Is a ball-cap verbal commitment not sacred?

September, 30, 2010
9/30/10
2:12
PM ET
Blue-chip recruit Dorian Finney-Smith announced his verbal commitment to Virginia Tech at a press conference by selecting a ball cap placed in front of him and leaving untouched the caps representing Florida and Old Dominion.

The ball caps thing was a little hokey (even for a future Hokie), but also a tried-and-true method when it comes to a top high school athlete making a public declaration of love for his future school.

Here's the thing, though. As we all learned from the Terrence Jones saga, choosing a ball cap in front of witnesses in your high school gym somehow doesn't guarantee the recruit will sign with that same school.

So now the media needs to ask questions and check to see if the recruit will actually sign the national letter of intent, as it did with Finney-Smith, ESPNU's No. 15-ranked recruit in the 2011 class.

From The Daily Press:
Finney-Smith's announcement is a non-binding commitment. Might he have a change-of-heart before he can sign a letter-of-intent in November?

"Naw," he said with a smile. "I ain't going nowhere."

His mother, Desiree Finney-Jones, also said that her son is unlikely to waffle or second-guess his decision.

"He's one of those kids that once he makes up his mind and says it, he follows through," Finney-Jones said. "He's a settled kid."

Good for the reporter for asking the question, but it really says something that the ceremonial choosing of the cap is no longer a rock-solid guarantee of anything. It has lost much of its meaning.

Think about it. After a bride and groom exchange vows, the wedding photographer doesn't ask immediately afterward, "So you lovebirds are going to sign and send in that marriage license, right?"

But in the world of recruiting where funny things can happen, it's come to this. Finney-Smith's announcement of a verbal commitment to his future school has to be followed up immediately afterward with a reporter questioning whether it's merely his choice for now. It's no wonder he smiled, presumably out of bemusement.

How did we get to this place?

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