When do Ivy and D3 coaches usually make offers and ask for commitments?

What is the typical timeline for asking for preread info, making and offer, and asking for someone to commit?

Also, what happens if someone says yes, and then changes their mind before the ED application deadline?

Very generally,
Correction based on politeperson’s post

A coach may ask for your academic and test records, during junior year, for their own review. I do not know when the admissions office may pre-read it, except after July 1.

A commitment may be requested summer before senior year, with certain dead periods where contact with coach is not allowed. Each sport has its own calendar.
There is a history of verbal nonbinding offers even made to sophomores, but there may have been some rules changes to discourage that.


Ivy and other leagues have their own rules. http://www.recruiting-101.com/2021/04/17/how-does-the-ivy-league-differ-from-other-division-i-schools-in-athletic-recruiting-5/

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Different conferences have different rules. NESCACS, eg, don’t do prereads before July 1.

In my son’s sport, soccer, offers have already gone out at some Ivies, though I imagine some spots remain.

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Ivies can’t do formal pre-reads prior to July 1 after junior year. Offers of coach support made prior to that date do happen, but they’d be contingent on a positive pre-read. In practice it’s not hard for a coach to know in advance who will easily pass a pre-read. Every sport is different, but most of the formal offers and commitments in track and field, which is a late-recruiting sport nationally, are made after July 1 (mostly in the late summer and early fall).

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Reiterating this varies by sport…women’s hockey would be an example of a sport where many, maybe most, verbal offers/commits happen prior to senior year/summer which are then affirmed via the formal academic pre-read process in the summer before senior year.

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Women’s soccer is another example. And probably the case for most women’s sports vs men’s

Are offers of support and offers of admissions two different things?

Yes. As I told you on your other thread, a coach’s commitment means absolutely nothing without admission’s support.


OK, so I am going off of this:

and thinking that since I have an offer of support but not an offer of admissions, which would come in Oct. in the form of a Likely Letter. I am right where I should be.

But then I read this:

and it seems like other athletes have gotten something I should have but haven’t.

What I’m trying to figure out is if other athlete’s have offers that mean “absolutely nothing”, or if they’ve somehow gotten around the July 1 date. Or did politeperson make a mistake and that date only applies to NESCACs?

I realize that this could fall through. Since there’s only one school I’m considering applying ED to, I might as well continue with the process even if the coach isn’t going to make an offer. And, since it would be polite to make a decision as soon as possible after he makes an offer, it makes sense for me to asking my bajillion questions now, and not to wait until after he hears back from admissions in July.

I’m also confused by what “accepting an offer” before an application is submitted, or a Likely Letter shows up means. It just means verbally saying “Yes, I would like to play for you. I plan to apply ED.” right? And legally, although, maybe not ethically, I could say that, and then fall in love with another school in September and not submit the ED application, and still be eligible to apply RD and play at that school. Or I could apply ED, get in, and then quit the team. I’m not saying i would do those things. I’m just clarifying that it’s not a binding commitment, or even a written commitment.


Again, depends on the coach/school/sport.

So if someone was going to play women’s soccer at a D3 (possibly a NESCAC) they should by now have some sort of an agreement with a coach about a preread, correct? If they are not getting those types of offers at this point, they most likely are not a candidate for a NESCAC? My best friend’s daughter is going through this and they are pretty clueless both about college admissions and recruiting.

So the women’s hockey players referenced above. (I’ll admit that I’m not a women’s hockey player) who have “offers”. What do they have? How are they bound to the commitment?

Or do they have offers of support?

They have the coach’s offer of support.

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Exactly. The athlete is verbally committed and the coach is not looking for anyone else to fill that specific slot.

ETA: OP, none of this really applies to you as you are where you are on the recruiting journey, and it seems like the Ivy coach you are speaking with still has a full support slot. But slots at all schools are going to be filled sooner rather than later. Will there be some stragglers? Sure, but slots aren’t going to necessarily be available at all schools come Fall.


@Im_Not_Sure I think the confusion here is over language and timing. Those of us coming from the athletic recruiting side of things generally use “offer” to refer to a coach offering a spot on the team and to support a recruit’s application through the admissions process. (Not an offer of admission). Some coaches don’t make those offers until after the pre-read and even later. There are some sports, those that tend to be earlier recruiting, in which coaches will extend those offers earlier. It sounds like you’re in a sport where the timeline is closer to the former, and if so you’re in good shape and everything is going along as it should. I’d really rely on your discussions with the coach to get a sense of that. We all share our experiences with different schools, sports, and coaches but every coach, sport, and year are a little different.

I disagree with the statement made above that a coach committing to support a recruit means nothing. For most recruits it’s the whole ball game and leads to a slam dunk admission. Sure, the coach isn’t deciding admission. But that’s not really the issue. With coach support, admission odds go from <10% to >99%. So what the coach commits to is meaningful even if it isn’t an offer of admission.


