Should I commit to a school even if I am not 100% sure about the decision to ensure that I have a scholarship?

As I have mentioned many times in my recruiting definitions for parents and players, college coaches are prone to deadline an athlete during the recruiting process.  I even spoke with a college coach just yesterday about an athlete.  He said there was an athlete with an offer still waiting to decide but they had another kid ready to pull the trigger who does not have an offer.  If the first kid doesn’t decide soon, they will deadline him and move on.  And just for the sake of mentioning, this is from a Division II school. 

When a college coach deadlines you in the athletic recruiting process, it is a difficult situation no matter how many scholarship offers you have.  But what makes it even harder is if there is only one athletic scholarship on the table and only interest from other schools.  If you are deadlined, is it worth committing to the school even though you are not 100% sure about it?

The answer to that question really depends on a lot of things and varies from a case to case situation.  If a basketball coach deadlines you now, chances are that they will want you signing with the school.  Before there are two different signing periods for basketball, you have to realize that you will likely not be getting out of your Letter of Intent.  So for basketball, I would make 100% sure that want to attend that school because the coaches will want a National Letter of Intent faxed in next month.  If a football program does that now, you actually have some time between now and February to make sure that you are confident with that decision.  But even if there is time between now and Signing Day, it is a tough question to answer. 

The first thing that you must think about is what is the worst case scenario that you can go through here?  Lets say you wait out the deadline and they end up getting a commitment from another recruit at your position.  You may now have lost your opportunity to attend that school on a scholarship.  So what other schools are showing you interest?  Do you like these schools more?  Is there a realistic chance of getting a scholarship offer (that is a tough question to answer)?  If it is a Division I school you are being recruited by, do you lose your chances of playing at that level?  Would you be happy playing at a Division II school? 

In the worst case scenario situation, these are some important things to think about.  It may be worth telling the other schools that are recruiting you the situation.  It may entice them to offer a scholarship and help your situation in the recruiting process.  Others will likely tell you that they need to further evaluate you and will know more later.  Being honest with the other coaches is the best way to hopefully help yourself in the recruiting process. 

The second thing is how do you feel about the school itself.  Does this school have what you want to major in?  How do you feel about the location?  How is their football/basketball/other sporting program?  No matter where you pick, there will always be doubts that may creep in.  If these doubts seem to come up each and every time that you think about this school, then it may not be the place for you. 

My personal opinion overall is that unless something changes (ie: coaching change or the coaches recruit another player at your position), if you commit to a school, you should remain committed the entire time.  But it is much more difficult when the coaches say that you have until a certain date.  You might as well ask them if you can have more time because unless you are 100% sure, it may be best to wait and see what happens.  The worse they can say is no and then you will really be restricted by that time table.  My opinion is that there will be a coach that wants you bad enough not to deadline you into a final decision.  What level that is at is a question mark though. 

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