The college football season just got longer, which is an interesting correlation to the reality that attentions spans are gradually dwindling into obscurity and being replaced by the ultraviolet and intoxicating circus of virtual reality.
As Bowl season is about to go into hyper-drive and reach an underwhelming pinnacle after the shimmering giant apple descends into the crowd in Times Square, the hierarchy of television moguls and athletic department brass bought themselves two more months of relevancy and possibly boosted revenue generation in brilliantly and deviously segmenting the signing deadline for college football recruits.
With the conclusion of the initial early signing period Wednesday, where student athletes signed letters of intent to fill scholarship spots at the division one level, the landscape and stage of the recruiting landscape will never be the same. Those football players who did not contractually obligate themselves to a specific institution of higher education, still have until the traditional February deadline to make a final decision. While the NCAA implemented the early signing period to give student athletes the option of shortening the tedious recruiting process, the landscape of arriving on the big stage of the BCS gridiron will forever be augmented.
The existence of two separate signing deadlines not only allows the college football season to linger on, as the 24-hour coverage provided by innumerable sources on the multiple channels of the internet, but has immediate negative ramifications on universities with higher academic standards. As the admission qualifications of student athletes differ from normal entrance requirements for the general population, the process of clearing a player academically is complicated and time consuming. The majority of public universities have protocol in place to handle the diversity of applicants, however private institutions and those possessing rigorous standards, require a proportional amount of time to qualify an athlete is on the academic borderline. Thus, the Stanfords, Dukes and Rices of the world are already at a severe disadvantage in recruiting against the giants of Alabama, Ohio State and Michigan. Coaching staffs who are able to sign a full class in December, can focus energies on other compartments of team building. The early signing period only widens this chasm to epic lengths. One disconcerting product the competitive disadvantage to the new system, is that the traditional academic institutions will likely “fast track” their admission process to remain afloat in the wins and loss column.
The other pending issue with the separate signing deadlines, is of course the big name 5 star recruits, who choose to prolong their recruitment until the bitter end of the process. As the CFP playoff and bowl season ends in the second week of January, where the star quarterback ends up who did not ink a letter of intent in the early signing period, will encapsulate the collective fan base of the game through the depths of Winter, and perpetuate a grand show of content and intrigue throughout the social networking sphere and purveyors of college football content.
While the dual system of deadlines attenuates the grueling recruiting process for student athletes, the real reason behind its inception fuels the NCAA and athletic department conspiracy in distracting fans from the troublesome reality that players do not receive a cash stipend and are prohibited from having a job, even though their blood and sweat equates to billions of dollars in revenue. The irony of the whole sorted plot goes back that bubble gum commercial from the 1980’s… “Double your pleasure, double your fun,” not with Doublemint gum, but with an inane and procedural attempt in optimizing the milking of a cash cow.
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