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Dear football mom: Should our son stick with commitment?
Helmet Kisses

Dear Football Mom,

It’s our son’s senior year. He hoped to play football at one of our in-state universities next year. In fact, he already committed earlier this July. Now he thinks he wants to check out an out-of-state university. They’ve come after him hard, but I don’t think it’s right for him to change his mind when he gave his word to the other team. My husband is in a quandary, not sure he agrees with me. We haven’t heard from the other team since he committed during the summer. How should we handle this moving forward? 


Dear Reader,

Good for you, Mom, in teaching your son to keep his word! Bravo. Unfortunately, these kinds of deals can get as sticky as flypaper. And I do know, it’s not the flies you’re wishing to catch.

I’m assuming (here I go reading between the lines) your son gave a verbal commitment, just like perhaps the in-state college gave a verbal offer? Unless the college in question put their offer in writing — a letter of intent to award your son with a scholarship to play football — the verbal is about as useless as a fly without wings. Besides, your son couldn’t have signed a letter of intent in July, as that would be an NCAA violation. Signing day is the time for all things legal. 

On the other hand, if the college did put it in writing — which is not a violation — and you do have a written offer, it still may or may not be honored by the time signing day comes around. Where is that fly swatter?

Seems to me, and I’m just guessing, that if they were still interested in your son, they would have kept in touch even if it were by snail mail. Please, no offense. Sometimes, programs throw out a lot of offers to recruits and see which ones stick. That sort of practice is usually done by losing teams, or teams where coaches’ jobs are in jeopardy, so, let’s connect the dots … means, losing teams. Most coaches don’t take too kindly to such recruiting practices. Believe it or not, the majority try to run a semblance of a reputable program.   

The sticky part for y’all begins when you muster the courage to phone the program that offered in July. Ask them point blank where your son stands and if the offer is still valid. If you hear hemming and hawing on the other end, there’s your answer. Most coaches will never tell you straight up what’s rolling around in their heads, but you should get an idea if they kept your son’s ball in their lane.  

Something may have changed to knock your son out of the running. Oftentimes, the adults don’t, or can’t, keep their word for the strangest of reasons. Depends on their state of mind. Not that coaches don’t want to be honest, it’s just not in their repertoire. 

Generally, I can divide coaches into two kinds: “the counts,” and “the no-a-counts.” Coaches are like that. They are as fickle as a teenage girl trying to choose which fella to go to prom with, assuming she was asked by a few and has choices. 

Wither your son was recruited by one of the counts, or one of the no-a-counts at the in-state college, the good news now is the notion that your son has the freedom and opportunity to look at any team he wishes. He can study and mull over all programs, their possibilities, go anywhere, any time he wants, without feeling guilty of reneging on his word.  

In the end, I always suggest going where the program makes it clear, you are wanted. After all, don’t we all want to be where we are wanted?


As “The Heart Behind the Gridiron,” we try to answer a variety of questions and scenarios surrounding the game. Answers are opinion-based. We are not responsible for results. All questions should be submitted by email to Candy@candyawestbrook.com.