I see that some club's post commitments from 2012 and 2013 kids. Are these commitments binding, our are the other parameters that need to be met?
The Class of 2012 already has their full set of statistics on the table with applications due between November (early decision, early admission) and January (regular decision). The Class of 2013 will have indicative grades from the PSAT (SAT I) or PLAN (ACT) tests which will help the discussion; however, the verbal commitment is non-binding and still subject to academic performance.
How can a college make an offer if kids do not yet have a good SAT to present, or is the offer contingent on the child obtaiinimg a certain SAT score?
For sophomore or juniors making a verbal commitment, standardized scores and admission is still to be cleared. Often times, a well-recruited candidate will be prequalified with admissions. This might include an "exemption" which the coach can use as a golden-ticket for admission. Also, this could include a "likely letter" from the campus which is akin to a preadmissions letter.
Note that 429lax added some valuable additions on this topic.