FISCHER: Outside the Box
Technology takes away NSD excitement
Technology is wonderful thing.
It makes just about every aspect of our lives better.
Just imagine that only 100 years ago cross-country travel was measured in days. Not hours.
And 50 years ago, people watched World Series games in black and white and celebrated it as a modern marvel.
Heck, I’m only 25 years old and I can distinctly remember a time before Internet and cell phones.
Those were much simpler times, and technology has undoubtedly made all of those aspects of our lives exponentially better.
However, there’s a rare something that has gotten worse with the advent of worldwide up to the second updates.
And that something is near and dear to the hearts of every college football fan.
National Signing Day.
Like the days of train travel, black and white TVs or landline communication, there was once a time when National Signing Day was exciting. When fans didn’t really know who was going to be a part of their favorite team’s class. When the joy/pain of having a player jump ship at the last minute was a complete and total surprise, and it made the first Wednesday in February a day any true fan could do nothing but stay on the edge of their seat and bite their fingernails.
Now, National Signing Day has become a mere formality. The end of a long, arduous journey with reporters and fans having the technological capability to follow every step these coveted kids make and immediately let their thoughts and actions be known to the masses. The result is an information overload, letting every fan know that recruiting classes are practically filled not only by the time the first Wednesday in February comes around but even as early as the first Saturday where college football stadiums become cathedrals.
There’s no more suspense. It’s like the camera in the green room for the NFL Draft, showing a player on his cell phone and essentially revealing who the next pick is going to be before it’s made. It’s a buzz kill, and it destroys the excitement of the NFL Draft.
The same can be said for recruiting, because even if a player is wavering on his commitment as National Signing Day approaches, today’s technology and relentless recruiting journalism just squashes all the fun out of what used to be an exciting process.
Now I’m not bashing the tremendous journalists for doing their jobs covering these kids and getting the latest info to their rabid fan bases as quickly as possible. I just long for a time when fans didn’t know what was wrapped up under the Christmas tree before opening their presents.
However, there was one surprise when the nation’s top recruit - Robert Nkemdiche - made his college decision on live television this morning. The best defensive end in America is one of very few players who kept his intentions secret until National Signing Day these days simply because he could. In other words, he’s good enough that any school would make room for him at the last minute if need be.
And unfortunately, there could be another negative side - this one far more ugly - to today’s technological frenzy. Scorn fans might flood Nkemdiche’s social media accounts and crush him on message boards because today’s platforms give fans the capability to make public displays of disdain. It’s happened before from fans of just about every big-time program in America.
It’s pathetic and unbecoming of an adult - especially in regard to something as trivial as the college choice of a young man.
And it’s that fan sentiment that led LSU coach Les Miles to make a statement like the one he made last year regarding Gunner Kiel’s last-minute switch to Notre Dame in order to appease the mostly drunken fans in his audience: “He did not necessarily have the chest and the ability to lead a program.”
So here was a 58-year old multi-millionaire basically calling an 18-year old kid a coward because he chose to stay close to home at the 11th hour. What is wrong with this picture?
Fans have always been crazy about recruiting, but it wasn’t until today’s technology that they had the information readily available and the ability to show it.
So I implore you Tiger fans, please wish Nkemdiche well in his future endeavors and accept that he’s making the best decision in his heart for his future and for his family. It’s fine to immediately turn your attention to beating him on the field, but please leave it at that.
With just about every player on board at their respective schools by the time 7 a.m. rolls around, dignity and class among your fan base is about all that remains at stake on National Signing Day. So make LSU proud Tiger fans.
Richard Fischer is the associate editor of Tiger Rag Magazine covering football and baseball. He is a graduate of LSU Journalism. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.