A contingent contingency

You gotta love the semantics of recruiting.  An offer by a school isn’t binding.  A verbal commitment by a kid isn’t binding.  So I’m not exactly sure what is gained by this wrinkle:

Alabama’s scholarship offers at some positions, most notably quarterback, are non-committable and pending an evaluation at summer camp, reported al.com’s Mike Herndon. Alabama has non-committable “offers” out to two Georgia high school quarterbacks, Gainesville’s Deshaun Watson (committed to Clemson) and Pierce County’s Tyler Harris.

“It is our philosophy at certain positions that we really like to learn a lot about players and one of the best ways to learn about a player is when they come and visit you, because you’re limited in terms of the contact you can have with them off-campus,” Saban told the website.

So a high schooler gets an “offer”, but it’s an offer he can’t accept when it’s made.  That’s not an offer; it’s an invitation to come visit.

It’s common for colleges make non-committable scholarship “offers” to rising seniors that are pending an evaluation at summer camp – especially at the quarterback position. It’s just rare for a college coach, especially Saban, to publicly admit it because then it may cause confusion for other kids at other positions offered by the same college on whether or not they have a “true” or committable offer.

Jeez, ‘ya think?

But let’s not forget the real problem with recruiting is high school seniors who can’t make up their minds.

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UPDATE:  John Infante adds some pertinent thoughts.

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15 Comments

Filed under Recruiting

15 responses to “A contingent contingency

  1. That Nick, he is one smart Coach. When recruiting we should go after the Mama’s and Daddy’s. They are the ones who have the most influence.

  2. Derek

    I remember CMR commenting on this concept a few years ago with some bemusement.

  3. Hogbody Spradlin

    If a player has signed a letter of intent in exchange for one of these weasel offers, and gets cut, does he have to sit a year?

    Boy, the ways Bama rigs the system to get more looks.

    • He would never get to the LOI stage because he wasn’t allowed to commit to his “offer.” I’m sure… or at least, I hope… if a player tries to commit to an non-commitable offer, he is told that his offer is pending evaluation, and his commitment is not accepted.

      Basically, they are using the name ALABAMA for everything it is worth. The kids get all starry-eyed dreaming of playing for a natty for Saban as soon as they hear the word “offer,” and it puts doubts in their minds in regards to who they may already be committed to or seriously considering. Which is not to say that it’s not unusual or wrong to want to be wanted by the best, but to categorize it as an “offer of a scholarship,” when really it is, as the Senator said, an “offer to come to camp” for an evaluation is just silly.

      I don’t think they aren’t doing anything wrong. They just have the belief and expectation that they can get anyone they want, and for the most part, they are right. This lets them play the game how they want to play it, and the kids can choose to be part of their machine or not.

  4. Go Dawgs!

    I always thought it was against the NCAA’s rules to have “tryouts” for scholarships. Schools have often skirted this rule by having “camps” where they see kids perform but since it’s a “camp” that supposedly the kids pay to participate in or receive considerations if they can’t pay, the schools aren’t holding a “tryout”. Is my understanding here wrong? And if so, isn’t Nick basically saying that he holds tryouts for those positions? He still may not be in violation of the letter of the law, but he’s on the record as saying he violates the hell out of the spirit of it.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      NCAA where are you? Oh, the same place you were when Cam Newton signed with the WarTigers. Head in the sand.

  5. Cojones

    BCS = Bama Cheese Sleeze.

    Would someone kick my ass anytime I warm up to Saban?

  6. Merk

    It’s getting to the point that HS kids need an agent.

  7. Dog in Fla

    What better organization to get Infante’s pun on “ratcheting up”:

    “the NCAA is also racketing up and expanding penalties”

  8. paul

    Well I suppose it’s one way to make those gray shirts feel fortunate. Or not.