“I think this is a monumental situation, and it will forever change the landscape of college recruiting.”

Michael Carvell does a good job asking a bunch of Georgia high school coaches today’s obvious question:  what are your thoughts on Roquan Smith saying he’ll not sign a NLI?

The responses indicate to me that even if players haven’t thought much about foregoing the NLI, it’s something a lot of high school coaches are going to ponder going forward.  But they also recognize it’s a strategy that’s only going to work for a limited number of prospects.

Lassiter’s Jep Irwin: “I think it is a viable option for the elite recruits that is not used enough. However, if you are not an elite recruit, this could backfire on the family. It’s important to know where you rank on a school’s board for your position and if they are willing to wait past national signing day.”

Arabia Mountain’s Stanley Pritchett: “I think this will affect the recruiting for the higher-ranked kids because they will hold the leverage over schools. But for the majority of kids, I don’t think this will affect them because there’s a possibility that it could backfire if they try the same thing.”

There’s also plenty of wisdom to the suggestion that kids who don’t have the leverage that Smith finds himself with right now need to focus on the school and the program first.

Milton’s Howie DeCristofaro: “We tell our players not to commit to a coach — they change like the weather. Commit to a program. The program’s building never moves.”

But the other interesting part of the discussion is that several of the coaches believe the schools will step in and amend the process so the top recruits can’t game the system.

Creekside’s Olten Downs: “I think it can be revolutionary, as I believe many parents and high school coaches didn’t know exactly what kind of document that an NLI really is. I can see future recruits doing the same … it seems as if the NCAA would step in and provide some new type of legislation if this became more prevalent.”

Central Gwinnett’s Todd Wofford: “I’ve been following it. I’m not sure but I would assume that there will be pressure to make some adjustment to the letter-signing process. The recruiting approach these days is family and trust, and these type things happen yearly (coaches leaving right after signing day). And the college coaches are really never in a position be accountable to the families that bought in to their sales pitch. I don’t know if putting a clause in the letter somehow would be the answer. They pay people way smarter than me to figure that one out.”

I have no idea how this is going to play out.  But I suspect Downs and Wofford may be on to something if refusing to sign an NLI becomes a trend.  We’ll just have to see who comes out of the gate as a proponent of imposing new restrictions.  (As well as how certain lawyer types react to any across the board type move.)

43 Comments

Filed under Recruiting

43 responses to ““I think this is a monumental situation, and it will forever change the landscape of college recruiting.”

  1. Dog in Fla

    So that’s where Howie DeCristofaro ended up

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  2. 3rdandGrantham

    Given all the hoopla involving NSD, in which top athletes pull off all sorts of signing day gimmicks in effort to stand out, I’m shocked that top 4-5 star athletes haven’t already chosen not to sign on NSD, but instead at a later date best for them. These kids already are waiting to NSD to announce, often with an ESPN camera in front of them; why not wait an additional day, week, or month, especially when several top programs are desperate for you to sign with them?

    Coaches will bellyache the most about such a scenario, yet they are the ones that would be mostly to blame for their constant jumping from program to program, often shamelessly right after NSD.

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  3. doofusdawg

    So will the ncaa put a limit on the number of financial aid agreements that particular schools offer for signature to recruits… or will the particular schools be required to live up to the financial aid agreements that get signed… even if the recruit never plays athletics.

    Unilateral contracts are nothing but options… and you really need consideration for granting an option. Now that’s ironic.

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  4. Scorpio Jones, III

    The idea a kid who is holding out past signing day is somehow gaming a system that has been gaming kids for decades is amazing to me. But I also realize there are those who fear any different behavior from the one they were educated to believe is the right one.

    I have no idea if Roquan Smith understands the wider implications of what he is said to be doing about picking a college. It appears his high school coach does, as does the AJC.

    I also have no idea what Mark Richt’s attitude about all this really is in general or about Smith in particular, but if Smith does understand what he is doing, that he is firing a shot across the bow of a corrupt system then I hope he ends up in Athens, cause he is a man.

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    • I have no idea if Roquan Smith understands the wider implications of what he is said to be doing about picking a college.

      I don’t think he did and I don’t think that’s why he’s doing it.

      He’s just doing it to protect himself as long as he can if another coach lies about a departure.

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      • Scorpio Jones, III

        Who knows what his thinking is? But the idea he could NOT sign the LOI came from somewhere, somewhere that may very well have explained some of the details.

        But again, who knows at this point? Nor, I suspect, does it matter.

        Smith found an out and took it. At this point thas all we know.

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  5. DC Weez

    I really don’t think this will have a monumental effect. Not signing a NLI will be an option for a very limited number of individuals. I’m more surprised that more recruits don’t avail themselves of signing 3 like Josh Malone. That would eliminate some of the shenanigans by douchebags like Petrino.

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    • I think the NCAA put a halt to signing multiple financial agreements.

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      • Dog in Fla

        Thank goodness someone always looks out for the best interest of the student-athletes

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        • Otto

          Signing multiple agreements is a double edged sword. He could sign, pick the winner at the last moment only to hear that the school he picked does not have an opening.

          If I accept a job, I do not have a guarantee who my manager will be. However, I do have the option to quit and search for another job without waiting a year even it would come with professional complications.

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          • Gravidy

            If I understand the process correctly, signing a financial aid agreement with a school makes an irrevocable spot for the kid at the school.

