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Whew, we made it past that

Published: Friday, Feb. 7, 2014 12:15 a.m. CDT

So now we’re done with one of the worst days in sports.

No, not Wash Your Face With Sochi Water Day. And no, not Some Idiot Interviewed Dennis Rodman Day.

I’m talking about national signing day. On Wednesday, it was football. There’s also one of these for basketball. Both are examples of how pathetic sports can be.

Signing day is when snot-nosed high school kids get empowered.

No, wait, they get time slots for TV. No lie.

One player had scheduled his announcement for 9 a.m. on ESPNU. Another kid was scheduled for 3 p.m. Still another player took the 5:30 p.m. slot. It all seemed scripted.

Congratulations, America, on sport's version of “Teenagers and Tiaras."

I don’t blame the kids for acting like big shots. It’s an important day for them, a day that affects the rest of their lives.

I just dislike the way news outlets and college fans enable this stuff.

As a sports section, we contribute to blowing smoke up the backsides of kids still dealing with pimples. Networks and channels contribute to the silly hype because they need programming, content, anything.

I get the argument that the media is giving people what they want. In some football-crazy cities and states, there are a lot of people who want this kind of coverage. I’ll bet some of those people would be unhappy even if coverage was wall-to-wall.

Recruiting is a seamy process. See NCAA sanctions for details. But it’s worth every college coach’s text and every college’s effort and expense when you see the billions made on the abilities of these, um, student-athletes.

So it would figure that signing days would become appointment viewing for fan bases that could use some perspective.

And so, you get episodes like in November, when a kid with four ballcaps sitting on a table in front of him faked out the Illinois fan base by lifting the Illini cap, and then putting on another. It set off Twitter fire by people as vapid as those who make a big deal out of kids on these days.

That’s the worst part of it – the Twitter fire. The reaction frequently is swift and angry by spurned fans who have no idea whether the kid can make a difference. Sometimes I don’t think the coach is even sure of that.

I get the idea of football fans supporting their schools. There’s a lot to like about a game day on campus. There’s even more to like about a winning game day on campus. I get that.

But I don’t get the way signing days have become a different kind of contact sport. The ensuing ugliness seems inexplicable.

Maybe I’d feel different if I were a massive fan of my alma mater, the University of Southern California. (Pete Carroll motto: We cheat, we win, we vacate – the veni, vidi, vici of college sports).

But if feeling that way were to lead me to pull off some of this signing day nonsense, then I’m glad I’m not.

 

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