Today is the fifth of a six-part series designed to help student-athletes and their parents know what to expect at the various stages of the recruiting process. I briefly explained these stages in the post, Recruiting – Gauging Their Level Of Interest; this series goes into greater detail at each step, helping you maximize every opportunity to market yourself.
The previous post in this series can be found on my blog at the following link: Recruiting – The Level of Interest Pyramid. This post will discuss “The Offer” and detail exactly what the verbal offer of scholarship aid means.
At some point during the recruiting process, the school (or schools) that has been recruiting you will make a decision. They will either decide that you do not fit the current needs of their program, or that you are the type of student athlete that will be successful in their program.
If their decision is that you do not meet their current needs, understand their decision does not necessarily mean you cannot be a collegiate football player. It only means that you do not meet the needs of that specific program, at that specific time.
If their decision is that you DO meet their needs, their next step will be determining what type offer they will be making. Here are some important things to remember regarding the verbal offer:
- At all levels below FBS football, the scholarships can be broken up into partial awards, ranging anywhere from a small dollar amount to a full ride. At the NCAA FBS level, the scholarships are all full awards. A full scholarship can include tuition, fees, room, board and books. If you qualify for any need based aid, such as a PELL grant, you can accept that amount on top of your scholarship award.
- At all levels below the NCAA DI level, the scholarship awards are 1-year contracts, with the option for annual renewal. A 2011 rule change allowed NCAA DI schools to offer multi-year awards, but even then, those are rare. A recent study by the Pittsburg Post-Gazette found the following:
“But nearly two years after that legislation, multiyear scholarships are rare, not publicized by universities and largely unknown by the athletes. According to data of 82 universities at the Division I-A level obtained by the Post-Gazette through open records requests, only 16 have offered more than 10 multiyear scholarships. Thirty-two of the universities have offered between one and 10, and thirty-four have not offered any.”
- If a DII school tells you that they are offering you a 4-year scholarship, they are not being completely honest.
- The verbal scholarship offer is non-binding; it can be rescinded. Nothing is binding until the National Letter of Intent is signed.
- College programs will offer more scholarships than they have available, knowing that they will not “win” every recruiting battle. Because of this, they will want to know ASAP if you intend to accept the offer… and will ask that you give a verbal commitment to them. If you are not going to accept their offer, they know they can make an offer to the next person on their list. Just because the college will want to know ASAP, does not mean you should feel, or be, pressured to make a decision.
- Your verbal commitment is non-binding as well; it can be rescinded. Nothing is binding until the National Letter of Intent is signed.
You should feel free to ask questions related to the scholarship offer:
- Can the offer be increased from year to year?
- How often does that happen?
- What about my red-shirt year… will the scholarship cover a 5th year?
- What happens to the amount of aid if I get injured and cannot play any longer? What if I graduate in 4 years, and still have a year of eligibility… will the scholarship cover grad school?
You are getting to the final, home stretch, of the recruiting process. You now are fairly confident in their level of interest. It is now up to you to continue your evaluation and make your decision based on the important factors to you and your family. You want to be confident in your decision before the next and final phase of the process, signing the National Letter of Intent.
Questions and Comments are always welcome!
Jeff Floyd – email@example.com