September 1st Is Coming: What Can We Expect Under The New Rules?

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With another summer coming to a close, so much talk has surrounded the upcoming effect of the recruiting legislation shockingly put into place, with the much anticipated date of September 1st staring right at us on the calendar.

More than anything, it’s extremely hard to say how everything will go. The speculation is enjoyable, but we should probably just wait and see.

What occurs with this class of rising juniors won’t tell us very much about the impact of the new rules, at least in a long term sense. Over 400 members of the Class of 2019 have already committed — many for well over 12 months.

At the end of the day, recruiting has constantly evolved. It’s often been unpredictable.

Commitments occurred earlier and earlier. Schools that you thought would never take a freshman or sophomore recruit lined up on those fields in droves trying to get any competitive advantage they could, despite often feeling immoral doing so. Meanwhile, many Big 10 and ACC schools came close to filling up recruiting classes with 14 and 15-year-olds that likely had no idea what college program was truly the best fit.

More recruiting events popped up, while clubs presented massive lists of big name college commitments and former Division I All-Americans from their respective programs, enticing parents of young players to sign up for tryouts. Many club directors morphed into master salesmen rather than what they really should focus on — being developers of talent and young men.

The system became broken, and people turned increasingly crazy across the board.

Will these new regulations bring us closer to normalcy? Is positive change really on the horizon?

We can all hope, but let’s speculate some more first before reacting.

MIDNIGHT MADNESS 

I shook things up the other day, reporting a sentiment expressed by over a dozen college coaches that plan to hit the ground running when the clock strikes 12:01 on September 1st, a school night for many.

Responses came in hot, to say the least. A handful of parents suggested that they would instantly cross a school off the list if they called after midnight, calling them crazy and questioning their priorities.

Well, a couple of points on of this:

– Let’s slow down, okay? It will still be syllabus week in most states. Regardless of the time of the year, most kids are up until midnight anyway – some parents are naive thinking that they’re asleep when they close their doors at 10pm and the lights go off. Social media is hard to put down sometimes.

-These midnight calls won’t just happen out of the blue, they’ll instead be planned between a college coach, club/HS coach and the player. Your family’s house phone won’t be dialed… yes, people still have house phones, amazingly.

As parents, you have spent hours of time and energy (not to mention hundreds of dollars) chasing the Division I dream. If you have a heads up from your coaches that you’ll be getting some attention as the clock rolls into September 1st, it’s worth staying up for an hour or so to see what occurs. We’re talking about considerable amounts of scholarship money at some pretty incredible institutions, and it can help shape your future. Why not stay up?

However, in all likelihood, legitimate phone conversations between midnight and 7am will probably be minimal, but there’s no doubt that there will be contact exchanged. If you have school on Friday, schedule calls during free periods, lunch or after school and fall sports. It can wait.

-It’s probably unlikely that tons of commitments will happen the first week of September (and almost definitely not around midnight), since it takes time to establish relationships and make visits. If verbals are made, it’s a player that was close to deciding before the rules changed in April. But again, we don’t know yet. Crazier things have happened.

-College coaches are ridiculously competitive, doing whatever it takes to gain an advantage (within the rules) when it comes to recruiting. I’ve talked to some that plan to make calls to uncommitted studs at midnight. Others have e-mails automatically scheduled to be sent right when 9/1 hits, or will send out texts to commits. One school I spoke to even intends to send out hand-written letters to the top players on their board.

WHAT IF I DON’T GET CALLED?

All of the build-up and excitement over September can cause anxiety and false hope. In reality, it’s not just about tempering expectations.

Sure, about 40 or 50 percent of the spots in Division I have been secured, but anything can happen. There’s no rush to make a decision, as players still have 14 months until the November signing period to develop in multiple different ways.

If you’re an uncommitted 2019, it’s probably wise to prepare as if you’ll receive interest on September 1st. Change your personal voicemail message to something respectable, respond to e-mails, texts and calls in a timely manner and of course, prioritize the school day rather than any contact that comes your way. Coaches are more patient than you think.

Rely on your high school coaches. By the time you’re a junior, he almost certainly knows you better, especially if your coach works in the school. Part of the benefit to the new rules being putting into place has been putting more responsibility in the high schools’ hands rather than the clubs.

“There’s a definite excitement, but that also comes with anxiety about getting calls and e-mails, and as a high school coach you have to manage that,” said the longtime head coach of a perennial powerhouse in the Mid-Atlantic. “We’re talking about a small minority of kids that will get blasted with contact initially, maybe the top five percent of uncommitted players. The 95% will have to continue that grind, being assertive when it comes to finding the right fit.”

You’ve been given time to get grades in order, polish skills and conditioning and figure out what schools fit you the best. And if you don’t know yet, that’s alright too.

When you’re a freshman or sophomore and you see dozens of your classmates committing to D1 schools, it can be a tough pill to swallow. There are tons of fantastic destinations out there. It may not be the highest level of college lacrosse, but the mindset shouldn’t be Division I or nothing at all. Never rule out Division II or Division III, or the MCLA.

If September comes and goes without contact, there’s no need to pout. Continue to work, seek guidance from the people around you that know you best and be proactive with the recruiting process. The smartest schools save spots for late-blooming seniors, and many thrive off of that strategy.

POACHING, DROPS & DE-COMMITMENTS 

Even though the Class of 2019 is frequently looked at as average in the eyes of college coaches, a lot of re-recruitment is inevitable. Committed or not, expect contact to come.

You’d be hard pressed to find a program that doesn’t intend to start with contacting its own ’19 verbals. It’s tough to go over four months without any sort of relationship between the commit and a coaching staff, as so much can change on both sides.

Some players may wait to de-commit until they see what other intriguing looks are out there, while at least a handful of commits will likely cut ties right off the bat. On the opposite end of the spectrum, college coaches will have to have some difficult discussions in early September. Whether it’s due to academics, off-the-field issues or a lack of developing, drops are bound to happen.

Most conversations involving will go something like this: “We’ll honor your commitment, but at this point we don’t feel like you’d end up playing very much at our program, so it might be in your best interests to look around at other options.”

While no one wants to get dropped, the spin zone is that the timing could be considered relatively favorable – it’s better to know early junior year rather than rising senior summer, isn’t it? Kids want to feel loved and wanted by colleges, and there are gobs of schools out there that could end up as a better overall fit. If I’m a recruit, I would have an awfully hard time wanting to go to the school that told me that I should look around because I’m not good enough.

To reiterate this point again, it’s really hard to say exactly what will happen. I do this for a living, but this is all just pure speculation rather than a fluid knowledge of how things will go down. Expect the unexpected!

At the end of the day, this is a phenomenal thing for our sport. I know that I speak for everyone when I say that I’m fired up to see how things shake out going forward.

Check back throughout the next week for Recruiting Rundown’s Class of 2018 and 2019 rankings, released Monday and Wednesday, respectively. And as always, follow @tyxanders and @RecruitRundown for breaking news on commitments. 

 

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