andy baggot

Andy Baggot: Time to dump National Signing Day

2013-02-05T06:30:00Z Andy Baggot: Time to dump National Signing DayANDY BAGGOT | Wisconsin State Journal | abaggot@madison.com | 608-252-6175 madison.com

First impressions, second thoughts and the third degree:

With all due respect to those who love National Signing Day, it should be eliminated as soon as possible.

It's too late to do anything about Wednesday's pending installment when recruits, coaches, schools, conferences and analysts demonstrate various preening techniques, but the whole concept should be shelved for something more comprehensive.

As I've said before, every day should be signing day in college athletics.

If a prospective student-athlete is visiting the University of Wisconsin and is offered a scholarship, they should have the ability to sign a National Letter of Intent right then and there if that's what they choose to do.

Age and sport shouldn't matter as long as the coach, recruit and guardian are all on the same page and are prepared to put their signatures on the document.

In one fell swoop, you eliminate a lot of the unsightly clutter associated with schools oversigning and recruits decommitting. Once a letter has been forwarded to the proper authorities, a paper trail is established that defines how many signees a school has and when its annual limit is reached. It also verifies who has signed and where.

The letter can be voided by the recruit if a coaching change takes place or by the school if the prospect fails to qualify academically.

This proposal won't detract from the recruiting industry — rankings, profiles, websites and catalogs — but it will clean things up a bit and give the process some dignity.

JUST WISHFUL THINKING: It wasn't all that long ago that baseball commissioner Bud Selig declared the steroid era "clearly a thing of the past."

Either Selig was being naive when he said that in 2011 or he had really bad intel because, despite some noble efforts to clean things up, we're looking at another widespread performance-enhancing drug scandal.

Alex Rodriguez, Nelson Cruz and Gio Gonzalez make up the latest round of suspects, courtesy of a report last week in the Miami New Times. The revelations come after eight players were suspended for PED use in 2012.

It's becoming clear that Selig needs to start swinging a bigger stick when it comes to punishments. Instead of 50-game suspensions for first-time offenders, they should sit a year. Multiple violations should bring lifetime bans. That might get everyone's attention.

JUDGMENT CALLS: San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh had reason to complain about the no-call that sabotaged a potential Super Bowl-winning drive in the final minute Sunday, but he shouldn't have been surprised that no penalty flag was thrown.

This was the same officiating crew, led by referee Jerome Boger, which inexplicably failed to protect one of its own earlier in the game when Baltimore cornerback Cary Williams gave head linesman Steve Stelljes a blatant two-handed shove during a scrum.

Williams should have been ejected on the spot, no questions asked, but he didn't even draw a flag.

Of course, it was the Niners who took two of the dumbest rhetorical pregame penalties in Super Bowl history. Cornerback Chris Culliver riffed ignorantly on gay athletes, while Randy Moss declared himself the greatest wide receiver of all time when he isn't even the best in franchise history.

At least Culliver tried to apologize.

A LITTLE DOSE OF IRONY: Gary Andersen, the new UW football coach, mentioned recently he and his wife, Stacey, had bought a house in town.

The seller, according to Andersen, was Paul Chryst.

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(9) Comments

  1. Cornelius Gotchberg
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    Cornelius Gotchberg - February 06, 2013 6:07 pm
    @seered;

    C'mon; $70 is plenty enough....to buy one of the tightly regulated and licensed jersies with their name on the back from which the U.W. & the B1G both profit handsomely.

    The Gotch
  2. seered
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    seered - February 06, 2013 5:05 pm
    i think i read somewhere that the ncaa recently approved a $70 a month increase for the student-athletes........which sure heck isnt a heck of a lot but its a start i guess[?].
  3. ReallyNow
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    ReallyNow - February 05, 2013 12:04 pm
    *5 official visits. Unlimited unofficial. But unofficial visits are at the expense of the recruit
  4. ReallyNow
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    ReallyNow - February 05, 2013 12:01 pm
    They do only get 5 visits. And I agree the opportunity is incredible, but the cost-benefit analysis of what schools/sponsors/media outlets make is out of whack. Players don't need to be paid, but there DOES need to be an increase in their monthly stipends for food, room and board.
  5. seered
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    seered - February 05, 2013 11:30 am
    ANDY; i totally agree with you, for once. And obtw how many "unofficial" visits are these kids allowed? I think the recruits get so caught up in the recruiting 'game' they forget why they are are called "student-athletes" and not 'athlete-students'. You have 16-18 yr old kids wielding all the leverage, because of their so called rankings and twitter accounts.
    Something is more than a littleassbackwards here.
    The kids need to realize they are being given a tremendous oppty to get a degree and play a sport they are blessed in. The school is the one making the offer, not the kid offering his talents to the school.
    The kids should be limited to 5 official visits during their senior year of HS, like Uncle Bob said. The need for 10+ whatever 'unofficial' visits does nothing but give the media/recruiting services a scorecard to hype up the player into someone he is not.
    Schools need to stop offering 14-15 yr old kids too. Offers should be sent out starting the summer before their junior year. They should not be allowed to call or visit a kid until the end of his JR year. Then have one full year to recruit the player. The process goes on way too long as it is now. During that 1yr period there are no dead/quiet periods for recruiting.
    If the players choose a school they can sign on the spot, or sign and fax/scan it in. The end of the 1yr signing period would be June1 of the senior year, so the recruit has time to enroll in college etc.
    But i guess just like most things in life the things that make the most sense, take the least amount of time and money, are never realized or ignored.
  6. prhjd
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    prhjd - February 05, 2013 9:53 am
    I'd say the article missed the real low hanging fruit: Abolish the whole stinking cesspool of corruption that is the NCAA, and start over with something that really protects the athletes against the big money interests of the TV programs (AKA major college athletic departments). The NLI process is horribly biased against the athlete. In any other context such a one sided unfair "contract" would stand a good chance of being laughed out of court. Most obvious example, the scholarships are really only for one year, and can be revoked essentially at the whim of the coach. But if the kid transfers, he has to sit out a year.
  7. ReallyNow
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    ReallyNow - February 05, 2013 8:47 am
    The signing day hoopla is media driven. How many times do we have to see a kid choose one of three hats, and 20 friends and family members all hug? Andy's point is that student athletes need to take more responsibility and thoroughly research their college choices, so that in the event their athletic careers aren't what they pictured, they'd at least be able to continue the STUDENT part successfully. I mean, they're STUDENT-athletes, right?
  8. jimatmadison
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    jimatmadison - February 05, 2013 7:33 am
    I like the signing idea. The only thing I would add would be the idea of a 72 hour opt-out. But if the kid signs on Saturday, he/ she would be officially committed on Tuesday.

    And Bob, I don't see anywhere that a student would be 'forced' to sign at any time.

    As for your comment about coaches, Mr Baggot addresses changes that would protect the kid that first year. Anything after that is a whole different question than the initial signing.

    The current signing system is a mess, particularly in the high-profile money-making sports.
  9. BobsYourUncle
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    BobsYourUncle - February 05, 2013 6:03 am
    Baggot, your idea regarding recruit signing day is another example of you protecting your own and being a huge homer! First, recruits are allowed four or five campus visits. They are making a huge decision and to be forced to sign immediately after a visit is not fair to the prospective student athlete. It is fair to the school, because they can lock down that kid before he or she visits their remaining school choices. Second, when coaches begin to honor their contracts....in full, then, maybe, a better signing system could be developed! Always the home, right Baggot!?

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