College Signing Day

KRYSTEN OLIPHANT: I’ve had the Signing Day discussion with several colleagues and coaches, and we all agree it’s getting out of hand.

Here in Louisiana, Evangel DL Jermauria Rasco made a Lebron-like spectacle of the thing. He pushed his signing back to 2:50 p.m., and while everyone was waiting (media from around the state and Gulf Coast came to the northwest corner of Louisiana to watch Evangel’s Jermauria Rasco make his pick), they all noticed the table that was set out had a Texas hat and banner and a Florida hat and banner on it. But when he sat down he announced he was signing with…LSU.

The sad thing isn’t just that Rasco thought he could get away with this, but the fact that he actually DID get away with it. Nobody chastised this kid. I mean, come on, you’re 17 years old. What on earth makes you think you’re that freaking special?

But the fact is, the media is at fault for this, from regular sports writers to anyone running a Scout.com or Rivals.com blog. We’ve all given these kids huge heads, treated them like stars instead of high schoolers and given them the idea that they can get away with whatever they want because they’re good at sports.

Can you imagine what you would’ve done had there been the same amount of attention attached to where you would go to college?

Another example is that mom in Mississippi who forged her son’s signature on a NLI to Ole Miss, when he was going to sign with Texas A&M. How does that even happen? Are there no coaches watching?

It seems that the case for not moving out of the stone age of faxing in letters of intent hold a little less merit. I’ve heard the argument is that doing the signing online leaves room for too many errors or forgeries, but it seems that may not be the case. It also seems to me that doing the whole process online would eliminate some of the media frenzy surrounding signing that sheet of paper and putting on that hat.

MIKE CUMMINGS: I live in Alabama, which, it could be argued, is currently the center of the college football world. That also makes it the center of the craziness that has come to define National Signing Day. In Alabama, as in other places around the country, what was once an interesting day for college diehards now borders on — and often crosses over into —  the creepy, sad and even dangerous.

Here’s an example. Around these parts, Alabama and Auburn fought down the stretch for a running back/linebacker out of Russellville named Brent Calloway. The guy was once a five-star athlete, but after he changed his commitment from Alabama to Auburn a few weeks back, he suddenly became a four-star.

And when that happened, he suddenly also became Public Enemy No. 1 in Tuscaloosa. The message boards lit up, Tide fans were seen with signs calling Calloway “Benedict Arnold” at a recent basketball game, and rumors flew about what happened when Calloway disappeared from school and basketball practice for a few days before signing day.

So what did he do? Naturally, he signed for Alabama, which is where his adopted father, a minister (where have we heard that one before in Alabama?), wanted him to go all along.

And then there was the case of Cyrus Kouandjio, who was expected to sign with Alabama, committed to Auburn on signing day, immediately had second thoughts, and held the entire state ransom for a couple of days while he decided. He too chose Alabama, and the (unsubstantiated) rumor was that Tide coach Nick Saban had threatened to pull the scholarship of Cyrus’ brother if Cyrus did indeed sign with Auburn.

Speaking of Saban, members of the local and national media have been all over him lately about his practice of oversigning. Basically, lots of coaches sign more players than they can take and magically reduce their scholarship numbers to the required 85 by means better left unsaid.

The whole thing is insane. Players get their 15 minutes of fame, but it’s not necessarily a good thing for every 18-year-old high school senior. And some fanbases — who are already crazy to begin with — take things a little farther every year.

One wonders how far it will go.

About Krysten Oliphant

I'm the prep sports editor at The News-Star in Monroe, La. I graduated from LSU in 2008 after working for three years at The Daily Reveille, and I've also worked in Houston, Detroit and Mississippi. My teams of choice are the Astros, the Saints, the Texans and the Rockets, and of course the LSU Tigers. I'm a baseball and football fanatic, but I'm also very into cooking, working out and shopping.
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