All The Fax About Recruiting

This being signing day for football recruits, the center of attention is, of course . . . the fax machine. At least that’s what the Wall Street Journal says, and it has the anecdotes to back it up:

At the University of Oregon, alumnus Phil Knight, the Nike co-founder, has hung out for years in the football office on signing day, waiting for official word on the newest flock of Ducks. At Arizona State, a staffer plays the school fight song each time a recruit’s fax rolls in, often 20 or so times. On Wednesday, the universities of Alabama and Washington plan to have cameras set up again so fans can watch the faxes come in via the Internet.

Some colleges use newer faxes (the University of Mississippi’s weapon of choice is a Canon iR C3080 multifunction machine), while others rely on older ones, like Ball State’s decade-old Samsung 6750.

The machines get tender loving care before the big day, getting tuned up and topped off with toner.

A couple of years ago at the University of Miami, the fax technician didn’t show up until the morning of signing day. Sure enough, the machine broke down after the first couple of letters, causing the staff to scramble to get recruits to send their letters elsewhere.

The story takes a look at some of the history of recruiting, explaining how we arrived at a place where an arcane piece of office equipment is all important. And it points out how, while signing day is filled with plenty of intrigue, there’s also a whole lot of silliness.

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