The rise in verbal commitments, especially in men’s recruiting, stems from the significant supply and demand imbalance in Division I recruiting. With 67 Division I men’s teams, including 4 independent programs, the slow growth in the number of teams and thus roster spots has been outpaced by the explosive growth in youth participation across the country. There are 91 Division I women’s teams, which has seen more growth in roster spots but remains very competitive.
According to US Lacrosse, more than 1,400 new high school lacrosse teams have been added since 2006. Today, there are more than 170,000 male and 120,000 female high school athletes, a significant increase over the 100,000 male and 70,000 female athletes in 2006.
The below compares the number of high school lacrosse players to Division I lacrosse teams from 2006 to 2012.
In short, Division I recruiting is similar to musical chairs and the number of people playing the game is growing faster than the number of chairs in the game. Players fear there may not be a chair or in this case, a roster position for them if they wait, and therefore look to verbally commit early in the recruiting process. Keep in mind a verbal commitment is non-binding for both the player and coach.
It is important to remember that if you are passionate about playing collegiate lacrosse, there are enough Division I, II, III and club roster spots across the country for most every player and many club teams exist at schools with NCAA varsity programs.
To learn more about this trend and navigating today’s accelerated recruiting landscape, check out to Recruit Handbook.
High School Statistics from: “US Lacrosse 2012 Participation Survey.” US Lacrosse: p., 5.