Huge development here. Straight from the NCAA website:
Awarding Athletics Aid to a Senior Prospective Student-Athlete who will Graduate and Enroll Midyear (I)
The academic and membership affairs staff determined that a prospective student-athlete who intends to graduate from high school midyear and enroll at a member institution midyear during the same academic year (e.g., spring semester) may sign an institutional financial aid agreement on or after August 1 of his or her senior year, provided the institution issuing the financial aid agreement establishes, prior to issuing the agreement, that the prospective student-athlete is enrolled in all coursework necessary to graduate from high school at midyear.
Think this one kind of speaks for itself, especially with the rise of early enroll candidates with each passing year. We'll see how many kids out there actually take advantage of the rule, but I imagine this could be a particular boon to out-of-state kids fearing in-state pressure. At the very least, it's going to provide a very telling litmus test as to the actual legitimacy of any verbal commitment from an early enroll candidate.
Think of this new rule this way: Were it applicable now, kids like Cam Robinson and C.J. Hampton could sign a letter of intent today, and have their recruitment all over with.
Next question, then, becomes when do we see some similar rule change for normal end-of-year signees? Also, does this early signing period legislation help walk-back a lot of other NCAA legislation in recent years limiting early contact with prospective recruits?