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After a 50 year HS playoff drought, this hype video starts a new chapter

Mona Shores high school (MI) was founded back in 1964, and over the next 50 years the football program never made an appearance in the state finals. Not a single time.

The strangest thing about the playoff drought is that Mona Shores HS is located just a few miles down the road from one of the most storied high school programs in the state of Michigan, Muskegon high school. The same high school that produced Benny Oosterbaan and Earl Morrall.

The 2013 squad, named team 51 by head coach Matt Koziak (a former Muskegon high school assistant) and his staff, broke that dubious streak this past year, and the program has since started a new chapter, with new expectations and a renewed vision of success.

This is their hype video about starting a new chapter in the program's history.

Scoop Roundtable: Is Bo Pelini's idea to eliminate National Signing Day a good one?

On Wednesday, Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini fronted an idea that would eliminate National Signing Day - as well as the possibility for early signing days - by in essence making every day its own signing day. Pelini wants schools to have the ability to offer a kid a scholarship whenever they want, and then, in turn, allowing that player to sign his National Letter of Intent on the spot. An offer is an offer, and a commitment is a commitment. "If somebody has offered a kid, let him sign, it's over," Pelini told ESPN.com. "That will stop some of the things that are happening -- people just throwing out offers, some of them with really no intention of taking a kid."

Is this a good idea and, if so, why? Are there any potential downsides and, if so, what are they? We asked the Scoop staff to each give their views of Pelini's admittedly radical - and possibly brilliant - new idea.

 


 

Zach: As I wrote in the original article, we all accept commitments when there is no immediacy attached to them. Ask me to speak at your charity event on June 23, 2017 and I will accept on the spot. Ask me to speak at your charity event next Tuesday and I'm thinking up an excuse to get out of it. Pelini's idea unquestionably puts a hefty amount of accountability behind a scholarship offer. 

That said, I do see some downsides. Even with the knowledge that one offer could bind a player to a program for three years before he even enters college, I see some coaches offering kids as freshmen and I don't think it's a good idea for anyone involved. With how slanted the NLI language already is against the players, I just don't think it's beneficial to put that piece of paper in front of a 14-year-old and expect him to have any sort of inclination what he's actually signing. I think it would lead to too many cases of schools attaching themselves to 15-year-olds that have physically peaked, and too many 15-year-olds committing themselves to schools before they reach their full potential. My suggestion is to adopt Pelini's idea, but wait until the second semester's of a prospect's junior year. By that point, enough data has been transferred for the two sides to know a proper amount about each other. But are you then essentially creating a new singing day 13 months ahead of its current date? Quite possibly. 

In short, I like the idea but I need to see some boundary lines in place. 


 

Doug: The way I see things, there just isn't enough wrong with the current model to substantiate such a radical change. Don't get me wrong, there is a lot wrong with the current recruiting model, but throwing national signing day out the window creates more problems than it fixes.

In theory it sounds great, but as a former small college coach I also understand that there are thousands and thousands of high school players out there holding onto hope for that Division I scholarship offer, when realistically their highlight film screams Division III/NAIA-type potential. Eliminating National Signing Day altogether removes a day where fantasy becomes reality to a lot of those guys, which in turn further extends the recruiting process for those small college coaches. And most of those guys are already recruiting year round to field a roster that makes the people up in admissions happy enough to ease up on their cases for another few months before the round of tuition deposits are due.

Also, keep in mind the immense pressure it puts on coaches out on the road when they do offer a scholarship. Every staff now has to be 100% prepared for that recruit to commit on the spot, which could really mess with your big board top recruits. For the programs signing the one and two star kids, this probably seems logical, but it presents some problems to the programs offering both blue chippers and two star guys. 90 percent of the time you'd rather have that blue-chipper, but it's the less heralded players that are more likely to jump on their biggest and baddest offer on the table, especially late in the process when all the cards have been shown.

 


 

Scott: Philosophically I agree with the idea and points being made by Bo Pelini, but I struggle to wrap my mind around how I would actually recommend implementing this because I see issues. For example, what happens if the player who signed an NLI in his junior year breaks his leg that summer and is a decidedly different athlete the following year? Or, the unfortunate alternative... a high school athlete doesn't develop as planned and the university wants to back out of his offer because of "a physical issue" that really isn't there. 

The part of Pelini's proposal/suggestion that I like most is that this would presumably instill some accountability within the process and the profession, thereby allowing more transparency into who does things the right way. Overall, I'm pretty intrigued by this idea and would like to see a working group of coaches address the idea and see if they think they can make this work. 

