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Cal South E-News | March 2010 COLLEGE PLANNING

March 18, 2010

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How Do Athletes Commit So Early?

It seems like college coaches are recruiting earlier and earlier each year and it's true, they are. The top programs don't want to risk losing a top athlete to their competition so they try to get verbal commitments as early as possible. This is most commonly seen within the top Division I programs and high level recruits.

Top soccer programs start evaluating athletes as early as junior high and throughout their freshman and sophomore years. These evaluations are primarily conducted at club tournaments throughout the country. If a coach has interest he or she will contact the athlete's club coach or they will send camp information, admissions brochures and/or a questionnaire to the athlete directly, as that is all the NCAA allows them to do. Division 1 coaches are not allowed to call a prospect until July before their senior year. There are no rules placed on the athlete, however, and if you hear a coach is interested in you, you are highly encouraged to reach out to them personally.

Look for cell phone numbers in the standard emails or letters you receive; if you see one, use it! You are allowed to call coaches at any time, no matter the level. This will allow you get to know a coach, show interest in his/her school and determine where you fit into their list of recruits at an earlier time.

When underclassmen call coaches it is one way that coaches can work around the NCAA contact rules in order to get young athletes to commit. The majority of verbal commitments to Division I schools are made in the fall of junior year, but can be made before and after as well. Verbal commitments are not binding and either party can back out at anytime. You are giving the coach your word and they are giving you theirs, which should always be taken seriously. The final step does not come until February of senior year when the National Letter of Intent will be signed. This solidifies the commitment and binds the athlete to the school for one academic year and binds the coach to their offer for that year as well.

Keep in mind that early verbal commitments are primarily done with high level Division I programs. Lower level Division I programs, Division II, Division III and NAIA programs will be looking for athletes until the end of the athlete's senior year.

About NCSA :
NCSA, the "Official Scouting Organization and Provider of Recruiting Education" for Cal South, is the premier source for matching high school student-athletes with colleges and universities across the country. For more information about NCSA, visitwww.ncsasports.org .