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Multiyear offers can up ante to land stars

Imagine the future of college athletics recruiting, with headlines like this one:

“High-school athlete signs four-year deal with Washington State.”

Hey, it’s already possible. The NCAA approved a provision in 2012 that allows Division I schools to offer multiyear scholarships to prospective student-athletes when they sign a National Letter of Intent.

Most schools have responded with a resounding … shrug. An April report in the Chronicle for Higher Education indicates that only a handful of major college sports programs have extended multiyear offers.

Washington State is not one of them.

“I like the clean way of it being renewable each year,” WSU athletic director Bill Moos said. “Because sometimes, it shouldn’t be renewed, and a lot of that has to do with academics, behavior, effort or lack thereof.”

So WSU sticks with the status quo: A signed NLI binds a student-athlete and a school to each other for exactly one academic year, and the school will decide at the end of each year whether that scholarship will be renewed.

The vast majority of scholarships are renewed, of course. And Moos said the only advantage of extending a multiyear offer to a recruit would be to present a better deal than a competing school might be offering.

“In time, where there’s a hot prospect and, Oregon State, let’s say, wants him and offers him,” Moos said. “And we go, ‘Hey, he’s hot enough, let’s offer him four (years).’ Now the dice goes over to the other side. Are they going to offer four?”

WSU basketball coach Ken Bone seems to approach this discussion similarly, saying he’d consider a multiyear offer for “a certain guy, probably.”

But ideally, every player signed by an athletics program will be around that long, anyway.

“Hopefully, when you sign a guy, you’re committed to that person for the duration, and that’s really where they want to be,” Bone said.

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