Wednesday was National Signing Day, a high holiday in the world of college football. Fans gather around their computers and glue their eyes to rivals.com or scout.com to see which school 17- or 18-year-olds decide to attend. It’s probably different from your process, where it was only your parents and your Aunt Janet watching.
But this process, so revered in college football, is impure. In fact, it’s downright shameful. High school coaches act like pimps, trying to sell their players to the highest bidder (although money isn’t exchanged. usually).
The players, meanwhile, string along the coaches, the programs and their fan bases. They jump between schools like they’re trying to decide what to have for lunch. Even the most dignified college coaches are reduced to groveling messes just to keep the kids that are supposed to sign with them.
The best example this year is Patrick Johnson. Now signed to Louisiana State University, he was once a UM commit, flashing the U and saying he looked forward to contributing to the program. But that all changed so quickly. He chose LSU because he felt UM wasn’t “showing him enough love.”
It’s about love? Does he want someone to cuddle with? This is football, not The Dating Game. We must respect the right to choose, but we must not allow the right to play thousands of people like fools.
The solution? Multiple signing periods. Yes, it would make the sacred signing day less holy, but it makes so much sense. Junior college students can sign early, so why not everyone else? All it would do is inject a whole lot more logic into the process, preventing prima donnas like Johnson and the former Cane Willie Williams from hijacking the recruiting process. But, of course, like everything else in college football (cough. BCS. cough), insanity is the desired endgame.