Coaches, don’t try this at your school because it likely won’t end well. Take it from Peabody High coach Shane Jacobs.
The Trenton, Tenn. football coach and assistant principal faced an inquiry from the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association following an attempt to create a “National Signing Day” of sorts for eighth grade students who would be attending his school, according to Luis Torres of the Jackson Sun.
The video the school shared on social media to promote the event, which was reportedly scheduled for Feb. 15, became the subject of an inquiry by the state’s governing body for athletics. The issue was a potential violation of Article II, Section 17 of the state bylaws, which has to do with recruiting players to a school, according to Torres’ report.
Rather than face potential penalties from the TSSAA, Peabody submitted self-imposed restrictions that included no incoming freshmen dressing or playing for varsity squad in the fall, and Coach Jacobs pledged to delete all social media accounts and not appear on social media for two years. The TSSAA accepted these restrictions as acceptable reprimand for the rules violation, which Jacobs told the newspaper was unintentional.
“No matter what happened, I wasn’t going to let this program suffer because the program didn’t do anything and the kids in our program didn’t do anything,” Jacobs told Torres. “The violations were self-recommended. I recommended the violations.”
According to the report, the majority of Peabody’s high school coaches also serve as volunteer coaches at the local middle school, which serves as a “feeder program” of sorts for the high school. The TSSAA rules do not recognize feeder schools, so this was interpreted as an attempt to recruit players to the high school for the fall.
With all of the hoopla that surrounds the real National Signing Day for high school seniors, it’s easy to see why the coach would want to go there for his incoming players. It was likely an attempt to build confidence in their transition to high school football, and likely would have been a fun event with good intentions.
But it’s easy to see how allowing these could become a slippery slope for high school administrators who could quickly see these become expensive recruiting tools to outdo other local schools in an attempt to win over some of the area’s elite young talent.