Signing day is ridiculous.
That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t celebrate high school football players advancing their athletic dreams, especially if you’re in Arkansas and it’s an Arkansas kid. But here’s a better idea: Let’s get rid of “signing day” all together.
College football coaches across the country can actually agree on something. Shocker, I know. Arkansas coach Bret Bielema is behind the idea, too.
At the annual meeting of coaches nationwide, across the hierarchy of amateurism and beyond, almost every single one of them says, yes, college football needs a December signing day.
Great news. A December signing period, when lots of junior college players currently do their signing, would relieve some pressure from the high schoolers who are making such decisions. It would also allow those who are 100 percent locked in to where they want to go to make it official sooner. Right now, those high schoolers have to wait until February. They can still come to campus in December — signing a financial aid package and some other workarounds allow it — but making the transition as seamless as possible is best for all parties.
Here’s my thing, though. Why do we need a signing day, period?
The whole day is stilted, a cluster of fraudulence. Nothing wrong with celebrating the accomplishments of high schoolers who are making their athletic dreams come true. Nothing at all wrong with that. But why just a single day of it? Why can’t they do it whenever they want to? And what’s with the rules surrounding it?
The notion of “amateurism” in college sports is absurd (and far too large a topic to cover in this piece today). But from signing day for the rest of their college football careers it’s clear — the university owns them. Their coaches cannot mention them by name until that day. Can’t even hint at them, lest the NCAA wrath come to the door. Then, that day, that magical day for the great fax machine, those coaches cannot name drop enough. Sunshine pump city, baby.
Toss that, man. From the moment a college football player hits the first day of classes his senior year, let him sign to whatever college he wants, whatever day he wants. Cut out the specifics and the hubbub and the red tape and all the archaic garbage, the facade ultimately. Let the kid have the day on his terms, with his celebration.
And you know what’s nice about doing it that way? Those ridiculously over-the-top announcements of committal will lessen. Those were fun for about a day.
Eh. At this point, I’m sounding like a get-off-my-lawn type. But, ya know what, college football is such a bonkers enterprise. I say let’s tear down all the walls. Why not? What’s the worst that could happen?
One more loss at BWA and Hogs can kiss tourney goodbye
That header isn’t technically 100 percent true. It’s awfully close, though.
If Arkansas were to win every road game from here on out or at least lose no more than one or two of them, then, sure, the Razorbacks can afford another loss at Bud Walton Arena. Let’s be real, though. A few weeks ago, I wrote how Mike Anderson, Arkansas current coach, has the best SEC road record of any Hogs coach in the last 21 years. That winning percentage is below 40. So, yeah, winning a boatload of road games isn’t happening.
The reason why Arkansas can’t afford another loss in Fayetteville isn’t because it’s such a bad team; it’s because the SEC doesn’t have a lot of other good teams. Arkansas has already played the best two teams in the conference. Some might argue Mississippi State is one of the five best in the SEC, too. Arkansas hasn’t beaten any of them. The Razorbacks don’t get Kentucky again. The Hogs get Florida at Florida and they get South Carolina in Columbia.
Not another probable NCAA Tournament team visits BWA the rest of the season. Arkansas cannot be losing games to non-Dance teams at home and expect to be in the show come mid-March. Things just don’t work that way.
So, no, this thing isn’t dead yet. It’s just on life support. And it needs an injection, stat. The worst team in the SEC, Missouri, visits Saturday. If basketball does what football did, peace out.
- Speaking of signing day, our Trent Shadid projects the entirety of Arkansas’ class coming here in a couple weeks. Interesting list.
- My former Associated Press colleague, Teresa Walker, is covering those coaches meetings in Nashville, where some changes are coming down the pike, including that early signing day and a 10th assistant. It appears, anyway.
- Former Arkansas defensive tackle and graduate assistant Alfred Davis is leaving the program to take a full-time assistant coaching gig at Hutchinson Community College. Tom Murphy at WholeHogSports has more details.
- My colleague — in media, not as former college footballer — David Bazzel is one of the good guys. Friendly as all get out. Great hair (perhaps the second best on the beat, ahem). And near perfect at being a former Arkansas player who shoots it as straight as he can, given that background. He’s also a bit of an entrepreneur in the sport, having designed Arkansas rivalry trophies and created some awards. On Wednesday, he announced Rawleigh Williams III as the Paul Eells award winner for this season. Good call.
— DAVID BAZZEL (@DavidBazzel) January 11, 2017
Yee-Haw! Today in Arkansas
Yo, math problem.
What is …
420 + 32?
Answer: Your feeling when pot vendors hit Arkansas.
Following an Election Day decision that paved the way for the Natural State (god, how perfect is that nickname now?) to become a medical marijuana state, the state’s commission said 32 locations would be allowed to sell the product. From the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette:
The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission decided Tuesday to allow 32 dispensaries that will be evenly distributed among the state’s four congressional districts.
The voter-approved Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment allows the commission to authorize between 20 and 40 dispensaries to sell medical marijuana to patients on the orders of their doctors.