Collegiate Commissioners Association approves early signing period for football

An early signing period is coming to major college football after the Collegiate Commissioners Association on Monday approved a 72-hour signing window for December.

The first early signing period for Division I will run from Dec. 20 to Dec. 22, 2017, coinciding with the first three days of the midyear junior college signing period. The NCAA's Division I Council last month approved the early signing period, but it needed final clearance from the commissioners, who control the national letter of intent program. Commissioners had been expected to approve the plan at their annual meeting in June but instead fast-tracked the proposal.

College football previously had one signing period beginning on the first Wednesday of February. That signing period will remain, though most prospects are now expected to sign in December.

The Division I Council also approved changes to the official visit program, as prospects soon will be allowed to start taking visits after April 1 of their junior year of high school. This change will not go into effect until April 1, 2018, so recruits signing in the next cycle can take official visits only after the start of their senior year of high school.

Division II schools will decide in June whether to adopt the December signing period.