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Notre Dame Football Recruiting

NCAA Has Tough Decisions Ahead For Recruiting Guidelines

July 11, 2020

It's an important month for college football. Teams will start to get into "real" workouts in groups, but decisions will also be made on whether or not a season will actually occur. 

On the recruiting trail, I would imagine a final decision on recruiting visits this fall will happen. It's not looking good for prospects to visits schools as several signs point to them not happening. 

Conference-only games is likely a negative sign of what's to happen with recruiting visits. The fact conferences won't allow Stanford to travel to South Bend isn't a good omen for recruits from California to do the same. And yes, the conference-only move isn't necessarily about limiting travel, but rather organization and keeping competition even. 

The move will also cause the NCAA to step in and extend the Dead Period. The obvious example would be the SEC deciding to let prospects visit in the fall, but the PAC-12 deciding against it. That isn't an ideal scenario, so it's very likely the NCAA will decide to extend the Dead Period. 

Another telling move is a prospect like 2021 offensive lineman Rocco Spindler‍ deciding to commit in August. As we've mentioned, the four-star prospect has been adamant about taking his five official visits and now it looks as if Spindler will have a decision in the next 30 days. 

If visits can't happen this fall, it will be intriguing to see how in-person evaluations and visits are handled. Will coaches be allowed to hit the recruiting trail during the fall? Now, there isn't a ton of recruiting going on during the season, but coaches will pop up at prospects games on Friday nights during road trips and the bye week. 

Typically, those visits are power moves as coaches aren't allowed to have contact with the prospect. However, the opportunity to see prospects at games could turn into critical evaluations for the 2021 and 2022 class. 

Remember, there were virtually zero camps this spring and summer. There were zero camps on campuses, so the opportunity for a prospect to pass the eye test will become valuable if coaches are allowed to get on the road. 

That leads me to a final thought. Will National Signing Day be moved? 

If the 2020 college football season is delayed until the spring, it only makes sense to extend National Signing Day past the first Wednesday in February. You would still have the early signing period in December as schools will want to get early enrollees locked up and it will allow kids set on a school to get the process over with earlier. 

However, the extension will also allow prospects who haven't taken any visits to potentially get on college campuses and actually speak to the coaches and professors. The independent visits to campus aren't exactly a chance to educate the prospect on the school as no one from the school can have in-person contact with them. 

Many kids have Division I offers and many haven't stepped foot on a college campus. The NCAA has eliminated those opportunities to date and I'm not sure it's been the wrong decision, but there has to be an opportunity for kids to visit. 

I don't think any school feels overly confident in taking a prospect that has never been on its campus to have an in-person conversation or experience life at that school. If the NCAA keeps the same signing dates and doesn't allow visits, it will lead to many programs taking a large number of prospects that have never visited the school. I fully believe that will lead to issues in 2022 and 2023 as the Transfer Portal could be extremely busy with names.

It's a tough situation for everyone. Coaches seem very indifferent as putting prospects around the team on visits seems extremely risky, while there is a vital need for recruiting visits. 

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