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              • Otto

                That is what I thought but the Andy Staples article from yesterday had me thinking otherwise as with many things I suppose it is all in the fine print:

                Sure, the NLI claims to guarantee a scholarship, but that simply isn’t true. That is contingent on the player being admitted to the school and on the football program staying below the 85-scholarship limit. A school can dump the player at any point between Signing Day and preseason camp, and he would have no recourse. This guarantee is no different than the one on a conference-approved financial aid form, but it costs the player something the financial aid agreement does not.

                https://blutarsky.wordpress.com/2015/02/09/is-roquan-smith-ready-to-be-a-test-case/

                Also remember Scholarships in many cases are 1 year deals. My biggest complaint is that if the athlete does elect not to follow through, the athlete has lost a year of eligibility not just the chance to play that year. I can understand delaying entrance on to a football program 1 season but a year of lost eligibility is 1 sided for a system where the coaches and schemes can change with the weather.

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          • First, a kid can’t sign multiple agreements anymore. Second, the financial aid agreement would count against the 85/25 limits. If the school no longer wants the kid, it still doesn’t get the scholarship back, unless the kid chooses to go to another program.

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      • Cojones

        Now that is new news to me. Why? I thought it was leverage that a player has to game right back.

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  6. I Wanna Red Cup

    The NCAA sucks……I like drivin in my truck.

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  7. Joe Schmoe

    Question: Is this a new way to bypass the 25 signing limit? How is that limit determined (i.e., is it done by # of signed LOIs or by # of enrolled players per year? I would think it’s the former given that players coming into the program are not limited to first year players (transfers). If so, couldn’t coaches come to some agreement with some of their players to not sign LOIs so that they wouldn’t count toward their 25 class limit?

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    • Nope. The LOI has nothing to do with the scholarship.

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    • The NCAA places no limit on how many NLOI a school receives. A school can post on its signing day board receipt of a LOI from every human being in the world without violating any rule. The rule is that a school cannot provide a scholarship to any more than 25 of those people who faxed in their NLOI.

      The stuff the high school students faxed last Wednesday is not a scholarship.

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  8. W Cobb Dawg

    Smith could have saved himself, his coach, and everybody else a lot of hot air by simply picking UGA. Our HC has been here since Roquan was a baby and is arguably the most honest coach in cfb. But why would any of that be part of the discussion.

    Go ahead and continue to negotiate with the fricken liars who created this situation. It’s apparent you and your coach don’t trust them. So why continue down that path?

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    • 69Dawg

      That is what is so strange and to me troubling about Mr. Smith. He had two choices that he picked, UCLA and UGA. UCLA lied, UGA didn’t but instead of going to UGA he reopens his recruitment. Me thinks Mr. Smith has somebody on his team that does not like UGA and we are just getting yanked around. I have written him off heck give his scholly to a walk-on Special Teamer.

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      • Troubling, eh?

        Man, the howls of disappointment I expect to hear about Georgia wasting a spot on Smith should he decide to come to Athens should be special.

        //sarcasm

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        • Argondawg

          Ok. So senator if he signs a financial aid agreement with the Dawgs who is bound by that and for how long. If he changes his mind how does he go around the existing financial aid agreement since he can’t sign several? Also if this counts against the 85/25 rule how long is it binding? Can he transfer without penalty?

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        • This is why I say this particular kid has to be looking at more than his position coach and his head coach. He must be looking at the school. Why else would he still be considering ucla?

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      • Dog in Fla

        Even if Mr. Smith decides not to go to Georgia, I still think the perfect execution of Coach Lilly’s Code Red maneuver is a day that will live in infamy for Mora Jr.

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  9. Law Dawg

    Why dont don’t they make the coaches sign an LOI before the recruiting period ends; by my proposed terms, they can coach at the institution where they sign the letter or sit out for a year.

    Problem solved.

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    • rw

      yes!!! this is the answer. coaches may leave of course if they have a contract with a school but must sit out a year. oh yeah, administrators too.

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  10. PatinDC

    I am in favor of kids have more info and rights in regards to the signing. I am concerned that if this becomes a norm, this will make it impossible to plan for a team and to recruit properly. How do you recruit for 25 slots, if 5 or ten won’t really settle until the first day of class?

    I would guess that is how the LOI came into being in the first place. Nothing wrong with updating that for the modern era and to put some restriction son the caching staffs.
    I am also in favor of the 4 year scholly.

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  11. PatinDC

    Opps. forgot to add, that a scenario like this also sets up non-stop recruiting to try and poach the uncommitted kids. If they think it is bad now, just see what happens when you are still “open” for business.

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    • It sounds like you think it’s better to impose upon the kids than to impose upon the coaches.

      What do you suggest should happen to a recruit who doesn’t pull the trigger on signing day?

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      • PatinDC

        The question to me is why doesn’t he do it on signing day. How much time does the kid need? Leaving it to the day of school starting is going to leave a lot of schools hurting. I am not saying the school only should be protected, but at some point there is a deadline that has to be met.
        I am strongly in favor or a system that would lock coaches in for a period of time after whatever signing day there is. During that time, if a coach left, the kids would be free to transfer if desired.
        Heck, I would be in favor of a 7 day lemon law rule where if a recruit signs a binding agreement, they still have 7 days to change their mind without restriction.

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        • Well, there is a deadline – the day of enrollment.

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          • PatinDC

            It seems to me that waiting until the first day of school has a high potential for negative impact for both parties. The schools that didn’t get selected by the “star” athlete and the kids that got shut out at their preferred school b/c they waited to long. And once school starts and a kid didn’t get in, how does he look around for another slot? It seems very detrimental to the student to wait until that date.

            Even regular students have an enrollment deadline well in advance of the first day of school. Why would it be different here?
            I just think the NLI is slanted to protect the schools and is not good for the students in it’s present form.

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