The news from four-star Pensacola, Fla., wide receiver Jacob Copeland’s signing ceremony wasn’t that he spurned Alabama. That was too common an occurrence Wednesday to be front-page news.
No, it was Copeland’s mother — dressed in an Alabama sweatshirt and Tennessee hat — storming from the table and staring at her son in disgust while he signed with Florida on live television.
Jacob Copeland commits to Florida.— Barrett Sallee (@BarrettSallee) February 7, 2018
Jacob Copeland’s mom, wearing an Alabama shirt and Tennessee hat, gets up and leaves. pic.twitter.com/dQd0tSFC6Y
The scene was uncomfortable, almost surreal, and a byproduct of the obscene national fascination with teenagers who’ve proven nothing other than they can play football well against other teenagers choosing where they’ll attend school.
Recruiting is necessary. Let’s get that out of the way now. It’s the lifeblood of college athletics and, without it, teams in all sports would crater.
The public’s creepy, sometimes insatiable, thirst for it is unnecessary.
Do we really need entire television specials on national networks dedicated to showing 18-year-olds signing a piece of paper? Eighteen-year-olds, mind you, who have never won a collegiate game, run for, thrown for or caught a single yard and — for the most part — are only on the public radar because a four-minute highlight video and some stars beside their name told you they should be.
As in any decent business, we in the media cater to our clientele. The demand for recruiting information has never been higher. We devoted pages and pages to Alabama, Auburn and Jacksonville State signing day coverage Thursday.
And ESPN2 carried this ceremony, where the Copeland family had a moment. One that I’m sure happens in every household. A mother coming to terms that her son, her baby, is about to leave for college. Self-realization hits and emotions are sometimes hard to mask.
It’s a shame it couldn’t be more private.