Today marks a magical day in the life of thousands of young men across the country.
No, they’re not all losing their virginity at the same time, it’s National Signing Day, the day when football recruits officially make their decision about where they’ll (maybe) play college football for the next three to five years.
It is the worst sports day of the year, by a mile.
Maybe I’m just jaded from having worked in high school sports for roughly five years, but it is the worst day of the year to report on, just to watch it at all, and is weirdly gross and very uncomfortable to watch.
A bunch of 18-year olds sign a piece of paper. That’s it. And of course, since everything is a contest these days, some will come up with stupid shit to make their signing that piece of paper a bigger deal. Everything from picking a hat, to having a dog on hand if the school they pick has a dog mascot.
People say this generation feels entitled to everything, well look no further than National Signing Day for that. Literally tens of thousands of other people will go to college next year and won’t play sports to do it. Some will go on to do great things in medicine, or music, or whatever else that isn’t sports. They don’t get to sign their piece of paper in front of ESPN with their parents on hand, as college coaches pat them on the back.
Really, National Signing Day is just college sports’ first chance to exploit you. They trot you out in front of the cameras while thousands of fans at home watch you make your decision. ESPN and whoever else gets monster TV ratings and advertising dollars from it, and what does the recruit get?
A hat. That they probably had to pay for so they don’t get hit with an NCAA infraction before they ever set foot on campus. Great deal.
And National Signing Day is only a big deal for like, 10 schools. Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan, Florida State, maybe USC, Texas and Oklahoma. I went to Central Michigan University, you know how many recruits we had sign their letter on TV? Zero. Because they’re not a big name school and at best they’re signing 2- and 3-star players to fill out their roster.
And the players, oh boy the players. In my five-ish years covering high school sports, every one of them, every last player, thought they were going to the NFL. Nevermind that they hadn’t played a down in college or even been given a number, this was just a time killer until the NFL came calling.
Unless you sign with Alabama, if that’s the case and you’re reading this, congrats on your future millions and probably two national championships.
One player thought he was going to the NFL from Minnesota, probably not. One thought the NFL was a goal at Wake Forest, mmm no. Another, and I swear this is true, picked Montana because he thought it gave him the best path to the NFL…as a kicker. A fucking kicking prospect was already eyeing the NFL. Spoiler, no player that I ever talked to or did a profile on is in the NFL yet.
But worst of all is the fans. A big bunch of mouth breathers who probably didn’t actually go to the school but lives and dies on what the school does on the football field.
They’ll tweet at recruits begging them to come to their school. Barf. They’ll celebrate and dance around, then send the recruit congratulatory tweets if a recruit picks their school on TV. Barf. And worst of all, they’ll threaten or try and insult a player because he didn’t pick their school. Barf. Get a life, morons.
As of now I have my list of muted words on Twitter for the day, because I want to keep my sanity and not see a bunch of 18 year olds put up on a pedestal for ESPN to get TV ratings off of. National Signing Day is the worst.