Early NCAA football signing period approved

The Florida State Seminoles take the field. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

NORFOLK, Va. - Call it a "sign" of the times.

Monday, the Collegiate Commissioners Association approved an early signing period for high school football recruits. The changes to the National Letter of Intent program include a new, 72-hour early signing period between December 20 and December 22 for student athletes who wish to sign with their college of choice.

Until now, high school football seniors who were not enrolling early were required to wait until the first Wednesday in February, National Signing Day, to sign their binding letter of intent. (A verbal commitment to a school is non-binding.)

Head coach Justin Fuente of the Virginia Tech Hokies. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

For reference, 17 of the 26 high school members of Virginia Tech's 2017 football signing class verbally committed to the Hokies after December 22.

On the other hand, 15 of the 18 high school members of Old Dominion's 2017 signing class committed to the Monarchs before December 20. In ODU's case, a source well-connected with the Monarchs' recruiting philosophy says the new early signing period will be good for a program like ODU because it will keep verbal pledges from being scooped-up by Power 5 in the final weeks of the recruiting process.

However, the new signing period may end up costing non-Power 5 programs more money and time because they will be forced to "monitor" their verbal pledges and recruits during the fall, which means more travel during an already busy travel season (the regular season). Under the current system, coaches could make a final push during January - after the regular season and holidays.