Signing day drama...stinks.
If you've hung around this site for a while, you know our thoughts on recruiting. We really don't like it. Even when the rules aren't broken, it's still grimy...still overly dramatic and has some creepy elements to it.
Tons of 30, 40, 50 year old men get way too interested in the plans of high school boys/men in the fall of each year...and the truth is, the most rock-solid plans change. Some of these kids have too many handlers...Others are just indecisive...others still revel in the drama. Sadly, those that have a good reason to change their mind, get lumped in with the previous cases.
Here's what everyone needs to keep in mind: until a contract is signed, it's probably best to not consider anything a contract.
Very few kids are raised to believe their word means something. We can fault the kids or fault their parents and guardians; it really doesn't matter or change anything. TONS of high-level, mid-level, and low-level recruits say the word "commit" and have no idea what it means.
This morning, the majority of kids being recruited by Purdue and other major college football programs truly did commit. They signed a binding document that stated they would be coming to that school to play a sport. They didn't make a statement after a feel-good weekend or talk to a member of the press after a coach showed them some love. They made it official- they'll go to a school, hopefully study and play a sport while earning free school, room and board and books for four (five or six) years.
I'm always happy to see anyone make the decision to go to school at Purdue. I love the place. So when a kid decides to come play for the football or basketball team, I appreciate the decision. We've said it before and will again. These kids put in an immense amount of time, sweat, blood and effort to represent our alma mater. It's tough to not appreciate their effort. And until the NCAA changes the rules in a few years, they're still amateurs...students first. Hell, I had a tough time keeping my GPA above a 3.0, and all I did was date a girl and go to the co-rec a few times a week. Some of these kids have GPAs above 3.5, practice daily, watch film and make road trips with the team. Much respect, young bucks!
This morning, I was following a story of one particular recruit who was said to be on the fence with his decision of where to play college football. The first thing I saw on Twitter was a local NBC TV affiliate state that he was signing with Purdue...only to see the tweet removed. Before it was removed, multiple outlets took the affiliate at their word and ran with the story. I directly asked the affiliate why they deleted the tweet.
They said that the kid was a Purdue signee...a great kid...and that they just had the wrong photo.
Good- another Boilermaker.
Turns out, the kid decided he wasn't signing anywhere this morning...but the NBC affiliate just wanted to run a story in the name of getting the jump on their competition (I guess). THAT is awful journalism defined.
I don't name them intentionally here because I have no idea whom is running their twitter feed and what their motivation was to prematurely run the story. What I do know is that I am not, nor will not ever be a journalist, but I understand the first rule of journalism better than they- Check your source before running a story. Isn't that the entire point of journalism- to tell the news??? Guess not.
This morning on Twitter, I also got to discuss why modern journalism is in shambles with a youngish person who wants to be a journlist. His insistence that the blame should be on the kid for changing his mind falls on deaf ears. The blame is on the entity that decides to run a story too quickly...because that's their living...that's what they do professionally. So to reiterate, a recruit is just a recruit until they've signed a legal, binding document of commitment.
I'm glad these kids that signed this morning to play for Coach Hazell did so. Thank you guys for making this decision. One day, you might meet me and my son (or daughter) at an event. When you do, you probably won't know that I write for a website...but I can tell you, the people that read this site will know that I appreciated the way you interacted with my kids while representing my alma mater.
Recruiting is horrible. Signing day drama is worse.
These big, macho athletes that choose to act like divas with the fake out hat-grab move piss me off. Maybe it's because that move is hardly ever reserved for guys who will be clad in the metallic beige and black one day...or maybe I just don't think men should act that way. Call me old fashioned- I don't care. I just don't have time for contrived drama for drama's sake.
I'm really glad Markell Jones, Elijah Sindelar and others are already Boilermakers...that they stuck to their word and are already wearing black and gold t-shirts as they train to one day take the field for my Boilermakers.
There's no doubt that opportunity abounds for those that chose, and will choose to come play in Ross-Ade stadium...Who knows? This mostly-unsung class of athletes might turn out to be one of the keys to the program's turn-around.
One can hope so, anyway.