It's Christmas Day for college football coaches! A new crop of ballers will make their final decision on where they will play college football and hopefully go to school. Months of wooing and technically-banned Twitter messages come to a head on National Signing Day.
Fans will wait anxiously for confirmation via Twitter that these faxes come in. Yes, faxes. Despite being outdated in modern civilization with the exception of Japan, we must cling onto this old tradition. Because as we all know, college football a lot about clinging onto outdated traditions for the sake of tradition.
The basic language of these faxes is that these young men, who will now be called young'ins, will help coaches try to win college football games in exchange for a free education.
For months, coaches, boosters and fans have fawned over these young'ins, many of who are under the age of 18. Promises that would be denied under oath are made. Home-cooked meals will bond young'ins to these coaches.
All the while lavish promises are being made, the young'ins are contemplating where to go for a variety of reasons. To a lesser extent, degree programs and winning programs are considered. However the more important reasons such as relationships with the coaches and proximity of favorite restaurants play a vital role.
There's an old football saying "play for the name on the front of your jersey", but more and more players are playing for coaches rather than programs. Many of these young'ins grew up poor and all of a sudden this coach is offering him the chance to play at a college for free and perhaps make millions more as a pro. Coaches often become father figures and once a young'in buys into the coach, he's willing to run through walls for the cult...err...team.
Some schools set up webcams trained on a fax machine and board showing whose faxes have come in. Alabama (Roll Tide) once got in hot water over having a co-ed in a short skirt receive these faxes, which also led to the internet hive-mind trying to figure out who she was just based on her lower body. But let's be honest, if it was socially acceptable, every major program in the country would do the same thing.
The more athletically blessed and possibly-conceited few will make a spectacle of their decision. They will sit at a table in their high school gym, surrounded by their family, friends and whoever else hopes this young'in will be the 0.8% of college football players to be paid cash money to play that sport down the line. These young men will be interviewed either by some local sports newscaster or in a few cases, remotely by a guy in a suit sitting in a production truck in Stamford, CT.
After saying a bunch of thanks, talking about the process and how hard this decision was, the young'in will pick up a hat emblazoned with a team's logo on it, signifying his choice. Everyone is the gym will cheer, because they've waited way too long for this moment. The young'in could pick Our Mary of the Blind, Deaf and Dumb and people would cheer. The coaches at the school picked will whoop and cheer like they scored a touchdown. Yippee!
A few minutes later, after an awkward conversation with the school secretary on how to use the fax machine, the young'in officially signs the early part of his adult life away to the college coach of his choice.
At that moment, all the power leaves the young'in and transitions to the head coach, who holds the future of 80-100+ other players in his hands.
After a frantic morning or faxes, Twitter updates and code speak, the coaches will meet the rich people who have influence over their future. They will make awkward small talk before ducking into a corner to pound another Five Hour Energy because they've been up since before 6:00 am. Coaches will talk about the young'ins that are going to play school there and mention that every player is important. Every single one. That young blue chipper who you offered after that prized recruit flipped to Northwestern? He's got great heart, sound fundamentals and a nose for the ball. That's code talk for future two-time Scout Team MVP.
The dust will settle on signing day and the next day, the next group of young'ins who are currently high school juniors will have scores of grown adults whispering sweet nothings into their ear and the road to NSL 2016 will begin.