FARGO-North Dakota State is on the stretch run toward another Missouri Valley Football Conference title. But there's also more than Illinois State on the minds of the coaches this week.
The new early signing period is a little more than one month away.
And, in something the NDSU athletic department has done on a regular basis, it recently emailed a list of "NCAA compliance reminders" to its fan base. Essentially, it's a snapshot of items that boosters are not allowed to do for prospective student-athletes.
For instance, one line says "You may NOT email or post messages on prospects' social media pages."
"It's part of our compliance protocol," said NDSU athletic director Matt Larsen. "Our education not only involves educating our student-athletes, coaches and staff but also educating our boosters."
The NCAA passed the new 72-hour early signing period that runs from Dec. 20-22. The traditional signing period on the first Wednesday in February still remains, but it's expected most Division I recruits will sign in December.
Certainly, fans will be paying attention.
Larsen said there have been instances in which boosters have contacted the school inquiring about doing something for either a current or prospective athlete. For instance, one fan from another state called saying they were aware one of the Bison teams was traveling to their city and wondered if he or she could host the team for dinner.
"It's a nice gesture, but you can't do it," Larsen said. "The fact people ask helps a lot. But I think moreso, the ones that don't want to ask, is why we send that out to remind them. We do it every year." The email included two phone numbers to call NDSU with compliance questions. It also included the line "once identified as a booster, an individual remains a booster for life."
"The emails are twofold: One, they're a reminder that here are the rules," Larsen said. "But two, they're also a reminder that if you have any questions, make sure to give us a call and double check. So I don't think it's a concern, it's more of a reminder."