@Im_Not_Sure ok, here’s a quick primer on offers.

Coaches ask for transcript/scores before prereads because at many schools they have limited numbers of prereads to offer. I know men’s soccer, so, e.g. at one NESCAC the coach has 50 prereads he can have with admissions. He will offer 25 or so kids prereads asap, in July, and the other 25 he will use as he sees kids/decides he’s interested in them through the fall.

The coaches ask for the transcript etc so they can know that the kid they are recruiting is in range for admission with their support. If the kid’s GPA is 2.0, probably better for everyone to know that up front, because that kid is not getting into the Ivy, no matter what caliber player they are. So in that case, the coach would stop recruiting that player. So, since the coach has seen your academic record and is still in conversation with you, that means he thinks you are in the recruitable range.

Coaches make these verbal offers, which, again, have no legal effect, all the time. Top D1 schools make commitments first, and then it filters down the levels. While no legal effect, these are not “nothing”. In most cases they are almost guarantees of admission.

Now, that said, all schools will rightly say that only the Admissions office can make offers of Admission. So – the coach is not offering admission, he is offering his support with admissions. The key is, what does that support mean? At MIT, it means a 50-50 chance of getting in. At most other schools it is tantamount to a guarantee of admission.

That’s why you need to be SO clear about what exactly the coach is saying to you. It’s easy to get confused, and as I said earlier, coaches can be enthusiastic. They’d be happy to have a talented walk on and not have to use up an admissions slot.

Once you pass the preread, which is the Admissions Office signing off, saying “this recruit is admissible” (or not), then the coach has to decide whether to make an offer. Remeber the NESCAC I talked about earlier, with the 50 preread spots? That coach has 6 slots to offer incoming players. He will probably have to make more than 6 offers, because he won’t get every single recruit, but he isn’t making 50 offers.

Kids that have offers before prereads have a situation where the coach feels confident that he’s done this enough times that he knows (or thinks he knows) which kid will get through the preread process and so he makes the offer before prereads. Not all coaches do this. But I suspect some Ivy coaches do, because they are afraid they will lose top recruits to other D1s who have earlier timelines – who aren’t dependent on a July 1 preread.

I hope this clears up some of your confusion. I suggest you read all the old threads in the Athletic Recruits forum for your sport, and/or for Ivy recruiting. They are a great resource!


I think that part of the issue is covid. Ordinary I think at this point I might have toured campuses and gone to camps and been in more tournaments and so I would have learned more. But I live with a grandparent, so I didn’t do those things, and just restarted playing in the spring.

But yes, when people asked if I had an offer I thought they meant an offer of admissions and got anxious.

The coach asked for my test scores and transcripts in January. He said they were great and that he needed to see how my transition back to play went. I sent him new film and he saw me play at a showcase this spring and he wants my grades as soon as I get them. Other coaches have also reached out and asked for my transcripts, but I don’t know what to do there.

That all makes sense. I’d communicate with all the coaches and send them what they ask for. You can always cut off communication when you lose interest. But even if your first choice is Penn or Brown it makes no sense to ignore other schools in the conference at this point. (Especially HYP, as most Ivies will match aid based on recruiting interest. So a few emails back and forth with the Princeton coach could get you tens of thousands in additional need-based aid at Cornell, Brown, etc.).

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If you would remotely consider going to the other coaches’ schools, send your transcripts!! If there is no way you would ever go to their schools, reply politely to them that you don’t think the school is a good fit for you, but thank you for reaching out.

You don’t know how everything will shake out, and what choices you will have, so in my opinion, it’s best to be saying “yes” a lot now (in other words, don’t turn a school away, even though odds are you may not attend) , and once you know exactly what your choices are then you can start winnowing down.


Is this literally true? I play a specific position, let’s say I am a football kicker. I am not but it’s like that in that you really need a good one and maybe a back up but that’s all.

So, I assume the coach is currently talking to another kicker or two. If he says to me “Admissions signed off on preread. I will commit to supporting you if you commit to me” and I say “yes, count me in”, then he calls the other kickers and says sorry?

And what if I break my kicking leg, or don’t get enough financial aid, or Stanford calls and offers me a full ride, or I am a flaky teenager and decide to go to community college so I can be with my new beau? He’s stuck with the kids who didn’t get any offers? Or does he reach out to some kid that has a NESCAC offer and convince him to walk away, and then that coach poaches from someone else and it all reshuffles.

Similarly if coach tells me I have a slot and then some smart but flaky kid who can kick 5 more yards decides to turn down Northwestern because his boyfriend is at the school I thought I had a slot at, coach will say “Sorry, I gave my word to I’m Not Sure ”?

I appreciate all your patience with my million questions. Can you tell that school got out yesterday? I have spent the past few months doing nothing but study, soccer, art, but today I have time to obsess. My mom says I should use it to clean my room.