Reminder: Scholarship offers don’t really count. They can be given and taken away and given again for any reason whatsoever until that player signs a contract (National Letter of Intent).
So when Jim Harbaugh or Lane Kiffin or one of these guys is offering a scholarship to a middle schooler, nothing but the following is happening:
- The coach and school get a nice round of publicity
- The coach and school get to use the “we offered first” sentimentality pitch if the kid is still awesome as a senior in high school
- The prospect becomes an attraction
- Any team or camp associated with the prospect becomes more prestigious
A radical skeptic might wonder if a shoe company might be involved in these things at some level, the practice of identifying, corralling and signing young sports stars of course being a critical part of their business model, similar to Hollywood.
If that’s the case, this is a story.
But if it’s just good ol’ fashioned crootin’ … what are we even talking about?
It’s a nice moment for a young kid. Very flattering, I’m sure, and well deserved. And that’s good. It’s just that this doesn’t mean this kid is going to get to go to Michigan if he wants to. In five years he may be a very good player with very good grades and top test scores. And he might have his heart set on playing for the Wolverines, and his buddy Jim Harbaugh might still be the coach but … we just don’t have a spot for you at quarterback right now.
So what was that scholarship offer?
Nothing. We’re talking about nothing.