Yesterday was “Signing Day for Blue-Chippers” in college football. If there is a more disgustingly tragic example of society gone to Hell in a Handbasket, I can’t think of it. The mutual exploitation of semi-literate 17-18 y/os and “citadels of high academe”. An apt comparison might be Tiny Tot Beauty Pageants…. except the 3 y/o baby divas can read better. Wonder how much JonBenet Ramsey could bench press?
A “Signing Party”…. all across America, rooms full of 50 y/o rabid alums salivating over “our recruiting class” composed of individuals that, under any other scenario, said rabid alums would hesitate to have wash their cars. What a CROCK!
A number of otherwise sane adults get very very amped up over “recruiting”. A much larger number of certifiably insane adults and junior-adult-wannabees also get very amped up over “recruiting”. And over 1,000,000 people follow Kim Kardashian on Twitter.
Waiting breathlessly for the bravadic utterances of 18 y/os is a full dose of foolish beyond buying firewood based on Paxutawney Phil seeing his shadow. “Bravadic utterance” ???
The marriage of an extraordinary % of “blue-chip signees” to “academia” is on a lunacy par with Hollywood nutjobs expounding on “politics”. The full o’ crap factor in both cases is off-the-chart.
I would not choose “a recruiting nut” as godparent to my child, nor knowingly allow one to perform surgery on a loved one…. I do have a few of this specie in my “address book” (the expanded version). Depending upon their level of religio-zealotry about “recruiting” I include an asterisk by their name as I do with Scientologists, John Birchers, Pentacostals, and Area51 devotees.
I know what you’re thinking. I keep my rol-o-dex of “liberals” in a lead-lined box in the shed out back. Don’t you? Don’t ask me where AgentPierce would keep his, if he had a list of “liberal friends”. It’s a mighty short list. About as short as Bob Kennel’s list of UNC Tar Heel friends. Being on “that one” I can tell you it’s VERY short.
“Signing Day”…. the one day a year that people still use Fax Machines !! Why not telegrams or smoke signals? Next year maybe they’ll be “tweeting” in their signed NLIs.
A for-real university embracing “recruiting” is the academic equivalent of Bar Rafaeli slobber kissing that fat nerd. P-UUUUU!
I appreciate the need to have a continuous pipeline of talented athletes to compete successfully in major college football (and basketball). If a school wants “to be competitive” on the field / court it has no choice but to “sell its seed corn” in order to solicit, cajole, coerce and otherwise convince aspiring young athletes to attend their institution. It is, alas, not a game of chance for any institution that has more than a modicum of self-respect.
I’ve listened to umpteen rationalizations for “enjoying porn”…… “cheating in a marriage”….. “doing drugs”…… “falsifying expense reports….. “voter fraud”….. et al. Heck, I even sat thru N&O Editor John Drescher’s well-practiced recital of how The N&O keeps its editorial and news departments totally separate. Somewhere in the Top Five of STPBUTOB – Smoke That People Blow Up Their Own Butts – is:
“We know everyone else cheats in recruiting, especially (insert hated rival), but WE DON’T because we are simply incredibly fine people”.
I’ve heard that crapola so many times I can “name that tune” after just one syllable.
Only 20 or so “signees” nationwide are actually academically qualified to perform college-level classwork. Luckily for “you” all 20 or so, signed with “your school”. All the thug-aletes signed with those “them” schools. What are the odds? And it happened last year too !!!
There is an old joke about asking a woman…. “would she have sex with some especially distasteful man or beast for “a $1,000,000”. She finally says yes, then you start lowering the price….. “how bout for $250,000…. $50,000 etc.” She eventually says “what do you think I am?” The reply is “We have already established what you ARE. Now we are just haggling over price.”
Any school actively recruiting “the Top 100” high school athletes has already identified what they are….. now we’re into “the definition of “is”?” The standard retort is: “But we’re not as blatant as (the ubiquitous) “they” are.” “They” are, of course, universally perceived as “the very worst”. Every school is some other school’s “they”.
How far does one go in compromising one’s institutional mission in order to “be competitive on the field / court”? Since all of one’s rival institutions are sitting around the same poker table bidding on the same sides of beef no one is in position to criticize the others.
Think of “big time recruiting” as a strip club with very attractive and very desirable 18 y/o performers. To not acknowledge why one is in attendance is saying “I read Playboy for their articles on Hi-Fi equipment.”
If you choose not to go to strip clubs, you can admonish those who do for what that’s worth (not much); but to say “sure, I go but I close one eye” is adding “hypocrite” to voyeur and pervert.
The legitimacy of a very high % of yesterday’s “signees” to be on a college campus unless delivering pizza or wearing a tool belt is pretty much agreed upon with lots of winks and nods all around. For every Russell Wilson or Tyler Zeller there are 1,000s of 5th grade-level readers getting “scholarships” who have never used a library except to pee or get out the rain….. and never will.
Make me Czar of Big Time College FB / BkB and I would…..
* Do away with all “admission exceptions”. Those with the sub-standard academic capabilities can attend community colleges / trade schools and develop appropriate life skills. The academic deficiencies of the most prized recruits each year, are quite well-known by all competing entities.
* Do away with any/all “recruiting news” and the recruiting pimps who profit from this “slave trade” industry. ESPN being THE #1 “brothel” for this crap. If “legitimate media” (cough, choke, gag) stopped reporting “recruiting news” then the average fan would not be bombarded by it. Impossible to completely eradicate it just as “kiddie porn” will always survive but not thrive.
* Do away with all “Big Deals” about “signing day”. Any kid photographed pulling a cap out of a gym bag (or similar “Hey Look At Me” stunt) loses a year of eligibility. PERIOD….. and loses the gym bag fulla caps.
* Any kid can “go pro” in FB or BkB straight out of high school but once he “signs” with a college he is unavailable for NFL or NBA for three years. He CAN ply his talents in Moldavia or Guam however.
* Return to “Freshman Ineligibility”. Freshmen spend a year in on-campus seclusion unavailable to the media. Do away with “red-shirting”.
* Every FB/BkB “scholarship” is given for Four Years from the signing date. If a kid washes out, flunks out, quits, “goes pro” or is kidnapped by gypsies his scholarship cannot be “used” by anyone else during that four year period. Every school would have 100 FB and 25 BkB scholarships to use, each one on a four-year cycle. (NOTE: This is a fascinating concept that puts a premium on selecting kids who have a serious interest in “attending college”)
I know none of the above will ever happen…. neither will “term limits” or “return to good manners” or “civility” or “stirrup socks” in baseball or “music you can dance to” or “the original 8-team ACC”. …. sniff, sniff.
So I attended one of the silly “signing parties” held last night across BCS-World and I saw lots of old friends…. enjoyed nice refreshments….. and heard the phrases “great kids” and “the ones we really wanted” until my ears were bleeding.
On the drive home I pondered:
(1) How can every staff have “the best recruiter in the country”?” and
(2) What is John Blake doing right now?
…… more sigh, sob, sniff.