SportsPage Insider: Timing is everything

16 03 2009

Have a few options on the table but don’t know what to do? Consider the following…

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Coaches want to maximize their resources (time and scholarship availability, for instance). For this reason, if a Division-I football team has 20 available scholarships for the upcoming class, they will likely extend scholarship offers to anywhere from 50 to 100 guys who they have evaluated and feel are worthy of a scholarship. Do coaches rank prospects and want to sign the top ones on their board? Sure. But they also don’t want to only offer and recruit the top prospects that every other school is recruiting because the odds are against them that they will be able to sign every athlete on their wish list.

In effect, coaches cast their nets wide into a school of good-looking fish and hope that they get the best ones out there. Remember, in the end schools don’t pick you, you pick them. Schools don’t have draft picks. You’re the shopper and you decide which product you want to invest in.

Along the same lines, if you don’t have a lot of schools knocking down your door it might be best to weigh your options and then make a decision. Just as schools don’t want to be stuck holding a lot of scholarships late in the winter (if this happens, most of the good fish are probably gone), it’s not in a prospect’s best interest to wait until the last minute to decide unless he/she is a BIG TIME STUD that everyone on the country is after. The scholarship you were offered back in the spring may not be available when you decide you’re ready to make a decision.

Think of it this way: the college program is an airline selling seats. There are only so many seats available before the flight gets booked. The airline wants to make sure they have the flight sold and will sell to those who are willing to pay. If you can decide where you want to fly to or are waiting for the fares to become cheaper, you run the risk of having other flights book up and now you’re without a seat.

We’re not advocating that you make a quick decision. Instead we’re telling you to do your homework, weigh your options, and make the best possible choice for YOU, understanding that the longer you wait, it’s possible that the fewer options you will have.

On the flip side, the occasional second-tier prospect gets lucky and ends up at a top tier school because he/she is the top-rated remaining prospect on a program’s board. There are always exceptions to the rule. Our advice… if you have a good array of options to choose from, don’t get too greedy and hold out for what you way deem as “better” options. In the end, you may find yourself with less than what you originally started with.

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