This has been driven by networks such as ESPN because it gives them more programming for which there is clearly an appetite. And make no mistake, most of these kids absolutely love the attention and love getting face time on TV. Of course, this is not unique to athletic kids in their teens...have you heard of reality TV? Have you seen the throng of people trying to get on TV behind the College Gameday set on ESPN every Saturday morning?
The only difference with this press conference was that the athlete signing happened to be in the same small town (that, let's face it, just does not have that much going on in it) as one of the universities he had on his short list of options. The public gets "invited" (the announcement of this press conference was a boiler plate announcement that has been used a million times) and shazam the Cyclone fans immediately assume this means he is coming to ISU. After all, why would "Harrison The Great" invite the public (which many of you thought equalled Cyclone fans) if he was not going to pick ISU? Add in the fact that he had not given any true indication as to whom his favorite might be and voila you have a bunch of Cyclone fans feeling "used". Believe me, I understand the emotions.
I certainly believe HB used ISU...but that is the recruiting game. Make no mistake, ISU (and every other NCAA program) uses their athletes (specifically in FB and MBB) to drive a significant amount of revenue into university coffers. This is the way the system is set up...it is a "mutual use" society in my opinion. ISU and its coaches and administration knew they were getting used but they made the business decision that this "usage" gave them the best chance to land a top recruit that would help drive increased revenues. There were no guarantees...this is really not much different than submitting a sales proposal...you spend a lot of time, resources, and energy putting a sales proposal together but there is no guarantee of a yes.
Lastly, I don't think anybody is (or has been) questioning GM's character. I'm not sure why you felt the need to bring that up but I have seen nothing questioning his integrity or character whatsoever. Having said that, make no mistake, coaching at a DI program in MBB and FB is a dog-eat-dog business. It is a ruthless business, and yes, there are some dishonorable people in it...but every business has some of those types.
In your post you used the word "logic"...I think you also need to remember that 17 and 18 year old males (I have both been one and now have one of my own) tend to not operate in a logical fashion much of the time. Additionally, fans tend to suspend their own logic when contemplating their favorite teams.
PS: I don't think we disagree on this topic as much as you may think but I am happy we tend to agree on more important topics because, at the end of the day, the HB decision to attend UNC is just not that important.