Frisco, Texas — Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby was happy to see the NCAA adopt a December signing period for football teams, but wants it to go a step further.
During the spring, the NCAA approved an early football signing period for high school recruits in December, which will run for 72 hours from Dec. 20-22. Those dates coincide with first three days of the midyear JUCO signing period.
For players who don't utilize the early signing period, the usual National Signing Day will remain on the first Wednesday in February, which will land on Feb. 7 for Class of 2018 recruits.
“I would suggest that we still have a lot of work to do there,” Bowlsby said at Big 12 Media Days at Ford Center. “We have data that indicates that about 70 percent of the Division I football prospects make their decision before the 1st of October and really would like to get the recruitment process over with.”
Instead of a formal signing day, Bowlsby mentioned recruiting windows, which he suggested teams could issue letters of intent and players have 14 days to sign it.
One of the statistics that Bowlsby cited was the average FBS team issues 233 oral offers to players, though only 25 players can sign per recruiting class.
“I'm not sure that a signing date is exactly what we need in today's environment,” Bowlsby said. “I have asked coaches, athletic directors, conference commissioners repeatedly over the last 12 months why we have a signing date…. The only answer I've ever gotten is because we've always had a signing date.”
Of course, there’s always potential pitfalls with an earlier recruiting window, which include coaching changes and cause-and-effect problems.
But Bowlsby said his main motivation for a new signing period system is a more genuine recruiting process.
“There's a lot of disingenuousness in the system, and I think we need to try to clean that up as much as we possibly can,” Bowlsby said. “It seems to me that maybe a signing window might be the answer to it, but we have a lot more work to do on it, and I wouldn't presume to say how it's going to turn out at this point.”
TCU coach Gary Patterson said it would be difficult to move signing dates to the beginning of the football season because coaches would have limited time for evaluations, along with time to work on their current team.
"All the mistakes that everybody's talking about right now with players, kids want to decommit, well, a lot of it is because they get talked into going to a place they don't know anything about," Patterson said. "They just read the name, and they really don't fit in. We've got to get back to kids going to our campus and see if they like the coaches, see if they like everything."
With the college basketball offseason in full swing, and teams preparing for their overseas trips to play exhibition games, it’s time to take a look at all of the roster changes.
In the Big 12, the early predictions for next season have Kansas winning another conference title, West Virginia giving KU the biggest challenge and Texas emerging as a sleeper pick following a strong recruiting class.
Here’s a look at all of the incoming and outgoing players in the Big 12:
In: Billy Preston, Marcus Garrett, Malik Newman, Jack Whitman, Sam Cunliffe (eligible to play in December)
Out: Frank Mason III, Landen Lucas, Josh Jackson, Carlton Bragg, Dwight Coleby
In three of the past five seasons, the school that lost the national player of the year didn’t make it to the NCAA Tournament in the following year. Of course, the Jayhawks will feel the losses of Frank Mason III and Josh Jackson, but it’s pretty remarkable they remain odds-on favorites to capture another Big 12 title.
Mississippi State transfer Malik Newman is expected to contend for the team’s leading scorer, while freshman Billy Preston, one of the conference's three McDonald's All-Americans, will compete for a spot in the starting lineup. But the best news of the offseason for KU was the return of senior Devonte Graham and a now-healthy Udoka Azubuike.
In: Tristan Clark, Leonard Allen
Out: Johnathan Motley, Ishamil Wainright, Al Freeman
After reaching a No. 1 ranking in the middle of the season and exiting in the Sweet 16, Baylor will attempt to reload following the loss of standout forward Johnathan Motley, who wasn’t picked in the NBA Draft.
Coach Scott Drew can still rely on point guard Manu Lecomte and center Jo Lual-Acuil Jr., and the incoming recruiting class includes four-star forward Tristan Clark, who led his high school to the state championship game. But like most programs who lose one of the top players in the country, it’s hard to avoid a step back in the following season.
In: Lindell Wigginton, Terrence Lewis, Hans Brase, Jeff Beverly
Out: Monte Morris, Deonte Burton, Naz Mitrou-Long, Matt Thomas, Merrill Holden, Darrell Bowie
Many of Iowa State's familiar faces from the past few years have finally graduated, and the Cyclones lost their top four scorers. Perhaps no team in the Big 12 lost more talent once the season ended.
Coach Steve Prohm will enter rebuilding mode with five-star point guard Lindell Wigginton, who was teammates with KU’s Billy Preston at Oak Hill Academy, and four-star forward Terrence Lewis out of Milwaukee. Graduate transfer Hans Brase, from Princeton, played against the Jayhawks in the World University Games for Germany (six points and six rebounds).
