bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: Recruit’s mother steals his letter of intent

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Wednesday was the biggest day of the year in the world of college football recruiting: National Signing Day. Over the last several years, this day, and recruiting in general, has become such a circus that I am rarely surprised by anything that happens. Press conferences, hat ceremonies, and millions of people hitting refresh on their browsers are normal occurrences on this day, as people wait to find out if some teenager has decided to play at their school. I have to admit, though, that the saga of Alex Collins was not one I could have predicted. Collins, from Florida, was committed to play at Miami until Monday, when he changed his mind and announced his intention to sign with Arkansas. His mother had other ideas, however, and she not only refused to sign his letter of intent at the signing ceremony, she actually ran out the door with the papers.

Any player intending to sign a national letter of intent to play football who is under 21 needs a parent or guardian to sign the letter as well. That would be virtually all of them, of course. I have two kids in college, and I can not imagine either of them selecting a school without us agreeing to it. I can certainly imagine one of them focusing on a school that I was opposed to, and there would have been a lot of discussion and possibly some drama that would have ended with a decision to go elsewhere. I can’t fault Andrea McDonald, Collins’ mom, for refusing to sign if she was so opposed to him going to Arkansas. It was the way it happened that was so bizarre. First, a day before signing day, Collins went on television to announce his switch to Arkansas. I am not sure why a signing day ceremony was needed a day after a televised announcement, but that’s par for the course in the zoo that is recruiting. Then, he showed up at his school with his mom to participate in the school’s shindig, but before he could sign, his mom absconded with the papers. Why did she bother to show up? She couldn’t have hidden the papers or thrown them out at home? Why did she need to do it in front of a large group of witnesses? I assume she was looking forward to the rabid coverage she was sure to get from her actions.

Collins contacted his estranged father, who was apparently more than happy to show up the next day and sign the papers. McDonald, meanwhile, hired Johnny Cochran’s law firm to represent her and to “protect the family’s interest.” No legal action has yet occurred, and you have to wonder what she might be contemplating. It would not make a great deal of sense to try to get the letter declared invalid, as it seems clear that Alex intends to attend Arkansas regardless. Is it right that a kid needs a parent to sign-off on his choice in this circumstance? After all, an 18-year-old can join the military without a parent’s signature, and that would seem to be a much more serious commitment than choosing where to play football. Again, as a parent, I appreciate the fact that I would have veto power of a sort were I in this situation, but when put in context by the military requirements, it seems quite unfair.

Alex Collins has been listed as the top-rated running back in this year’s class, so it seems clear that Bret Bielema, Arkansas’ new head coach, is getting a good one, while Miami’s Al Golden must be quite disappointed. Regardless, it’s clear that the media covering college football quite enjoyed the show.

Bad sports, continued:

2) Ever the genius, Deion Sanders has managed to again show what a moron he is. Last weekend, he suggested that the NFL does not really have a problem with concussions, and that former players are simply trying to make money by making an issue of it.

3) A high school football coach in Alabama was suspended this week after a recording surfaced of him talking to his players, making racist and homophobic statements in the process. How this was a suspension and not a termination is mind-boggling.

4) Jamone Boyd, a football player from Missouri, was about to sign with Kansas State to play for revered coach Bill Snyder. Instead, he was arrested two days before signing day for armed robbery.

5) Steve Bisciotti, the owner of the Super Bowl-champion Baltimore Ravens, said this week that he expects to erect a statue of Ray Lewis outside M&T Stadium at some point in the future. Wow.

6) Skiing champion Lindsey Vonn tore two ligaments in her knee and broke a bone in her leg when she crashed during the world championships in Austria on Tuesday. She had to be airlifted to a nearby hospital.

7) The vice-president of AC Milan used a racist slur to refer to his club’s newest player, forward Mario Balatelli. It’s no wonder that these racist chants keep breaking out at soccer matches.

8) The aunt and uncle of Delanie Walker, a running back for the San Francisco 49ers, were killed in a car accident as they were leaving the Super Bowl in New Orleans, where they had been watching their nephew play.

9) An N.C. State basketball player whose grandmother recently passed away was taunted by Duke fans during a game at Cameron Indoor on Thursday. The Blue Devils fans chanted “How’s your grandma?” at him while he was shooting free throws. Brutal.

Good sports:

1) The family members of the late Joe Paterno released a report in which they tore apart the famed and flawed Freeh Report line by line, aided by several heavy hitters and experts. This is another necessary step toward correcting the travesty of justice that led to Paterno’s firing and the crippling sanctions leveled against Penn State last year.

2) Notre Dame and Louisville played an epic five-overtime game on Saturday night, which was eventually won by the Fighting Irish.

3) Darrell Wallace Jr. is set to become only the third African-American to ever have a full-time ride in one of NASCAR’s top series this year when he drives A truck for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the Camping World Truck Series.

Bad sports, good sports appears every Monday

Alan Spoll is a software quality assurance director from the suburbs of Philadelphia where he lives with his wonderful wife and children. He has spent his entire life as a passionate fan of the Eagles, Phillies, Sixers, Flyers, and Penn State. Recent Phillies success aside, you will understand his natural negativity. Follow me on Twitter - @DocAlan02
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