As high school athletes everywhere today sign their National Letters of Intent to continue their education and athletic careers at the college of their choice, fan bases rejoice at the names on their school’s list. For many, those names represent either a brighter future or a continuation of dominance.
However, as I perused the Twitter world, I noticed some grumblings from not only fans but those in the media about signing day. Ryan Holmgren, the sports editor at the Minot Daily News, gave his opinion on the National Signing Day.
National Signing Days is my least favorite day of the year. Something about it just shouts "Adults exploiting teenagers."— Ryan Holmgren (@ryanholmgren) February 5, 2014
He is entitled to his opinion and frankly there is some truth to what he is saying. But, before we all start to either look down our noses or snap back at the Ryan Holmgren’s of the world, let us remember that all of us have contributed to making this day what it is.
We consume the information and the announcements of high school athletes, soon to be college athletes, on a daily basis. Sites like Rivals and Hudl exists because people want to see what some kid from Florida looks like playing football.
We want to know who is going to replace players like Brock Jensen and Sam Ojuri. Who will be the next big-time receiver for the Bison? Or, even on a larger scale, who will be next year’s Johnny Manziel or Jameis Winston?
If we really felt we shouldn’t exploit teenagers and their families, maybe we shouldn’t dump millions upon millions of dollars into watching them participate in college. If college athletics is less important to us, then the signing of high school athletes becomes less important.
For example, did you know that the North Dakota State University soccer team signed five student-athletes today? No? I’m not shocked because the soccer team does not draw the attention football does. Can you imagine NDSU’s recruiting class get as little of attention as the soccer team did? No, you can’t.
There is something to be said for schools stopping classes so students can come bask in one, ONE!!!!!!!!, student announcing his decision to go to the University of already forget because he won’t play for that team until he is a junior. That seems a bit much. It is hard to argue with it, though, when four local TV stations and the state’s largest newspaper show up for the announcement.
I’m not saying people finding signing day to be over-hyped are wrong. Just remember that you, as fan or media member, have contributed to the current state of signing day. You better get comfortable with it because it will only get worse from here.
You can follow Daniel "Pinto" Gunderson on Twitter at @pintoKFGO or friend him on Facebook. You can hear him on his weekly podcast show on kfgo.com, 740thefan.com or on iTunes called “The Pinto and White Shadow Show.” Pinto is a radio producer within the Midwest Communications-Fargo company.