I think it's huge in committing early. When seniors are stressing over applications and worrying about grades, athletes that are committed just focus on grades and getting better. So much less stress in my opinion. But at the same time, a kid's body changes from 9th grade to 12th, what they want in 9th grade may not be the same as in 12th. In Basketball and football, you have to be Zion or LBJ to get an early commitment. Otherwise it's Jr or senior year. Take Cal Poly SLO for instance...average GPA for certain majors (engineering and business) is 4.1. We've known many people that got rejected and had an impeccable resume. I've also known a kid that got in with a 2.7 GPA (she was a heck of a player) and just had to keep her grades up. Big destressor for kid and family.