Junior hockey programs have a way of treating
college commitments like a badge of honor to influence the decision process of other young hockey players.
The truth about college commitments is very
Anything thing before their senior year in
high school is a Verbal Commitment. What does that mean? Exactly. Before
anything is signed, either the player or school can walk away from their
original agreement, leaving a player or coach in a bad position.
There is a Chicago area player who received a
college commitment from one of the eastern schools back when he was sixteen,
and the school did not honor it. The player was rated high as young prospect
and even drafted into the USHL, where he played for years. However, he never
really developed into the player the college was hoping he would, so they did
not honor the commitment.
Was this wrong? Personally I think the system
is wrong. Hockey is one of the few sports where players leave home to play
junior hockey for a few years with the purpose of development before entering
college. In most cases all the college freshmen are not true freshmen by age.
These players usually range from 19-21 years old, and have played a few years,
or more, at the junior hockey level.
Most teams and leagues use college
commitments as an advertising tool to proclaim the success of their programs.
How many of those players actually played for that school? Should a player that
never actually played a game for THAT team be listed as a commitment on the
team's website? Should a coach be allowed to take his commitment list with him
from coaching job to coaching job? It may sound funny, but we see it all the
time. We talked to one junior coach that uses his short term employment as a
college coach, back in the 70's, as the basis for his entire junior program
Junior hockey leagues and the NCAA should
work together to protect the integrity of the recruiting process. The baloney
verbal commitments should be eliminated. Force each college to actually sign
the player for whatever deal they are willing to offer at the correct age they
are allowed. This will help eliminate us seeing fifteen and sixteen year olds
committed to colleges that they may never play for.
If they cannot commit to players, until they
are in their senior year, then maybe the junior teams won't be going after
younger and younger players. The NCAA does a great job with everything they do
to give the student athlete a great college experience. This is one area that we
believe is misleading to parents and players. Schools should have to stand
behind their end of the commitment and they do most of the time.
The system is so weighted for the
universities its become a joke. Players are recruited, matriculate, and are
locked in when the coach can jump at any moment with no repercussions.
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