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When too young is too young...
ASNN365 - Based on everything going on right now in sports, there will soon be a press conference consisting of a D1 school's president, AD, head coach, OB/Gyne doctor, media, and of course their parents... and it may go something like this...
As soon as the baby is born... the doctor raises him and says... "it's a boy!!!" A jeering cheer is heard and the media begins tweeting and snapping pictures.
The doctor cleans the baby up and hands him to the new parents... they hug and kiss the baby, then the dad walks over to the podium, holding his son, and is joined there by the D1 school's president, AD, and head coach.
DAD: I'm proud to announce the my son, junior, born 15 minutes ago, with a stat line of 22", 7 pounds 5 ounces (more cheers).
Dad fights back the tears...
DAD: I'm proud to give a verbal commitment for my son to attend State University.
Everyone stands and cheers... media cuts to the schools jammed packed gym, where 21,000 students are watching live.
HEAD COACH: we are so proud of your decision to attend our program. We can't wait to see your son play for us. He's going to look great wearing our colors.
MEDIA: what sport will he play?
DAD: Well, not sure... but look at him... doesn't he look like he'll be good in just about any sport?
Now that story is a little over the top, but you get the point... In the United States their are some exceptions you can not do until you reach a certain age...
*you can't get your driver's license until
you are at least 16
So as you can see, we (society) place a value on
age and subsequently the maturity and experience that comes with it. Why not
in sports? Everyone, from parents to student-athletes to ADs to coaches to
boosters and everyone in between, is in such a rush to be apart of the next
While a young person may have the physical and
fundamental skills recruiters look for, there is no way coaches can know who
that individual is going to evolve into over the course of her high school
career. Emotional maturity, love of and commitment to the game and academic
performance are all only an estimation at this point.
Are coaches and their institutions doing this so they can say "we were the first to offer..." If so , that is the most meaningless statement in recruiting. It doesn't change anything about what a university and program can provide to help the player find success academically, athletically and personally. In addition, while it may well be promising, there's no guarantee that all that athletic potential will develop as projected. Schools that offer and receive early commitments can be put in the awkward position when a player fails to develop as projected. They face the decision of reneging on their offer or keeping their word and possibly having an athlete who will be unhappy and not have the success envisioned when they committed. Thus, some schools choose to address the situation by painting a bleak picture for playing time and discourage an athlete from actually sticking with her decision. It may be honest, but it's a slap in the face of the player because the coaches did a poor job of evaluating.
Not all of the blame for the early commitment problems lies with the college recruiters. The athlete and their families have to bear responsibility as well. The attention, the excitement and the gratification that come from a school's interest in an athlete's future is undeniable. However, it's no reason to abandon common sense. Parents and coaches have to be the ones to hold the reins on the recruiting process and keep things from accelerating and operating on the recruiter's timetable. This process is about the athlete, not the school's and programs who may be willing to take risks.
It just seems like
early commitments keep
athletes from exploring options that may have ultimately been a better fit
for their level and style of play.
early commitments may
work out well and ultimately have been outstanding choices, but you can not
say that they wouldn't have been good choices at a later date, as well
as without the risk and pressure placed on both parties.
Just because a school has offered something today, doesn't mean you have to make a decision before you choose your classes for your sophomore year in high school. If they like you now, they're going to like you even more later. And if they're not willing to wait on your decision, they're not the coaches (or institution) you want to play for anyway. Lastly, making an early commitment because you like a school and fear they might take a commitment from someone else is devaluing yourself. Take your time and get it right.