IOWA CITY, Iowa — Count Iowa athletics director Gary Barta among the national advocates for a pair of early signing periods for college football players.
The Division I Football Oversight Committee recommended two new 72-hour signing periods beginning with the final Wednesday in June and coinciding with December’s junior-college signing dates. The Division I Council will vote on the proposal in 2017 and it could take effect for the 2017-2018 recruiting calendar.
Barta said 40 percent of college football players commit to a school by the proposed first signing date and 90 percent of those athletes eventually sign with the schools.
“If you know what you want to do, get it done so you can enjoy your senior year without that question hanging over you until February,” Barta said after Iowa’s monthly Presidential Committee on Athletics meeting. “It would also allow the coaches to spend more time with their current students and not continually hang on and wonder if that student is going to sign.”
Another proposal includes a 10th assistant football coach, for which Barta advocates. But he also would like to tie that proposition to a cap on football staffing. Including game analysts, recruiting coordinators and graduate assistants, Iowa currently employs 29 people under the football umbrella. That doesn’t count medical staff, trainers, tutors and other student assistants.
“Maybe you can say your total staff that works with football can be ‘X,’ ” Barta said.
It’s not just a financial reason to put a cap on staff size, Barta said. Iowa’s 2017 fiscal year budget is $102 million, ranking eighth in the Big Ten.
“I may regret saying this, but a common-sense perspective,” he said. “At some point, if those staffs continue to grow, you have more people to make sure are doing things the right way. It doesn’t make sense to me we just keep growing and growing these staffs.”
Another proposal includes parameters around satellite camps. Barta said the goal is to ensure camps are sponsored by colleges and held on a campus during a specific time frame.
Barta remains a minority voice in advocating for change in the bowl structure. Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany proposed four years ago only teams with winning records qualify for bowl games. It never gained traction nationally — and it doesn’t appear on the oversight committee’s proposals — but Barta still touts Delany’s suggestion.
“In my opinion, just one person’s opinion, we have too many bowls,” Barta said. “I don’t want it to get too watered down. I don’t want it to be less popular.”