MADISON - Gary Andersen isn’t interested in eliminating National Signing Day like Nebraska’s Bo Pelini. But the University of Wisconsin coach is a proponent of college football instituting an early signing period.
Speaking prior to hitting the links for the Gary Andersen Classic golf outing at Lake Wisconsin Country Club on Monday, the second-year coach said an early signing period would relieve a lot of stress on coaches, players and their families. As opposed to a verbal commitment, when they sign their letter it would take them off the market and eliminate attempts by other schools to “flip” them to their side.
“It would clear kids minds (and) allows them to be able to go spend the time that they need to spend on school and focus on whatever they’re doing,” Andersen said. “Maybe it’s a basketball season or they need to focus on school to get their academics where it needs to be. (It) takes a ton of pressure of the high school coaches that are continually just trying to take care of those kids. That would be a great thing.”
Currently signing day takes place the first Wednesday in February. Andersen would like to see an early signing period on the same day that junior college players can sign their letter of intent, which this year is Dec. 17.
“There’s a lot of other ideas, ‘you do it here, you do it there,’ that’s going to take years to get it done,” Andersen said. “This would be very simple in my opinion. ‘Hey, it’s mid-year (junior college) signing day? Not anymore, this is signing day one.’ And if you’re truly committed, you commit and away you go and you sign it.
“If a kid doesn’t commit, then you know as a coach that had him committed, maybe not so fast and you can go out and recruit those kids that didn’t sign or you better find a way to get that kid to sign when it comes (to) the first Wednesday in February with the second signing period.”
However it happens, Andersen would like to see a change made sooner rather than later.
“My problem is I think we need to make a decision fast and get it done. And not have to go through all the processes,” he said. “The coaches could get together on the National Letter of Intent and say we want to be able to sign kids when the (junior college) period signs. If we could just do that, that’s step one but lets make step one and see how it works.”