verbally offer scholarships to prospects as young as the eighth or ninth grade. The NCAA doesn't regulate verbal offers, and it doesn't recognize recruits until they enter ninth grade.

Edsall thinks the early offers have resulted in a spike of decommitments, transfers and roster manipulation.

"They haven't even evaluated the kid on film, they haven't looked at a transcript, they haven't talked to a coach," Edsall said. "But they feel they have to get their foot in the game just because somebody else [offered]. I'm not smart enough to try and project two and three years out what my roster is going to look like.

"Because guys make mistakes because of these early offers, they're trying to push them out the door so they can get better people in. Look at the number of kids transferring. A lot of that is because people make poor decisions because of early offers."

Edsall acknowledges that Maryland has made verbal offers to high school freshmen.

"I hate doing it, it's not right, but this is what we have to do," he said. "If you wait until that process, you're so far behind."

Edsall broached his plan to NCAA president Mark Emmert earlier this month when Emmert was in Maryland for a speaking engagement. Edsall told Emmert there needs to be a national oversight committee devoted specifically to football to manage issues like the recruiting calendar.

"I said, 'Mark, who do you have at the NCAA that's working on football 365 [days] a year? You have nobody,'" Edsall said. "You can't let the institutions try to decide this. Because every institution wants to have 'what's good for my institution.' We've got to get out of that mentality."

Monitoring early offers presents significant challenges, but Edsall says the increased amount of information available, through recruiting services and other outlets, could lead to greater enforcement.

"You have to investigate it, and you have to make penalties," he said. "You fine them, and it comes back to the head coach and the athletic director and the president of those institutions. It's no different than the NFL. If you're out [scouting college] juniors, they fine you. Or you can get relieved of your duties."

The issue could be magnified when the NCAA increases initial-eligibility requirements for Division I athletes enrolling after Aug. 1, 2016. Prospects will need a 2.3 grade-point average and to have completed at least 10 of 16 core courses by the start of their senior year in high school.

Edsall believes university presidents and chancellors would support his plan because the admissions review for athletes would be closer to that for other students.

"This game's getting away from us," he said. "Right now, I'm part of the problem because I'm involved in this. But I don't like it. So I'm trying to be part of the solution."