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Early signing period and flexible redshirts: How two new developments might affect Mizzou

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Here are today’s Mizzou Links.

NCAA Football: Arkansas at Missouri Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

We were in the middle of a pretty slow news day on Monday until rules proposals spiced things up a bit.

Early signing period

It’s official: there will be a December signing period for college football. The Collegiate Commissioners Association signed off on it.

The signing period will last 72 hours, beginning Dec. 20 and running through Dec. 22. Players who choose to sign early this year can take official visits after their senior year of high school begins, as has been standing NCAA policy. (For future years, the official visit period is slated to move up to April during players’ junior years.)

Players will have the choice of whether to sign in December or wait until the signing period that starts on the first Wednesday of February and runs until April 1. That one’s the traditional period, and it remains to be seen how much luster the February date will lose. That likely depends on how many recruits choose to sign early and how many opt to hold out, creating suspense until February. At any rate, the way fans and media follow recruiting will change a great deal.

We don’t know for sure what kind of impact this will have until we’ve seen it play out a couple of times, but at worst, I don’t believe this hurts a school like Missouri. If anything, it could help the schools that are more quickly able to identify talent. Now, the Ohio States or Alabamas of the world could still swoop in and tell kids “Hey, don’t sign just yet — there might be an offer from us in a few weeks,” and maybe those kids all still sign in February. But at worst, it doesn’t hurt Mizzou.

Even Barry Odom doesn’t completely knows what to expect.

The text:

"It will likely take a couple of cycles before we really know how it will impact Mizzou. However, we'll embrace the opportunity and be prepared with a plan to host official visits as soon as they are allowed by rule. While I believe there are some who will take advantage of this and sign early, I would anticipate that the majority will still sign in February."

Here’s Rivals’ Adam Gorney on the pros and cons of the early signing period. And no, there’s no exception for coaching changes here.

That’s kind of annoying, but oh well I guess.

Now the other proposed change:

Redshirts playing bowls

Take it away, Stewart Mandel:

The American Football Coaches Association is forwarding a proposal to the NCAA that would allow players to participate in up to four games of a season without burning their redshirt year. If passed, theoretically, a coach could unleash his touted four-star freshman running back in the TaxSlayer Bowl.

“I think that would be pretty intriguing to some of the fan bases,” said AFCA executive director Todd Berry, “which might legitimize some of those bowl games and make them more interesting.

There’s been a lot of hand-wringing about star players potentially beginning to skip bowl games; this stems from the absence of players like Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey, LSU’s Leonard Fournette, and Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers in last year’s bowls and ignores the fact that, to some degree, they were all injured. It’s not like they skipped these games while completely healthy. Regardless, there’s concern that skipping bowls might become the norm, which has led us into a future of bowl games conversation. Well ... this is certainly a fun way to spice bowls up again. It also allows for a bit more flexibility for coaches.

“We really haven’t addressed the redshirt rule in quite some time,” WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen said during last week’s Big 12 meetings, via Fox Sports. “We’re playing way more games than we used to — there used to be a 10-game season. They’re looking at it, and I would support it.”

Holgorsen further elaborated, rather eloquently, about the risk of playing a true freshman who thinks he’s ready, but isn’t when he steps on the field.

“If you think the kid is ready to play, and he goes out there in September but he’s scared to death, goes out there and plays two series and s**** down his leg, now you’re stuck with him, and the kid’s screwed. He may not play the rest of the year and he’s burned that year.”

It gives coaches more options if a key player suffers a late-season injury, but the playing-in-bowls part of this idea is particularly interesting. And it will be more interesting from a Mizzou perspective once Mizzou actually starts playing in bowls again.

More Links:

  • Well this is a damn shame: Arkansas’ Rawleigh Williams III is retiring from football after suffering a second neck injury this spring. Theoretically, it won’t hurt the Hogs all that much on the field because he and backup Devwah Whaley produced nearly identical numbers last year, but it still stinks for him and for college football.
  • My weekly appearance on the Big Show covered Mizzou sports and ... naked dudes on fish. A sure sign that it’s been a fun offseason so far.
  • Here’s a blast from the past: Former Tiger Levi Copelin, who produced a 1,000-yard season at Pittsburg State after his Mizzou dismissal, signed a UDFA deal with Tampa Bay.
  • Charles Harris one-on-one!
  • You guys hear about the Mizzou Mile?