September 23, 2008

Volleyball Recruiting Verbal Commitment Question

The hard part is done - A good question from a reader:

Coach, Let me begin by saying your website has been a life saver over the last year of our family's life! I have referenced it several times, as well as recommended it to other families. I have a junior daughter who has made her verbal commitment. I am concerned about what areas we can now expect to be advised on. We have clarified she will remain with her current JO program for next season and will move to "their" chosen feeder system after her senior high school season, but what about winter/spring high school athletics? Is it common practice for programs to request a verbal SA not participate in other athletics? I expect she will be required to attend camp again next summer but what about an "assigned" weightlifting/work out summer program? Will she be expected to still follow the admission deadlines or does she bypass and work on a new timeline? We do have a meeting set in the next few weeks with her future coaches, but I wondered what is common or your experience. Thank You, Celebrating, but Concerned Parent

Congratulations to your daughter and your family. The hard part is over - the filtering of information, the feeling through the first impressions, understanding the strengths and weaknesses of each school, program and coach. I am still amazed and a bit worried, when Juniors commit before Halloween, but when you know, you know.

I say the hard part is over because us college coaches go into 'recruit cruise control' after the commitment - there is really not too much to do after a Junior makes a verbal commitment. What needs to be done is a straightforward process that we have accomplished many times before.

Let's get to your questions:

- You should be advised on all areas by a member of the coaching staff, most likely an experienced assistant. He/she will let you know the time tables of application, admission, class selection, enrollment, housing application, etc.

- Winter or Spring athletics are generally frowned upon after making a verbal commitment; especially basketball. The coach and school has just made a huge commitment to you (not only financially but eliminating the entire remainder of their recruiting class), so the thought of their future player pounding up and down the basketball court is unnerving.

- A lifting or conditioning program may soon arrive in the mail. Some programs will wait until the senior year to implement this program, while others jump on it right away. Usually the strength coaches are cognizant that high school or club facilities may not be as complete as NCAA programs, so they make adjustments to the type and intensity of lifts.

- Depending on the academic reputation of the school, admission timelines are not important. There are a few schools that demand the NCAA student athletes achieve higher admission guidelines that what the NCAA minimum requires and that materials be submitted upon a much more stringent guideline, but this is the exception. If you daughter was awarded a scholarship in August of her Senior summer, then that awarding institution would get her in and registered for classes. As illustrated above, the staff will provide this information.

One thing to remember about applications and the probably the most important is the Housing Application. Many schools have athletic housing (even though this is against NCAA rules), but they do it by reserving a certain number of prime on-campus apartments for each sport. Also, the returning players and staff know the 'best' residence hall on campus.

But, the Housing Office or Residential Life Office is not an Athletic Department subsidiary. Usually housing is assigned in the order of receiving the Housing Application and Deposit. This housing deposit can range from 20 dollars to over 200 and is not waived - many schools will not even put you into the Que until the deposit is in.

If you want a good residence hall or campus apartment, get your housing application in ASAP.

I really encourage you to not get caught up in the details - one of the nice things about being a incoming student-athlete is many of the deadlines and details just fall away. The biggest point of emphasis now is the NCAA Clearinghouse.

Make sure your daughter is registered (that means paying a fee), is submitting current transcripts, will submit a final graduation transcript immediately upon graduation, that a copy of your ACT and/or SAT has been sent directly from the testing agency to the NCAA and that your daughter has completed the NCAA Amateurism questionnaire. This NCAA Clearinghouse is a head ache waiting to happen if things are not taken care of when appropriate.

Tell your daughter and your family (and yourself) to just relax and enjoy the next year and a half. Have a great Junior year of Club Volleyball - you will see that this is the separation year in volleyball abilities; have a great last summer of no real responsibilities because you are still one summer away from reporting to college and by all means, have a great Senior year of high school and by that, I mean that everyone should just savor your daughter's last year of being a kid!

Congratulations once again!