The first Wednesday in February is slotted as National Signing Day for athletes all across the country. The purpose of this day is to allow those players, male or female, who have excelled at their given sports, an opportunity to play in college. But there are some cases that slip through the cracks.
This year’s “crack” came in the form of a young man from Hialeah, Fla., who not only earned a full-ride football scholarship but also committing to the school of his choice early last summer.
The only problem appeared the night before his big opportunity to sign a Letter of Intent to the university. He was contacted by the school, which notified him that his scholarship offer had been pulled.
There are various issues with this, not only in the form of the school contacting him late, but also not specifying why they pulled the offer.
The student was not only eligible by NCAA regulations, but the high school also verified that the student was cleared. The rebuttal from the high school player’s coach at Hialeah High was that he learned the school had too many offers out and had to pull some away.
The worst impact was the timing of the university. Once his decision was made last summer, the young man shut off all other options for his choice of college. In return, all other colleges stopped pursuing him. They pulled their respective offers for a scholarship off the table and focused their attention elsewhere, which left the student without a school to sign to.
This is important because for some students, this is may be their only chance at earning a college degree on the dollar of an athletic scholarship to the school that wants them. Hundreds of student-athletes participate in this day of joy. Players not only celebrate with their schoolmates, teammates and friends, but, most importantly, their family.
Many athletes sway in their decision-making in the coming months leading up to and on the day of signing their Letter of Intent. So the university saying it had too many offers either meant it received notice that better players wanted to sign or the number of scholarships were limited. But in this specific case, the player was an early commit, so one would think the school would honor its pursuit of the player the same way the athlete honored his word with sticking with the school.
The well-known fact of the matter is that not all high school student-athletes go on to play their sport at the next level or professionally. So, in cases where all the factors needed to earn a scholarship check out, it becomes a sort of red flag and makes one wonder what is going on. One may question whether today’s athletic scholarships are more about the “athletic” than the “scholar.”