A good question from one of our readers:
Can you please provide some insight on how the late signing period and admissions work out? My concern for our volleyball playing daughter is that she probably won't be part of the early signing period (November?). We are hoping some offers may come here direction after the early senior showcases in January/February for her to consider commitments. How late in the admissions cycle can late-recruited players (academically qualified of course) gain entrance into a Fall 2009 program if they didn't apply the previous Fall?
A good question that many of us in the college volleyball world really don't worry about. The bottom line is that early or late signing has no influence on the application process. The only division that I have experience with a late commitment influencing the admission process is Division III, but I don't believe they use the signing period within their governance.
The terms Early and Late do not really pertain to the admission process. I believe it was originally an opportunity for the signee and the future college to have some piece of mind, knowing that there is a contractual agreement between both parties. In reality, you don't have to actually sign a National Letter of Intent to go to a Division I or Division II school on financial support, you just need to sign the financial support letter.
Athletics in the university or college realm enjoys the benefits of working outside the advertised policies. A school may publicize that their maximum freshman enrollment has been reached, but this does not apply to athletics. If a coach wishes to sign an athlete, in any sport, than admission will be granted. The only exception would be if the Potential Student Athlete was an academic high risk - then there may be some discussions with the admission office.
Honestly, this is something that you should not even worry about and my feeling is that the current trend in Division I recruiting is to slow down a bit. I think that too many Division I programs had made poor choices by allowing themselves to be 'rushed' in the selection process by the early signing period and even more so by the current early commitment behavior.
Yes, there will be a bunch of early commitments and there will be a large number of signees in the Early Signing Period, but there will also be many, many spots available come the Late Signing Period.
I caution you and your daughter to not become caught in the Division I propaganda trap - by this I mean to not get hooked on a Division I school just because they are Division I. Experience has taught me that there are numerous Division II programs that enjoy comparable staff and program resources, are located in wonderful areas of the country and exhibit excellent academic ratings, but just are not "Division I".
The bottom line is that if your daughter is talented and has a good attitude, and if you folks keep an open mind to all collegiate comers, everything will work out fine - It usually does within that recipe!