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Commissioners to reconsider early signing proposal at 2016 meetings

ASHEVILLE, N.C. -- College football will remain without an early signing period for at least one more year.

After two days of debate, commissioners from the 10 FBS conferences tabled a proposal Wednesday that would have introduced an early signing period for the first time in the sport.

By tabling the issue, commissioners hope the NCAA's new football oversight committee will further examine the proposal as an entry point to address a host of recruiting matters -- including satellite camps, oversigning and grayshirting. The Collegiate Commissioners Association will review the feedback and actions taken by committee and NCAA Council when it reconsiders the early signing recommendation again at its 2016 meetings.

"There was support in the room to move forward," said Mid-American Conference commissioner Jon Steinbrecher, who chaired the football recruiting workgroup that proposed a 72-hour signing period for high school seniors in conjunction with the December junior college signing window.

"I think we all took a collective deep breath, took a step back and said, 'Would we be wise to try and do this from a bigger picture type of thing, as opposed to a piecemeal one bit at a time?' There was recognition to sync up this issue with other recruiting related issues that will be examined by the football oversight committee."

Heading into the CCA's annual meetings here at the Biltmore Estate, administrators from the ACC, American, Big Ten, Big 12, MAC, Mountain West, Pac-12 and Sun Belt spoke in favor of the proposal, while the SEC was the only FBS league that spoke out against it. However, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany suggested that the debate this week over early signing could morph into a larger discussion on recruiting issues, and that's exactly what happened.

"It is appropriate the CCA take a step back in an effort to bring a comprehensive approach to the football issues currently under review," said Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, who also serves as the chair of the oversight committee.

Steinbrecher, who is also on the oversight committee, said the delay shouldn't be viewed as the end to a potential early signing period.

"It's not [dead on arrival]," he said. "It's not to say where I know where people will be in a year, but this was not a delaying tactic. This was built around the idea that we need to work in concert with the all of the issues around the sport."

Currently, college football, men's and women's soccer, and men's water polo are the only NCAA sports without an early signing period. Basketball has long used a system that allows recruits to sign in the fall and spring, easing the pressure on prospects who wish to end the recruiting process early in their senior years of high school. Football recruits can sign only in February of their senior years.