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It's probably the biggest scam going in hockey right now.
Kid's that 'verbally" commit in 9th grade are 6 years away from playing at that school. Academics, injuries, growth, so many, many factors that make it virtually impossible to project 6 years into the future. Schools know it too, but want the publicity along with the kids, whose status goes up immediately for showcase/summer teams. It's a win/win for the schools and kids, even though it's totally a falsehood.
NCAA and USA Hockey (if they really care about development, funny one..) should put a stop to it immediately. The "commit" is fraudulent and not worth jack.
But how else can I brag about how good my kid is at hockey? Without a early commit you just have to take my word about how good he is.
Honestly, I don't see the harm in it. No money is being exchanged, eligibility is maintained and maybe the player does get some extra exposure. The family knows it's not worth anything, the player still has to develop, stay out of trouble, get good grades, etc. In fact, it might even give them some added motivation to ensure they continue to "do the right things". The coaches know it doesn't mean anything, they can back out at anytime as can the player.
As for a one of these wonder kids taking my son's spot on a tournament team, it hasn't happened yet but if & when it does, then so be it, I guess my kid didn't earn the spot.
So the kid de-commits and you want him to sit out a year (welcome now to the 22 year old freshmen!) and what if the school drops the kid after they commit to him? . . . oh a way way deal with the punishment being placed on the player. Still think D-3 should have a 19 year old freshmen age limit and a 23 year old senior age limit but that's a discussion for another day.
Many early commits are forced by the school as are most decommits. My kid was told in the 9th grade, here is our offer. If you are not inclined to take it, we will move on. Pretty cut and dry. Now his worked out well for him but many in his age group along that way that later "decommitted" were actually dropped by the school. Go play another year of juniors...the money we had for you we had to use on someone else...you can come in but you probably won't play much...we can only offer you this so you are probably better off declining and applying for financial aid. Few kids have the leverage to decommit and go someplace better or get more money.
The NCAA has zero involvement in verbal commits. They do not recognize them. They do not police them other than not allowing coaches to have direct contact with the recruit until January of their Sophomore year, no official visits or written offers until their Junior year in high school. Indirect contact through an Advisor is allowed because the NCAA is only concerned about written commitments which happen Junior Year.
Verbal commitments become written commitments in September of Junior year most of the time.
Nothing is formal until LOI is signed. That can only happen senior year or the year before entering if the kid has graduated and is un juniors.
I am honored to announce my commitment to play d1 hockey, I’d like to thank my mite coach last year and this year’s squirt coach,,,,
Funniest reaction is when you tell this to a ‘ non hockey’ parent. They look at you as if you have lost your mind.