The story about Alex Collins is fascinating. The signature of a parent or legal guardian is required for a student-athlete under the age of 21 for an agreement with an NCAA institution to be valid. Up until the last moment Collins and his family understood that he was going to play closer to home in Miami. At the last second Collins shifted course and decided to go to Arkansas. Football wise Collins, a running back, made a great decision. Bret Bielema was recently hired as the Arkansas coach and was instrumental in his previous role as Wisconsin head coach of establishing a powerful, fast and explosive offense grounded in an versatile running game.
The family backstory makes me concerned. Collins signed a day later than he wanted because his mother would not sign the paperwork. She wants him to play closer to home so that she does not have to get into a plane to see him play. He eventually 'recruited' his father to sign the paperwork. Maybe the Arkansas boosters can help her out?
This made me think about my stories about getting recruited to play college football and my signing day. Of course I was not an All-American, there was no ESPNU that tracked all the athletes and made national television about it. My experience did include flying in a small plane for the first time (crazy bumpy ride into Maine), partying with Villanova basketball players after they had just won a big game, and listening to Illmatic for the first time. Like most players I made my decision on one of these trips and chose not to tell anyone. My actual signing date was a small affair in the office of my high school principal with my coach, my guidance counselor, my dad and all the local papers and media.I was lucky, my father was a central part of the process as my agent and negotiator. I wonder if Alex had made his decision long before and did not have the heart to tell his mother until the very end.
As a new dad I think about this from a new angle - what if Alex were my son and he and his mother disagreed on where to go to school? What would I do?