Q: Is it typical for a coach to offer you a scholarship, then tell you later that they’ve offered that scholarship to two other players?
A: Yes, it does happen.
With recruiting beginning earlier and earlier, coaches are anxious to get their top prospects committed and finished with the recruiting process.
With each scholarship class coaches determine their needs, position-by-position, and allocate slots based on where they are lacking depth. Once they determine their needs for each signing class, they rate their prospects at each position and work to sell their program to the players who they feel are the best fit.
In many cases, each scholarship slot will have 2-4 equally talented players that the staff would be happy to have… so their attention and efforts will be directed to those key players. As players begin committing to other schools, the priorities of the coaching staff shift to the next-best players available.
There will come a time when coaches may begin to pressure you to commit. If you are a top prospect, they may wait your decision out as long as they need to. If they feel they have other prospects that are equally talented, they may accept one of their commitments and tell you they are no longer recruiting your position.
Some coaches may be honest with you and communicate this possibility to you before it happens, others may not.
On the same token, if you are getting DII offers and DIII interest and commit, most coaches will be understanding if you eventually get a Division I offer and switch commitments. Same goes for mid-major DI commits, if you are committed to a midmajor program and get late Top 25 offers or offers from teams within the power conferences, most coaches are understanding that you might switch commitments.
There is so much turnover in the coaching profession, and so many coaches changing schools each year, you also have the right to do what is best for you, especially before that NLI (National Letter of Intent) is signed. And truthfully, most coaches are understanding if you get a much better opportunity.
Your recruitment to a particular school can end at any time prior to signing your NLI, with little or no warning or explanation. For this reason, if you know in your heart where you’d like to play, it’s best to go ahead and commit and focus entirely on your playing season and grades.
Verbal commitments are not binding, NLIs are. If you are verbally committed to a program but not signed, you have the right to change your mind. But don’t just commit to commit and continue looking around, focus instead on making an informed, smart decision.
If you are being pressured to commit (especially early as a sophomore or junior) and haven’t really made up your mind—don’t commit. It’s better to take your time and feel confident and happy with your decision.