â†µ I'm not exactly sure why, but the NCAA is alarmed about the tendency of football and basketball players to commit ever-earlier. Commitments aren't binding either way, so this is a trend without a downside. If the player changes his mind, he can just change his mind. Thus the increasing plague of decommitments. While it's a little annoying to grammar nerds who want words to mean things, the only damage being done here is to dictionaries. â†µâ†µ
â†µDespite this, the NCAA has decided to take action. Dumb, dumb, incredibly dumb action: â†µ
â†µâ‡¥An NCAA committee announced Thursday that it will back a proposal to prohibit making scholarships offers to recruits before July 1 in the summer between their junior and senior years in high school. If passed, it would apply to all sports. â†µâ‡¥â†µ
â†µIE, if this passed football recruits would be getting their official offers next week. At the very same time, the NCAA is supporting the extension of a men's basketball rule that relaxes limits on telephone calls to all sports. The combination will lead to a ton of conversations like this: â†µâ†µ
â†µCOACH: We will offer you on the very day this becomes permissible.
â†µPLAYER: So I have an offer? â†µ
â†µCOACH: In all but the most extremely technical way, yes. In the most extremely technical way, no. â†µ
â†µRECRUITING GURU: Who are your offers?
â†µPLAYER: Extremely Technical State U. â†µ
â†µGURU: Awesome. â†µ
â†µPLAYER: I am very technically not committed, but in all other ways committed. â†µ
â†µThis is not speculation; it's the model in action in college hockey. Hockey, unlike nearly every other NCAA sport, has to fight with a hostile foreign entity, Canadian junior leagues, for top prospects. Since those leagues draft kids as early as 15, college hockey teams have to accelerate their talent evaluation and acquisition. Tonight, defenseman Jon Merrill will go in the first round of the NHL draft. He committed to Michigan in 2006, when he was 14 years old. This was more than two years before an "official" offer could be provided. â†µâ†µ
â†µFootball and basketball won't accelerate so heavily because they don't have to, but the lack of an official offer is never going to prevent coaches from making it clear that a kid is wanted, nor will it prevent kids from saying that they are going to Extremely Technical State. It will just add further layers of double-talk. â†µâ†µ
This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.