Today’s post is by Jason Smith, a head recruiting coach at NCSA Athletic Recruiting, who regularly contributes to the blog. You can follow Jason on Twitter @NCSAJason or on Facebook for more recruiting tips.
Verbal offers and commitments are common at all levels of college baseball. College coaches need to have confirmation of your commitment to their program before sending out the National Letter of Intent (NCAA Division I or II) during a signing period or any other type of similar document. College coaches at all levels will make verbal offers to prospects.
It is extremely important for parents and student-athletes to understand what making a verbal commitment in recruiting means in the eyes of the coaching staff, and from other programs’ point of view. Below are three things to consider before making a verbal commitment:
College coaches take a verbal commitment in recruiting seriously.
Let’s start with the coaching staff recruiting you.
Typically they will stop recruiting for your roster spot or position (based on the needs of the recruiting class). The same will be expected out of you. If they see you at a showcase or hear about you visiting other campuses, then you could jeopardize your offer.
Most college coaches will respect verbal offers and stop recruiting committed prospects. The baseball world is small and many coaches have good relationships outside of the foul lines. They do not want other coaches recruiting their committed prospects and typically avoid it themselves.
Word can spread if a committed guy is still looking around. The last thing you want is to have that type of relationship spreading throughout the coaching community.
You are committing to the college, not the coach or coaching staff.
The college you select should be a good fit for more than just baseball. Location, academics, finances and the social atmosphere need to be seriously considered.
College coaches, especially assistants, can leave for other opportunities. It’s an unfortunate part of the coaching world, but even more reason to look for the best overall option. I’ve written about the five areas that should impact your recruiting decision in a previous post.
Student-athlete de-commits happen more often than coaches pulling accepted offers.
This is true for scholarships and walk-ons both.
It’s also far more common in other sports than baseball, but it does happen. College coaches pulling offers or over recruiting can tarnish the reputation of the program, and their personal reputation.
That type of reputation can cost programs quality recruits in the future, so it is generally avoided.
Over the course of the recruiting process you will develop personal relationships with the coaches recruiting you. Both sides need to trust each other when an offer is given and accepted.
So what does your verbal commitment mean?
It means you are accepting the offer and will stop proactively looking for other opportunities. The approach of making a verbal commitment and continuing to “look around” can be risky.
Some coaches make want you to make a decision before you are ready to do so. Get on the phone and talk with that coach about where you are with the recruiting process. If they want you to commit before you are 100% certain that their college is the right place, then it most likely isn’t the best overall option for you. Having a discussion with the coach about it is much better than committing just to commit.
Give this decision the time and attention it deserves. Remember, this decision will affect more than just the next four years of college; it’ll affect the next 40 years of your life.
Jason Smith is a head baseball recruiting coach at NCSA Athletic Recruiting. If you have questions about your own recruiting choices, experts just like Jason are here to help.