In: Levi Stockard III, Nigel Shadd, Mike McGuirl, Makol Mawien, Amaad Wainright, Mawdo Sallah
Out: Wesley Iwundu, D.J. Johnson, Carlbe Ervin II, Isaiah Maurice
Despite losing leading scorer Wesley Iwundu, Kansas State returns four of its top six scorers from last season. It didn’t help that Isaiah Maurice was dismissed from the team earlier this month, but the Wildcats have a foundation to keep progressing from last year’s NCAA Tournament squad.
Among the newcomers, there’s three transfers and three players from high school. Levi Stockard, a 6-foot-8 forward, led Vashon High to its second straight Class 4 Missouri state title. Amaad Wainright, younger brother of Baylor’s Ish Wainright, averaged 14 points at a junior college in Texas.
In: Trae Young, Brady Manek, Hannes Polla, Ty Lazenby
Out: Jordan Woodard, Darrion Strong-Moore
In a fierce recruiting battle, the Sooners beat out a few blue bloods, including Kansas, for hometown point guard Trae Young. He’s surrounded by a strong group of guards including Kameron McGusty, Rashard Odomes and Christian James.
Oklahoma will likely go as far as Young can take them after he averaged 44 points per game at nearby Norman North High. Jordan Woodard is the toughest loss (14.6 points per game), but the fact that the Sooners return so much of their team can only help them try to return to the NCAA Tournament.
In: Zack Dawson, Kendall Smith, Yankuba Sima (December)
Out: Phil Forte III, Leyton Hammonds, Jawun Evans
After building momentum last season, winning nine of their final 12 games in the conference and suffering a one-point loss to Michigan in the NCAA Tournament, the Cowboys will be rebuilding after coach Brad Underwood departed for Illinois.
Oklahoma State lost three of its top four scorers, including second-round NBA draft pick Jawun Evans, and will learn to play under its new coach, Mike Boynton. Among the newcomers, the Cowboys picked up two transfers, Kendall Smith (CSUN) and Yankuba Sima (St. John’s), and four-star guard Zack Dawson.
In: Kevin Samuel, RJ Nembhard, Lat Mayen, Shawn Olden, Ahmed Hamdy
Out: Brandon Parrish, Michael Williams, Karviar Shepherd, Chris Washburn
Under first-year coach Jamie Dixon, the Horned Frogs made a strong push at the end of last season, including a Big 12 Tournament win over Kansas, and won the NIT. If that wasn’t already a good sign, TCU brings back its top six scorers from last year.
TCU will have to replace some depth with the loss of a few seniors, but there’s a solid group of newcomers that should compete for playing time. Ahmed Hamdy is a graduate transfer from VCU where he averaged five points per game.
In: Mo Bamba, Matt Coleman, Jericho Sims, Jase Febres, Royce Hamm Jr., Dylan Osetkowski
Out: Shaquille Cleare, Kendal Yancy, Jarrett Allen, Tevin Mack
One of the popular picks to surprise teams next winter after Shaka Smart secured a strong recruiting class, highlighted by Mo Bamba, a top-five player in the nation, and Matt Coleman, a true point guard that the team lacked last season. Bamba was in the news this week when his brother accused him of accepting cash and gifts, though Texas released a statement saying, "the NCAA has not informed us of any pending issues or eligibility concerns at this time."
The Longhorns lost some of their inside presence when Shaquille Cleare graduated and Jarrett Allen went to the NBA. But they received good news when Andrew Jones announced he would return for another season. He averaged 11.4 points last season, the school’s top returning scorer.
In: Malik Ondigo, Jarett Culver, Daniel Mading, Zhaire Smith, Tommy Hamilton IV, Brandone Francis, Davide Moretti, Josh Webster, Hyron Edwards
Out: Anthony Livingston, Aaron Ross, Devon Thomas, Matthew Temple
Texas Tech returns its only double-digit scorers from last season, Keenan Evans and Zach Smith, but coach Chris Beard will infuse a large group of newcomers to the rotation. That includes Depaul transfer Tommy Hamilton IV and Florida transfer Brandone Francis, who both sat out all of last season. Hamilton averaged 8.6 points and 5.5 boards in his junior year at Depaul.
The Red Raiders lost several close games in last year’s 18-14 campaign and should receive a boost from their mix of returners and newcomers. Newcomer Davide Moretti starred in Italy, playing for the u18 and u20 national teams.
In: Brandon Knapper, Derek Culver, Teddy Allen, D’Angelo Hunter, Wesley Harris
Out: Tarik Phillip, Nathan Adrian, Teyvon Myers, Brandon Watkins, Elijah Macon
It wasn’t unexpected, but West Virginia received good news in the offseason when Jevon Carter announced he was going to return for his senior season. He briefly tested the waters for the NBA Draft. That meant the Mountaineers return their top two scorers, including Esa Ahmad, and a perfect fit for their full-court pressure defense.
