HOUSTON (AP) -Football coaches love recruiting. What they don't love is baby-sitting recruits for months after they've committed to play for them.
Many wish there was an early signing period so they could lock down recruits in December and leave behind the business of holding their hands to make sure they don't change their minds before it can be made official on Feb. 4.
A proposal for a mid-December signing period was recently voted down by conference commissioners, but the issue is not going away and many college coaches will campaign for such a change until it happens.
Signing day is on Wednesday, but most of the top recruits have been verbally committed to a school for months.
``Really in May and June and July people are committing so you don't have to do all that traveling in December if you have them already signed in December,'' said Buffalo coach Turner Gill. ``And in January, you don't have to go and so-called baby-sit.''
from schools throughout late December and January if they've already signed.
Brown, who often signs players who graduate high school and enroll in college a semester early, believes such a change would be beneficial for those students.
``I think it would be great ... especially for the ones that are coming in January because they could have a special day instead of missing their signing day because they're already enrolled in school,'' he said.
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops is a major proponent of an early signing period and thinks it will be good for everyone involved.
``It would benefit those students (and) I think it would allow more coaches to be back from the road and be with the current players that are on your team in the early weeks of January working with them,'' he said. ``I think there would be a lot of financial savings for universities as well.''
Those financial savings could come from cutting out the visits coaches must make to ensure the recruits they have committed aren't waffling on their decisions or worse - being lured away by another school.
g.
``There was a little hesitation in doing it because of the academics,'' he said. ``So there are a lot of plusses and there may be a few minuses just like anything when you make some choices.''
Another coach who supports the change, but does have some concerns about it, is Boise State's Chris Petersen. He's worried that it could have some players signing before others have even had a chance to take their visits. And that could work against coaches like Petersen, who work in smaller, more isolated markets.
``A lot of guys are just getting people committed before they can even take visits,'' he said. ``So if they get there unofficially, well some guys don't have the means for that. The other thing ... is those universities that are in heavily populated areas, it will favor. We're not one of those.''
Though most coaches favor an early signing period, famously eccentric Texas Tech coach Mike Leach is staunchly opposed to it. The man who holds a law degree mused that it's difficult to have everything ``figured out'' at 18 and not need more time for such a major decision, adding that even at age 47 he could use more time to make big decisions.
Leach, who helped Tech (11-2) match a school record for wins this season, also thinks it would put a strain on his coaching staff if they had to recruit all summer and that it would cut into the already limited time they have with their families.
se aren't the only reasons he dislikes such a plan.
``I think it takes away from the season,'' he said. ``I think that you have recruiting so that you can play games and if you're going to go cloud that with an early signing period, it takes away from the game. It's pretty good the way it is now.''

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