Verbal commitments are increasing in popularity for the NCAA Division I and Division II colleges, and athletes need to understand their implications. Verbal commitments are a nonbinding scholarship deal between an athlete and a coach. Coaches sometimes tend to pressure athletes into giving a verbal agreement; if it isn’t binding, why do they want a verbal agreement? What do you do when a coach asks for a verbal commitment?
Coaches Want Verbal Commitments So They Can Pencil in Their Recruiting Classes
Coaches ask athletes to commit early, even though it isn’t set in stone, because it helps give them an idea of what recruits they have coming in and what positions they must still go after. Coaches know that a certain percentage of athletes (anywhere from 15 to 20 percent for top football recruits) will not hold their end of the bargain; this just means that approximately 80 percent of their recruits will hold up their end of the deal, giving them the framework for a recruiting class. The lower the competition level, the more likely an athlete is to stay committed because they aren’t as highly sought after and recruited by other coaches.
What You Can Do When Asked to Verbally Commit
When you are going on a visit or to a camp, you need to be prepared to receive a verbal commitment offer. Think about the scenario before you go. What would you say? When a coach does ask you, don’t be afraid to ask him how much time you have to make a decision. This will give you an idea of how serious they are. If they need an answer immediately, you will already have your response ready. If they offer you time to think, you can go to the other coaches that are recruiting you and let them know you have been offered a verbal commitment. This may open up other opportunities for you if coaches know their time to recruit you is running out.
In some sports, such as football and basketball, it is common for athletes to verbally commit and continue to go to camps and get recruited by other coaches. This is a somewhat disturbing trend because a football or basketball player being recruited to a high-level Division I program typically has multiple offers available. It is not great practice for an athlete being recruited to a midmajor or Division II team to decommit because it can give them a bad reputation. An athlete should never verbally commit for the sake of committing; however, remember that verbal commitments are not binding and nothing is set in stone until you sign your National Letter of Intent.
Planning for a verbal commitment can be a difficult task. Ask us if you have questions and concerns about your verbal commitment. Leave your questions in the comments section below or find us on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+!