A work colleague and I were talking about college recruiting the other day. One of the topics that came up is freshman and sophomores that verbally commit early. The question that came up is that if the schools are not permitted to directly talk with a player until his junior year, how do the schools provide an offer to these freshman and sophomores? I started thinking about it and with the talks I have had with parents of kids who committed early I never once asked how the offer process went. My guess is that they contact the showcase team coach or high school coach and work through them. But wasn't sure if that is correct.

So I guess the question is, for the people who have had experience with this or are in the know, how do schools communicate an offer to a freshman or sophomore? 

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As NYCDAD indicated, schools communicating with freshmen and sophomores is typically done through a 3rd party, such as the HS or travel ball coach. 

The coach relays the message to the recruit and the recruit can then initiate a phone call to the college coach.  Unlike softball and many other Division I sports, D1 baseball coaches can accept an incoming call from a prospect at any time.  

However, D1 coaches aren't permitted to provide a written scholarship offer to a recruit, directly or indirectly, until August 1 of the recruit's senior year.  

I think there is a huge misunderstanding about what the no contact rule means.  The coach cannot contact the player but the player can contact the coach all he wants.  If a player calls, a coach can answer and talk as long as they want about pretty much anything they want.  So a player is asked to call a coach at 4 PM on Tuesday and the player calls the coach.  The coach says I watched you this weekend and throughout the summer.  We like what we see.  We want to offer you a scholarship for 28.5% of tuition, room, and board plus we will buy books.  The kid says let me talk to my parents.   The coach replies call me back next Tuesday and we will stay in touch.  I know you have a lot to figure out. 

Better question is how those underclassmen know whether to accept an 'offer.' I would guess that lots of decommits/transfers/bad situations have their roots in hasty, relatively uninformed decisions. 

There are now 36 or so catchers committed in my son's year ('22). Many committed as freshmen. 

Considering the previous comment from OSKISD, I'll add this about those early commits. 

Often, when I'm having a consultation call with an athlete or parent to help them navigate a transfer to a new program, one of my questions will be "what other schools offered you, or showed strong interest and might still be interested?"  The following is a fairly typical response:

"I didn't receive/consider other offers because I committed to this school when I was a freshman/sophomore so wasn't receiving other interest."

I realize that recruits can be in a tough spot, especially if coaches are pressuring them to "commit now!!"  But accepting interest from other schools and keeping those lines of communication open as long as possible may allow that recruit the chance to create/increase relationships with more coaches that could potentially benefit him later on at some point.  

There should be major penalties for any kind of communication either way before summer of rising junior year. So many kids entering senior year don’t know what they want for a college major. How in the hell are they supposed to know in 8th grade or freshman year? The reality is most colleges coaches don’t care about academics as much as they make you think. Their only concern about academics is players remaining eligible. 

I went through early recruiting with a softball playing daughter. Girls physically mature sooner. Recruiting starts and ends sooner. She started receiving offers the summer after freshman year. By spring of soph year a top choice pressured her. They threatened to take the offer off the table. They said they could see other prospects in the upcoming summer. So she verballed. In girls sports waiting can cost the player several options. 

She stuck with the major she knew she wanted freshman year of high school. I was surprised. I thought she watched too much CSI. I warned her it’s not as glamorous as on tv. She went to law school and became a prosecutor.

i remember a comment posted about a fifteen year old kid asked if he knows what he wants for a college major. He responded, “I’m fifteen. I haven’t even figured out what I want for lunch.”

Agree with you RJM but verbal commit is nothing more then a verbal commit. The player can, and I have seen this happen locally, de-commit and open recruiting back up. Definitely not an ideal way to go about it, but again, I have seen players find a new home. Regardless, still comes down to parents doing their absolute best to learn about the recruiting process and providing guidance to their child. That is why this this board so incredibly valuable. 

In addition, I would always caution parents to watch out for any program/coach who is pressuring a player to sign. IMO, nothing wrong with a coach being honest in stating that any athletic scholarship may be unavailable at a later date but completely different when coach is doing it in an attempt to prevent the player from looking at other options.

Even if the offer comes with a financial offer no one is signing anything. It’s not official. It’s also a verbal. There are situations where the coach comes back to the player senior year before the NLI signing to tell him they don’t have the money they thought they would have. 

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