Can programs ask me to commit to a SOAP offer prior to the offer being extended to me through the R3 system?

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No, program offers and applicant acceptances of unfilled positions during SOAP® can be executed only through the NRMP’s R3® system. It is a violation of the Match Participation Agreement for a program to suggest or inform an applicant that placement on the program’s SOAP preference list is contingent upon the applicant’s verbal or written statement of acceptance.