Signing day….and the frenzy begins. All around the NCAA football and soccer players, parents, high school coaches and college coaches are all frantically putting last minute paper work together so that the student-athlete can be recognized and honoured for their commitment to sign with a respected University. More signing days coming this spring with all other sports in April.
It has been a long tradition in the NCAA and now we see U-Sports players having mini celebrations for their signing even 2 year colleges have their version of signing day. Social media has made it easy to celebrate and publicize.
I get torn at this point because part of me feels like it compares to my daughter’s graduation from pre-school and the other part of me feels happy for those players who are committing to the opportunity.
As a coach I remember waiting anxiously as National Letters of Intent showed up by scan, fax and post to seal the deal with many athletes. However, when we look at the big picture and over the many years I have watched as after signing day things do not work out for the student-athlete. More often the case now is after the big celebration of commitment student athletes back out, is it their lack of commitment or the program’s lack of support or a combination of the two. I have watched as athletes have posted tweeted and promoted their commitment and then all of a sudden they are not going:
- Grades fall
- Cold feet
- Better offer comes along (little to no consequence in most cases as they do not extend past governing bodies)
- Did not qualify (NCAA term)
- Personal reasons
While I enjoy being a part of these commitments and will certainly applaud all the athletes that get the opportunity to be a part of a signing day celebration. I am much more inclined to celebrate when the athletes shows up on campus in great shape ready to go and in there for the first practice of training camp. Reason to celebrate!!
So use your signing day as a spring board into action not a destination point. Once an athlete signs it is time to ramp up the training and re-focus academics to ensure that nothing takes the opportunity away. And for heaven’s sake if you are not ready to sign, do not sign. No coach will want you to sign if you are not committed to the opportunity because it certainly does not look good for them either when a commit drops.
Make the commitment when you are ready, celebrate it and use the 24 hour rule of wins and losses. After 24 hours forget about it and re-focus on the next challenge! Complete your university academic requirements as high as possible, get to training camp in great shape and ready to perform.
“Win the Recruiting Game!”