I have seen many examples of early verbals at my son's club, his prep school, his prep league and amongst rival clubs and in the prep or public HS leagues around here. My son also got Twitter friendly with out of area kids from other elite clubs. He is a 2017 and was "not committed" until recently and now is what we maybe could call a "non-public verbal" to a school that is no fan of early announcements of these things. Fine with our family and our club owner has been pleasantly cool about it, but I am always both amazed and dismayed how many times other parental inquiring minds who want to know ask what is wrong with our son because he seems to be a decent player but is not committed. What is wrong? He gets it from his friends and takes it well considering he is 15. But this wears and wears on the kids who are checking the Twitter constantly to measure up who is getting committed versus who isn't. Let's be blunt here: if your 2017 or 2018 son needs to be committed in a month or your family is headed into therapy for clinical depression, here is my recruiting guide:
1. Get your club owner to dial up some 8th tier academic school that has "D1 lacrosse" status bar and beg the coach for a spot. If the kid is an ok player Furman, Bellarmine, Mt. St. Marys, UMBC and the like will take him, especially if you don't get all pedantic about scholarship money. Costs them nothing for something and a lof of college coaches are going in for that now. Rosters closing in on 60...half the kids can't play, no problem. It isn't like the school won't be getting 30 full tuition paying students. Nobody is the victim.
2. Go upmarket and beg beg beg beg a top 20 D1 program via the club and prep school coaches who can shove your kid down a coach's throat as a nothing attached verbal. No money, just a spot please. A shocking number of top 20 program coaches will humor this. See #1. And Ty Xanders is confused why JHU is carrying 6 goalies?!? Seems more and more like he doesn't have a clue about recruiting and it is supposedly his profession.
3. Once your kid is verballed, by all means that opens the sieve for you -- the parent -- to not shop it, but also entertain what other offers may come 1-3 years later. If the kid is a great student and was committed to Furman but Duke calls, well, duhhhh who is throwing a rock at your kid or you for playing the game? I honestly think that 8th or 9th or even 10th grade verbals are considered at least in part "placeholders" to lock in a status, be viewed more favorably by parent or kid peers (and is very very important to both), get your kid ranked by some recruiting guide guy and to honey pot more bees to offer your kid later.
4. The draconian route, ignore it. Implore your kid to enjoy playing club and HS and do your best to teach your son that if he really really wants to play D1 lacrosse he can walk right on at the D1 schools that a cat who isn't dead yet could be admitted to and no coach won't love a capable practice player or will the bursars office at that university. If by now you have not figured out the economics of lacrosse, let me explain it very simply: if you need financial help to put your kid through college you are better off "committing to the financial aid process" than taking a lacrosse partial, and if your kid is a very good student to boot "committing to the academic merit scholarship process" is a walk off home run versus a come with $1,500-$20,000 scholarship being amortized out by a lacrosse coach.
5. No wait, this is the part where anonymous dads post that is just not true, their kid is getting a full ride!!!!!!!!! When one of you guys meets another lacrosse parent of a committed 2017 or 2018 who IS NOT getting a full ride, be sure and let us know. There is not such a thing I know of.
As a practical matter, as parents we'd be better parents if we take the game back from the salesmen in the lacrosse trade. 12-18 year old kids deserve enjoyment and their own fulfillment out of sports and it is silly to take it away from them for a Twitter banner that may read Johnny Lax, XYZ HS 2018, Johns Hopkins 2022. When I was a freshman in high school I don't think I ever thought of what the calendar year of my college graduation would be and would have needed to look it up. I wasn't the brightest kid, but I was normal to not think about that. What 2018 lacrosse kid doesn't know without thinking or counting he is a 2022 college year?
Tend to agree with many of your points, however, you also say a few things that are not applicable to most. First, most of the people reading this are not going to get any $ for need based financial aid. Great for you if you can, but not in the cards for the majority.
Second, merit based $, again, about half the schools don't offer merit based money. The schools that do and that also offer lax money are far and few between. SO the dream is for your kid to get a school that is a great academic institution with a 25% lax ride and a 25% merit based (grades) ride.
Mine also has verballed and all the schools we talked to were the ones where we could make the money work. So, unlike everyone else that is so concerned with whether mine really fits into the school, I am more and was more concerned with how much debt he would graduate having to repay. Our choice was simple (yes, since I am paying it was our choice, not only his), can we get better than a SUNY school at a better price... We were fortunate enough to do so.
Like you, we have heard of the mythical full ride for lax, perhaps it exists, but wasn't offered to mine at any of the four schools we considered.