Letter of Intent Not Always the Best Fit

Jim Halley at USAToday.com writes about DeMarcus Cousins not signing his Letter of Intent without getting assurance that he'll be released if Coach Mike Davis is not there.
The national letter of intent cannot be altered or modified in any way," NCAA spokesman Chuck Wynne said.

Wynne said the LOI is an "agreement between the institution and the student-athlete, not the coach and the student-athlete." But, he added, that doesn't mean a school can't make an agreement to allow an athlete out of his or her scholarship.

Jim Haney makes a great point, one that i have told players before. If there is concern, then simply wait until spring. The mass hysteria of signing because everyone else is sweeps a lot of kids into less than ideal situations. With 1 of 8 coaches moving on each year it is cause for concern.

Another point that the article highlights is that kids, generally speaking, sign with coaches not schools. How would you feel if the all the people you have a relationship with, the system you want to play in, and the promises made to you were gone like the case of Jeff Withey at Arizona and the kids that had verballed to Arizona.

For the best of the best players, its a scenario where the athlete is the limited supply and the colleges are the overwhelming demand. I am fairly sure most colleges would take the verbal without the non-requisite LOI to get a player the caliber of DeMarcus Cousins.

The LOI does keep recruiting a little cleaner in that it gives an ending to the process. Once the doc is signed, the propaganda and innuendo seizes giving the athlete a breath of fresh air. It also clearly defines which side of the fence a prospect is on for recruiters. The key is for each athlete and their decision helpers to see what is right for them and their situation.

Jim Haney, executive director of the National Association of Basketball Coaches, said he is "not aware of any sort of side deals. … The bottom line is the letter of intent is the letter of intent. Historically, when there have been coaching changes, the prospects have asked for a waiver that would allow them to not be penalized. Some of them have been granted. Not all of those have been granted."

Another option for high school players who might be concerned the coach would leave, Haney says, "is to not sign until the spring, and then you know."