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Naples Daily News (Florida)
High school signing day — or more correctly, the first day of the traditional early signing period — arrives Wednesday with a notable change for most sports.
The change? There is no more early signing period for every sport except football and basketball.
Instead, Wednesday starts a continuous open signing window that runs all the way through the rest of the academic year. It doesn't end until roughly the start of the next school year, Aug. 1, 2019.
Basketball retains the early signing period, Nov. 14-21, and its regular period, April 17-May 15.
Football, which added a three-day early period last year in December, retains that window, Dec. 19-21, and its regular period, which starts Feb. 6 and runs various lengths based on college level.
"I think it'll impact different schools differently," said Fort Myers High School athletic director Carl McAloose, who has been athletic director at FGCU, Florida SouthWestern State College and elsewhere.
"(Some athletes) may wait later now. But people are so excited to sign that they're going to sign on the first day, in most cases. I'm not sure the impact is that big a deal."
2018-2019 National Letter of Intent signing dates
D1 basketball (early period): Nov. 14-Nov. 21, 2018
D1 basketball (regular period): April 17-May 15, 2019
D1 football (early period): Dec. 19-21, 2018
D1 football (regular period): Feb. 6-April 1, 2019
D2 football (regular period): Feb. 6-Aug. 1, 2019
D1, D2 football (mid-year junior college transfers): Dec. 19, 2018-Jan. 15, 2019
D1, D2 sports except football and basketball: Nov. 14, 2018-Aug. 1, 2019
The first day of the early period usually sees vast swaths of high school seniors officially put their names to their verbal commitments to various colleges.
Even with the changes, many schools in Southwest Florida are having signing ceremonies Wednesday.
"The programs are always going to try to get you," said Frank Turco, athletic director at Canterbury, which holds one signing ceremony for all its athletes in the spring. "They want you to sign."
The changes may ease some of the sense of urgency on athletes to make a choice and sign in the early period, knowing the signing window is now open throughout the year.
Colleges, however, aren't known for leaving offers on the table for extended periods.
"It'll give kids more opportunity to wait and see if there's a better opportunity," Turco said. "Some schools over-recruit and under-deliver. They might be able to hold on for a kid that plays a particular position. You're not just another number to them."
"The kids that didn't get the big-time scholarship now will have a little more time," McAloose said. "A coach might come back in a month or so and say something came open."
Given the nature of recruiting and signings, each case will remain unique.
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