Today was National Signing Day.
In the South, NSD is the equivalent of a holiday such as Labor Day. In fact, some football fans think that Super Bowl Sunday should be followed by three consecutive days off, exceeding my favorite holiday season of Thanksgiving: Monday as a recovery day from the hype and glitter of the game/halftime/commercials, Tuesday as a catch-up day on what college football has been up to since the National Championship game, and Wednesday for more hype and glitter of a much different kind.
I’m not one of those football fans.
The ink is barely dry. The crap shoot is now just beginning. For the most part, it will take a long time before we know what the dice will show. Except for the fact that Tennessee snagged three JUCOs, all likely to be contributors on day one. Wednesday was 2012 National Signing Day. It was significant. Derek Dooley and (a mostly new) staff are to be congratulated for a very respectable showing.
Cam Newton got a pass because the NCAA’s investigation indicated that he was not aware of his father’s pay-for-play scheme. And, because there was no link to Auburn either, they were allowed to win the SEC and national championships on the field. There was, of course, rampant speculation and all kinds of correlations leading to causation, implicating Cam and his father and Auburn and Mississippi State and the SEC and the NCAA and, well, why not throw in Mubarak?
It was only a matter of time before Lane Kiffin’s name surfaced with all of this.
The NCAA slipped the invoice under Tennessee’s door on Wednesday. Then, the university released it to the world for viewing, minus a few redactions. More on that later.
First, the timeline. Tennessee has 90 days to respond to NCAA’s 26-page Notice of Allegations regarding the Vol football and men’s basketball programs. The university will then make an appearance before the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions in Indianapolis, anticipated to be June 10 and 11. A convenient time – long after the basketball season has finished and long enough before kickoff in September.
Yes, today is Super Bowl Sunday, not a college football day. It is the day that American sport is showcased to the world. But the players playing in icy Dallas this evening started their national football careers long ago, when they donned a hat in the now-common symbolic gesture of signage. For most, the fame began on a National Signing Day a few years ago.
Justin Worley, a high school quarterback from Rock Hill, South Carolina (Northwestern H.S.), was named today the Gatorade National Player of the Year. Past winners of this award include Peyton Manning.
This season, his school won the South Carolina State Championship (Class AAAA-Div II). Worley passed for 5,315 yards and 64 TDs. That’s sixty-four touchdown passes this season.