Last week we discussed a few types of commitment at the NCAA Division III level including Early Decision, Early Action and the verbal commitment. This week we look at the next steps in the process of committing.
After a student applies to a school, presumably that student gets accepted to that school. Once a student gets accepted to the institution, the school will send them an offer letter that the student can sign and send back to the school. Usually this includes some form of a financial deposit. So the next the next level of commitment is signing the acceptance letter and returning it to the school with the required deposit. (There may or may not be a separate housing deposit to reserve space in on campus housing; for the sake of this discussion we are going to assume they are one in the same.)
Now, usually this deposit is refundable up to a certain date…so even if a student-athlete has applied, been accepted and put down a deposit, they can still withdraw their application and get their deposit back if they request before the cut off date. Moreover, even after the cut off date a student-athlete can still withdraw their application; they just won’t get their deposit refunded. So even though they have gone through all those steps and shown a certain level of “commitment”, they still do not wind up at that school.
The next level of “commitment” is, in addition to all of the above (applied, accepted, deposited), the student registers for classes. Now at this point, coaches usually breathe a sigh of relief and figure that the student has actually committed to their school and they are going to attend. The recruiting part of the process is now over, but it still leads us to the final level of “commitment”.
The final level of “commitment” is when the student actually shows up for preseason practices in August and is ready to participate. Even though they signed up for classes and have become a student at the school, coaches will know that students are truly “committed” by the hard work and effort that they put into their practices as well as their classes. This stage is outside of the recruiting process, nonetheless equally important for both the student and the coach.
The bottom line is this—Until a student is on the field for preseason practices, an NCAA Division III coach really has no 100% guarantee of which students are ultimately committed to their program and going to be a part of it. From the student’s perspective, there is no binding commitment for the student (beside early decision) and you can change your mind up until the last minute despite what coaches may tell you.
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