This past spring marked the third straight year that the ACC coaches brought up the topic of an early signing period at their annual spring meetings in Amelia Island, and odds are it's discussed again in a few months. The majority of ACC coaches are in favor of it, but not all of them.
Duke coach David Cutcliffe told my colleague Bruce Feldman that while it might sound good, there are too many logistical problems
Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson had a different take, saying let the players sign as soon as they're ready to.
"I'm in favor of having a signing period the day they want to sign," Johnson said. "I don't even think you need a period. Everybody has 85 scholarships and you can't sign more than 25 in a year. If a kid right now wants to sign for 2011, let him sign. It would take away all the circus because what would happen is you wouldn't have all these soft verbals. I don't know what a soft verbal is. I tell kids all the time, if you're visiting other places than you're not committed."
Both coaches make valid points, but the problem doesn't lie with the date, it's with the players who don't stay true to their word, and like Johnson said, continue to shop around despite committing to a school. An early signing period would likely have coaches pressing even harder to lock players in sooner, and before you know it, there are more stories like these coming out.
Cutcliffe made a great comparison to the BCS system -- it's not perfect, but right now it's the best we've got, and to try to change it would open up a whole new set of problems.