National signing day is the most ridiculous spectacle in American sports. There, I said it.
Every year, a bunch of 17- and 18-year-old high school seniors go on national television to announce where they will be attending college. They go through some ridiculous process of selecting a hat at a press conference and awkwardly answer a bunch of questions posed to them by ESPN announcers.
And they do all of this before proving they can even handle the college game. We wonder why we regularly hear about entitled young men at the college level who place absolutely no value on their education whatsoever.
Gee, could it be because we fawn over them and treat them like saviors before they're even legally allowed to buy a beer, all while the university presidents rub their greedy little hands together and wait for the money to roll in?
But sometimes—even by national signing day terms—things get absolutely ridiculous. That's where Alex Collins and his mother belong in this rant.
Essentially, Collins was ready to sign his letter of intent for Arkansas on Wednesday when his mom stole the papers and disappeared. Seriously, this all happened.
Things got more bizarre on Thursday when Collins had his father sign the papers and Collins showed up to his press conference rocking all camouflage. And for good measure, his mother hired a law firm according to Steve Gorten of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel:
So RB Alex Collins' mom hired attorney 2 "represent the family's interests" after what went down yesterday, per release from law firm— Steve Gorten (@sgorten) February 7, 2013
Unreal. As you might imagine, this has reminded a few folks of one of last year's classic mom moments involving Landon Collins:
There are so many things wrong with national signing day.
The amount of pressure we put on these kids before they've played a snap is absurd. Most kids will never part the Red Sea and lead your team to the BCS promised land.
The amount of hype and accolades we shower on these kids before they've played a snap is pretty gross. We're collectively, as college football fans, the biggest group of ego enablers ever.
Families often don't allow these kids to make their own choices or do what is best for them. Instead, families either vicariously live through these kids or try to dictate where they go for selfish reasons.
We make this one decision a spectacle. We encourage the decision to be based primarily on football considerations by hyping the crap out of this day.
While some athletes consider other aspects like campus life and (gasp) academics, national signing day is mostly a free agency period for the NFL's minor league program, the NCAA.
I often wonder if my utter disdain for national signing day makes my love for the NFL draft hypocritical. After all, we have no idea if those players will ever amount to squat in the NFL.
But those aren't kids anymore. They're young men. They're in line to become professionals. The real world beckons. And they're all good enough to be among the 250 players or so worthy for consideration of being drafted into the NFL. That's an incredibly elite club, even if they never become NFL stars.
National signing day is nothing but a bunch of grown folk kissing the feet of kids who have had a driver's license for a year. Think about that for a second.
And the Collins situation with his mother may have become an absurd public ordeal, but I bet you it's not far off from the madness that accompanies these decisions for a lot of players.
Maybe I'm missing something. Maybe I'll just never get it. But every year, there is an Alex Collins moment of some sorts. And every year it reminds me that national signing day is the most ridiculous spectacle in American sports.
Somebody had to say it.
Hit me up on Twitter—unlike the NFL, my tweets are blackout free (since college).