March 12, 2012

Volleyball Scholarship Verbal Commitments

Hi Coach!

I enjoy reading your blog and have learned oh-so-much from them!

My daughter is a junior setter (5'11") and has been very active in the recruiting process.  Realistically, she is a lower DI or DII prospect.  Right now she has one excellent DII offer and one smaller DII offer.  Both of these schools are in the PSAC and she loves them both.  She would do well at either (academically and volleyball-wise).  She has had serious interest from a few lower lever DI but they did not suit her for a number of reasons.  There is one DI school that she completely loves and is her "Dream DI".  Honestly, I don't know if she is their caliber.  Possibly, but it could be a stretch.  The challenge is that she had communication with the coach last summer and fall but then she was fired.  A new coach has just taken over.  She has been told they are still looking to fill 2 2012 scholarship positions and the would impact their 2013 needs.  She sent a note and left a phone message to see if they are looking for a 2012 setter. Obviously if they find that, she is out.

To try and make this short, the two DII schools need an answer by Easter weekend.  The DI school seems to be on a slower timeline and they said they'd see her at Nationals in June.

It is my understanding that a verbal commitment is binding, or rather, that you don't renig on it.  But a Mom over the weekend told me that you can rescind a DII verbal if you "move up" and accept a higher level, DI offer.  Is this true?  What are your thoughts?

Thank you, M.M.

Glad the site has been a help to your recruiting efforts (and don't forget the easy to read, easy to transport and #1 best selling volleyball book of all time, Inside College Volleyball*)  To quickly answer your question, I think that 'moving up' sounds good in theory, but our sport still enjoys the old adage that your word is who you are.  

There is no NCAA rule with verbal commitments, only etiquette.  As I have written about on my site, there is a trend happening with collegiate coaches for the One and Done or the None and Done (where coaches are pulling offers if a verbally committed player does not progress or gets injured or a coaching change).

In the end, the most important thing in this equation is your daughter and her comfort level/happiness with her decision.  If she commits to a DII, and then a very attractive DI comes in later to offer a scholarship, switching schools is an understandable desire.  

But, and this is a big but, if she commits to a DII program yet is still 'available' to DI's, the DII program will be extremely unhappy when they find out she is still keeping her DI options open.  I can't think of any DII coach who would be OK with a committed player still exploring DI schools; when a PSA commits, then they are thought to be done with the recruiting process.

Think about the flip side; what if the DII program pulled its verbal (it goes both ways) because they had a DI level player land in their lap or come open late?  I am sure that would be a tough pill to swallow for a VolleyFamily because if a PSA can move up, then a program could do the same.

By the information you have relayed to me, it seems your VolleyPSA is an upper DII/lower DI recruit.  These two levels are interchangeable from a competitive point of view. It comes down to comfort level with the school/program, the scholarship amount and non-volleyball interests. As a DI player, volleyball will be the prime focus of her collegiate life and dominate her hours. DII will allow for more time away from the gym, thus helping academics or exploring other areas of college.

What I strongly encourage you to do is take out the propaganda of DI.  Yes DI is very nice, but there are also too many lower level DI volleyball programs which trade on the name DI - They say they are DI but they don't fund/support like other DI's do.  Better to be at a well supported DII, than a poorly supported DI.

Take the name/category out of the potential schools - What school feels best to your daughter?  That little voice inside our head is usually right and we get into trouble when we ignore that voice.

* Please note this is a slight exaggeration!

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