|Wednesday was a celebration for many across the country; families, coaches, and fans. But not everyone saw National Signing Day as a great event.What started out as a Tuesday conversation with a friend of mine who works in Higher Education turned into his sending me the following reflection on the underside of roster management, admissions, and the pursuit of the next big thing.|
“My word is my bond“…except in college football recruiting.
It has been well covered on the BBC before but there aren’t too many boy scouts (in the traditional sense) involved in the circus that culminated on National Signing Day. We all saw the faces of 17-18 year olds sitting behind a table with significant others and an pen in hand. What is a day that will ultimately change their life forever, though, is littered with ugly. There is enough blame to go around and in this writer’s opinion, very little should be shouldered by the 18 year old kid.
Let’s start with the system (driven by the media), which asks a kid to give his “word” (which used to mean something) and announce his verbal commit way in advance…but what is that commitment anyway…doesn’t everyone know that guys are non-committal at best? This promise isn’t something that will keep anyone away. If nothing else, it draws MORE attention from other teams trying to “flip” that word (read: promise).
Next, there are the coaches, lathering up the recruits and blowing smoke saying they are the best player they’ve seen (in the past 5 minutes). All to find out that this best player is just one of 5 recruited at that position, and in many cases he was told he was top guy on the coach’s list (as were the other 4).
Then there is the NCAA, which I’m convinced couldn’t host a 5 year old’s birthday party properly. How does a “program” like Ole Miss sign a class that rivals USC, OSU, TX, FL, or AL? Schadenfreude that’s how. When did Mississippi become the hotbed of college football…NEVER. And the NCAA stands by smiling.
Finally, as our friends at Oversigning so wonderfully articulates, how do many programs in the country do math? When the rest of the nation is playing with 85, they are playing with 100, 105 and in some cases 110. The travesty in this, is that to get to 85, many STUDENT athletes are sent packing because they aren’t as fast or as strong as they were told they were a year ago, and instead of earning a college degree from a sound academic institution, they are getting one from a directional school, if one is achieved at all.
So how do we fix this? Well, I propose a few options. Read More
Later this week, I’ll be blessing your intertubes and ebays with my preview of the Emerald Bowl between Boston College and USC.
However, I would be remiss in my responsibilities as West Coast correspondent for the BBC and my reputation as “that guy” if I didn’t point out the following:
The Trojans are also struggling with having players eligible for their bowl game, and are without three starters (two offensive, one defensive) as preparation continues.
In addition, running back Joe McKnight did not travel to the Bay Area with the team due to some “paperwork”, according to ESPN’s account from coach Pete Carroll.
I’m sure there’s no real concern on this later issue, since the plan is that McKnight will drive himself to the game later.