I agree that it is a difficult process for the kids, parents and club coaches. It's going to challenging when there is a $100,000 scholarship available. But I don't believe the kids are the only ones who lose if the commitment doesn't work out. NCAA coaches get fired if they don't meet expectations at their schools and they need the best athletes to win. This is the livelihood for the coaches families and if they lose their job they will have to relocate their family. So I don't believe the coaches are taking verbal commitments lightly, as if they have nothing to lose if it doesn't work out. I'd argue the coach has as much to lose, if not more. Especially considering if their reputation is tarnished enough they could become unlikely to be hired again.It is a gamble on both sides, but if someone loses in the whole deal, it's going to be the kid. It's the school that is calling the shots. They are the ones with power, they are the ones with a line of kids waiting to get scholarships. The kid is pretty innocent and clueless in this whole mess. The recruiting process is hard enough for high schoolers with sane parents and responsible coaches who know what they are doing, it doesn't need to be made more difficult by throwing in middle schoolers and parents with stars in their eyes who have no idea what is going on. I have no problem with college coaches looking at younger kids when they visit gyms, keeping tabs on them at meets, chatting with their coaches or even the kids themselves. I have no problem with a college coach telling a club coach they are interested in 12 year old Sally and want to receive video updates on her. It's the whole commitment language that bugs me and just doesn't sit right.
For the record, I'm not talking verbals from high school juniors who are a few months out from signing NLIs, I think that's a different story.