One change I'd like to suggest would be to not allow any coach initiated contact prior to the beginning of the high school athlete's junior season (if a player wants to take an unofficial visit prior to then that's fine with me). I don't live in this recruiting world day in and day out so I'd be open to hearing the case for earlier or later dates, but it seems to me (from a distance) that there is way too much early contact in the current structure - and this is part of the problem Pelini's suggestion is hoping to curb in the first place.

Bo Pelini wants to get rid of National Signing Day altogether

There's a lot of chatter about creating an early signing day for football, with August 1 or the Monday after Thanksgiving being the most commonly speculated dates. Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini wants to nix those dates, along with National Signing Day on the first Wednesday in February.

If it's up to Pelini, National Signing Day would be every single day.

"If somebody has offered a kid, let him sign, it's over," Pelini told ESPN.com. "That will stop some of the things that are happening -- people just throwing out offers, some of them with really no intention of taking a kid."

In Pelini's world, taking a commitment would mirror a commitment in every day life. It would turn, "Can you speak at our charity function on June 23, 2017? Sure, absolutely." Into, "Can you speak at our charity function tomorrow night? Hold on, I'll have to check my calendar."

"Make [the offer] mean something," Pelini said. "People will be like, 'Whoa, I've got to take this kid now.' It will slow things down for the kids, for the institutions. There will be less mistakes."

Pelini hasn't stated whether or not schools would only be able to offer - and then sign - high school seniors, or if a high school freshman could sign a National Letter of Intent. (He did state, though, that a signed scholarship should be voided in an event of a coaching change.) 

"Things would slow down dramatically," Pelini said. "Some of these kids get 60 offers. Some of these people don't even know who a kid is. The whole thing gets watered down. There's no way some [team] can take that many guys."

He has not put his idea forward to the NCAA's formal legislation process, and it's doubtful whether it ever even gets there. But the seventh-year Nebraska coach has made an interesting point. 

Read the full story here.

The NFL is ditching Roman numerals for Super Bowl 50

Straying from the usual tradition of using Roman numerals for the Super Bowl, something we've all become accustomed to seeing, the NFL has decided to roll with normal numbers for Super Bowl 50 in 2016.

If you're wondering why, just imagine how "Super Bowl L" would have sounded. Since "L" is the Roman numeral for 50 that's how it would have played out if the NFL stuck with tradition. Thankfully, they decided to go in another direction because "Super Bowl L" simply sounds funny. Going with "Super Bowl 50" seemed like the logical choice, other than an alternative like "Super Bowl XXXXX", where the accidental omission of a few X's would have been disastrous.

It also would have taken the world's best graphic designer to come up with something catchy tying together the Vince Lombardi trophy, the San Francisco skyline, and the Roman numeral "L".

Darren Rovell helped push out the new wording and logo moments ago. Just a reminder; Super Bowl 50 is scheduled to be played in San Francisco in 2016.

 

 

Michigan State AD Mark Hollis: 'It all starts with people, not dollars'

You know about the Big Ten championship, the Rose Bowl victory and the No. 3 national finish for Michigan State football, by far the Spartans' best season in a quarter century. You also remember the run to the Elite Eight for Michigan State's men's basketball team, coming just a couple jumpers shy of yet another Final Four berth under Tom Izzo. 

But you may not know about the Big Ten championship in field hockey won in November, or the conference title and NCAA sixth-place finish in women's cross country won that same month. What about the Elite Eight trip for men's soccer in December, the third women's golf Big Ten title in four years, or the co-Big Ten championship in women's basketball? 

It was a good year for Michigan State athletics, one of the best in recent memory. 

“It all starts with people, not dollars,” Michigan State athletics director Mark Hollis told the Detroit Free-Press. “We’re blessed to have great coaches and student-athletes who care about the program and come to Michigan State for the right reasons.”

Of course, Michigan State's budget ranks among the 99.9th percentile in all of college athletics. It's easy to say success isn't about money when you aren't hurting for money, right? Comparatively, Michigan State is a middle-class Power Five program. The Spartans' 2013 revenues ranked 17th nationally and sixth in the 12-team Big Ten. 

Michigan State isn't getting this done by out-spending people. People, not dollars. 

“This past year’s been a very successful year. But like you hear so many times, keeping it there is a bigger challenge than getting there,” added Hollis. “While there’s many reasons to celebrate, I think there’s as many reasons to be excited for what’s around the corner.”

Read the full story here.

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