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The American Football Coaches Association recommended Wednesday that the NCAA approve an early signing period in December, liberalize redshirt rules and allow the 129 Football Bowl Subdivision schools to hire a 10th assistant coach.

The association, which includes coaches from nearly every NCAA football-playing school, also unanimously condemned the scheduling of Friday night college football games because, coaches said, Friday nights should be reserved for high school football.

The Big Ten is slated to join other leagues, such as the ACC and Conference USA, in televising Friday night games next season.

Executive director Todd Berry said during the conclusion of the annual coaches association meeting in Nashville, Tenn., that coaches unanimously recommended adding the 10th coach and a change in how players are redshirted.

Currently, if a player appears in one game, he loses a season of eligibility. Coaches recommended the NCAA change the rules to allow a player to redshirt even if he appeared in up to four games. The player would still have five years in which to play four seasons.

That recommendation and others will be discussed by the Football Oversight Committee when it meets next week in Nashville . Changes could receive approval from the NCAA as early as April and take effect next season.

The NCAA has proposed signing days in June and December to replace the current signing day in early February. But Berry said coaches rejected the proposed June signing period. He said it's possible that if the December date is approved by the NCAA, the February signing day will remain.

Berry said Wednesday that many FBS coaches "had major concerns" about the June signing day because some feared recruits might opt not to play their senior year of high school.

Old Dominion coach Bobby Wilder has been an ardent proponent of an early signing period, saying it gives schools a chance to react more quickly if they lose recruits to other schools. It also allows players, he said, to lock in binding commitments from colleges.

In each of the past two February signing days, ODU has lost key recruits to other schools .

FBS coaches also recommended that coaches be limited to attending satellite camps 10 days each summer. Those camps must be held on campus or at another four-year institution. That is likely to put a damper on coaches such as Michigan's Jim Harbaugh, who attended more than 30 camps last summer, including one at ODU.

Those camps will be limited to the first three weeks of June and the last week of July.

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January 12, 2017


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