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Friday Scholarship Guide

Best Outfit for Signing Day


Today's edition of the Friday Scholarship Guide is brought to you by Jon Rubenstein from "Campus Colors".

Signing Day, or decision day, is a momentous occasion. Yours may have less cameras than the moments you spot on television, but the excitement will be just as real. Even if you know who you’re signing with, it will be exhilarating to cement your high school legacy and prepare to start your next chapter as a college athlete. A few great offers means even more drama as you make your final decision and commit to your future team; but, who doesn’t love options?

Signing Day outfits, like this stylish cream suit with an old fashioned football helmet, are an art all to themselves. Though, Signing Day outfits don’t have to be exquisite to go above and beyond. They can also be a classic suit, deconstructed with some team socks or a team hat. In this article, we’ll discuss the logistics of signing day and possible events, as well as what you might want to wear on such a momentous occasion. Spoiler alert: it’s all about being yourself and having fun with it. Signing Day is just for you!

What is Signing Day?

Signing Day is an event hosted by high schools that celebrates a student athlete furthering their talents from high school to college. An athlete may have a variety of different colleges that they could attend to play sports. In some cases, athletes may be agonizing over the decision as it impacts the next 4-5 years of their life let alone their potential career in the professional leagues. They may not have a clue where they’re attending school in the fall; and, unfortunately, they’re probably losing sleep over it.

All that changes on Signing Day, when the scholarships and sports commitments become official.

National Signing Day is the day where most colleges prepare the documents for you to sign the National Letter of Intent , which declares that you’re going to attend a certain college and play sports for them. Many high schools decide to host a Signing Day celebration which celebrates all the student-athletes, and sometimes even their academically-inclined peers, who are heading off to specific colleges. If your school is not hosting a Signing Day, you might be able to take initiative and organize the event on your own!

Signing Day generally occurs within the national signing period. During this period of time (depending on sport), an athlete can sign the letter of intent to play for a given college or university. The letter of intent, once signed, basically has three legally-binding agreements:

First, the student-athlete commits to attend the university for one year and to play their sport. Second, the university provides an athletic scholarship for the year. Third, no other schools are allowed to recruit the student any longer.

Will My School have a National Letter of Intent?

A lot of NCAA Division 1 and 2 schools use the official National Letter of Intent format. Some schools won’t (definitely NAIA), but they will most likely send some sort of other scholarship offer/agreement. If your high school is having a Signing Day, you may choose to create your own version of signing (like signing your scholarship offer or accepting the college application).

Who Gets Cameras?

Watch ESPN for any amount of time, and you’ll see smiling athletes with proud family members sitting in front of cameras. They’ll be sitting there with a form and a pen in front of themselves, and they usually announce who they’re signing with by putting a team hat on top of their heads. These photos and videos can be super memorable and fun, but keep in mind that only the top recruits in the country in a given sport, and usually only in men’s football and basketball, will get this kind of attention in the press.

If you want to have some extra fun with your event, you might be able to get local press involved! If you’re well-connected, live in a smaller town and know of athletes who are announcing for smaller schools, you might actually be able to get a news source to cover the event!


What to Wear on Signing Day

If You’re a Parent

You may have an idea of what you think your student should or shouldn’t wear on Signing Day; but, your role is to be supportive and proud of your athlete! Some students wear something goofy, and other students decide that they want to wear a suit. As far as we can tell, neither of those decisions seem to have an impact on the trajectory of their college career.

When it comes to the decision itself, you can get them an acceptance gift that sways them to the school you’d like them to attend. Ultimately, it’s their decision—listen to your student-athlete’s wants and needs when having conversations about their options.

If You’re a Student-Athlete

One of the most popular and timeless Signing Day outfits is a classic suit or dress—something stylish with a bit of grace and tact. Suits and dresses are ideal Signing Day outfits because they get your college career off to a professional start. Photos of you at Signing Day shouldn’t look retrospectively foolish as you fight for playing time during your first year of college. A formal outfit shows your family, friends, coaches and your new school that you understand the gravity of the moment and are taking things seriously.

If you feel compelled to make the suit or dress a bit more fun, you can always pair it with a few great accessories. Team hats, team t-shirts under a blazer, and team socks are all great options. They allow you to maintain professionalism while showing off that youthful team spirit and collegiate attitude.

Additionally, you can pair a suit or dress with a favorite pair of sneakers. Deconstructing the classic suit look, adding a pair of glasses or any sort of athletic gear will do a lot to make your suit less stuffy. Most importantly, wear something that truly feels like an accurate representation of yourself.

Team Hats

A team hat is the classic Signing Day statement piece. Student-athletes who choose this style will traditionally buy a team hat for all the teams that you’ll potentially be signing with, and then make a show of selecting the hat that represents the school that you’ll ultimately be going to. It’s flashy, exciting, memorable and you can have a lot of fun with it!

Something Team-Related and Wacky

If you really want to show everyone how much you’re going to crush it in college, you can invest in team accessories of the school that you’re heading off to. Or, you can put on a full team halloween costume!

If shenanigans are your mode of operation, then wearing the colors of a team that you aren’t signing with can be a huge misdirection that draws a big laugh. It could be a bit insensitive or over the top, so know your audience. You may not want to frustrate a coach by teasing them about signing with their team or a parent by signing with their alma mater! Nevertheless, wearing some socks or a hat of a different team, and then making a big show of signing with their rival can be an explosive way to kick off a unique college career.


Advice for Signing Day Fashion

Be yourself—that’s the bottom line. If you’re the class clown who also happens to be an all-star athlete, then wear your funniest college tailgate outfit for Signing Day. Or, dress up like the mascot of the college that you’re attending to show off your spirit. If you want your work ethic and professionalism to be the highlight of the day, something like a suit or dress might be more your style. Wear something that feels authentic and know that the rest of your fellow athletes will do the same on Signing Day. Don’t worry about blending in on a day that’s all about your accomplishments—there will be a mix of styles representing a mix of careers, colleges, and futures.

Whenever you are about to sign: congratulations, and good luck!