The National Letter of Intent Should Remain in Place

By Dan Mokrycki

National Signing Day always takes place on the first Wednesday of February, and is quickly becoming quite popular in the collegiate and high school football communities alike.  This past Wednesday morning, at 7:00AM marked the initial opportunity for high school student athletes to formally announce, through a binding “National Letter of Intent”, which college football program they will become a part of. National Signing Day has many effects on players, the media, fans, and society in general. 

The recent popularity of the signing day is well founded.  It serves as a reasonable means by which the school and the student can reach an agreement.  Signing day is the beginning of a two month period in which students commit for a one-year period to attend a certain school.  The signing period evens out the bargaining power of both sides.  With no such period, the bargaining power would sway strongly in favor of the most recruited students as the school year approached, while swaying strongly in favor of the school for the less recruited students.

Requiring mutual services from both the school and player, well in advance of the school year, is fair to both parties.  Students have sufficient time to explore all of the schools they are considering attending, and the school is given enough time to fill the gaps it needs to fill from the loss of its graduating seniors. 

There are some weaker arguments in opposition of the National Signing Day system; however, they are without merit.  It can be argued that the pressure related with getting recruits to sign with schools on signing day is a negative. In certain cases teams are brought to the spotlight for engaging in illegal activities related to recruiting top athletes to their campus. College football is a high revenue industry nationwide, and whenever so much money is involved, there will always be people looking to get an edge.  It is a flawed reasoning to say that such things would end with the removal of National Signing Day, and it is arguable that the situation would get worse. 

If students were committed to a four-year stay with a particular school then I would agree that signing day was proceeding beyond reasonable limits.  As there are stronger arguments that a student should be allowed to attend which ever school they prefer.  In the current system, if a student signs his letter of intent, he only commits for the minimum amount of time which is fair and necessary in order for the school to have a successful season, and for the team to operate properly.  The student should not be allowed to leave mid-season, or transfer to a team headed to the national championship game. 

This minimally invasive one-year commitment is fair, and the clear best practice in the recrutiment of college football players.  It provides security for the student, and the school.  It also provides the community and fans with an exciting day to look forward to.  The National Signing Day is an excellent kickoff to the football season, and should remain in place. 

Dan Mokrycki is a second-year law student at Quinnipiac University School of Law concentrating in Tax and Intellectual Property Law.

Trackbacks

  1. […] of Law Students taking my Sports Law course, Davidson G. Lucas, Martine Trinka, Leo J. White and Dan Mokrycki.  Three of the four students came down on the side most commonly advocated by observers of […]

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