NCAA Weighs Banning Select Early Offers

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High school freshmen could become off-limits.

For most high school freshmen, college is one of the farthest things from their minds. But for a select group of rising athletic stars, they’re frequently the target of college recruiters who want to make sure that they commit to their institution before a competing school swoops in and does the same.

NCAA Initiative

Lured, by a full scholarship, many young students cave in. But if the NCAA has its way, most early offers will soon come to an end. According to ESPN, the NCAA may restrict early offers to a July 1 or later date for rising high school juniors and seniors. That move would give student-athletes the chance to mature and find their academic footing.

But, it isn’t just high school freshmen who are being lured by the colleges. The ESPN article reveals, get this, that a Delaware seventh grader has already committed to playing football for the University of Southern California. Although this represents a nonbinding offer, it demonstrates that coaches are scouring the market for young prospects. And, with USC recently hit by recruiting improprieties and soon to be be part of a twelve-member conference, the pressure to win and win big has now been jacked up a notch.

Canceled Scholarships

High school coaches are concerned that young recruits may commit to a school before they are ready to stand by that commitment. Some athletes clearly develop over and beyond expectations and would do well to look elsewhere while others don’t live up to expectations or sustain career ending injuries; in those cases will colleges keep their scholarship offers open? Probably not.

One proponent of the NCAA initiative appears to be the National Association of Basketball Coaches who contend that students should complete their sophomore year of high school before accepting commitments from students. Under the NCAA proposal college coaches would be required to receive a high school transcript demonstrating that recruits have completed at least five semesters or seven quarters of academic work before offering a scholarship.

Opposing Viewpoint

Not every coach believes that students should wait until students have reached a certain academic level before they can decide where they will attend college. Bob Huggins, men’s basketball coach for the University of West Virginia, believes very few students are making early commitments and that families should decide when the recruiting process should begin, not the NCAA.

The NCAA proposal has yet to be adopted and the association is welcoming input from coaches and other interested parties.

Adv. — Your tuition bill has arrived and you’re coming up short. How will you close the college financing gap? Sallie Mae just may have that answer for you.

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