That is no longer the case.
All the class of 2012 recruits awaiting their written offers Sept. 1 will have to wait another 11 months before actually seeing those written offers.
The NCAA passed legislation prohibiting schools from sending written offer to prospects until Aug. 1 of their season year. It means class of 2012 recruits will have to wait until Aug. 1, 2011, to receive their offers.
Schools used to send letters to recruits saying they had a scholarship offer, and some schools asked for the recruits to sign the paper as a way of acknowledging receipt of the offer.
"It wasn't a binding agreement," an NCAA spokesperson told ScarletReport.com "This eliminates that confusion. This just says no written offers before Aug. 1 of the season year, and no longer having them sign it."
In other words, players like Linden (N.J.) High's Ruhann Peele, Don Bosco Prep's (Ramsey, N.J.) Elijah Shumate and thousands of others will have to wait much longer to get those coveted written offers.
The policy was ratified June 28 and goes into affect Aug. 1. It covers all sports.
The policy does not keep programs from extending verbal offers, which schools have done.
However, in recruiting there has been a gray area of which players actually received written offer after verbal offers were extended. The change in policy could make it easier for recruits and coaches to determine which schools are truly interested, and which schools are not because the offers will come so close to the start of their senior seasons.
"Over the years, a culture has developed in which prospective student-athletes are receiving letters from coaches at the beginning of their junior year in high school that, essentially, offer athletics scholarships," the NCAA wrote as its rationale for making the change. "Although they are not able to sign a National Letter of Intent until their senior year in high school, many prospective student-athletes view the early scholarship offer letters they receive as binding agreements.
"This proposal will eliminate the confusion such letters create with prospective student-athletes."
Rutgers holds commitments from 10 members of the 2011 class, and each is permitted to hold a written offer.
However, under the new rules, those players would not be able to hold a written offer until Aug. 1.
The rule is bylaw 188.8.131.52 and states:
Prior to August 1 of a prospective student-athlete's senior year in high school, an institution shall not provide a written offer of athletically related financial aid or indicate in writing to the prospective student-athlete that an athletically related grant-in-aid will be offered by the institution.
On or after August 1 of a prospective student-athlete's senior year in high school, an institution may indicate in writing to a prospective student-athlete that an athletically related grant-in-aid will be offered by the institution; however, the institution may not permit the prospective student-athlete to sign a form indicating his or her acceptance of such an award before the initial signing date in that sport in the National Letter of Intent program.