LINCOLN, Neb. — Mike Riley and Shawn Eichorst posited a simple question Monday: Why wait to open your Christmas presents in December if they’re already wrapped and under the tree in July?
The Nebraska Cornhuskers football coach and his athletic director kicked off a weeklong spring tour Monday afternoon in downtown Lincoln with a proposal they feel is more of a “when” than an “if” — an annual early signing day for football prospects on July 1.
“Someday,” Riley told reporters after a short Q&A headlining a luncheon at the Nebraska Club. “I think that someday (it’ll happen).
“I think that was on the table initially, and I think that was (a part of the) discussions about what kind of early signing day — the end of June, first part of July, I think that was on the table.”
The NCAA’s Division I council last month approved a proposal that would allow for a new early National Signing Day in December, one that received final approval from conference commissioners Monday. The new early National Signing Day — more of a signing period, really — is scheduled to run over a three-day stretch starting on Dec. 20.
“I think that December (date) ended up being a compromise for the moment,” Riley continued. “But I think we will find with earlier visits — April, May and June — that (it) becomes kind of a natural, I think, eventually, for kids to go ahead and sign.”
Riley told the luncheon audience that the Huskers entertained roughly 50 prospects at the Red-White spring game on April 15 and received five commitments over that weekend.
Both Riley and Eichorst stressed that a summer signing date could be advantageous to both the college programs in pursuit and the high school prospects, many of whom prefer to wrap up their university shopping before the start of their senior campaigns.
“Mainly because, if you look at the landscape, the reality of the landscape, again, with earlier visits (in) April, May and June primarily now, kids are making unofficial visits to kick the tires to make the commitment, right?” the Cornhuskers athletic director said.
“And so I think having the opportunity before they start their senior season of football at their high school just seems to make sense to me on a lot of levels.”
It makes sense to Riley, too — enough sense that he’s certain that a summer date could land on the recruiting calendar within the decade.
“I think a lot of high school coaches and kids would be glad about that, actually, to get that behind them,” Riley said. “That option, I think in the future, it might not be next year or the year after, but I think, someday, you’ll see something like that.”