Any experience with athletic verbal offer revoked after disclosing injury/surgery (prior to NLI)?

In brief, my D24 verbally committed to play D1 lacrosse. She had failed hardware removal (knee) a few weeks ago and a much more extensive surgery will need to occur in next month or two. In the spirit of transparency, I recommended she update her coaches which she did (though remained vague on timeline return to play). Her injury would have also been obvious when they bring the recruits to campus this fall. Coaches responded asking for meeting with her and her parents. She’s quite anxious about this and her recruiting window is now over (given she won’t play for ~9 months). Trying to prepare myself with what I might expect or questions I should be asking. TIA!

I understand her stress and am sorry she is looking at extensive surgery.

I don’t know how things will go and expect they could go either way. Did the coach know about the previous injury (requiring hardware)?

I would have your D be prepared to discuss the injury, the coming surgery, and her timeline for recovery and return…and not be vague about any of it. As for the parents, I wouldn’t speak unless the coach asks you specific questions or is looking for your input.

Good luck to all of you.


It might be worthwhile to have an attorney review the NLI to determine how binding it is to the school but it is my understanding that a NLI is binding for one year. you should confirm as you may also be required to report the issue(could potentially be revoked if it is not reported).

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sent you a pm

Very helpful, thank you. The surgeon has given a very wide interval on return to play based on how extensive the bone/cartilage transfer is (6-12 months). We are in the midst of trying to get a second opinion and can certainly let them know that. They did know about the initial surgery and watched/recruited her post-hardware placement.

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The NLI hasn’t been signed yet.

If it had, the school does have to offer the scholarship money that went along with the NLI for one year, but they do not have to roster the athlete on the team.


Again, best wishes and good luck. I know you are all feeling the stress right now…another surgery and trying to maintain the athletic commitment is a lot. Do keep us updated.


Sports injuries especially ACL injuries occur very frequently among female high school athletes. Soccer and lacrosse are 2 sports where female athletes are frequently injured. I have heard of several D1 and D3 commits in our state who injured their ACLs during their junior and senior years of high school. Recovery time to return to sports after an ACL reconstruction is currently a minimum of 9 months. To my knowledge, nothing changed and the players are playing their chosen sport at the school to which they were committed. However, I do not know if it had any impact on athletic scholarships; but my guess is that didn’t change either.

Injuries are a fact of life in athletics. It’s surprising how many college athletes in those 2 sports have had knee injuries (ACLs) or will suffer them during their college careers.


As a follow-up, my daughter spoke with head coach last night and conversation couldn’t have gone better. No concerns about athletic $, their commitment, etc. Essentially, we want you on the field when you’re ready. Thanks all…now for a successful surgery!


So happy for this update. Best wishes for a speedy recovery.


Great news!!

That’s a coach you want to play for and work hard with. These athletic communities can be very small so I am not surprised that he he/she did the right thing. Certainly suggests a coach who cares about both players and their reputation.

The coach deserves a lot of credit for being supportive. Good luck and speedy recovery.


It’s in the best interest of the coach to keep that player. It’s also much better for the college coach if the player loses a year of sports in HS as opposed to during college. She essentially loses nothing if her recruit is out during her HS senior year.

So many players have had knee injuries that you hear about players who have recovered from 2 knee injuries and are still playing.

This year’s #1 college lacrosse player, the Tewaarton Award winner, injured her ACL and missed the entire 2022 season. Of course, there’s no guarantee that every player will return to their pre-injury ability.

It’s also a very bad look for the coach if she drops a committed player because of a knee injury and word gets out.

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This student hasn’t signed an NLI yet, and won’t be able to until Nov. The only thing the NLI binds the school to is the scholarship amount - no guaranty of making the team or playing time. They are only for the first year, but some conferences basically guarantee them for 4 years IF the student stays with the team and otherwise doesn’t violate rules.

The only thing the student gives up by signing is the right to play at another school that uses the NLI (most D1 schools, some D2 schools) for that next school year. The student can still go to another school, just not play. The student could play at D3, at NAIA, or in Canada or foreign schools.

With the transfer portal, there is a lot more wiggle room so many students don’t even have to sit out one year.

There isn’t anything an attorney reviewing an NLI an tell you that isn’t available on line. They are standard contracts and non-negotiable terms.

I hope (and think likely) the coach wants to talk about the injury and and when the student can most likely play again Maybe the coach will suggest a gap year or a redshirt year. Coaches know an awful lot about KNEES and the coach might say not to push it, to take her time and re-hab, that lax will always be there when she’s ready.

Positive thoughts coming your way.

Edited: just read the updated info from the coach. Good news.

I see this has been resolved, and in a good way.

It reminded me of a conversation I had with my son’s future coach after he had an offer but before he had accepted.

I asked what happens if he verbally accepts the offer, and then blows out his knee next season. The coach said he would honor the offer and still get him into the school. But he also said that he didn’t really worry about knees. He had seen many horrific knee injuries that were repaired and the athlete was eventually able to overcome. Shoulders and concussions were what kept him up at night. They are frequently career enders.

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