Verbally committing to a college or university is up for debate in its relevancy and importance. However, when athletes verbally commit it does mean something and they should stay true to their word.
For many athletes and coaches, a verbal commit means something and holds some value. However, according to the NCAA, “A verbal commitment happens when a college-bound student-athlete verbally agrees to play sports for a college before he or she signs or is eligible to sign a National Letter of Intent. The commitment is not binding on the student-athlete or the school and can be made at any time.”
With a verbal commit, you only hope that a college coach or athlete will stick to their word. Since, there isn’t anything binding them to the commitment.
Unlike the NLI, verbally committing doesn’t mean you will receive that offer or an offer at all. A college coach can retract a verbal commitment or change the offer at any point. Additionally, athletes can back out at any time. Verbally committing can be a sticky situation for both athletes and college coaches.
For athletes, it’s important to know that program and university are where you want to be before you verbally commit. Here are three things to take into consideration before you verbally commit anywhere:
Are you done visiting?
Once you’ve made the decision to commit verbally to a program, it’s frowned upon to go on official or unofficial visits to other colleges. Even though you technically can, since it’s not a binding document, realize that if you choose to do that the offer you received from the other school may not be there. That may not end up being a problem for you since you’re still shopping around. If you’re considering visting other schools, then don’t verbally commit.
Have you done all your research?
Sometimes a significant scholarship can make athletes forget about the bigger picture. Yes, we want our athletes to have scholarship money. But, it’s important to make sure the school meets your requirements (i.e. degree program, class size, location, facilities, etc.)
Have you seen all of your options?
Nowadays verbally committing happens before an athlete has a chance to see all of their options. Seriously consider if you’ve seen all your options before you verbally commit. If you do have a few years left in high school, you may have more opportunities out there. Don’t rush the recruiting process because you never know what else could be out there. Maybe you’ll receive a better offer if you wait a year and better your skills.
At first glance, it sounds like an excellent idea to commit to a college or university before you sign a National Letter of Intent. Verbally committing makes the rest of high school and the recruiting process easy much easier. In general, verbally committing means you’re going to cut all communication with other college coaches. However, it’s okay for an athlete to consider backing out of a verbal commitment if there was a coaching change.
For most athletes, the recruiting process only happens once. Don’t cut it off early if you aren’t 100% sure with your choice. Verbally committing can be a great thing but if not done or treated right it could end up not working out. If you do verbally commit somewhere stay true to your word, no one can force you to, but we highly recommend it. College athletics is a small community, and you don’t want to start your collegiate career with a bad reputation associated with your name.