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Why Robert Upshaw (who?) is smarter than most recruits

Mar 26, 2012, 2:27 PM EST

NCAA Basketball Tournament - Southern Mississippi v Kansas State Getty Images

Dear every recruit in the country:

You guys know Robert Upshaw, right? He’s the 6-foot-11, 250 lb, high school senior that lives out in Fresno, CA, and is supposed to be attending Kansas State in the fall. Ring a bell?

Well, with the reports that Frank Martin could/is/will be/may end up at South Carolina by tomorrow, it appears that Upshaw won’t be heading to Manhattan after all. Why? Because when he signed with the Wildcats, he didn’t sign a National Letter of Intent, he signed an aid agreement.

When you sign an NLI, you have to go through the university to get a release in order to attend a different school, even if the head coach decides to leave. That’s just the way it is. The NCAA believes that you should be signing with the school because of what they offer academically when we all know that you will be signing with the coach because of what he offers athletically. Simply put, an NLI legally binds you to a school, not the coach.

Which is why what Upshaw did is so smart.

A financial aid agreement legally guarantees that you will be getting a scholarship, but it doesn’t bind you to the school. In other words, you are free to go anywhere else if you choose, but if you do decide to go to the school that you signed with, they will be paying for your scholarship. And with Martin potentially leaving Kansas State, Upshaw is free to re-open his recruitment. His list was narrowed down to Louisville, Georgetown, Fresno State and Kansas State when he committed, for what it’s worth.

So be smart, recruits. Don’t sign an NLI. Don’t be Joseph Young or Walter Pitchford. Control your own future and sign an aid agreement.

Sincerely, Rob.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.