For those that are lucky enough to go through the recruiting process and end up with a scholarship, you may think things are finally going your way as you have the opportunity to play Division I or II athletics. But while coaches may not lie, a school that has offered you may not always have a scholarship on the table for you.
I hate to throw schools under the bus specifically but the school I am speaking about is the University of Florida. A few years back under the previous coaches, a wide receiver recruit wanted to committ to the Gators. Their response was to stop answering their phones and they didn’t call him back. The reason is because they had a bigger fish on the line that they thought they might get a commitment from
The athlete seemed to be a smart athlete because he knew something was up. My guess is that he tried calling multiple coaches and was getting the cold shoulder by the entire staff. What he ended up doing is somewhat questionable but he basically said Eff You to the Gators and committing to another school. As many articles have pointed out, he has never visited the Ohio State campus and had barely heard much from them weeks leading up to the commitment.
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After he decided on committing elsewhere, the Florida coaches were very interested in landing his commitment. Did the big fish that the coaches had on the line pick another school or delay making a final decision? That we don’t know for sure, at least outside of the Gator coaches. He basically has crossed the Gators off his list and seems solid with the school he picked. I am glad to see an athlete who basically was burned by a school not suddenly change his mind when they were interested again. His recruiting will be interesting to follow if he lands at the school he committed to.
First off, the thing about this story is that if Florida offers you a scholarship, then I am willing to bet a lot of money that other schools throughout the country would do the same. The Gators are a dominant program and really only offer very stellar athlete who could fit into their program. With the success that they have had recently, why would they not?
Another situation that I am aware of where coaches will push back a verbal commitment from an athlete is when grades are in question. This was a mid level Big XII school and they had an athlete that they had offered wanting to verbal to them. The coaches at that school had a small number of full rides in that class so they kept pushing him back. If academics are a serious issue, then from the perspective of the coaches, I do believe it is alright on their end to do that. Athletes need to take care of business in the classroom and I have been preaching that for years.
But in the case of this athlete, what Florida did was very shady. I have heard some other grumblings around the Gators but college football as a whole does have a dark side to it (especially in the SEC). I believe that if you offer an athlete a scholarship, they have the right to commit until the coaches tell you that they took a commitment from another player at that same position. That is not the case these days.
I know of very many programs who basically tell recruits that we need two wide receivers in this class and have offered four prospects. The first two to take the scholarships are the ones we will be signing. Once there are two commitments, then the coaches tell the other recruits that they will no longer be recruiting them as a scholarship athlete. These are done by respectable coaches who are honest the entire time and let recruits have a general idea of where they sit in the recruiting process.
For 90% plus of the scholarships that are offered, you can commit anytime as long as your academics are in order. For the other 10%, you never know. These coaches may not have lied to him but they certainly weren’t in a hurry to call him back and talk to him about committing. I don’t like it and unfortunately it is something you have to watch out for in recruiting.
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