Wednesday was National Signing Day, the occasion upon which high school football players pledge their allegiances to college football programs.
Like the NFL Draft and the NBA Lottery, National Signing Day is a thoroughly choreographed event featuring promising athletes who will either fulfill that promise… or lose their scholarships or their jobs because they don’t turn out to be as good as everybody thought they’d be.
But “choreographed” is the point I’m trying to make here. By National Signing Day, the most highly-coveted players have had lots of time to sort through various offers and promises. They have visited various campuses and campus hangouts, and they have decided that they can most happily and effectively pursue fame and fortune at Miami, or Alabama, or Mississippi (but probably at Alabama). National Signing Day is not about surprises, at least for the athletes doing the signing.
But on Wednesday, Alex Collins of Plantation, Fla., who was all set to sign with Arkansas, failed to account for his mother, who scooped up the paperwork and fled.
This wouldn’t have mattered, letters of intent being reproducible, but the signature of a parent or legal guardian is required for an aspiring college football player preparing to step into the maw of a college football program if the aspirant is under 21.
Apparently Mrs. Collins didn’t want Alex to relocate so far from home. She preferred the University of Miami.
Evidently Mr. Collins didn’t feel that way, because on Thursday, he accompanied his son to a ceremony where the Arkansas letter was duly signed and counter-signed.
That might have been the end of the drama, except that Mrs. Collins has apparently hired the law firm once headed by Johnnie Cochran, presumably to scuttle the signing that occurred on Thursday, either because she really doesn’t want her son to move so far from home, or perhaps for some other among the various reasons parents attempt to convince their sons to play football or basketball at one university rather than another.
Of the signing, young Alex Collins said, “Arkansas is my new home. I’m excited about my future. It’s a happy day for me.”
Of course, he said that before he knew his mother had hired an attorney, but I suppose it’s nice that he was happy Thursday. His days may soon turn dark and twisted.