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I love a feel good story just as much as the next person but that’s not going to happen here. Wednesday, February 1, 2012 was National Signing Day. For many young student athletes around the country this was their biggest accomplishment to date and would also set the foundation for what their future holds.

In Philadelphia it was marked with a retweet from our Honorable Mayor, Michael Nutter reading “We should ALWAYS focus on our scholars! RT …. Today was National Signing Day.A shameful misguided exercise.We focus on kids playing sports when we should have a day honoring our scholars”

I agree that we should honor academic scholars as well, but on the National Signing Day we focus on student athletes. These young adults excel in the classroom and in athletic arenas. It would be a disappointment for any adult to belittle their dedication in the classroom because of the hard work and production seen in sports.

We want to commend all of our student athletes from around the city who had an opportunity to participate in the 2012 National Signing Day.

We also want to shed light on what is a tragedy in Philadelphia. There are many players from big sports high schools that are not graduating or moving onto college. The tragedy is, its not because of finances but because of a lack of commitment from their High School coaches and guidance counselors.

There is no way a Head Football Coach in this area can keep a student athlete eligible to play sports, but not prepare them for success after high school. That’s a form of child abuse in my eyes.

Ive heard stories of senior athletes not taken SAT’s yet, or attended any college visits. How is this possible? Are the parents at fault? Yes. Are the coaches at fault? Yes. Is the school at fault? Yes. How can you have a guidance department that allows this to happen?

I reached out to one of my college teammates, Mike Hunter, who now coaches at Friendship Collegiate Academy in Washington DC. This is a public school in an urban environment similar to Philadelphia. The similarities stop there. Friendship Academy is sending 19 of 25 seniors to college to continue their path in academics and athletics. This charter school out performs Gonzaga and Damatha which equal St Joseph Prep and Bishop McDevitt in our area.

The bottom line is our student athletes need their coaches and schools to care about more than just wins and free press. As adults we have to provide a good foundation for these student athletes to build their future on. If your not focusing on secondary education with them, then you’re actively sabotaging their future.

words by: @Philly_Ron

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