BRYAN, Texas -- The most American form of American sports today can be found at the collegiate level. Until an athlete has finished high school, the athlete must compete with the school they are "zoned for" according to the location of their home.
Athletes who prefer to sharpen their skills year-round will also participate in some form of off-season select league with players from around the area. But unless the athlete has a mode of transportation, time, money, and energy to devote to their respective sport during their school's off-season; local or school leagues are all that will be available until college.
Athletes who are able to play professionally are drafted in their respective sport's draft, for example the NFL, but the athlete is chosen by the team. For example, professional scouts from the Houston Texans, Dallas Cowboys, and Seattle Seahawks all show up at an amateur (high school) football game to watch a particular player. All three teams decide they are interested in obtaining that athlete for their organization, and are all willing to pay the same amount of money to the athlete. That athlete, according to this year's draft would ultimately go to the Houston Texans because the Texans have the first pick of this year's draft. The NFL draft is not that simple, but it proves the point that NFL teams choose the athlete, instead of the athlete choosing the team.
College is the one level in athletics where athletes are able to decide for themselves where they would like to play while getting a higher-level education. Athletes are able to submit transcripts of their grades, along with highlights of their athletic careers to schools they wish to attend. If the school/ coaching staff is interested in beginning the recruiting process with an athlete, they will then contact the high school for more information. As this process continues, schools can offer athletes scholarships of various percentages depending on how much that school is interested in an athlete.
A 5-Star Athlete is considered to be a highly skilled, versatile athlete in a particular sport, and is typically offered the largest scholarship percentages as well as the most scholarship opportunities from a wider variety of schools.
National Signing Day is the day football athletes from all over the country will sign their letter of intent to play with the school they have chosen (some athletes of other sports may sign on this day as well).
National Signing Day is also the first time the athlete's respective coach is allowed to openly talk about their incoming freshman, as it is an NCAA violation for coaches to refer to unsigned players by name in public before their letter of intent is signed.
CW8 Aggieland is your home for the latest news on National Signing Day to see which athletes will sign to play with your Fighin' Texas Aggies! Tune-in to CW8 Aggieland for the Official Texas A&M Signing Day Show from 7-9 a.m., followed by extra coverage from TexAgs Radio LIVE from 9-11 a.m. on February 5th.