On the recruiting trail, sometimes information can be like that game “Telephone” that kids play in elementary school.
A college coach tells an AAU coach, who tells a parent, who tells a player, who tells a reporter, and somewhere along the line words get twisted (intentionally or not), overstated or understated.
John Martin of the Commercial Appeal takes some time in a column, published Sunday, to clear up shed a light on the gray areas of recruiting.
Most prominently is the distinction between a scholarship offer and “interest” from a school.
Many times, with phone calls and text messages in constant transit between coaches and prospective recruits, there can be misinterpretation. Memphis coach Josh Pastner explains his method to Martin:
“I think if you call the kid, tell him you have a scholarship offer, that’s pretty clear,” he told the Commercial Appeal. “If you don’t use the word scholarship, it leaves gray area.”
It really starts getting interesting when discussing national letters of intent, which officially bind a school and recruit. NCAA rules keep coaches from talking about prospective recruits until this is signed.
If a player has signed an NLI and the coach they expected to play for is fired, the player must gain a release from the school to play somewhere else.
Former Kansas State commit Robert Upshaw took an unusual route, signing a financial aid agreement, which allowed him more flexibility to leave for when Frank Martin to take the head coaching job at South Carolina.