One wades into the world of national letters of intent, scholarships, preferred walk-ons and celebrating signing days at peril, but it goes to a broader issue.
How do we see high school sports?
Supposedly, broad-scope media sees recruiting as high school sports’ only value. If it’s not a recruit, it doesn’t warrant coverage. If it’s a recruit, then coverage is first, foremost and only about recruiting.
How’s your recruitment coming? OK, now, say something, anything, about the game.
Some parents see a high school coach’s lone job as winning their kid a scholarship. Vengeful parents smell blood, and coaches with iffy administrative backing lose jobs over scholarship expectations. Realism shows up only to help clean their offices.
Now we want to go full-on snob over signing ceremonies?
If it’s not Division I, it doesn’t count?
Celebrating "prefered walk-on" offers with non-athletic aid somehow becomes “everybody gets a trophy?”
Athletic scholarships or PWOs with aid amount to the same thing … kids’ chance to go to college and continue playing careers. Full stop.
Regardless of their measurables, regardless of whether they overachieved, regardless of whether they’ll play a day after sniffing collegiate demands, these kids succeeded at the high school level. A signing ceremony celebrates their accomplishments.
Again, we’re talking about high school sports. We all get that unaffordability has turned college into a hunger game. We get the stakes for not just some, but most families. Still, the preps are, first and foremost, about other things.
They’re about activity.
They’re about life lessons that come from learning a discipline … any discipline. It doesn’t have to be sports.
In a pay-to-play reality, high school sports are increasingly about parental sacrifice, never mind unrelenting nickel-and-dime demands that come home in school folders.
If we’re seeing high school sports for what they are, then we’re not worried about who gets a signing day or how it’s labeled. We’re celebrating with them.