Signing Day is the ‘American Idol’ of college football

Last week, the University of Miami was touted by ESPN as the recipient of the number one class in recruiting for college football. Everybody was jumping for joy. except me.

I am a Hurricanes football fan and have been one for a long time. That said, I also love all college football. But over the last few years, something that used to be so miniscule has now become so big that the media and the so-called “experts” give it its own name:
“National Signing Day.”

For those who do not know, signing day is basically a day where all the big-time high school athletes make their decisions about where they will attend college to play in their respective sports.

Unfortunately, the whole day is just another version of “American Idol,” building these kids up to the sky when they have not even stepped on a college football field yet. Remember Kyle Wright?

Everybody wants in on the action of signing day, no matter how good or how bad a player is in high school. An incident happened this past week involving a Nevada high school player who said he was being recruited by both the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Oregon.

The only problem with the story was that it was a lie from the beginning. Kevin Hart, a 6-foot 5-inch, 290-pound lineman, did everything to try to make his family, friends and school think that he was going to a formidable program.

So with all the hype behind signing day, Hart’s high school gave him an all-school assembly to announce his so-called decision. When the news of Hart saying he would play for California was reported by the local newspaper, the lie was quickly unraveled. Both California and Oregon called the newspaper saying they had not recruited Hart; in fact, they had never even heard of him.

Hart finally admitted he made the whole thing up because he wanted to play Division I football “more than anything.” He then went on to say that he “made up what he wanted to be reality.”

It is utterly ridiculous that we have taken sports and made them about personality rather than performance at such a young age. Blame should be handed out evenly between Hart, all the scouting sites like rivals.com and, of course, ESPN, the holiest of holies, for devoting so much time and making a huge fuss about this day.

Now the waiting begins for ESPN to start a new channel devoted entirely to college recruiting 24/7. Oh wait. that already happened with ESPN U.

Ben Brislawn is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism and criminology. He may be contacted at b.brislawn@umiami.edu.

February 14, 2008


The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami

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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.