Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A POSSIBLE CHANGE TO THE SIGNING PERIOD: With all the hub-bub from Josh Selby's decision to back out of his commitment to Tennessee, it seems like the NABC may be on its way to making a change. This from the latest Andy Katz blog:

How to hold on to commitments continues to be a pressing issue and has resurfaced yet again with the high-profile decommitment of Josh Selby from Tennessee. One idea that circulated Monday night that might be of interest to the National Association of Basketball Coaches to pursue is to get rid of the signing periods and allow a player to sign a binding national letter of intent within 30 days of giving a verbal commitment. The 30-day window would give the player a bit more time to ensure he has made the right decision. The other component that should be included in the letter of intent to get the document up to the current era is an out for the player if the coach leaves the school. Schools are less likely to fight a player's decision to ask out of the letter of intent if the coach is no longer at the school. The most recent example involved Xavier Henry. He signed with Memphis, but once Calipari left for Kentucky, Henry asked out of his letter and went to Kansas.
Please let this happen.

DeMarcus Cousins originally committed to UAB.
(photo credit: NBCSports)

For starters, the system would probably flow much more smoothly if recruits were allowed 30 days to sign an LOI after committing to a school (although, the NCAA would have to establish some way to officially "commit" to a school). Waiting until designated signing periods seems arbitrary and allows much more time for a recruit to be persuaded to change his mind.

But the rule involving the coaching changes is much more relevant and significant. LOI's right now are outdated. Players don't sign with a school anymore; generally, they are signing with the coach they want to play for. If that coach leaves, it is only fair to allow the player to leave as well. Often times, a recruit will have this clause in his LOI. Other times, the school won't agree to it.

Take DeMarcus Cousins as an example. The Birmingham native originally committed to UAB because he wanted to play for Mike Davis, but he asked for a clause to be put in the contract that would allow him out of his LOI if Davis were to leave or be fired. UAB didn't agree, which means they missed out on what would have most likely been the best recruit they have ever signed.

If a coach is allowed to leave a school after signing recruits without any penalty, it is only just if the recruits are allowed to as well.

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