SEC presidents, ADs turn down proposed early signing day
Updated: May 30, 2008, 8:40 PM ETBy Chris Low | ESPN.com
DESTIN, Fla. -- The proposed early signing day favored by the majority of the SEC's head football coaches didn't make the cut Friday with the league's presidents and athletic directors.
The proposal would have allowed prospects to sign on the Monday before the start of the contact period on Dec. 1 provided they had not taken an official visit. Ultimately, though, the presidents and athletic directors weren't sold on an early signing day under its current wording, meaning the SEC won't endorse the legislation on a national level. Earlier in the week at the SEC spring meetings, the head coaches had voted 9-3 in favor of creating an early signing day. "I wouldn't say we were in disfavor of it as much as we just had too many questions about it," said David Williams, Vanderbilt's vice chancellor for university affairs and athletics. Tennessee athletic director Mike Hamilton wasn't comfortable with the idea of prospects signing at a school before taking an official visit. "I think that's part of the experience, going out and visiting with professors, seeing the campus and meeting with everybody," Hamilton said. Even though Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer is now a proponent of an early signing day, Hamilton's not sure it would have been advantageous for the Vols. "For us at Tennessee, because 85 percent of our student-athletes are not from the state of Tennessee, I think sometimes it's helpful to have a little more time in the recruiting process," Hamilton said. Georgia athletic director Damon Evans said he was concerned about the potential consequences of an early signing day that the league might not have already considered. He also feared that the early signing day might evolve into the main signing day similar to the way it's happened in basketball. Currently, the football signing day falls on the first Wednesday in February. Basketball has two signing days, in November and April. The proposal could be reintroduced in another year under different language, but is effectively dead for now at the SEC level. The only head coaches to vote against it earlier this week were Florida's Urban Meyer, South Carolina's Steve Spurrier and Arkansas' Bobby Petrino. Chris Low is a college football writer for ESPN.com. Send your questions and comments to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.