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October 31, 2019

Recruiting Horror Stories by LRT Sports™ | A Coach Lied About My Scholarship Offer

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Recruiting was an exciting time for me. As a transfer student, I was excited to have a second chance to pick a school that was an excellent fit for me. I set up visits for two of my top five schools on back-to-back weekends, and I was in contact with other coaches for my top choices as well. I planned to set up visits in the coming weeks with the other three schools on my list as well to complete my five official visits. Each of the schools had what I was looking for in terms of athletics and academics. I knew I wanted to be in a major conference, so it was no surprise that four of my top five schools were in the same conference. 

When coaches asked what schools I was looking at, I thought it good to be transparent. This way, I felt they would be able to better sell their school in comparison with the others at the conference when I was talking to them. Since every coach I had been in contact with asked me the same question about what other schools I was looking at or considering. 

I was excited about my first official visit. I took my dad along with me to help. He would another set of ears and eyes to help me weigh my options and evaluate the school. From stepping onto campus and meeting the coach face-to-face, I knew the program and school would be an excellent fit for me. 

In the last thirty minutes of my official visit, the head coach finally started talking about my scholarship offer. Being that this was an out of state institution, I knew that the offer would determine my chances of going to the school since affordability was one of my consideration factors. The head coach summarized the visit and how he saw me fitting into the team and the vision for the program going forward. After that, he offered me a full-ride, including the cost of attendance for my first year in the program. For the second year, he said my offer would be full-tuition, but the money from the first year I could save to help cover rent and other expenses. I was excited to get my first ever full-ride scholarship offer and knew this meant the school would be in top contention.

The coach walked my dad and me to the car and before we left he told us that the same offer was out to a few recruits, and whoever decided to commit first would get the money. I was not too fond of the pressure that was being put on me, especially considering I had another visit coming up. This coach also knew about this and other unscheduled visits. I spent the entire drive home, worrying about what to do. I liked the school academically. The school had exceptional resources for track, the coaches were accomplished, knowledgeable, and friendly, and the athletes on the team seemed friendly. 

There were no downsides to this school, and with the offer on the table that would cover most of my expenses for college, I did not know how I could possibly say no to this offer. I waited two days after my visit to decide, and during that time, I was in complete unrest that another recruit had committed, and the scholarship money would not be available anymore. Two days after my visit, I called the coach to commit, and I felt confident about my decision. I was excited, but also sad to call the other coaches to let them know I was no longer interested and to cancel the other official visit I had set up. Despite knowing I had difficult calls to make, I was excited to have picked this school. The next step would be to figure out the next steps for enrollment. 

After a few days of being verbally committed, I asked the coach to send over my offer in writing. When I received the written offer over text, it was significantly lower than what I was promised. It ended up only being about 38% of tuition, room, and board combined for the second year. I was shocked considering I committed to the school because of what the coached promised me during my official visit. He claimed that they would be funding most of my education. I was confused, but the coach was good at making the situation seem like it was not all that bad. I decided to stay committed to the school despite my disappointment and suspicion, considering I liked it so much.

Once I received my official scholarship tender, the offered amount was once again less than the written offer. The coach again explained that projected tuition and room and board went up, and the scholarship budget numbers were finalized. My offer was then only about 31% of the costs to attend the university for my second year. How could the coach lie that much? Nearly 70% less than the initial offer was a lot of money. I felt lied to and began to reconsider my decision to attend the university. How could I trust what he said? Did he believe in my athletic abilities and my possible contributions to the team if he could not stand behind his word on my verbal scholarship offer?

In the end, I de-committed from the school and continued my recruiting process. However, I stuck with my decision and am glad I did because I found a university and coach that are a great fit for me, the University of Minnesota, who also stood behind their verbal scholarship offer. I’m proud of myself for trusting my gut and continuing with the recruiting process after the shady situation.