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May 12, 2010 at 10:57 AM

Deadline Nears, But Terrence Jones Saga Could Continue

ph.terrence-9.JPG
Photo credit: The Oregonian – Jamie Francis
Interesting story in the Oregonian that takes a look at Terrence Jones and details the difference between a national letter of intent and a financial aid agreement.
On April 30, the 6-9 star forward at Portland’s Jefferson High committed to Washington during a news conference (above), but he never signed a LOI (or NLI) and friends and family members say the McDonald’s and Jordan Brand Classic All-American is also considering Kentucky.
His recruiting saga has been well publicized, debated and scrutinized in the media and on this blog.
Many believed his recruiting dilemma would reach a resolution May 19, which is the end of this signing period and the last day a recruit can attain a LOI for the 2010-11 season.
However Jones could opt for a financial aid agreement which is a non-binding contract that can be signed at any time. It’s conceivable he could prolong his decision until the start of the fall classes.
I spoke with two college coaches who gave me a basic primer on the scholarship and financial aid packages and essentially there’s no difference. The student-athlete receives the same benefits including paid tuition, fees, room, board and books.
The only difference, a LOI is a one-year binding agreement between the student-athlete and the school whereas both parties could terminate an aid agreement before classes begin. Here’s a summary of the NCAA recruiting rules.
SI.com wrote a story last month about highly touted recruit Brandon Knight who may become a trendsetter and alter recruiting as we know it. The story implies the top echelon recruits such as Knight and Jones may opt to avoid a binding contract to keep all options open.
Not sure if others will follow.
Many believed Brandon Jennings, the Arizona recruit who chose to play in Italy for a year before entering the NBA draft, was also a pioneer. Jennings finished third in the Rookie of the Year balloting, however, none of this season’s top high school players chose to play overseas.
Choosing an aid agreement is nothing new, however, in most previous cases the recruit did it out of necessity. Andre Winston signed an aid agreement with Washington State because he signed a LOI to James Madison and NCAA rules say you can only sign one LOI.
Years from now, Knight and Jennings may be viewed as trail blazers, but it’s uncertain if Jones will follow a similar path.
In the Oregonian story his mother Linda Mashia-Jones said she was unaware Jones could sign anything after May 19 and gave the impression he would decide before the deadline.
Only a week remains. … Then again, this story could drag on for some time.

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