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October 17, 2012

Is Tyner Running Away? Football and Marriage


It started last night with a simple Twitter Post by D4SH.  That is the Twitter Handle on one Thomas Tyner of Aloha High School.  And it happened during the debate and it touched off more of a response then the Candy Crowley's assist to President Obama over Libya.

The phenom Running Back made one Tweet and the Prep Football world spun out of control.

There it is.  Earth Shattering isn't it?

So much so that this kid blew up the evening news channels with TV Sports Anchors saying that he was decommitting from the Ducks.  Really?  

Those same reporters are all saying he is heading out to UCLA and that he could come back to Oregon and sign his letter of intent the next few weeks to Oregon.

Calm down Duck Nation.  Really?

Thomas is not bound to anyone.  Understand that folks.  And any News anchor saying that he can sign, commit, or de-commit to anyone is crazy.  They simple do not know what they are talking about.

The Ducks and dozens of other schools have sent Thomas letters offering scholarships.  They can not do that until after August- September of the kids Senior Year; not before.

Once the kid has these letters he can do anything he wants with it.  He can paper his wall with them, burn them, or snap a photo and post them to his Facebook Wall.  He can mail them to Grandpa Joe, make a paper airplane out of them, and auction them off on E-Bay.

There is only one thing he can not do with Them.   And that would be to sign.

The National Letter Of Intent Office  makes it clear on the front page of their website.

February 6th, 2013.  That is the first time he can become a Duck.  Or a Bruin.  Or a Longhorn.

Here is a great Summary of the NLI Process from our own David Fox of Rivals.com.

Understand this is the world we live in us analyst types.  And this is all becoming way to ridiculous.  Much of this is an extension of the fact that College Coaches are allowed to verbally offer kids as young as Freshmen.  In fact 7th and 8th graders were being offered by the biggest colleges in the Land until the NCAA clamped down on that recently.

You want to know why High School football is being commercialized and ruined by Street Agents?  That is one of the main reason right there.  The grim reality is that the "Verbal Offer Process" is out of control.  

It is like a bunch of guys offering to marry the hottest girls in High School when they turn 18.  And that is not a slam on Coaches or schools because to succeed they have to make the proposals.

The Verbal offer process starts the process of expressing interest from a College to a Kid.  Ok fair enough.  

But because football does not have an early signing period like High School Basketball does this problem of pressuring the kids, even if not intended, is a very real one.  

Tyner is a perfect example.  

If he could have signed an early letter binding him to Oregon maybe he would have.  And it would sure help kids and schools both clarify the landscape.  

Here is a great article about why we need and early signing period.


Florida Atlantic coach Carl Pelini said if those who are truly serious about their commitment could sign early, than it would "really clarify the landscape," and allow for more kids to get recruited.

"You will know this kid is unavailable, let's move on and recruit other kids," Pelini said.

ACC Commissioner John Swofford said last week his coaches support an early signing period but the proposal has not had strong support nationally.

Catch the Full story here: http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/sports/college-football/does-college-football-need-an-early-signing-period/nL34L/

So understand this.  Verbal offers by a college mean very little until they send that official letter in August or September.  

And even the written scolarship letter is not that big of a deal because the College can rescind it at anytime.  Know that.

Back to Tyner.

He made a verbal pledge as a Junior to play for the University of Oregon.  

He does not have any way to commit to them under the rules we have.  But for anyone to suggest he is decommitting is just wrong.  This I confirmed first hand.

All he did was let folks know he is looking around a little.  Thomas is no dummy.  This is a smart kid who actually thinks everything through.  I have it on the record that he spoke with the Coaches before that Tweet went out.  So this Tweet he did was not a surprise and did not shock or surprise the staff.  Duck Nation is going ballistic for no reason.  

Calm down you green and yellow Army.

And Thomas needs to look around.  Every kid needs to.

The colleges who have sent letters in can retract them at anytime.  Even the written letter is not binding.  Nothing in fact is binding until the Athlete sends the FAX or mails in his signed Letter of Intent (Feb 6th, 2013 or after) and then it has to be acknowledged by the school and the Conference office.

And Tyner, as well as I know he and the family, has been subjected to intense pressures and by not putting himself out there as a recruit has defelected most of them.  But the pressure is there and is very real.

Imagine having the Nations premier programs and Head Coaches blowing up your Facebook, your email, your texts, your snail mail, your Coaches, and parents and friends.  Coming to your school and your home and maybe trying to find out where you like to hang out.  

You have all seen the Blind Side right?  Those guys were camped outside of Michael Oher's home.

Welcome to the reality of a guy like Thomas.

He is free to look around and so are the Ducks.  One Tweet should not be the end of the world.  He can not become a Duck until Next February.  So everyone just needs to relax.  

But guys and gals get your facts right.

  • Thomas Tyner did not de-commit from Oregon.
  • Thomas Tyner nor any athlete can not commit to any school until February 6th, 2013.
  • Thomas Tyner and Oregon- just like any athlete and school- can do anything they want until 2-6-13.  All they have done so far is build a realtionship verbally.  He can go anywhere he wants for a visit unfettered.  They can speak to any top recruit they want unfettered.
  • A Verbal Offer and a Verbal Committment are just that Are they meaningless?  Heck no.  They help both sides understand the level of interest.  It is a necessary part of the process.  
  • Think of it as an engagement.  Are we bound when we get engaged?  Heck no.  It is part of our culture to break those off.  That is the whole purpose rigth?  We step up our committment to each other and start down the path to the wedding day.
  • The "We are offering you a Scholarship" letters which can be sent to a High School Senior after August from schools like Oregon are nice.  But they are not binding on either side.  Think of those letters as a proposal for Marriage.  An official request to become engaged.  Now the Wedding is on and everyone is fitted for their dressed and suits and the Hall is all reserved.  The cake is all but in the Oven.
  • On about 2-1-2012 the College will send an official Fed-EX/UPS Packet to the Athlete.  In that packet will be a Letter of Intent and associated forms.  Now we are in the aisle waiting for the Bride and the pews are full of our closest friends and on lookers.
  • Between February 7th and Apri 1st of 2013 the High School Athlete in receipt of this Letter can sign it and send it in.  Provided it and all necessary documentation is completed the Athlete and School are bound.  The Marriage is complete.

Here is a whole lot more you need to know on the National Letter of Intent Process.  Read Up guys and gals.  You sports anchors too!

National Letter Of Intent Informational Flyer and Diagram



"The only thing my mind is on right now is today's practice and how I can help prepare my team for Friday."  D4SH – @thomas_tyner


There is the guy we know.  

Jesuit is up Friday.  This is going to be a Game of Epic proportions and both teams are playing for the Metro League Title.  So this recruiting stuff and all this circus is outside his world now because he is locked and loaded for bear.  Both teams and all their players and staff are.  Expect thousands at this game folks.  

There is a piece of advice I would give to Duck Fans and Coaches and just people in general.  And back to our engagement-wedding theme above this comes from the courtship and engagement my wife and I had so many years ago. It worked for us and it will work for anyone.

“If you love something set it free.

If it comes back it’s yours.

If not, it was never meant to be”.


Good Luck to Thomas and all the Boys of Friday Night




About the Author

Dirk is a lifelong resident of the Pacific NW; athlete and Merit scholar. He runs camps, clinics, and has been a sports writer and analyst for nearly a decade now; mostly with Rivals.com as the editor of OregonPreps and WashingtonPreps.com. Dirk is the founder of NWPR & BrainChampions.org; a charity for injured athletes suffering from Brain Trauma / Concussion. He is a father of three and married.




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