Opinion: National Signing Day should be about celebrating players, not degrading them

February 6, 2014
OSU coach Urban Meyer talks to the media on National Signing Day Feb. 5 at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editor

OSU coach Urban Meyer talks to the media on National Signing Day Feb. 5 at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.
Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editor

National Signing Day should be one of the best days in the life of a signee.

Imagine: you’ve worked so hard for four years — or maybe even a lifetime — to accomplish a dream of playing college football at the highest level. Finally, that dream is coming true and the decision as to which college you are ready to play for has arrived.

You nervously sit at that podium, hats and cameras in front of you. All of the spotlights in the world of college football are pointed in your direction.

For a moment, after you say the name of that school, it’s bliss. You hug your family, your friends even your teammates.

Then, however, something happens. You go on your Twitter account. You check the message boards. You check your Facebook.

Repulsive, unending hatred floods your timeline. Threats and disgusting wishes of broken bones and torn muscles are abounding from fans of rival schools.

It takes you from a place of elation to a place of fear — is this what I waited for? Is this what I pictured in my dream?

I was never recruited to play collegiate athletics, but this is how I imagine it goes for recruits today. This is what National Signing Day has become and it appalls me.

This is why I have such distaste for recruiting and media coverage of recruiting.

Instead of being congratulated on their accomplishments, college football recruits must instead succumb to the demeaning bitterness of fans whose teams were unintentionally spurned by that specific individual.

It’s heartbreaking at almost every level.

Fans, even those who don’t take part in this laughable practice, need to keep all of the happenings of National Signing Day in perspective. Imagine if this was your son or daughter being recruited. How would you feel if your child committed to a wonderful school and fans of other schools around the country send him or her messages such as those previously mentioned? You’d be heartbroken, just as these athletes and their parents are.

While many fans do keep this in mind, all too many do not.

For those individuals who signed Letters of Intent Wednesday, I offer my sincerest hopes that your college experience is everything you desire.

I hope too that your National Signing Day was everything you dreamed of and that no Internet troll could bring down one of the greatest days of your life.

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