Wait… you weren’t serious about that?

Not a good look, Notre Dame.

The wild recruitment of Thompson’s Station (Tenn.) Independence four-star wide receiver TJ Sheffield took another turn on Wednesday. Just days after announcing his commitment to Notre Dame, the 5-10, 170-pounder from the class of 2019 has reopened his recruitment and will now consider other schools.

Clearly there was a miscommunication on this front and Sheffield shed some light on this on Twitter earlier today.

“After establishing a long-term relationship with coach Alexander, the receivers coach for Notre Dame, I called him on the morning of the 6th of July and stat to him my intensions to commit,” wrote Sheffield in an announcement on Twitter. “Coach Alexander then congratulated me on committing and he spoke with my parents as well, stating that he looked forward to coaching me. Today I received a call from coach Alexander stating that Notre Dame was not going to honor my commitment due to a change of plans. Coach Alexander stated that he should have let me know on the 6th of July that Notre Dame had different plans. As a result of the information that I received today, my recruitment is now back open. I completely accept Notre Dame’s decision as God’s will for me and know that God has an open door that no man can shut. Thats again to Notre Dame for considering me as a possibility for their program Sincerely, TJ Sheffield. #2.”

So, to recap:  Notre Dame had an outstanding offer to a kid, kid accepts the offer, coach accepts the kid’s commitment, even speaks with the kid’s parents and then the school reneges.  Nice.

I’m sure the amateurism romantics here will be happy to explain to the rest of us how this is no big deal and Sheffield has plenty of other options, blah, blah, blah, but for a sport that loves to bill itself as teaching kids life lessons about honoring commitments (kids, you need to risk your future earnings by playing in a meaningless bowl game, because, team!), this sure seems like pure garbage.

It’s another good example of why the NCAA ought to blow up the whole signing framework and require schools to treat these deals as straight contracts.  One side offers, the other side accepts and, boom, you have a binding arrangement.  Until then, the lesson learned is that coaches control until they don’t.  Welcome to the real world, TJ.


Filed under Notre Dame's Faint Echoes, Recruiting

30 responses to “Wait… you weren’t serious about that?

  1. Spike

    These college coaches treat these high school kids like shit. They promise them all kinds of things and blow smoke up their ass, then, treat them like this kid. I know. My son was treated the same way.


  2. 3rdandGrantham

    Absolutely agree on binding contracts, and before we throw stones at ND, please keep in mind that we and others are doing the exact same thing with our litany of ‘non-committable offers.’ Heck, we had several commits in place last year that had their offers pulled as we continued to reel in top-flight talent, where suddenly said commit decommitted to UGA out of the blue.


  3. Spur 21

    I blame it all on God – you know the guy (or possibly gal) that micromanages earth.

    On the other hand this does in fact teach kids “life lessons”.


  4. Once they have a committable offer and commit then the school should be bound to that. Except in cases where the head coach leaves the athlete should be bound as well.


  5. Doggoned

    I’m unclear about why you’d think an “amateurism romantic” wouldn’t have a problem with coaches pulling crap like this.


    • Then you need to better acquaint yourself with the comments section here.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Doggoned

        I’m all too familiar with the comment section here. Just hate to see the word “romantic” redefined as “nut job.” One can embrace the concept of amateurism in college sports and yet realize that the days of the varsity sweater are long gone and likely never existed at all. Only a fool couldn’t see or admit that the horse left the barn long ago where the big-money sports are concerned. Still, let’s hope we can find a balance where college football keeps its unique appeal for folks like us. As you said the other day, pro football pales next to the college game.


        • I do not equate “romantic” with “nut job”. If you really think that’s my intent, you don’t just need to do a more thorough job reading comments, but also my posts.


          • Doggoned

            Cut me some slack, Senator. I have a UGA diploma. Do the best I can. 🤤


          • David K

            I really enjoy this blog but I’m regularly confused by your hostility towards readers in the comments section.


            • No offense, but you and I have a different definition of hostility.

              The blog is more than a decade old, with 22000+ posts and more than a half a million comments. It’s not hard to answer most questions like his by doing a little research here.


  6. Just don’t have signing day … if a coach wants to offer and a kid wants to accept, let him sign immediately if both sides agree. It would definitely take away all of the garbage we see on both sides … coaches yanking offers or refusing to accept a commitment and players committing just to decide to change their minds for whatever the reason of the day is.


    • The Dawg abides

      He’s an insufferable prick, but Paul Johnson has been preaching that almost verbatim for several years. Most of his stance is self serving because he is awful at recruiting and has lost many of his best commitments when they get a better offer late in the process.


      • I need to rethink my stance if that asshat on North Avenue agrees. 🙂

        If both sides want to go ahead and enter into a contract, what’s stopping them? The early signing period was a great first step toward a better situation for the S-A.


  7. ASEF

    Just put an escalating buy-out clause in there. ND cuts him a check, they’re clear. The closer they get to signing day, the more it costs them to change their plans.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. atlasshrugged55

    Don’t think we haven’t done the same thing. Remember Toneil Carter? We pulled the rug out from under him much closer to signing day.

    It’s a dirty business & there’s dirt on both sides.


  9. steve

    ‘There’s three sides to everything’….. my neighbor was telling his wife as she was setting fire to his possessions on their (her) front lawn.
    What does ND have to say about Twitter justice and social media’s high standards of due process regarding the young man’s claim?


  10. Junkyardawg41

    “require schools to treat these deals as straight contracts”. This is an interesting thought. I like it because it allows smaller schools the ability to be more competitive with big schools.
    On the other side, if both sides agree to the contract scholarship, the student is unable to change his mind. Agreement made on the 18th of July but his dream school offers him, I am not sure he would be able to break the contract cleanly.


  11. W Cobb Dawg

    “(kids, you need to risk your future earnings by playing in a meaningless bowl game, because, team!)”

    Um, what’s wrong with bowl games? Plenty of players who matriculate to the nfl play in meaningless games all season, perhaps for much of their entire college career. No matter what level or what conference, only a limited number of teams win divisions, conferences, have winning records, etc.

    Every single kid on the field is risking his future health on every play. We’ve had a player get hurt while doing a high-five. Am I the only one who finds it odd a player would elect to play all season, then decide he doesn’t want to play in the final?


    • Doug

      I don’t find it any more odd than a coach leading a team for an entire season but then ghosting them before the bowl game because some other team came along dangling a bigger paycheck.


  12. Whiskeydawg

    It’s just an, Inquisition thing. All we want to do is have a little chat. You’ll be in an out in no time. No worries.


  13. The Dawg abides

    ND is doing this all wrong. Instead of being straight up with a kid and quickly telling him he never really had an offer, what you do is just stop all contact with the kid. Hang him out in the wind for awhile until he starts questioning if he has a spot. Then late in the process start hinting that he may have to greyshirt. This will have him panicking because slots at most top schools will be tight by then and he will decommit on his own to grab a spot anywhere he can. This is how the real football factories roll!


    • W Cobb Dawg

      This situation always reminds me of OT Zebrie Sanders several years ago. Had scholly offers pulled by a few teams, even us I think, until eventually ending up at FSU. Went on to play every game for 4 years I believe, and drafted by the nfl. One schools trash…


  14. Biggen

    “Binding arrangement”?? Wait, I thought you preached that a ‘kid’ should be able to transfer where he wants when he wants…


  15. stoopnagle

    Ya’ll missed the real news here: Notre Dame is fading 4 star recruits. Bold strategy, indeed.