Thursday, February 7, 2013

Opinion: The Weird Fascination With Signing Day

It's a question that I keep asking myself every year around this time: Why are so many grown men utterly fascinated with the college choice of 17 or 18 year old high school kids?

And despite living and growing up in the south along with a very long career working in TV Sports, I've still not been able to understand it.

My Twitter feed yesterday was blown up with people, no, grown men boasting "National Signing Day should be a holiday in the south".


Sure, I'm a bit cynical and while I love all things Sports, I don't LIVE for all things Sports. But there are an awful lot of people down here in SEC territory who do LIVE for this.

From the breathless local TV coverage of kids making the dramatic, yet rarely surprising "announcement" of where they are going to play...(even if they say the school name wrong)


To the non-stop reports of "Who's flipping?" "Who won?" and the growth of sites like, and the 24-7 sites, it's an endless flood of who's the best high school prospects.

And it creates an artificial, bizarre bubble around the kids. Alumni become hyper-critical if the kid doesn't come to their school. Fans start making accusations. Poor Ole Miss. They get Robert Nkemdiche and some other "High" rated recruits and "Boom" there are allegations they are cheating.

Without getting too much on the soapbox, we just keep asking ourselves, "Why"? Does rating a 17-year old as 1,2, 3, 4 or 5-Star recruits measure how successful they'll be in college? No. Is it a best guess? Yes.

I've said it before and will say it again, you cannot predict with 100% accuracy how any teenager will react in his first year in college. You can't.

There are so many more temptations, so many more things they can't possibly have experienced that they'll be exposed to. Sure, lots of kids don't have a problem with it, adjust, become immediately successful and never look back.

But an equally large percentage don't.

It's an in-exact science and the even the "Recruit-niks" will tell you, they rarely get things dead perfect. But yet it's treated as such.

I think what is hard to understand is the pressure it puts the kids under. It's not uncommon any more for a kid to commit somewhere as a junior, but never go to the same school he says he loved just the year before. Nkemdiche did it. He "Committed" to Clemson, flirted with Georgia, took a visit to LSU and flirted again with Alabama before "committing" to Ole Miss.

The burden is wrong to put on a kid and I challenge ANY of you to argue that this system is "Fair and/or Equitable" to anyone.

For that matter, if you believe this "Should" be a holiday, I'd love to hear your argument for it. Why should this be "Celebrated" like it is? Why should an employer be obligated to give you a day off for work for something like this?

This kind of applies...kind of:

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