Wave of interest
The next morning, Carl Tinsley's cell phone exploded.
Carl ended up canceling the workout -- and just about everything else he'd planned for that day -- as he fielded phone calls from dozens college coaches. Brad Tinsley, who had picked the Waves from a group of finalists that included Cal and Utah, suddenly was getting interest from North Carolina, Kentucky, Wake Forest, Vanderbilt, Georgia, Oklahoma and just about everyone else.
"It kind of hit me in one big wave," Brad Tinsley said. "It got really crazy really fast."
Tinsley didn't expect any of this. He planned to play for
Carl Tinsley, who now runs a company that organizes amateur girls basketball tournaments, believes his son got swept into a perfect recruiting storm. Brad had several suitors before the
"Now that he's opened it back up, there are other schools -- like Wake or like Oklahoma -- who are looking at him because he now fits a need," Carl Tinsley said. "He's top 100 in the country and still available. There aren't many of those left."
The experience has made Carl Tinsley rethink his opinion on college basketball's early signing period. Carl, who helped dozens of girls earn basketball scholarships, said he always recommended his players sign in November instead of April.
"I always thought it was best for our kids to sign early," Carl said. "I have found that maybe that isn't always the best thing. Just rushing to get a scholarship so you can play your senior year with no pressure, I think there are some really good things about that. But I also found that Brad was under-recruited a little bit."
It's an interesting quandary for a recruit. A player can sign in November and be guaranteed a scholarship and a less stressful senior season, but the player then runs the risk of the coach he signed with getting fired. Choose to sign in April, and all the scholarships might get taken by players who were willing to sign in November. I thought it would be interesting to see how a coach would interpret the situation, so I asked Florida coach
"If you're going to wait to sign in April in college basketball, then you have to be willing to live with the fact that the school that's recruiting you could possibly get someone who plays your position," Donovan said. "I've been on both sides of it.
While Donovan calls choosing a signing date an "inexact science," Brad Tinsley knows what he would recommend. "If you feel comfortable with a coaching staff and feel that school is best for you," he said, "I would say go ahead and sign."
To keep pressure off his son as Brad tries to lead Oregon City to a state title, Carl has handled most of the phone calls. For example, USC coach
Brad said he can't help but notice the assistant coaches in their school polo shirts at his games. He'd love to block them out, but he occasionally gazes into the stands during a dead ball or before he shoots a free throw. Last week, North Carolina coach
Tinsley's Rivals.com profile looks different than those of his 2008 classmates. While most players have four or five schools listed, Brad has 21. Carl said the actual number of schools actively recruiting his son is between 30 and 40. So while Brad tries to win a state title, Carl will keep making index cards that break down the pros and cons at each school recruiting his son. Carl said the $64,000 Question is whether his son will leave the west coast.
When Brad's season wraps later this month, father and son will narrow the list. Brad can take four more official visits, and he may use them. Carl plans to offer advice, but he wants Brad to make the final decision. Then, when the ink is dry on Brad's second Letter of Intent, Carl may finally get to use all those personal training sessions.
Here's a quick update to
Coates originally filed the suit in his home state of Washington, but it was moved to federal court. Northwestern settled the case in 2001, but terms were not disclosed.
In 2003, basketball player
"It's disgraceful that there isn't a law or a bylaw in the NCAA that restricts these letters and these promises," Driscoll said. "The coaches understand the game. It's the kids who don't know the rules."
So what does this mean for Smith's case? It's hard to say, because both Coates and Bedford received written scholarship offers. Smith said he received a verbal scholarship offer, and he'll have to prove that he did. Several sports law scholars interviewed for last week's story said they'd be interested to see what might happen if such a case ever reached a jury. But judging by the results of the two basketball cases, it seems schools would prefer the system of verbal commitments didn't receive the scrutiny a trial by jury would bring.