Everyone who follows college football with any level of interest whatsoever likely knows what yesterday was. If you’ve been under a rock, or avoiding recruiting for as long as humanly possible, yesterday was national signing day. It’s a day that is celebrated with a weird mixture of anxiety, drama, anger, and enthusiasm that is rivaled by few. For those that don’t understand the day that has been dubbed by some as "Christmas morning for college football fans," let me help you out a little bit.
National signing day is the culmination of the efforts by a coaching staff to convince a young man in high school (or in some cases, a junior college) to come play football for their football team. If you’ve never dealt with a high schooler at any time in your existence on this planet, most high school guys don’t know what they’re doing after school or in class tomorrow, let alone where they want to pursue a football career and obtain an education. When presented with an abundance of options and offers and chances to improve their lives, it can be understandably difficult to choose a university. And that is why it is so celebrated when your coach brings in a highly touted recruit. To convince a guy with offers from all over the nation to come play for you and your team is an impressive feat for any coach to pull off.
And so, that’s why many get wrapped up into it. It helps decide the future of the program and can potentially lead to many wins for either your team, or the teams that your school lines up against every Saturday (and Thursdays, with the occasional Tuesday). That gets a lot of fans excited and interested. So some try to do whatever they can to possibly help their team out.
But I’m not discussing the bag man or anyone similar to those that provide rule violating compensation for playing at a certain school. I’m addressing the group on twitter that, for whatever reason, still doesn’t understand that it’s not okay to tweet recruits, particularly on national signing day and the days in close proximity with it. We’ve already established that it’s not okay to tweet recruits to try to convince them to come play for your team. That’s been addressed here, here, and with this video here:
Keeping this pinned until February pic.twitter.com/lKc73jlhwS— Telco (@TelcoAg) November 24, 2015
Hopefully you’ve never thought the following to yourself: "gee, I wonder how I could be worse on twitter than fans that attempt to recruit high school football players to sign with my favorite team by using massive amounts of tweets and bad photoshop?" You haven’t? Great. Then you’re in not the unstable group that decides to tweet at high schoolers after they decide to go somewhere other than your beloved university. Yes, I’m talking about the people that feel personally betrayed when a young man decides to play for a football team that isn’t the right one for them, as determined by strangers on twitter.
If you haven’t learned that it isn’t okay to bash a young man on a public medium over making a decision that affects his life exponentially more than your own, maybe it’s time to step back from twitter and reevaluate some things. It should not matter to you on a personal level if a recruit chooses your rival over your favorite team. Let's use A.J. Brown as an example. I get it. I get that he's from Starkville but picked Ole Miss. I get hating Ole Miss. I understand despising that team. They're MSU’s biggest rival, and as Ben Howland said: "Nothing is more important to Mississippi State than beating Ole Miss." And he’s absolutely right. But that doesn’t mean it’s acceptable at any level to tweet at and ridicule Brown for making a decision for himself and his family. Let him make his choices. Celebrate the guys who decided to join MSU's football team instead (but still, don't tweet them).
It’s okay to feel frustrated. It’s okay to vent with your friends. If you want to write a hot take or call Paul Finebaum, go for it. You’re entitled to your opinion, after all. It’s not okay, however, for you to directly insult a player on social media. If you're honestly mad that a recruit didn't choose your school, pause and ask yourself why. Do you, in all honestly, really care about his well being and think he'd truly be better at your school? Are you upset because you feel he owes you something? Why, exactly, are you mad that he chose another university? As I said earlier, if you want to be worse than someone who tweets at recruits, be the person that insults recruits on twitter. But preferably, be neither.