Your expertise, advice, and willingness to help others has been truly invaluable to us as a first time through volley fam, it will surely be even more valuable on our second go through with our younger daughter.
Our oldest daughter is a jr in HS and is a 6' 1" MH.
She had an early start to recruiting as a sophomore with high level play and hitting % that got her noticed long before we had any idea what to do. Now halfway or so through her 17's club schedule she has a few mid level D1 offers and a few very top level D2 offers.
She is somewhat "over" the recruiting process with all the visits, calls, and emails. Being on lists, then off lists, doors closing, and doors opening, so she is feeling like committing, now.
Two questions really.
1. Is it way too early to be committing in March of her 17's/Jr Year?
2. I've heard stories of players committing, telling other interested coaches they are committed, thus removing their name from their recruiting list, then having the school later take back the offer, leaving the player in a pretty bad recruiting position. Is this very common? What can be done to avoid this? I would imagine that happens in reverse too, but the player being left high and dry seems a bit scary.
Thank you for all you do!
Very appreciative VolleyFam
Thank you for your email and the kinds words about collegevolleyballcoach.com
The topic of verbal commitments has become a bit more pertinent these days because of the points your illustrated in your email.
A bit of history; in a galaxy far, far away when a volleyball recruit made a commitment, that commitment was considered to the school, not the coach. When I first became a Division I head coach, I was told during the hiring process, that the school would honor the verbal commitments made/accepted by the previous coach. Over time this changed, as my last head coaching position, I was told that it was my decision whether or not to honor the recruiting commitments made by the previous staff.
Unfortunately, this also applies to current and signed players - In that same galaxy far, far away, I was told to work with the current/incoming players, improve their skill sets and graduate them through the program. Now, athletic department administrations allow a coach to not renew a player, if the coach feels they can recruit a better player (I am taking writer's liberty with players who deserve to be cut and/or the 'guaranteed' scholarships of today (which are really not really 'guaranteed)).
If you are very bored one night of March Madness, read back through older posts on collegevolleyballcoach.com or order Inside College Volleyball, where I write about the One and Done becoming the None and Done.
The One and Done is when a coach recruits a player (or the player is a signed player from the previous coach) and gives them one year to prove themselves. If they don't live up to expectations, then they are done (cut, forced to transfer, etc) and the coach recruits another, better player immediately for that position.
The None and Done is what you referred to in your question, and is an unfortunate newer accepted recruiting protocol especially in Division I. The coach verbally commits a player (or the previous coach verbally commits a player) and if the opportunity presents itself to secure a better player before the original recruit signs, then the coach will remove the verbal scholarship offer. As you mentioned, this puts the family in such a poor position.
We have transitioned from honoring and coaching, to one year tryouts, to I found something better, in the college volleyball recruiting process.
Taking away recruit/student-athlete behavior (let's believe that all of these players have great attitudes, great work ethics, great academics, great parents and no boyfriends!), I feel that the Honoring still occurs, the One and Done is becoming the new standard and the None and Done has not yet become prevalent (but still happens enough to be of concern).
What can be done? Commit as late as possible, so the coach does not have time to recruit another player and the odds of that coaching leaving (getting fired, retiring, taking a new position) are lower. But, as you also mentioned in your email, this early recruiting time frame, powered by technology and club volleyball, leads to athletes/families getting worn out and just wanting to commit to finish the process.
Committing to a school should be a function of 3 things; 1) Is going to this school financially feasible; scholarships, loans, savings, etc., 2) Is the player/family completely comfortable with the volleyball situation; good coach, supportive players, good facilities, playing opportunities, etc., 3) If college volleyball were to disappear, would the player still want to go to school at this university/college; academics desired, nice campus, location, etc.?
From Freshman to Seniors to Junior College Transfers, if a player/family can say "Yes" to all three of these questions, then it is not too early to commit.