West Virginia lost three key contributors: Tarik Phillip, Nathan Adrian and Elijah Macon, but there’s confidence younger players and the newcomers can step up into key positions. However, the Mountaineers’ top incoming recruit, Derek Culver, hasn’t arrived on campus yet. Coach Bob Huggins said he’s awaiting a test score to determine his eligibility.
After each college basketball team ends its season, focus quickly turns ahead to next season’s roster situation.
It’s certainly the case with Kansas, which enters the offseason with a few question marks, including potential NBA decisions from Devonte’ Graham and Svi Mykhailiuk, and whether it can land a few extra recruits.
But Kansas is far from the only school that entered the offseason with some question marks. Most of the Big 12 schools started to deal with transfers and NBA decisions in the past week and here’s a quick recap of all of the moves around the conference:
Baylor: Guard Al Freeman opts to transfer
Fourth-year junior guard Al Freeman is set to graduate from Baylor this spring and will opt to use the grad transfer rule to play elsewhere.
Helping the Bears to the Sweet 16, the 6-foot-3 Freeman averaged 9.7 points and 2.5 rebounds in 31 games (22 starts). He scored 21 points on 6-of-10 shooting in a first-round win over New Mexico State, but combined for just four points in 33 minutes in NCAA Tournament games against USC and South Carolina.
"Al has been a tremendous student-athlete and made great contributions to our program over the last four years, and we're thrilled that he's going to complete his degree at Baylor," Baylor coach Scott Drew said in a statement. "He'll always be part of the Baylor family, and we'll be rooting for him as he continues his career."
Freeman’s stats were slightly down from his sophomore season when he averaged 11.3 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.7 assists. He was suspended for three games this season for a violation of team rules.
He redshirted during the 2013-14 season because of a broken wrist.
Texas: Jarrett Allen going through NBA Draft process, Tevin Mack transfers
Standout freshman forward Jarrett Allen announced he was testing the waters for the NBA Draft last week. He didn’t hire an agent, which will allow him to return to Texas if he chooses.
Named third-team All-Big 12, Allen averaged 13.4 points and 8.4 rebounds on 56.6 percent shooting, adding a team-high 51 blocks. He recorded 12 double-doubles, including eight in conference play.
“I want everyone to know that I am testing the waters with this decision, but I will not be signing with an agent,” Allen said in a statement. “Going through this process will allow my family and I to make the best decision possible for my future.”
The 6-11 Allen averaged 16.2 points and 9.8 rebounds in Big 12 play, including 22-point, 19-rebound performance inside of Allen Fieldhouse.
Allen is projected as the 13th pick in the latest NBA mock draft from Draft Express.
Before the end of the season, 6-7 swingman Tevin Mack was given his release to transfer. He led the Longhorns with 14.8 points per game in 15 games, but was suspended in January for a violation of team rules and never returned.
In a recent interview with The State, Mack’s mother said he will likely attempt to transfer to an SEC or ACC school.
Oklahoma State: Named Mike Boynton head coach, Jawun Evans and Jeffrey Carroll declare for NBA Draft
In a move that sent shockwaves around the college basketball-sphere, Brad Underwood left Oklahoma State to coach at Illinois. Last week, 35-year-old Mike Boynton, an assistant to Underwood, was named as the head of the program.
Boynton played at South Carolina and spent 12 years as an assistant at five schools, including South Carolina and Stephen F. Austin before his time in Stillwater.
“Coach Boynton’s got a different demeanor than Coach Underwood,” former OSU guard Phil Forte told the Oklahoman, “not good or bad, but a good basketball mind and a calming demeanor that I think brings a confidence about him. He knows when to get on you, when not to.”
After Underwood left the program, star point guard Jawun Evans and Jeffrey Carroll announced their intention to test the waters for the NBA Draft. It’s believed that neither player has hired an agent, allowing them to potentially return.
Evans was a first-team all-Big 12 selection, averaging 19.2 points and 6.4 assists per game. Carroll, more likely of the two to return and a second-team all-Big 12 pick, averaged 17.5 points and 6.6 rebounds.
Draft Express has Evans projected to be picked 26th in its latest mock draft.
Oklahoma: Darrion Strong-Moore set to transfer
Junior guard Darrion Strong-Moore will reportedly transfer after averaging 3.8 points and 1.4 assists in 29 games this season.
Strong-Moore started the final seven games when Jordan Woodard suffered a season-ending knee injury.
The former Coffeyville Community College player scored seven points in 28 minutes in his final meeting against Kansas. He shot 3-of-7 from the floor with four rebounds and three turnovers.
Iowa State: Simeon Carter transferring
Little-used sophomore forward Simeon Carter announced his decision to transfer last week.
Carter played in six games, but never stepped on the court against Kansas.