Rivals.com - NCAA extends dead period through Jan. 1
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NCAA extends dead period through Jan. 1

Mark Emmert
Mark Emmert (AP Images)

College football could be back in at least four of the five Power Five conferences but official visits are not going to happen until at least Jan. 1.

Traditional fall officials have been pushed back by the NCAA and people across the college football recruiting spectrum are none too pleased.

Late on Wednesday, word came from the NCAA that, “The Division I Council extended the recruiting dead period through January 1. The Council has been reviewing the dead period on a regular basis since April. A dead period precludes all in-person recruiting. Phone calls and correspondence can continue to occur.”

“It’s a big loss,” Rivals National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell said. “If they’re not going to change the early signing period, which we haven’t found out yet but all signs are they’re going to keep it, then a lot of these kids don’t get to see schools they’re interested in. They start their own official visits where they’re paying for it and they’re gathering together to see schools.”

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That has been the case at three schools - LSU, Georgia and Oklahoma - where the coaching staffs did not coordinate visits nor meet recruits but prospects scheduled trips at the same time to meet up and spend time on each of those campuses.

That is not possible across the country, though, and so the NCAA pushing back the official visit schedule becomes problematic for uncommitted 2021 prospects. Four-star linebacker Yanni Karlaftis from West Lafayette, Ind., is one of them.

“It definitely makes things more difficult but I think waiting things out closer to signing day will help me out,” Karlaftis said.

One Big Ten source said, “it’s bad for every 2021 kid in the country.” An SEC source said it hurts their staff since they haven’t had an opportunity over the last few years to meet all the 2021 prospects and have them on campus. Usually, that's what fall official visits are for.

Ohio State four-star running back commit Evan Pryor out of Cornelius (N.C.) Hough, has never visited the Buckeyes’ campus. Oklahoma five-star receiver pledge Mario Williams, from Plant City, Fla., has never been to Norman. Both expected to take visits and experience a game weekend like a regular recruiting cycle. But that will not be possible now.

“It’s really difficult to sign early, which I’m sure some are being asked to do without seeing the school,” Farrell said. “It’s a safety issue, I get it. It’s hard enough to test people on your own campus but people flying in from different places who might have been exposed, I just don’t think you want to bring outsiders onto campus for official visits that could potentially jeopardize the actual football season.”

Five-star offensive guard Bryce Foster from Katy (Texas) Taylor was shocked by the NCAA news Wednesday evening. Foster, who has Oklahoma, Texas A&M and others high on his list, asked why if fans can go to some stadiums and socially distance, why can’t recruits?

“That's just terrible,” Foster said. “I always dreamed of taking these official visits and was excited for all the food and stuff. It does make it harder but at the same time, it doesn't really make it that much harder if you know what I mean.”

One other high-level offensive tackle responded bluntly: "Can't believe that (stuff)."

Foster summed up his feelings - and the feelings of many, in three words.

“Man, just whack,” Foster said.