LITTLEJOHN: Early signing opportunities necessary for athletes


Rather than waiting until the official signing day where they sign their letters of intent, it has become increasingly common for high school athletes to make premature verbal commitments to colleges that have extended offers their way.
The definition of a verbal commit is one where a coach and a prospect agree that there is a proper and mutual fit scholastically and athletically between them. In many cases, there is an offer of aid in the form of a scholarship involved.

These verbal commitments are quite hollow and don’t hold much meaning. Because they are unofficial, athletes are able to opt out of a verbal commitment whenever they want to and decide on attending another college.

I just don’t see the point in making verbal commitments. Sure, it’s cool to be able to say that you’ll be attending a certain college to compete in a certain sport, but it’s not official until you have signed the papers. If they decide to, colleges have the ability to withdraw offers at any time in the recruitment process up until the athlete has signed their intent letter.

Some athletes use verbal commitments as a strategy, baiting other colleges by claiming that they are receiving interest from others and almost threatening to go to a different school. I don’t see this as an effective strategy and feel that it almost acts as a deterrent to other schools. Once they think that an athlete has committed somewhere, then what is the point of looking into recruiting them? I propose that student-athletes who have received offers from schools should be given the option to officially sign and commit whenever they feel that they are ready instead of making these early, unofficial verbal commitments.

This would make it easier for colleges and athletes, as both could be reassured of their commitments to each other much earlier. This would also eliminate the chance of either party withdrawing from their commitment to the other.

This withdrawing from commitments by one of the parties is sometimes the effect of one of the parties making a mistake; either the athlete messes up in some way and the college doesn’t want to be affiliated with the athlete or vice-versa. Giving athletes the option of signing earlier would help lessen this occurrence as having a guaranteed, official in with a college would likely make them more mindful and aware of their actions.

This way, they are less likely to do something stupid that would jeopardize their chances as a college athlete.

I am sure that, given the chance to sign as early as they want, some of Roseville High School’s current non-senior athletes with pending offers from colleges would be willing to fully commit to a school. It would just make things easier and more straightforward moving into their future years as an athlete because they would know where they are going much sooner.