Time For A Change
I know there is no way for this to actually happen and begin to take place, but after seeing some of the things we saw on ESPN this signing day I’m convinced something needs to change. For years kids have been making declarations on national television on signing day and it has gone smoothly, except for some rare occasions.
This year, however, we’ve had much more drama than the situation deserves. Auburn fans went into panic mode when it took Byron Cowart six hours to eventually fax his NLI, officially making him an Auburn Tiger. Imagine what Florida and UCLA fans and coaches have been forced to deal with surrounding CeCe Jefferson and Roquan Smith.
Picking Florida on national TV, Jefferson continued to say he was a Gator, but we are still waiting on his signed letter. As we later found out there were extenuating circumstances with his decision because of a coaching change. The same is true of Smith with UCLA’s coordinator eventually leaving for the NFL.
I don’t have a problem with either kid waiting because of that, but what I do have a problem with is announcing on ESPN with all the fanfare that surrounds it, only to hold off on signing. That’s where a change needs to come in. The TV networks need to work with college football to make sure kids have already signed and faxed in their letters before getting in front of the camera. It would take the pressure off as well as allow the kid to actually enjoy the moment, while the actual business is done behind the scenes where it should be happening. I'm sure no school would have a problem holding off on releasing the signing until the kid has his moment in the public eye.
Now you can say. "why should they be deprived of their moment in the sun?" The answer is simple in my eyes, nobody forced them to announce on signing day or sign on the first day of the signing period. If the kid needs extra time it would take more stress off the players that are undecided and allow them the opportunity to make the best decision possible. In the end that’s the ultimate goal, not being seen on ESPN.
That leads me to the underlying problem in this scenario, college coaches waiting until after signing day to leave for jobs elsewhere. I understand the goal is to get the best players possible and to do that you rely on the relationships you have built over months and months of conversations, but the way things have gone down this year makes the already ruthless game of recruiting even more vicious.
Schools such as Arkansas, Florida, Texas, UCLA and others lost coaches just hours after signing day was official and more are sure to follow in the coming days. There is nothing you can do to stop it, but it's going to be even tougher to ask kids to be loyal to you in the future when they have the examples we've seen this recruiting year.
When Bruce Pearl was hired by Auburn one of the first things he talked about was the need for support from the fan base, particularly in this first season when the team was going to struggle to compete on a consistent level in the SEC. All year long the fans have showed up in droves and that was the case Saturday in a loss to Ole Miss.
With a much better time slot at 5:30 p.m. and on a Saturday, the game was a hard sellout with tickets selling outside for as much as $75. It has been a long, long time since we have seen the support for the program like we are witnessing right now. The exciting part is that it’s just the beginning. With a very good recruiting class coming in along with transfer Kareem Canty, Pearl’s program looks to have better days ahead and with the fans along for the ride it could lead to big things and postseason basketball once again.
Picking Up Where They Left Off
To say it was a dominating first week of play for the Auburn softball team would be an understatement. Starting with a big win over Troy, the Tigers pounded five different opponents to the tune of a 67-8 total.
While many coaches have shown the ability to get the most out of their teams over the years on the Auburn campus, I’m not sure I have seen any do as much in as little time as Coach Clint Myers has done with the softball program. Getting more quality pitching this season to go along with an already powerful offense, Auburn is a team to watch as the season kicks into high gear. With a favorable early schedule the Tigers should continue to rise up the rankings, but a trip to California in early March with games against Arizona, Arizona State, Long Beach State, Pacific and Cal-State Fullerton could be the thing that puts Auburn on the softball map for real.
Jason Caldwell's Monday Morning QB Column
Pat Dye's Dye-Gest Column, Talking with an SEC Legend
ITAT Radio Podcast, Auburn's Football Signees
Five Football Prospects to Watch for 2016
2016 Class: Top 100
2015 Class: Under The Radar
SEC Signing Notes
Davis Excited About Future
Oh My Goodness
Video Of Auburn Football Recruits